I got hit with a new problem yesterday when I upgraded my browser or possibly downloaded a program with a hidden addon. It drove me crazy for about two days when I finally put my head down and did some work.
It caused a URL Redirect, displaying a Contact Microsoft pop up dialog box with audio stating my computer was infected with a virus and that I must call Microsoft or I would be disconnected from the network. I searched the Internet to find a fix and I was asked to purchase MalWare or Adware Removal Software to fix it. I was upset that I couldn’t find a free solution online, but eventually I found it and learned some things in the process that a computer professional should already know.
First, I had to find the IP Address of the site it was redirecting to and then block the IP Address. After reading several step by step instructions on the process, I found it varied depending upon the version of Windows. A few sites had manual processes of updating the Windows Host files, adding text to block IPs, but I found a more simple one to add a Blocking Rule to the Windows Firewall. I’ll admit I felt kind of behind when I realized I didn’t remember the nslookup tool to locate an IP Address and forgot that I could use my firewall to block IPs.
I also had to figure out how to remove an extra search toolbar put on my Google Search that used another engine that seemed to cause problems. Somewhere along the way, a proxy was added, so I had to disable the proxy and remove the address that was somehow inserted.
It’s been awhile since I’ve even looked at LAN Settings, IP Addresses, and Proxy settings, but I was so relieved when I solved the problem and got rid of the nuisance.
I felt smart and capable today, yet I still don’t understand how a simple LAN setting for a Proxy Server could add a whole new search box to my browser and cause several sites to pop up intermittently. After spending several hours updating virus software, running scans, and researching solutions, I finished the day feeling smarter and more secure than yesterday, which is always a good thing.
What is more frustrating is finding that this spoof or malware has been written about online for well over a year and it wasn’t picked up and blocked by McAfee, Adaware, or the Windows Defender, indicating virus and other threats are not being fully monitored and blocked. Also frustrating was the fact that the URL redirects and the change to proxy settings could cause many users to unnecessarily purchase anti-virus or malware / spyware protection when really they can solve the problem by blocking the sites or managing firewall settings. A definite scam to support more unnecessary 3rd party adware / spyware scanning solutions.
I am grateful to those that actually write about such problems and offer up their solutions knowledge free of charge. This is the way we are supposed to be; helpful, honest, and in it to further the education and improve the experience of others.