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Old 08-18-2010, 12:28 AM   Topic Starter
Bearcat Bearcat is offline
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The Official Malware/Antivirus Thread - Need help or general advice? Read this first!

This thread provides information on malware removal, links to malware removal tools, and recommendations & links to anti-virus software. The intention of this thread is to provide quick and accurate support for malware-related issues and questions.

Many people here are willing to provide assistance if you're having computer problems, and this thread is not meant to discourage people from asking for help.... but, please read the information provided first, or else there's a good chance you'll be sent here, here, or here . We aren't Geek Squad, so while we won't grossly overcharge you for information and advice, we also aren't responsible for anything you do to your computer.

Also, feel free to make suggestions on the content of this post, and I'll try to keep it up to date.


A lot of information can be found at this EliteKiller link, including...
  • Links to recommended malware scanning & removal tools, including the Rogue Removal Kit (which includes combofix), malwarebytes (aka MBAM), and Hitman Pro.
  • A link to HiJackThis, which creates a log of registry entries, running services, etc; that can be posted here for additional support.
  • Reviews, recommendations, and links to antivirus software, on-demand scanners, and online scanners.
  • Information on firewalls and unsecured networks, as well as malware/virus prevention.

Malware Removal

If you think your computer is infected, the EliteKiller link provides a thorough solution. Simply put...

Originally Posted by mikeyis4dcats. View Post
Step 1 go here http://www.elitekiller.com/malware.htm and read up

Step 2 download the Rogue Removal Kit http://www.elitekiller.com/files/rogueremoval.zip

Step 3 unzip the Kit, read the instruction file and run the tools in the order given.

Step 4 Thank me in about 3 hours for fixing your shit.

The Rogue Removal Kit is is a zipped file that includes malwarebytes, CCleaner (a registry cleaner that will also delete temporary files), Combofix, Hitman Pro, and HiJackThis (HiJackThis is optional, see below). The instructions guide you through running these tools in Safe Mode With Networking; then running malwarebytes and an online scanner in Normal Mode.

Some people don't recommend running Combofix unless you're fairly certain you need to use it, but I've never heard of people having major problems with it. Here's a list of symptoms to Vundo infections, which may help determine if you need to run Combofix. You can also look here to see instructions with screenshots on how to use Combofix.

Taken from the readme in the Rogue Removal Kit:

Quality Online Virus Scanners: (all scanners offer detection and removal)


Quality Free Anti-Virus Software:

Panda Cloud
Microsoft Security Essentials

My two cents on downloading anti-malware software...
  • Download it from another computer if possible, or from Safe Mode With Networking on the infected machine.
  • Verify you are downloading from a legit source and are not being redirected to a site where you'll end up downloading more malware. If you click on any links above, verify the link in the bottom left before clicking on it, then after clicking the link verify that's where you were taken in the address bar.
  • The elitekiller article mentions downloading the software to a USB drive. Do not download the software to a USB drive on the infected machine if you're not in Safe Mode, or else you risk infecting the USB drive and other computers you connect the drive to in the future.

Other Helpful Tips & Tools

Rkill will kill processes that may be preventing scanners from completely removing malware.

To get into Safe Mode With Networking, press F8 every couple of seconds while the computer is starting (before the Windows splash screen). If you see the Windows splash screen, you will need to try again. The safe thing to do is log into Windows, restart, and try pressing F8 several times before seeing the Windows splash screen. Alternatively, my advice that falls into the category of “what I'd do if it was my own computer, but wouldn't tell someone to do it if I worked in tech support” would be, if you didn't get into Safe Mode the first time and you're at the Windows splash screen, hold down the power button until the computer turns off. When you start the computer again, it should automatically ask you if you want to go into Safe Mode With Networking.

If you get a Blue Screen of Death after selecting Safe Mode With Networking, read the following posts on how to fix it:

Still infected, or just want to make sure everything is okay?

HiJackThis is a tool that will create a log file that can be analyzed by geeks to see what is running on your computer. Install and run HiJackThis (preferably in Safe Mode With Networking), and select 'Do a system scan and save a log file'. You can then copy/paste the output to this thread, and with any luck, someone will stop by and let you know what you can delete. You can then checkmark the items in HiJackThis and click 'Fixed checked'.

If you don't get a quick response here or would rather do it yourself, you can also go to http://hijackthis.de/, which is an online analyzer for your HiJackThis log. Simply copy and paste the log into the text box and click the Analyze button. During my testing of the site, I found it wasn't perfect, especially when a proxy was setup (the visitor rating would be 'extremely nasty', but the site itself would say it was safe)... but, it's at least a good tool that can significantly shorten the time it takes to analyze the log, and it gives you an idea of which entries you can delete or at least Google/post here for further research.

You can also look at the responses to HiJackThis posts in this thread to get an idea of what is safe and what should be removed.

Windows Performance

A good starting point to knowing what processes and services are running on your computer is a HiJackThis log. There's also a lot of information that's only a Google search away.

To manage the process that start when Windows starts, use msconfig (Start button -> Run... -> msconfig -> Startup tab). This is a good resource on startup processes, and it includes a large database of startup processes with information on whether they're required to run Windows or if it's okay to uncheck them. You basically want processes that are in c:\Windows checked, and you can generally uncheck processes in c:\program files (but there are exceptions, like your antivirus), but do some research (Google, the provided links, this thread) if you're not sure. Adobe, Apple (including qttask, Boujour, AppleUpdater, etc), and any messenger program (unless you have it sign you in at startup) are always the first ones to get unchecked on my computer.

Services can be a little tougher to manage, because it's usually a much longer list, and it's not as simple as flipping them on or off. This is a great resource for managing Windows services (Start button -> Run... -> services.msc). Simply choose your version of Windows and then click on the Service Configuration link. It presents the default setup, a safe setup (what most people can use without any consequences), a tweaked setup for faster startup, and a bare bones setup for the super geek. There's also a Tweaks page for stuff like Adding/Removing programs and System Restore.

Last edited by Bearcat; 03-27-2012 at 04:07 PM..
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