Tag Archives: HijackThis

Computer Settings Hijacked? Hijack Them Back With Free HijackThis

HijackThis is a free utility from Trend Micro, which heuristically scans your computer to find settings that may have been changed by homepage hijackers, spyware, other malware, or even unwanted programs.

This application has a well deserved reputation for being aggressive in tracking down unauthorized changes that have been made to your system/applications.

The program doesn’t target specific programs, but instead it analyses registry and file settings, and then targets the methods used by cyber-crooks. After you scan your computer, HijackThis creates a report, and a log file (if you choose to do so), with the results of the scan.

image

Because of the heuristic methods used by HijackThis, the results of the scan can be confusing/intimidating, to those who are not advanced users.

On the other hand, the strength of this program lies in the large community of users who participate in online forums, where experts (voluntarily and for free), will interpret HijackThis scan results for you, and then provide you with the information you need to clean any infection.

This screen capture shows a partial scan result on my test machine.

image

The latest version (2.0.4), adds potent tools to the Configuration window, including a process manager and hosts file editor, to help you remove dangerous infections, and an ADS Spy tool which scans alternate data streams which  browser hijackers can, and will use, to evade antispyware applications.

The following screen capture shows a Configuration – Hosts File Manager request being implemented but, you’ll also notice one of my antimalware tools, ThreatFire, has prohibited hosts files from being opened as a safety precaution against a malware penetration.

This is one reason I so strongly recommend ThreatFire as supplementary malware protection. In this case, I allowed the process to continue.

image

Despite the fact that you may only need this small application infrequently, it deserves a place in your anti-malware toolbox.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Me, 98.

Note: The continued use of Windows 2000, Me, or 98, is not recommended.

Software requirements: Internet Explorer, Firefox.

Download at: Trend Micro

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Malware Removal, Manual Malware Removal, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

FreeFixer Revisited – Another Powerful Tool to Add to Your Anti-Malware Removal Arsenal

imageI’m a big fan of applications that have the power to dig into areas of the operating system including drivers, registry startups, registry keys, running programs, processes, browser plug-ins, and home page settings, etc.

This type of application can be expressly designed to search for malware infections, or, if  not designed to specifically do this, can be used creatively to effect the same result.

Experienced, and advanced computer users, are almost sure to be familiar with HijackThis, a very popular tool that does just that. There are alternatives however, and if you are an experienced or advanced computer user, and you’re looking for a free program as an alternative to HijackThis, then FreeFixer (last update April 28, 2010), is a free application that’s worth taking a look at.

The program operates as a detailed system analysis tool that can help you in the detection and removal of Hijackers, Spyware, Adware, Trojans, Worms, and other malware.

FreeFixer setup is simple, following which you will be taken to the start scan screen which explains in clear language, what the program does and equally as important; what it does not do.

The following screen shots are from my test system:

FreeFixer 1

On completion of the scan the results will be presented, broken down into categories, and you will then have the opportunity to remove entries that you consider unwanted, or malware.

FreeFixer 2

FreeFixer 4

The real benefit in running FreeFixer rather than HijackThis is; the option you have of following a “more info” link to FreeFixer’s database for information on a specific item. Available information includes,  digital signature data, and other users’ experience with the specific item, and more.

Known software and trusted Windows components are excluded from the scan, which reduces the workload substantially. You can now focus on the potential nasties.

As an added benefit, you can turn for advice to an active FreeFixer Group or online forum, where skilled users’ will analyze your submitted log file, and then guide you accordingly.

The graphic below, illustrates the type of help you can expect from the user group.

FreeFixer 6

Fellow security pros will recognize, that this user has been infected by the notorious rogue software application, Internet Security 2010, which has, amongst other things, disabled Windows Task Manager.

Recommendation: If you are an experienced, or an advanced computer user, and you’re looking for a program to strengthen your anti-malware resources, then FreeFixer is one that’s worth taking a look at.

System requirements: Windows 2000/XP/2003/20008/Vista/7. Runs on both 32- and 64-bit Windows.

Download at: Download.com

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Hacked, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Malware Removal, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

FreeFixer – A Free, Powerful Anti-Malware Tool

imageI’m a big fan of applications that have the power to dig into areas of the operating system including drivers, registry startups, registry keys, running programs and processes, browser plug-ins, and home page settings, etc.

This type of application can be expressly designed to search for malware infections, or, if  not designed to specifically do this, can be used creatively to effect the same result.

Experienced, and advanced computer users, are almost sure to be familiar with HijackThis, a very popular tool that does just that. There are alternatives however, and if you are an experienced or advanced computer user, and you’re looking for a free program as an alternative to HijackThis, then FreeFixer (last update December 10, 2009), is a free application that’s worth taking a look at.

The program operates as a detailed system analysis tool that can help you in the detection and removal of Hijackers, Spyware, Adware, Trojans, Worms, and other malware.

It doesn’t offer live protection but instead, it examines your system, determines if it’s been infected, and then allows you to eradicate the malware.

