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Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware

katlaughing 11 May 08 - 11:22 PM
artbrooks 11 May 08 - 11:34 PM
katlaughing 11 May 08 - 11:50 PM
katlaughing 11 May 08 - 11:51 PM
Nick 12 May 08 - 03:40 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 12 May 08 - 06:09 AM
The Fooles Troupe 12 May 08 - 08:09 AM
katlaughing 12 May 08 - 11:21 AM
JohnInKansas 12 May 08 - 12:56 PM
katlaughing 12 May 08 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 12 May 08 - 07:25 PM
katlaughing 12 May 08 - 07:58 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 May 08 - 11:33 PM
katlaughing 12 May 08 - 11:57 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 May 08 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 16 May 08 - 09:42 PM
JohnInKansas 16 May 08 - 10:12 PM
katlaughing 16 May 08 - 11:17 PM
JohnInKansas 17 May 08 - 12:39 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 17 May 08 - 02:33 PM
Acme 21 Feb 09 - 10:45 AM
artbrooks 21 Feb 09 - 10:54 AM
bobad 21 Feb 09 - 01:08 PM
Newport Boy 21 Feb 09 - 01:52 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 21 Feb 09 - 01:52 PM
katlaughing 30 Mar 10 - 03:07 PM
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Subject: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 May 08 - 11:22 PM

My computer will not log off. I tried changing a couple of things in the user accounts to no avail. I scanned with spybot, adaware (after downloading a new copy as the old one didn't want to run correctly. It said there was a missing file or something.) Also, I have AVG running all of the time and SUPERantispyware. None of which found any problems.

So, I looked into a geek forum and found info about scanning for virus and thought, why not give another scan a try? Someone there recommended Trend Micro at www.housecall65. I scanned with it and it told me I had two low impact "grayware/malware infections" called ADAWARE_MEMWATCH and ADAWARE_HOTBAR. I found more about those in a google search, after I told Trend Micro to remove them from my system.

My question: are those part of AdAware, or might they have been attached to it or are they just named that by some very clever programmer trying to fool us?

Just for the record, I am now doing another full scan using AVG.

Thanks for any info,

kat


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: artbrooks
Date: 11 May 08 - 11:34 PM

Are you sure it says ADAWARE MEMWATCH and HOTBAR? There are a couple of items out there called Adware Memwatch and Hotbar. Google under those names, and you'll find removal information.


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 May 08 - 11:50 PM

Thanks, Art. That's what it listed them as AND it supposedly removed them. I was just wondering if they came WITH Adaware or just used that name.

I just finished a full scan with AVG and it was clean, no problems. I'll go see if I can log off now.:-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 May 08 - 11:51 PM

Well, interesting. I cannot get it to log off nor shut down completely unless I do it manually. Any ideas? I'll be back in the morning. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: Nick
Date: 12 May 08 - 03:40 AM

You might try doing a ctrl-alt-del and one by one shutting down the processes that are running - it should give you some idea of the one that is stopping you and that might in turn point to the root of the problem.


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 12 May 08 - 06:09 AM

The usual questions LafKat

You know the routine:
What platform?
What hardware configuration? (HD's, RAM, Processor) What opperating system?
Have you installed any new programs in the last week?
What programs are running in the background? (See Nick above) Power off - Power on - does the problem continue?
Scan/Defrag repeat above

If it still continues and you had an ounce of understanding - you could go to "high jack this" - but you don't - so you could use "Go To My PC" and let a techno-nerd look it over....(from anywhere in the world) an old friend....someone you trust....like me.

Are you trying a new Vista system...they take awhile (12 months) to get "dialed in."

MANY "security" programs will read the line-code-NAME of a definition within another "security" program as if the NAME ID was the actual problem.

My guess - you opened too many windows with limited RAM and you froze.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 May 08 - 08:09 AM

Oneof the old tricks with Win9x was that a rogue extra 'rundll.exe' process would 'jam' and not terminate normally when it was supposed to - The method advised by Nick was the only way to find and kill it - the only way to shut the machine down otherwise was to use the power switch.


