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Firefox compromised by Startnow.com


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When I opened Firefox today, I found myself ... hijacked? By Startnow.com, with Bing replacing Google as search engine. I first assumed I'd mistakenly signed up for this during an update (like that pesky Yahoo toolbar associated with Sun microsystems); I first uninstalled Startnow from Add/Remove programs, reset my homepage in Firefox options, and uninstalled the Startnow plug in. It seemed to remove the toolbar, but not the rest of it: No good.

I use Avast as my security suite, with Malwarebytes; Malwarebytes deep scan run in safe mode brought up nothing. I plan to run an Avast complete scan in safe mode as well.

If this is indeed malware, it's my first infection. What to do?

My OS is Win XP, SP3. Chrome is my second browser (which I use more often than Firefox lately); no anomalies there. Yet.

Thanks so much in advance for your help!

-- Ferkit

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Logs will be closed if you haven't replied within 3 days

Please do not attach the scan results from Combofx. Use copy/paste.

DO NOT use any TOOLS such as Combofix, or HijackThis fixes without supervision.

Doing so could make your pc inoperatible and could require a full reinstall of your OS, losing all your programs and data.

Vista and Windows 7 users:

1. These tools MUST be run from the executable. (.exe) every time you run them

2. With Admin Rights (Right click, choose "Run as Administrator")

Stay with this topic until I give you the all clean post.

You might want to print these instructions out.

I suggest you do this:

XP Users

Double-click My Computer.

Click the Tools menu, and then click Folder Options.

Click the View tab.

Uncheck "Hide file extensions for known file types."

Under the "Hidden files" folder, select "Show hidden files and folders."

Uncheck "Hide protected operating system files."

Click Apply, and then click OK.

Vista Users

To enable the viewing of hidden and protected system files in Windows Vista please follow these steps:

Close all programs so that you are at your desktop.

Click on the Start button. This is the small round button with the Windows flag in the lower left corner.

Click on the Control Panel menu option.

When the control panel opens you can either be in Classic View or Control Panel Home view:

If you are in the Classic View do the following:

Double-click on the Folder Options icon.

Click on the View tab.

If you are in the Control Panel Home view do the following:

Click on the Appearance and Personalization link.

Click on Show Hidden Files or Folders.

Under the Hidden files and folders section select the radio button labeled Show hidden files and folders.

Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide extensions for known file types.

Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled Hide protected operating system files.

Please do not delete anything unless instructed to.

Next:

Please download ATF Cleaner by Atribune.

Download - ATF Cleaner»

Double-click ATF-Cleaner.exe to run the program.

Under Main choose: Select All

Click the Empty Selected button.

If you use Firefox browser

  • Click Firefox at the top and choose: Select All
    Click the Empty Selected button.
    NOTE: If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.

If you use Opera browser

  • Click Opera at the top and choose: Select All
    Click the Empty Selected button.
    NOTE: If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.

Click Exit on the Main menu to close the program.

It's normal after running ATF cleaner that the PC will be slower to boot the first time.

Next:

Download ComboFix from one of these locations:

Link 1

Link 2 If using this link, Right Click and select Save As.

* IMPORTANT !!! Save ComboFix.exe to your Desktop

  • Disable your AntiVirus and AntiSpyware applications, usually via a right click on the System Tray icon. They may otherwise interfere with our tools. Note: If you are having difficulty properly disabling your protective programs, or are unsure as to what programs need to be disabled, please refer to the information available through this link : Protective Programs
  • Double click on ComboFix.exe & follow the prompts.
    Notes: Combofix will run without the Recovery Console installed. Skip the Recovery Console part if you're running Vista or Windows 7.
    Note: If you have SP3, use the SP2 package.
    If Vista or Windows 7, skip the Recovery Console part
  • As part of it's process, ComboFix will check to see if the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console is installed. With malware infections being as they are today, it's strongly recommended to have this pre-installed on your machine before doing any malware removal. It will allow you to boot up into a special recovery/repair mode that will allow us to more easily help you should your computer have a problem after an attempted removal of malware.
  • Follow the prompts to allow ComboFix to download and install the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console, and when prompted, agree to the End-User License Agreement to install the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console.

**Please note: If the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console is already installed, ComboFix will continue it's malware removal procedures.

RC1.png

Once the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console is installed using ComboFix, you should see the following message:

RC2-1.png

Click on Yes, to continue scanning for malware.

When finished, it shall produce a log for you. Please include the C:\ComboFix.txt using Copy / Paste in your next reply.

Notes:

1.Do not mouse-click Combofix's window while it is running. That may cause it to stall.

2. ComboFix may reset a number of Internet Explorer's settings, including making I-E the default browser.

3. Combofix prevents autorun of ALL CD, floppy and USB devices to assist with malware removal & increase security. If this is an issue or makes it difficult for you -- please tell your helper.

4. CF disconnects your machine from the internet. The connection is automatically restored before CF completes its run. If CF runs into difficulty and terminates prematurely, the connection can be manually restored by restarting your machine.

Give it atleast 20-30 minutes to finish if needed.

Please do not attach the scan results from Combofx. Use copy/paste.

Also please describe how your computer behaves at the moment.

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Thanks for your response - here's the current status.

AdAware Free quarantined Win32 Zugo. (It wasn't picked up by Malwarebytes.) I reset my browser homepages on Firefox and Chrome, and all seems well.

But. While I never actually use Internet Explorer; I opened it to check. IE still seems infected by Startnow. Do you feel I still need to run ATF cleaner and Combofix? I'm a little leery of doing so ... having an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' point of view.

OTOH - if you feel 'it's still broke', then I'll fix.

Have a great Fourth of July weekend - no rush with this one.

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Thanks, LD Tate - your call has weight.

Having read your instructions, I *am* apprehensive about the risk of 'breaking' something else in the course of fixing. In your experience, what's the risk-to-benefit ratio? The probability of something going wrong? And what sort of issues occur with that scenario?

Thanks so much for your time here! Again - no rush.

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Glad we could help. :)

If you need this topic reopened, please send a Private Message to any one of the moderating team members. Please include a link to this thread with your request. This applies only to the originator of this thread.

Other members who need assistance please start your own topic in a new thread. Thanks!

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