FreeFixer setup is simple, following which you will be taken to the start scan screen which explains in clear language, what the program does and equally as important; what it does not do.

The following screen shots are from my test system:

FreeFixer 1

On completion of the scan the results will be presented, broken down into categories, and you will then have the opportunity to remove entries that you consider unwanted, or malware.

FreeFixer 2

FreeFixer 4

The real benefit in running FreeFixer rather than HijackThis is; the option you have of following a “more info” link to FreeFixer’s database for information on a specific item. Available information includes,  digital signature data, and other users’ experience with the specific item, and more.

Known software and trusted Windows components are excluded from the scan, which reduces the workload substantially. You can now focus on the potential nasties.

As an added benefit, you can turn for advice to an active FreeFixer Group or online forum, where skilled users’ will analyze your submitted log file, and then guide you accordingly.

The graphic below (captured today), illustrates the type of help a user can expect from the user group.

FreeFixer 6

Fellow security techs will recognize, that this user has been infected by the notorious rogue software application, Internet Security 2010, which has, amongst other things, disabled Windows Task Manager.

Recommendation: If you are an experienced, or an advanced computer user, and you’re looking for a program to strengthen your anti-malware resources, then FreeFixer is one that’s worth taking a look at.

System requirements: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7.

Download at: Download.com

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Malware Removal, Manual Malware Removal, Rogue Software Removal Tips, Software, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Malware Removal Tips – Experience From the Trenches

Guest writer Mark Schneider gives you the best advice you’ll ever get on malware removal – “when it comes to malware removal, use a shotgun – not a rifle”.

image Cleaning an infected computer is a challenge. Unfortunately, malware writers are talented, and that translates into real trouble if your machine gets infected.

Many computers ship with large all-in-one security suites. These all-in-one programs look good on a checklist comparison in PC Magazine, but I prefer to use a variety of free programs from different vendors, each using a slightly different method of cleaning a machine, which gives you the best chance of finding all the bad files.

Recently, I had to deal with a Lenovo Thinkpad my daughter had been using – the laptop is a spare machine I use only occasionally, and had just been given a clean install of Windows XP.

After my daughter had finished using it, I did a routine scan using Malwarebytes, a very good free anti-spyware program. The initial scan found 15 infections, including some Rootkits, which can be very difficult to remove. Malwarebytes told me I needed to reboot the computer to finish the removal. I complied and rescanned.

Malwarebytes 1

Same results, same Trojans, same Rootkits, so I scanned with Microsoft’s Security Essentials, a new free anti-virus Microsoft recently released. Security Essentials found nothing at all, so I tried a new (to me) website, virustotal.com.

MS Security Essentials

Virustotal allows you to upload suspicious files to scan to determine if they are a threat or, possibly a false positive. I uploaded the file that was showing up the most frequently on the quick scans. Virustotal scans the file using over 40 different malware removal engines. Only one engine, McAfee Virus scan, found the file to be suspicious so I was beginning to think I might have a false positive. But, the fact that the file kept reappearing was very suspicious. Now I needed to get serious.

Virus Total 2

The next step was to run CCleaner a very good registry, and temporary file cleaner. CCleaner will make virus scans faster, and may delete files that are allowing a possible payload to reload when you restart the computer.

ccleaner2

After using CCleaner, I installed Superantispyware Free, a program that I always install as one as my primary tools to combat spyware. The fact that this computer was a fresh rebuild was the only reason I hadn’t installed it yet.

Installing and running Superantispyware goes very fast – it’s a great program that is the favorite of many computer technicians. Super lived up to its reputation, and found a number of problems, including one Trojan with multiple registry entries.

SuperAntispyware 1

Rebooting the machine after Superantispyware ran, finally yielded some results. Additional scans from Superantispyware, and Malwarebytes, came up clean.

My next test is to run HijackThis. HijackThis is a very powerful tool which must be handled with care. Installing HijackThis is simple; using it effectively is another story. The best method, for most people, is to run HijackThis and create a log file. Next, post this file to a web site where experts can parse your results and determine if you still have any suspicious files.

hijackthis

My preferred site is HijackThis.de – the site is primarily in German, but don’t let that deter you. They have a scanner which will scan your log file in real time and give you a good idea, right away, if HijackThis has found anything.

If you have run, and re-run your scanning tools, run a HijackThis, and everything comes up looking okay, you’re probably malware free. But for the next few reboots, you should continue to make sure your anti-malware programs are up to date, and keep rescanning periodically.

Most malware these days wants to hide in the background. You may be infected and never know your machine is stealing your passwords, and draining your bank account. So stay safe, keep your data backed up, and if you get infected, use as many tools as it takes to get secure again.

This is a guest post by Mark Schneider of the Techwalker Blog, who brings a background as a high level techie, to the blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Mark’s site today.

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Malware Removal, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

Boost Your Anti-malware Resources With FreeFixer

image I’m a big fan of programs that I like to call “system snoopers”. This type of application has the power to dig into areas of the operating system including drivers, registry startups, registry keys, running programs and processes, browser plug-ins, and home page settings, etc., searching for malware infections.

