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Three days ago I started to see popups alerting me of outbound connection attempts being blocked by Malwarebytes. The details of the event showed the  following: Domain:"N/A"; IP Address:"255.255.255.255"; Port:"68"; Type:"Outbound Connection"; File: "C:\Windows\System32\svchost.exe". I was stupidly logged in as administrator.

I ran a Malwarebytes scan with the following results: -Scan Options-Memory: Enabled; Startup: Enabled; Filesystem: Enabled; Archives: Enabled; Rootkits: Enabled; Heuristics: Enabled; PUP: Detect; PUM: Detect; -Scan Summary- Type: Threat Scan; Result: Completed; Objects Scanned: 460248; Threats Detected: 0 (No malicious items detected) Threats Quarantined: 0 (No malicious items detected). I show nothing deleted, nothing quarantined. But the alerts appear to continue.

This was on November 20th, when I observed 12 blocked connection attempts. Two days later I logged in again as an admin and observed 3 more blocked connection attempts. I then created a non-administrative user and logged back in. I haven't seen any more connection attempts, but I suspect that doesn't mean the issue's resolved.

Can anyone provide assistance?

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Thanks for those logs, continue as follows:

Download attached fixlist.txt file (end of reply) and save it to the Desktop, or the folder you saved FRST into. "Do not open that file when running FRST fix"
NOTE. It's important that both FRST and fixlist.txt are in the same location or the fix will not work.

Open FRST and press the Fix button just once and wait.
The tool will make a log on the Desktop (Fixlog.txt) or the folder it was ran from. Please post it to your reply.

Next,

Open Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
 
  • On the Settings tab > Protection Scroll to and make sure the following are selected:
    Scan for Rootkits
    Scan within Archives
     
  • Scroll further to Potential Threat Protection make sure the following are set as follows:
    Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP`s) set as :- Always detect PUP`s (recommended)
    Potentially Unwanted Modifications (PUM`s) set as :- Alwaysdetect PUM`s (recommended)
     
  • Click on the Scan make sure Threat Scan is selected,
  • A Threat Scan will begin.
  • When the scan is complete if anything is found make sure that the first checkbox at the top is checked (that will automatically check all detected items), then click on the Quarantine Selected Tab
  • If asked to restart your computer to complete the removal, please do so
  • When complete click on Export Summary after deletion (bottom-left corner) and select Copy to Clipboard.
  • Wait for the prompt to restart the computer to appear, then click on Yes.
  • After the restart once you are back at your desktop, open MBAM once more to retrieve the log.


To get the log from Malwarebytes do the following:
 
  • Click on the Reports tab > from main interface.
  • Double click on the Scan log which shows the Date and time of the scan just performed.
  • Click Export > From export you have two options:
    Copy to Clipboard - if seleted right click to your reply and select "Paste" log will be pasted to your reply
    Text file (*.txt) - if selected you will have to name the file and save to a place of choice, recommend "Desktop" then attach to reply

     
  • Use "Copy to Clipboard, then Right click to your reply > select "Paste" that will copy the log to your reply…


Next,

Download AdwCleaner by Malwarebytes onto your Desktop.

Or from this Mirror
 
  • Right-click on AdwCleaner.exe and select user posted imageRun as Administrator (for Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 users)
  • Accept the EULA (I accept), then click on Scan
  • Let the scan complete. Once it's done, make sure that every item listed in the different tabs is checked and click on the Clean button. This will kill all the active processes
  • Once the cleaning process is complete, AdwCleaner will ask to restart your computer, do it
  • After the restart, a log will open when logging in. Please copy/paste the content of that log in your next reply


Next,

Download Microsoft's " Malicious Software Removal Tool" and save direct to the desktop

Ensure to get the correct version for your system....

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/malicious-software-removal-tool-details.aspx


Right click on the Tool, select “Run as Administrator” the tool will expand to the options Window
In the "Scan Type" window, select Quick Scan
Perform a scan and Click Finish when the scan is done.


Retrieve the MSRT log as follows, and post it in your next reply:

1) Select the Windows key and R key together to open the "Run" function
2) Type or Copy/Paste the following command to the "Run Line" and Press Enter:

notepad c:\windows\debug\mrt.log

The log will include log details for each time MSRT has run, we only need the most recent log by date and time....

Let me see those logs in your reply, also tell me if there are any remaining issues or concerns...

Thank you,

Kevin...

fixlist.txt

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Kevin, I've run all steps above as instructed. However, after completing the first step (the filelist.fix), I lost all icons on my taskbar at the bottom of my screen and they have not returned. I also have no access to Windows icon in the lower left, or the "Type here to search" area. When I mouse-over any part of the taskbar I only get a  circular spinning cursor! I tried several reboots and logging in with a second profile, with the same results. None of the scans has shown any malicious, or infected files. I'm not sure how to now send you the final Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool results if I'm unable to access the command prompt. Some keyboard shortcuts work and others don't. I haven't found any that gives me the command prompt.

I hope you can help me.

 

scan_report_2017_11_24.txt

AdwCleaner[S0].txt

Fixlog.txt

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There was nothing listed in FRST fix to cause the issue with the Taskbar, in fact listed entries in the fixlog.txt are either showing as not found or access denied...

Has the task bar returned or is it still missing...

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Select Ctrl-Alt-Delete together, select Task Manager, from TM select File > Run new task > In the run box type or copy/paste explorer.exe also checkmark "create this task with administrator privileges" then select OK.

What happens...?

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Nope, it's the same as before. A spinning cursor. I'm considering removing McAfee and Malwarebytes, then  reinstalling both, but I'm on travel for two weeks and need to be able to reinstall them and I don't know how to retrieve my license keys from each before uninstalling, so I can re-install them afterwards!

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Select Ctrl -Esc keys together, start menu should open, from the start menu select Control Panel From the control panel make sure "View by" option has "Large Icons" selected

In that view scroll to and select "Taskbar and Navigation"

In the new window "Lock taskbar" should be enabled. "Show badges on task buttons" should be enabled. "Taskbar Location" should be bottom... are those correct..

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One of the command in the frst fix failed also, that was to create a restore point before the fix commenced, it would appear that something on your system is stopping basic functions..

From the FRST.txt log it indicates a full registry backup dated LastRegBack: 2017-11-18 08:03 We can use that to revert your system to that date. So can you confirm if that date is prior to current issues happening. Also do you have a USB flashdrive, maybe 4gb or more...

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Ok thanks for that info, we need to download and save FRST to the flash drive, also download and save the attached file to the same flashdrive. We now need to boot to the Recovery Environment....

As you have no taskbar or start menu we are a bit limited... Try the following:

Select Windows key and X key together, from the produced list select "Settings" A new window will open..

From that window select "Update and Security" another window will open

From that window select "Recovery" that will make the "Restart now" button appear Select that option...

Your PC will boot to the "Choose an Option" window, from that window select "Troubleshoot"

user posted image

From the next window select "Advanced Options"

user posted image

From the next window select "Command Prompt"

user posted image

Ensure to plug the Flashdrive into an open USB port, Continue with the following:
 
  • In the command window type in notepad and press Enter.
  • The notepad opens. Under File menu select Open.
  • Select "Computer" or "My PC" and find your flash drive letter and close the notepad.
  • In the command window type E:\frst64 or E:\frst depending on your version. Press Enter
  • Note: Replace letter E with the drive letter of your flash drive. <<<----vey important
  • The tool will start to run.
  • When the tool opens click Yes to disclaimer.
  • Press Fix button.
  • It will make a log (Fixlog.txt) on the flash drive. You will need to boot back to Normal windows to post the log, or if applicable do that action from a spare PC...
  • To boot back to windows, type exit at the prompt and hit enter
  • Please copy and paste or attach FRST log to your reply.


Does taskbar and start menu comeback..

fixlist.txt

Edited by kevinf80
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The next step would be to access recovery environment via Windows Installation DVD or a Recovery drive if available... If those are not available we can create a recovery drive from another PC if it has Windows 10 installed... Any of those available...?

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Since my Taskbar was non-functional, the only way to gain access was using keyboard shortcuts. I first selected "ctrl + alt + del" which took me to the standard "Sleep, Shutdown, Restart" menu. Then I selected "shift + Restart" which took me to the "Troubleshoot" option you show in the boot window described in your instructions. That's it. Hope it helps.

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Hello

Thank you for that information, I was just curious. Current infections seem to have trip wire that causes many problems for the system when the infection is discovered and removal is attempted, your loss of Task bar and start features are typical....

What is the current status of your system like, does it boot up/down ok, is there any odd or erratic behavior, can you create a restore point, open and use your installed security programs. Regarding your default browser, any odd or erratic behavior, redirects etc...

Run FRST one more time, ensure all boxes are checkmarked under "Whitelist" but only Addition.txt under "Optional scan" Select scan, when done post the new logs. "FRST.txt" and "Addition.txt"


Thank you,

Kevin...

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Since I reverted to the earlier restore point the system seems to be functioning normally. However, I've only just started to use it again, so I'll keep an eye out for unusual behavior. Let me understand what you want me to do now. You want me to take the FRST.exe program, the FRST.txt and the Addition.txt, place them on my desktop and rerun the FRST.exe? Why do you expect that it won't result in my loss of the Taskbar just like the last time. This makes me nervous since I've been without my computer for four days. FYI - last night I created a new restore point, and also a new user profile that is NOT an admin (as a better security practice) which raises a question. Can I run the FRST.exe from the NON-admin, using "run as admin", or should I log in as admin?

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FRST has to be ran from an account with Admin status. I wanted you to run FRST to see if your system looked healthy, there was no need to put frst.txt or addition.txt on your desktop, they are only logs. I asked that FRST was put there and ran, it would produce two fresh logs.....

If you are satisfied that your system is behaving as expected with no odd or erratic behavior then we do not need to go any further...

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