Went to my stepdaughter and son-in-law's this last weekend, and between sightseeing I took a shot at his laptop, which had been barely functioning on the net for quite awhile.
It would not allow me to update the Ad-Aware program that was on the laptop, nor would it allow me to even go to the websites to download Spybot or SuperAntiSpyware. Using search engines was almost completely useless, as it would be redirected to all sorts of odd sites. Obviously something was severely wrong.
I was able to use a perfectly good desktop alongside the laptop to do some searching for problems on the net. I used the Google Chrome browser on the laptop, as it seemed to be least affected of the three browsers on the system, and downloaded the Eusing registry cleaner and What's Running successfully. After using those programs, I found a bunch of results for the always wonderful FastBrowserSearch.
This had been infected onto the laptop via the Tattoo-like Facebook programs, and had brought along a couple of friends. I had to edit the registry of Windows, and go through the Firefox browser with a fine tooth comb to find many of the tentacles of this monster, and still couldn't get any anti-spyware programs to work. Something else was wrong.
This is where luck helped a lot. I found an old download of SuperAntiSpyware deep in the system, but it wouldn't run normally, and it wouldn't update. Desperate, I opened the program folder and kept trying ANY executable file hoping something would take. Finally, one random one did, running the bare-bones basic scan with an interesting result.
It found a few garden-variety things, but the one that really stood out was the rogue program AntiSpyware 2009. BINGO! SAS removed that entry, and I was able to search and delete a couple other spots it had grown into.
Now, I was able to download and update, and I cleaned that sucker out as thoroughly as possible. I also downloaded the AVG program and ran that also.
However, FastBrowserSearch kept showing up, and I couldn't delete the file folder, even when I switched Administrators. It (Vista) kept saying I needed permission to get rid of it. So I went back and edited the registry again and re-installed Firefox.
When I left their place, the machine was running pretty normally, though there was still a FastBrowserSearch box in the upper right of the Firefox screen, and the file was still there. I declare the job about 95% successful, not bad for a non-tech.
They had gotten the laptop secondhand from a frequent LimeWire and Facebook user, and that person had never used anti-spy protection.
Anyone had luck removing FBS?
As of 2/28/05: 101 pounds since December 7, 2004 OFFICIAL THREE-MONTH COUNT: 112 pounds on March 9, 2005 OFFICIAL SIX-MONTH COUNT: 142 pounds on June 8, 2005 OFFICIAL ONE YEAR COUNT: 187 pounds on December 7, 2005 As of 2/27/06: 202 pounds "I've lost a heavyweight" As of 7/31/06: 224 pounds As of 12/7/08 (four years out): Still 210 pounds down! Now announcing for NBWA Championship Wrestling! *2008 NBWA Personality of the Year*
Malwarebytes does a great job of cleaning off AntiSpyware and HiJackThis is very helpful for the other. In the future you can just rename the executable of the scanner program you want to use and it'll run. AntiSpyware blocks by the file name so changing one letter bypasses it.
Spammers used to just dictionary blitz hotmail accounts, such that if your name was either a common word or contained few enough characters that they could auto-generate it, you probably got hit that way.