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 May 08 - 11:21 AM

Thanks, Nick and Foolstroupe.

garg - one window, plenty of RAM, no freeze, NO vista and I've already been to "hijack this" which is what led to me to the scan noted above. Oh, yes, trust you? Thanks for the laugh!


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 May 08 - 12:56 PM

My recently updated free version of Ad-Aware doesn't indicate anything resembling either of the things described, but the setup options have a place for plug-ins, and I'd assume that there may be some "extras" you can download that would be shown there if you have the paid version. If you have the premium version, you need to ask Ad-Aware if these are their plug-ins. The Ad-Aware 2007 program "front page" also has a "Tools and Addins" button that should tell you instantly if you've turned on any extra functions.

memwatch.h is a well-documented utility that a programmer can compile as part of any program so that a log is made of every "memory swap" made by the program. The log is useful for finding memory leaks during program development. It has no reason for being on a common user computer that I can think of. Any competent programmer would be expected to recompile without this utility before distributing a program.

There is a widely documented Trojan that some anti-malware people are calling Memwatch, probably because it contains the memwatch logging script. I didn't find any very complete description of what it might be for; but since, like many Trojans, it makes a registry entry, just deleting the Trojan file(s) may not have cleared the reg entry. A registry entry that can't find a file it's supposed to open can sometimes "hang" the computer, although usually you'll see an error message at reboot for this kind of error.

It's entirely possible that one of your anti-malware programs did find, and delete, a grayware/malware file but didn't clean the registry. Since Ad-Aware especially usually finds several hundred "threats" you probably didn't look at all the names before telling it to delete them all.

Ad-Aware is generally fairly "graceful" about doing any needed reg cleanup, but could have made a slip. I'm not familiar with "SUPERantispyware" so can't guess whether it's "registry-competent."

"Log off" likely has a specific meaning to you, but can have multiple different meanings to others (and to Windows). A "more wordy" description of your meaning might avoid possible confusion if further discussion is required.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 May 08 - 02:56 PM

Hmmm..."log off" to me, means choosing that from Start, and having it basically said "bye-bye" and then no one can use my PC unless they sign in and give a password. I only have me as a user so that's not a problem. I never used to use it, but my Rog told me it's a good way to make sure people cannot use my computer, through wireless connections, without my permission. NO, I doubt if there are folks trolling the neighbourhood looking for a hot spot, but I like the idea of added security anyway.:-)

SUPERintispyware seems to do a good job and is easy to use. It was recommended by a tech guy at Dell when he helped me about two months ago.

I don't understand the registry things and I suspect that I get into trouble by not knowing, so will go read up on it and see if I can understand it. Thanks, John.


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 12 May 08 - 07:25 PM

LafKat - most folks want to stay away from editing their registery. It can create FUBAR forever.

Come on Kitty - if anyone is going to help you - you need to open up.

AGAIN -
PC (intel/amd chipset?)laptop?
RAM
Hardware
Motherboard
Opperating system
Program in use at time of crash
Most recent additions to software including anti-viral scans

My computer will not log off.

WHAT PROGRAM? It could be as simple as resetting your password.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 May 08 - 07:58 PM

There was no crash, garg, and I seem to have solved the problem. I went into the control panel and changed some access options and am now able to log off, have it ask me if I want it to hibernate, etc. AND when I come back on I have to enter my password, which works just fine, so problem solved.


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 May 08 - 11:33 PM

"LafKat - most folks want to stay away from editing their registery. It can create FUBAR forever."

While garg's postings can often be cryptic, this one actually is not... :-) It's also pretty good advice.

The problem katlaughing, with Technical Matters, is to make sure that the words you use have the exact meaning that the technical Gurus think they do...   :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 May 08 - 11:57 PM

Fooles, thanks, I agree. I would NEVER do anything to my registry. I do know enough not to do that!**bg**

I thought tech gurus were supposed to know what "thingies" are, etc.?!;->


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 May 08 - 06:46 AM

Ah now - there's 'thingies', 'whatchamacallits', 'whatsits', 'whoosies', dials, knobs and switches.


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 16 May 08 - 09:42 PM

PLEASE KAT...

This was an important issue that you solved!!! CONGRADULATIONS!!! All by yourself.

Leaving us hanging for a solution is like strumming the blues and leaving out the last two bars.

Come on..."I went into the control panel and changed some access options..."

What OPTIONS?

No file appears on "hi" "Jack"...do you have the link to your request? Can you post what your posted? Did Hi_Jack give you directions?

It might also solve the notorious "C:\WINDOWS\Sti_Trace.log" question.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 May 08 - 10:12 PM

A recent "summary article" on Free Anti-Stuff programs reviewed by PC Magazine may be of some interest here.

Free Security Software
ARTICLE DATE: 05.13.08
By Neil J. Rubenking

The article does NOT claim to describe all of what's available, or even what might be "best." It talks only about programs that have been reviewed by this magazine recently, and does some "comparisons" between those programs that might help with selection.

AVG continues to get a "good" rating, and the latest free version has added "anti-spyware" features that also are rated as being "pretty good." The complaint, shared with other free programs, is that while the program removes infectious bits it may not do a complete cleanup of associated "harmless chunks" of the malware programs or of REGISTRY ENTRIES made by malware that it disables.

There are no "perfect" protection programs, free or paid. It is of some importance that people be aware of what their installed stuff does and what it doesn't do, hence the suggestion that one needs to keep up to date on "informed opinion" such as that appearing in this article.

A disappointment in the article is that the review of Spybot S&D gives it pretty much of a "why bother" rating - indicating that it has not kept up with newer threat forms. It may still be of some use, since some advice sites still ask you to run it before requesting help; but can't be considered a "state of the art" protection.

Unfortunately, this article does not comment on whether (or which) "paid programs" are any better than free ones.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 May 08 - 11:17 PM

Thanks for the link, John. I see it is a good thing I am not relying on Superantispyware alone, according to the author. I've probably asked you before, but if you don't mind, which programs are you recommending these days?

I have spybot, avg, superantispyware, there's one I am forgetting. Oh, adaware as well as the resident MS security center firewall, etc.

greg, if I don't write down my steps, I don't remember them, exactly. Whatever I did allowed me to get the shut down the computer option to give me a drop down menu, previously not shown. Instead of logging off, I usually choose hibernate. It still takes a password to then use the computer so I am happy with that.

As disingenuous as you might be, you know and I know, there is no solution in anything I happen to stumble upon that John and a few others, maybe including yourself, don't already know about.


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 May 08 - 12:39 AM

Kat -

I'm still bucking the popular trend, and use Norton Internet Security as my main program (One purchase is good for up to three machines). Note though that Norton AV, Norton Internet Security, and the newest Norton 360 are distinctly different programs with various levels of protection and slightly different amounts of obtuse behaviour, and there are other add-ons you can get from Norton.

I can't say that it's necessarily a recommendation; but I'm satisfied with what it does and with the setup and maintenance requirements.

My NIS has blocked one site at a link from a seemingly harmless page, and has warned about possible malware on perhaps a dozen individual pages in the past year.

Since I allow automatic updates to my WinXP, I also get weekly runs of Microsoft's "Guardian" (I think that's the name?) that does a (probably redundant) check for "popular malware."

The Google toolbar also includes a "popup blocker" but I've only had one instance in the past year when it blocked something (that it shouldn't have, since the site was in my allow list and I'd already allowed a temporary add-on for the visit when Norton asked if I wanted it to run).

(Note that Google does, sometimes, warn about "suspect sites" in search results. Yahoo search reportedly is adding that feature. So far as I know, Microsoft search does not include any such "inspection" of sites in returns.)

I have kept Ad-Aware and have used it occasionally, but frankly it has never found anything but "nuisance" things like Double-Click and Tribal Fusion cookies. On principle I'd rather never see them, but they really are not "malicious" - just annoying. The latest update of Ad-Aware also appears to want to delete my mudcat cookie, which I find somewhat irritating.

I still also have Spybot on all my machines, but frankly can't remember the last time I ran a scan with it, since Ad-Aware gets most of the "bulk cookies" when I feel the need to clear some temp space.

