Undetectable Viruses

By Tom Mask
Jul 19, 2007
  1. Hey all,
    I've been doing check-ups for my grandfather's computer lately. For some reason he keeps getting spyware all over his computer. He's using AOL Safety and Security to protect himself as well as Mcafee (don't worry, i've set it up so they don't conflict with each other). It's gotten to the point where even I can't figure out where it's coming from.

    When I got on his computer he had 6 seperate spyware cookies which I deleted. In less than one hour, 13 cases of spyware had appeared on his computer for no reason what-so-ever! No one had even touched the computer besides me! Any advice on how to fix this problem and what I should do about it?

    Let me know.
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Spyware cookies????

    If the problem is cookies as defined by the software, you do not have a problem.

    Do NOT use AOL or McAfee. Get something good such as Spyware Doctor, Webroot Spysweeper, AVG Antispyware, Computer Associates EZ Armor, Trendline, Kaspersky, and the like. Run them once in regular mode. Run them again in SAFE Mode. Disconnect the online connection while doing this/.
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    cookies are NOT spyware. This is a gimmick to sell antivirus and trojan programs.
  4. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    I consider Tracking Cookies to be spyware. So do the spyware/adware programs that remove them.

    Tom, have you checked his security settings in the browser and email? Does he know not to open unknown email or attachments? If he is continually getting re-infected, I would suspect lax settings and user behavior.

    My personal preference thought would be not to reply on whatever AOL offers in the way of security. There are free programs that are easy to use and good.
  5. Tom Mask

    Tom Mask TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 48

    He doesn't use Mcafee anymore because of it's cost.
    I thought that it was a NoAdware program that came with his computer, so i got rid of that anyway. It's the same spyware over and over again, same names. Sometimes he gets new ones, but we can't find where they're coming from!

    It's not that he doesn't know web nevermind. He's not the best when it comes to computers...For example, I had to write him a set of step-by-step instructions on how to burn a CD :3; But in anycase, he uses AOL explorer and AOL Safety as his virus protection. Do you think I should just give him my copy of Norton and be done with it all? or is Norton not a good program to use anymore?
  6. Tom Mask

    Tom Mask TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 48

    Note: Yes, spyware cookies!

    His computer got alert bubbles saying that a "cookie" was trying to be installed in the TEMP folder. This happened several times in a row. I checked each one and they all matched to the different spyware names we kept finding on his computer.
  7. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    Tom, it may come down to the best thing for him to do is run the HijackThis program, post log and find and fix all malware.

    But before you resort to that, in 2006, AOL's Safety & Security Center bundled several of McAfee's products together for AOL users, including virus scan, personal firewall, and others. I do not know if this is still the case, nor do I know if any of it would show up under the McAfee name.

    I am not a big fan of the Norton/Symantec programs. Part of that is my own experience, the other the problems many user have while running the programs, so when recommendations come from me, they aren't for those products. There are several safe, user friendly programs> AVG for AV and Spybot Search & Destroy, AdAware SE and Spysweeper for spyware/adware. It would be good of you to get those on board for him, update and scan with each, remove what is found.

    If he's using Win XP , you should drop the existing System restore points, then set a new one after he's clean:
    Control Panel> System> System restore tab> click to CHECK 'turn off System Restore.> Apply> OK. Reverse that later when malware is gone.

    If you can give me the names of some of the 'repeating malware,' I'll check and see if there are special removal instructions. Please put brackets around the malware names.

    FYI: free spyware/adware URLs:
    For Spybot:
    For Ad-Aware SE:
    For Spyware Blaster:

    Free AV program AVG Free:
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Most people consider Cookies, Cookies. The reason they are removed by Spyware programs is so they appear to be doing something... and many of the evil infestations install spyware labled or ID'd as cookies... as that is somewhat common now.
    Adaware SE was replaced some time ago by Adware 2007, and is much better in that new format.
    Spyware Blaster, in our experience, causes more problems than it solves.'
    Consider, instead, Spyware Doctor. Good programs will continue to label risk of cookies as low, and removal as optional. Really nasty stuff will be attacked.
    It is always a problem of judgment. We have found that Panda, Computer Associates EZArmor and EZAntiVirus, McAfee, Pest Patrol and System Mechanic ignore too many evil infestations.
    SpyBot 14, Adaware 2007, and Windows Defender should be installed on all systems.
  9. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    I'll have to update my nomenclature from the 'generic' AdAware SE' to AdAware 2007 which is the current version.

    I do not run SpywareBlaster. However I think any problems are usually due to the Immunization feature that runs in Real Time. I've used eTrust AV for more years than I can remember and highly recommend it. It's easy to set up, gets frequent updates and has kept me virus/Worm/Trojan free.

    It is not so much a 'problem' of judgment, but rather having enough knowledge to 'use' good judgment.

    No matter what security program are on board, the first line of defense is the user- haphazardly opening email from unknowns, email attachments that aren't expected with knowledge of contents, clicking on pop-up and not maintaining the system in good performing and clean order will override almost anything on their system for security.
  10. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    I recommend running the following programs. All of them are free and do not hog resources (which Norton and McAfee tend to do).

    Either AVG or avast! free antivirus (but not both at the same time, as this can cause conflicts)

    Either ZoneAlarm or Sunbelt firewall (again, only one at a time)

    Spybot - Search & Destroy

    Ad-aware SE Personal

    AVG Anti-Spyware



    If the anti-virus and anti-spyware programs here do not solve the problem, please post a HijackThis log as per these instructions.

    Regards :)
  11. Tom Mask

    Tom Mask TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 48

    Thanks all for the great advice on services.

    The problem now is just getting over to his house to install them. I know about the McaFee bundle AOL did awhile ago, and thats what I used until I switched to Norton (hey, it works for me!). But yea, I thought the problem to be bizarre when it was the same named spyware appearing on his computer. I'll give you all the update as to what happens later, Thanx again!!

  12. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    I do recommend AVG or avast antivirus instead of McAfee or Norton, but that's up to you. I'll be waiting for the update.

    Regards :)
  13. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    You're welcome, Tom
  14. Tom Mask

    Tom Mask TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 48

    Quick question, are these security programs compatible with Vista OS's?
    I may update to these software when I get my new laptop. If they're not, do you know if they're any free software for vista?

    Update: I'm installing the viruses later, I have to see what he decides. (It's his computer after all...) :3
  15. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    The software should say on its website whether it's Vista-compatible.

    Regards :)
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