Why doesn't my computer like iGoogle?
July 13, 2012 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Is this some sort of igoogle virus? Automatically redirects me to spammy sites...

Why is igoogle automatically redirecting me to spammy sites? I've noticed this happening for the past week or two. igoogle is my homepage for Chrome browser, and within a few seconds of loading the igoogle page, I can see the address bar redirecting to a different IP address (I think it's an IP address, it says 50.someothernumbers.morenumbers). After displaying the IP address, the url changes to sites like gorillaleak.com and americanprofile.com. I've run AVG anti-spyware and nothing came up.

Is this some sort of virus or spyware? If so, then why didn't AVG catch anything? Thankfully, there are no popups, just this weird redirect. This happens every time I open Chrome but sometimes happens when I use Internet Explorer. I don't have Firefox on this computer yet so I'm not sure if this problem extends to FF, it came with Chrome and IE installed and I wasn't sure if adding FF would make my computer slower. I'm not a computer expert so I tend to freak out when something goes wrong with my beloved computer. I don't mind changing my homepage but I'm concerned that this might happen anytime igoogle opens and that ignoring it might make the situation worse in this future, if it is some sort of spyware.

Windows 7 PC, relatively new- about a year old.
posted by lovelygirl to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
it's not igoogle, it's something that has hijacked your computer. Try using Malwarebytes (free) to find it.
posted by desjardins at 2:37 PM on July 13, 2012

This week I've been getting some clickjack crap, and while I use Linux, your mentioning Chrome makes me think something might be going on in browserland.
posted by rhizome at 2:50 PM on July 13, 2012

In the process of downloading Malware Bytes. I did a google (how ironic) search on this and some people mentioned an igoogle virus so I was thinking my issue might be related.

Just tried opening window again in IE and address bar said bidsystem.com and then redirected to 3rdage.com. Google searches tells me that bidsystem is a google redirect virus. Wth?! I've been avoiding downloading things on this PC since it's so new and I wanted to keep it that way :(
posted by lovelygirl at 2:52 PM on July 13, 2012

Another cool anti-virus/spyware tool that I discovered recently is Microsoft's Safety Scanner, which is a free disposable virus scanner that can be used to scan a system for viruses (and other malware). It works for 10 days before expiring (and can't have its virus definitions updated), but is useful when you suspect an infection and the installed antivirus software isn't doing the trick (it can work when other antivirus software is already installed).
posted by Auden at 3:13 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

If MalwareBytes keeps turning up stuff, hit my profile and go through the whole thing.
posted by deezil at 4:06 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

And as far as AVG, it's gotten really crappy lately. Again, profile, Microsoft Security Essentials.
posted by deezil at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2012

A similar thing happened on my dad's work PC without a virus. Dell "helpfully" set the default homepage in his browsers to a customized iGoogle page that used a Google-based Dell search engine so Dell could serve ads on the results page. Dell of course forgot to renew the domain 3 years after the computer was purchased and spammers bought it and supplied their own redirects, search ads, etc.

In other words, make sure you'e using the vanilla iGoogle page and not some branded thing that relies on a 3rd party site.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2012

InspectorGadget, maybe that's it! The igoogle page is www.google.com/if/redirectdomain?brand=LENP&bmod=LENP because I have a Lenovo. Gosh, I thought lenovos were supposed to really awesome PCs! I'm guessing this is a customized version of igoogle? There are no actual Lenovo ads on the page though.

deezil, I ran MBAM 2x and nothing came up. Same with Microsoft Safety Scanner and Windows Defender. Super anti-spyware came up with 248 tracking cookies, but nothing serious. I don't have access to a "clean" PC ATM but I will try your profile links on my current PC. It (probably) can't hurt to give it a shot!
posted by lovelygirl at 4:22 PM on July 13, 2012

Clear your browser cookies. I had something similar in Google searches and it was in the cookies (FF though). Mal/spyware scanners didn't find anything, but the issue never came back when the cookies were gone.
posted by MinusCelsius at 5:05 PM on July 13, 2012

It wouldn't hurt to check your hosts file, as it can be the cause of redirects.

It's located in %systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc\. You can open it with Notepad to see if any thing looks hinky.

Here's Microsoft's Support page on how to reset the Hosts file back to its default.
posted by zinon at 8:00 PM on July 13, 2012

It's not Lenovo-- they're just signalling their brand to google.

Since you're using IE, something has probably installed a BHO, a "Browser Helper Object," which is re-directing things. You probably have a few friendly BHOs already-- google toolbar, maybe, or Adobe reader.

In your spot, I'd run Spybot: Search and Destroy (accept no substitutes-- there are a lot of similarly-named products that are definitely not good for you, and Spybot S&D is free, always free), put it in advanced mode. (during install, it will immunize your browser against a lot of this stuff). Advanced mode, by default, does not show BHOs... you'll have to check a box to get it to do so. Then go through the list and delete stuff that Spybot says is unknown or malware. Get rid of any toolbars that're unfamilar or unwanted-- just because you hid them doesn't mean they don't run in the background.

Make sure you update IE after this -- are we at 9 or 10? I forget. IE is vulnerable to this scripted shit, which is one reason why people go to Chrome and FF. I recommend that move as well, but I'm not going to tell you how to live. Spybot will help secure IE. It's denigrated sometimes because it's not the new hotness, and it doesn't catch things that MBAM does catch, but I run both.

Finally, Microsoft Security Essentials. (again, accept no substitutes). It's a free, better-than-average anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-malware. You've got malware, software that's being a dick, but not trying to hurt you or watch you (except to figure out how to sell you stuff).
posted by Sunburnt at 9:00 PM on July 13, 2012

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