Users in other parts of the world may want to look at a more "localized" product. There are distinct differences in when and where currently damaging malware circulates, and having programs from someone in your own region can have some advantages in terms of quicker response to new local threats, some of which may be a real nuisance in a small area, but never circulate widely enough to be incorporated in "hard" protection everywhere. (The main-line protection suites will incorporate them, usually fairly quickly, via "type signatures" but may not include specific variant-unique signatures.

Since the PRIMARY protection any of us have is the mantra: DON'T BE CURIOUS, with corrolary "Don't Click if you Don't Know," perhaps my best defense is just not having many friends who send me "fun stuff" - the most common source of crud.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 17 May 08 - 02:33 PM

Kat -

As noted last night.

Just like real-eatate - locaton, Location, LOCATION

At least one (Not Adaware) that you have listed as a solution has been notorious for being spoofed from offshore locations. Check.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

The Rockies - what glorious things of them are written. It is a beautiful location. Not much broke there. Straight forward place. Many call it GOD'S COUNTRY....Boulder, GJ, C. Springs, Laramy. As Moses was called to the mount so have many matched Horace Greeley's advice. A Jerusalem in a sea of....


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: Acme
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 10:45 AM

I'll bring this thread back up to post an AdAware observation.

First, I think part of what Katlaughing may have run into before was the a program positioned in "sponsored" part of the results page -- AdWare comes up at the top if one Googles "AdAware." Notice the missing "a" in the name? A lot of people don't, and they end up with another product. The AdWare folks plan it that way. If you load that stuff you have to work to get it out. There is a similar bogus program that comes up if you search on Spybot Search&Destroy.

Now to AdAware. I took it out last year because it was slowing down my computer a lot. They upgraded to that version and that version was not helpful; to the contrary.

Last week I thought I'd give it another try. My setup is an HP Pavilion/XPpro/various browsers in use. I use AVG, Spybot Search&Destroy, WinPatrol, Kerio Firewall. So adding AdAware was covering one part of the spectrum, ads that seem to be in your face.

The ads are still in my face, and IE slowed to the point of hanging and entering the "not responding" phase. FireFox handles AdAware better. I just now went in and disabled the "real time" ad blocking, meaning AdAware would be there for occasional scans. IE is back up to speed. The question is, is AdAware useful if you use it only for scans every week?

The short answer is No. This week I scanned with AdAware and there are a couple of problems. It shows you the name of a cookie it detects as a problem but it doesn't show you the path and it doesn't let you deal individually with each cookie. The library where I work uses cookies on our web page to keep track of logged on institutional users so you don't need to keep logging on. I want to keep that one, but it won't let me. There are a few others, like my Mudcat cookie, that I'd prefer to leave in place, but if I can't see the path and what browser program loaded it, it isn't much use. I told it to "ignore" all of those cookies in that first scan. This isn't helpful. So I'm going to get rid of AdAware again.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: artbrooks
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 10:54 AM

SRS, I use Firefox almost exclusively (except for the occasional oddball site that is "optimized" for IE), and they have an add-on called "Ad Blocker Plus". I never see ads.


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: bobad
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 01:08 PM

I'll second "Ad Blocker Plus", good utility.


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: Newport Boy
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 01:52 PM

Art - for the 'oddball' sites, use the IETab add-on. One click and it reloads the page using the IE rendering engine.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 01:52 PM

SRS - I thought that expanding the 'Family' heading gave access to individual items (though I haven't got any tracking cookies to test that with at the moment - but that's what it does for other things eg MRU lists).

I use the free version (AdAware 2008) for one-off scanning (I have Norton installed for everything else!).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Tech: AdAware and grayware or malware
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 03:07 PM

Hmmm...I had deleted the 2007 version I had of AdAware, thinking it might have been causing some recent problems. Went to download the newer free version, from lavasoft's site and each time I tried to install it, avg popped with warnings about a "TrojanHorseFakeAlert.PU with offers to heal, send to vault, etc. I stopped all and dumped out fo there. Tried it again, with a new download, same thing only two listed instead of just one. Got out of that right quick and have no intention of trying again. But, I am curious if anyone else has had this happen.

Thanks,

kat


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