Help me get rid of a PC intruder....
July 22, 2007 8:36 PM   Subscribe

My desktop is my IE homepage!

My son clicked on a popup thinking it would load an ActiveX control when it was a malware program What this program did was resent my destop picture to my IE homepage. I was susccessful in changing the homepage away from that nasty site, but it also changed my web page toolbars, and I can't seem to load Firefox (it seems to be blocked) and Adaware, and haven't come up with anything. I reloaded my old Norton, but the program is outdated and I don't feel like paying to renew.

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!
posted by schoenbc to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Seems you're using Windows. Try:

Spybot Search and Destroy

Windows Defender

Both free and pretty good with removing stuff. Some malware is kind of hard to get rid of, so try these first.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:44 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Trend Micro online scanner

If you don't have an active anti-virus program (given your comment on Norton), you should get yourself one. There are a ton of free ones. Personally I run AVG.

Try starting in Safe Mode (usually F8 as you start your computer) and running Ad Aware under the Safe Mode instead. Then run both Ad-Aware and Spybot Search & Destroy. Both good programs, but they have different detections.
posted by gemmy at 9:20 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

My son clicked on a popup thinking it would load an ActiveX control when it was a malware program

Malware programs are by far the most common kind of ActiveX control these days.

Once you have your system cleaned up again, make a single Computer Administrator account called Admin, password protect it, and change the account type on all the existing accounts to Limited User. If you and your son don't already have separate user accounts, make them.

Teenagers + admin rights + Windows = regular breakage.
posted by flabdablet at 11:56 PM on July 22, 2007

You might also want to upgrade your browser to IE7 or Firefox, which makes this sort of thing a lot harder to do.
posted by anildash at 12:09 PM on July 23, 2007

I think I found out what happened. Whatever my son clicked on turned my desktop into an active desktop. I was able to get rid of that quickly. I also ran Spybot S&D, AVG (free) and AdAware. Everything seems to be ok now. Browsers I use are IE7 (I hate it) and Firefox (which updates often).

Next time will also run Adaware and Spybot in safe mode.

My son is no longer a teenager, quite trustworthy and it was a simple mistake, but I told him he better not do anything like this again!

Thanks to all!

posted by schoenbc at 12:11 PM on July 24, 2007

Even so:

Everyday use + admin rights + Windows = regular breakage.

Take off the magic hat, and go non-admin. It will save you time overall.
posted by flabdablet at 5:21 PM on July 24, 2007

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