Experienced and advanced computer users are almost sure to be familiar with HijackThis, a very popular tool that does just that. But, if you are an experienced or advanced computer user, and you’re looking for a free program as an alternative to HijackThis, then FreeFixer is a free application that’s worth taking a look at.

The program operates as a detailed system analysis tool that can help you in the detection and removal of Hijackers, Spyware, Adware, Trojans, Worms, and other malware. It doesn’t offer live protection but instead, it examines your system, determines if it’s been infected, and then allows you to eradicate the malware.

FreeFixer setup is simple, following which you will be taken to the start scan screen which explains in clear language, what the program does and equally as important; what it does not do.

The following screen shots are from my test system:

FreeFixer 1

On completion of the scan the results will be presented, broken down into categories, and you will then have the opportunity to remove entries that you consider unwanted, or malware.

FreeFixer 2

FreeFixer 4

The real benefit in running FreeFixer rather than HijackThis is; the option you have of following a “more info” link to FreeFixer’s database for information on a specific item. Available information includes,  digital signature data, and other users’ experience with the specific item and more.

Known software and trusted Windows components are excluded from the scan, which reduces the workload substantially. You can now focus on the potential nasties.

As an added benefit, you can turn for advice to an active FreeFixer Group or online forum, where skilled users’ will analyze your submitted log file, and then guide you accordingly.

Recommendation: If you are an experienced or an advanced computer user and you’re looking for a program to strengthen your anti-malware resources, then FreeFixer is one that’s worth taking a look at.

System requirements: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7

Download at: Download.com

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

3 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Manual Malware Removal, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free HijackThis – A Powerful Anti-Malware Tool

Given the extreme state of the Internet today, and all of it’s accompanying dangers, computer users’ need all the help we can get to keep our machines free of spyware/Trojans/viruses/hijackers ……. Just fill in the blanks.

HijackThis is a free utility by Trend Micro which heuristically scans your computer to find settings that may have been changed by homepage hijackers, spyware, other malware, or even unwanted programs.

This application has a well deserved reputation for being aggressive in tracking down unauthorized changes that have been made to your system/applications.

The program doesn’t target specific programs, but instead it analyses registry and file settings, and then targets the methods used by cyber-crooks. After you scan your computer, HijackThis creates a report, or log file, with the results of the scan.

Because of the heuristic methods used by HijackThis, the results of the scan can be confusing/intimidating, to those who are not advanced users. On the other hand, the strength of this program lies in the large community of users who participate in online forums, where experts (voluntarily and for free), will interpret HijackThis scan results for you, and then provide you with the information you need to clean any infection.

The latest version (2.0.2), adds potent tools to the Configuration window including, a process manager and hosts file editor to help you remove dangerous infections, and an ADS Spy tool which scans alternate data streams, that browser hijackers can, and will use, to evade antispyware applications.

Despite the fact that you may only need this small application infrequently, it deserves a place in your anti-malware toolbox.

To get a real feel for how powerful this small application is, checkout the great tutorial on using HijackThis, at BleepingComputer.com.

System requirements: Windows Vista, XP, 2000, Me, 98

Software requirements: Internet Explorer, FireFox

Download at: Download.com

To read a great article on the current state of other free security tools hop on over to Techwalker, and checkout my friend Mark’s article on
Online Security Tools Revisited.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Diagnostic Software, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Home Page Hijacking, Manual Malware Removal, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System File Protection, System Security, System Utilities, trojans, Utilities, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

Hijack it Back! – Get HijackThis! – Free

Your home page has been hijacked and despite the fact you’ve run every anti-malware program in your arsenal, you can’t get it back. Don’t give up; there’s hope yet!

HijackThis is a free utility by Trend Micro which heuristically scans your computer to find settings that may have been changed by homepage hijackers, spyware, and other malware or unwanted programs.

This application has a well deserved reputation for being aggressive in tracking down unauthorized changes that have been made to your system/applications.

The program doesn’t target specific programs, but instead it analyses registry and file settings and targets the methods used by hijackers to redirect your browser. After the scan HijackThis creates a report, or log file, with the results of the scan.

Because of the heuristic methods used by HijackThis, the results of the scan can be confusing to those who are not advanced users. However, the strength of this program lies in the large community of users who participate in online forums, where experts will interpret HijackThis scan results for you, and provide you with the information you need to clean any infection.

There is a great tutorial on using HijackThis at BleepingComputer

The latest version (2.0.2), adds powerful tools to the Configuration window including, a process manager and hosts file editor to help you excise virulent infections, and the ADS Spy tool which scans alternate data streams, that browser hijackers can use to evade spyware removers.

Despite the fact that you may only need this small application infrequently, it deserves a place in your anti-malware toolbox.

System requirements: Windows Vista, XP, 2000, Me, 98

Software requirements: Internet Explorer, FireFox

Download at: Download.com

Comments Off on Hijack it Back! – Get HijackThis! – Free

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Diagnostic Software, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Home Page Hijacking, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System File Protection, System Security, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools