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Thread: [RESOLVED] Search Engine misdirection problem.

  1. #1

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    Frenzied Member Poppa Mintin's Avatar
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    Resolved [RESOLVED] Search Engine misdirection problem.

    Hi,

    I've had a problem with search engines for a few weeks and can't find the culprit.
    I usually use Google Chrome, but I have the same problem with FireFox and with Bing.

    I enter something to search... The search engine finds a load of URLs... So far, so good.
    When I click an item, the selected URL displays for a moment, then something takes over and a page of similar items turns up. Usually these include inappropriate images. If I go 'Back' a page to the original list of URLs, sometimes clicking the same item will display correctly, more usually... Not.

    Maybe someone can suggest something to look for and (probably) remove.


    Poppa.
    Along with the sunshine there has to be a little rain sometime.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator si_the_geek's Avatar
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    Re: Search Engine misdirection problem.

    I would recommend looking at the Hosts file (which maps web addresses to IP addresses). You can find it in System32\drivers\etc\ , and can open it in Notepad.

    There is a good chance you will find a line in there that specifies the search engine you use... and if there is, removing that line is likely to solve it.

    The file starts with a commented section (including some instructions), and in general you should only have a few uncommented lines after it.

  3. #3

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    Re: Search Engine misdirection problem.

    Thanks for the reply Si,

    I think I found the folder to which you refer, in that folder are five files:

    hosts
    imhosts.sam
    networks
    protocol
    services

    hosts and imhosts.sam are both all comments (Each line starts with '#' ?)

    networks contains:
    # Copyright (c) 1993-1999 Microsoft Corp.
    #
    # This file contains network name/network number mappings for
    # local networks. Network numbers are recognized in dotted decimal form.
    #
    # Format:
    #
    # <network name> <network number> [aliases...] [#<comment>]
    #
    # For example:
    #
    # loopback 127
    # campus 284.122.107
    # london 284.122.108

    loopback 127
    Protocol contains:
    # Copyright (c) 1993-2006 Microsoft Corp.
    #
    # This file contains the Internet protocols as defined by various
    # RFCs. See http://www.iana.org/assignments/protocol-numbers
    #
    # Format:
    #
    # <protocol name> <assigned number> [aliases...] [#<comment>]

    ip 0 IP # Internet protocol
    icmp 1 ICMP # Internet control message protocol
    ggp 3 GGP # Gateway-gateway protocol
    tcp 6 TCP # Transmission control protocol
    egp 8 EGP # Exterior gateway protocol
    pup 12 PUP # PARC universal packet protocol
    udp 17 UDP # User datagram protocol
    hmp 20 HMP # Host monitoring protocol
    xns-idp 22 XNS-IDP # Xerox NS IDP
    rdp 27 RDP # "reliable datagram" protocol
    ipv6 41 IPv6 # Internet protocol IPv6
    ipv6-route 43 IPv6-Route # Routing header for IPv6
    ipv6-frag 44 IPv6-Frag # Fragment header for IPv6
    esp 50 ESP # Encapsulating security payload
    ah 51 AH # Authentication header
    ipv6-icmp 58 IPv6-ICMP # ICMP for IPv6
    ipv6-nonxt 59 IPv6-NoNxt # No next header for IPv6
    ipv6-opts 60 IPv6-Opts # Destination options for IPv6
    rvd 66 RVD # MIT remote virtual disk
    And services has 307 commented lines, hardly 'a few'.

    I can't find anything which specifies a search engine in any of these.


    Poppa.
    Along with the sunshine there has to be a little rain sometime.

  4. #4

    Thread Starter
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    Re: Search Engine misdirection problem.

    I'm still having this problem, it's a real nuisance.

    Any suggestions would be most welcome.



    Poppa.
    Along with the sunshine there has to be a little rain sometime.

  5. #5
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    Re: Search Engine misdirection problem.

    Never heard of this "Bing" browser, perhaps you meant Edge?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browser_hijacking

    Sounds like a browser redirect virus (browser hijacker) to me. You probably need to apply one or more malware cleaner tools.

  6. #6
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Search Engine misdirection problem.

    Did you look at the HOSTS file as suggested? What does the contents of that file look like? Also check the browser and system proxy settings too. My wife's browser once got hijacked by something she installed that updated her proxy settings to redirect her browsing through their servers, overriding everything she was doing.

    -tg
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    * I also don't respond to friend requests. Save a few bits and don't bother. I'll just end up rejecting anyways.*
    * How to get EFFECTIVE help: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - Removing eels from your hovercraft *
    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

  7. #7
    Frenzied Member jdc2000's Avatar
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    Re: Search Engine misdirection problem.

    Try downloading and running the free version of Malwarebytes to see if it finds anything.

  8. #8

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    Re: Search Engine misdirection problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    Did you look at the HOSTS file as suggested? What does the contents of that file look like? Also check the browser and system proxy settings too. My wife's browser once got hijacked by something she installed that updated her proxy settings to redirect her browsing through their servers, overriding everything she was doing.

    -tg
    Thanks tg, did you miss post #3 ?

    Pop.
    Along with the sunshine there has to be a little rain sometime.

  9. #9
    Frenzied Member jdc2000's Avatar
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    Re: Search Engine misdirection problem.

    Did Malwarebytes find anything? The behavior you are encountering is typical of malware.

  10. #10
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Search Engine misdirection problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppa Mintin View Post
    Thanks tg, did you miss post #3 ?

    Pop.
    No, just the line where you mentioned that hosts was all comments...

    -tg
    * I don't respond to private (PM) requests for help. It's not conducive to the general learning of others.*
    * I also don't respond to friend requests. Save a few bits and don't bother. I'll just end up rejecting anyways.*
    * How to get EFFECTIVE help: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - Removing eels from your hovercraft *
    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

  11. #11

    Thread Starter
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    Re: Search Engine misdirection problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdc2000 View Post
    Try downloading and running the free version of Malwarebytes to see if it finds anything.
    Very good idea, I've only ever used Microsoft Windows Defender on this machine, but I've noticed recently that the icon which is usually in the taskbar is no longer there and I've been unable to find anywhere else to launch a scan.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdc2000 View Post
    Did Malwarebytes find anything? The behavior you are encountering is typical of malware.
    Yes, I tried MalwareBytes as you suggested, it took an hour and some few minutes to check over 500,000 items and found over 1,000 'Detections' and suggested over 100 quarantines.
    I've tried Google after the reboot and my problem seems to've been cured, a few days will confirm it I hope.

    Thanks for the suggestion.
    Ought to've thought of that myself... So much for the advice that Windows Defender is as good as anything else !

    I couldn't find the proxy setting which tg suggested checking.


    Poppa.
    Along with the sunshine there has to be a little rain sometime.

  12. #12
    Frenzied Member jdc2000's Avatar
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    Re: [RESOLVED] Search Engine misdirection problem.

    I would triple check to make sure that Windows Defender is actually running. If it isn't, your malware probably disabled it, which would leave you vulnerable to potential re-infection. You need to get it running again, or replace it with something else.

  13. #13

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    Re: [RESOLVED] Search Engine misdirection problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdc2000 View Post
    I would triple check to make sure that Windows Defender is actually running. If it isn't, your malware probably disabled it, which would leave you vulnerable to potential re-infection. You need to get it running again, or replace it with something else.
    Yeah, I'm leaving MalwareBytes on and running.
    I used the Microsoft chat facility and the agent showed me how to get the icon back in the task bar.
    Looks like it's all running ok now.

    Thanks for the advice.


    Poppa.
    Along with the sunshine there has to be a little rain sometime.

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