I visited another client with a spyware infection … This lady uses a dialup connection & ever could not do any web browsing.
Funnily enough, she had Norton internet security (and anti virus) running, but this malware ran rings around it … the second computer in 2 weeks with Norton helpless at stopping spyware.
Anyway, I spend 90 minutes doing the usual: disable malware startups within the registry, startup folder, etc. but every few minutes, a web page would spontaneously pop up anyway … At least the computer was mostly working, but if I left it as, it would have gotten worse over time anyway.
The client agreements I can take the computer & work on it from the office.
After a lot of investigation, I find I'm dealing with "look2me" … & all the forums are full of helpful suggestions, none of which seem to work for my particular situation … run programs like adaware, ewido, spybotSD , etc, start in windows safe mode, blah blah blah.
No matter what I did, the spyware was re-appearing. I even knew which dll file was the culprit, but it was "in use by windows" from when windows starts, so it can not be deleted, & it changes name after every reboot … so deleting it at reboot time is no use. .. and of course any deleted files or registry entries would get re-created (sometimes within a matter of seconds)
I got a good idea of what was going on by using hijackthis ([http://www.spywareinfo.com]), regedit, l2mfix, killbox, and the symantec page on look2me.
I even upgrade XP from SP0 to SP2, but it did not really help
I also found that there are so many variants of this little critter … no wonder anti-spyware programs can not control it … antispyware rely on malware "signatures" … similar antivirus programs … the malware people can generate new variants faster than any anti-malware company can keep up … maybe someone should tell them to adopt a heuristic approach … so that all current & future variants can be deal with.
Anyway, I figure out how to interpret the output from l2mfix, & tell the difference between legitimate files & registry entries, & bad ones.
It looks like L2M rotates between 4 different (seemingly random) filenames after every reboot. The registry entry for the current active dll file can be deleted, but it gets recreated.
But there are 8 other registry entries, which seem to "control" the 4 dll files … So I delete these 8 entries while in safe mode (I would not have been happy if there were 200 entries!). They do not reappear, so I empty out the temp, prefetch, & ie cache folders. Then I schedule killbox to delete any undeletable "bad" dll at boot time.
I'm not sure what else I can do … it's 4am, & I'm a wee bit tired, so I decide to reboot into safe mode again & see what happens … I notice that my deleted entries have remained deleted , the "reappearing" registry entry is gone, and there are no bad dll files left in the system32 folder …
I run ewido, spybot & adaware, just to be sure, then I reboot to normal windows mode. Still no signs of L2M, so I do a defrag & let the computer (with Maxthon running) go for the rest of the night. The next morning, there are no signs of malware, so I declare the computer exorcised of deamons, & return it to its family.
There is not any utility to remove all Look2me variants (at this stage). So there is no alternative but to learn how L2M actually behaves & then remove the relevant bits.
Stages for removal:
1) Download all the utilities you will need beforehand.
2) Boot into windows safe mode.
3) Run a few anti spyware utilities & cleanup as much as possible.
4) Run hijackthis (look at the O20 entry for an idea of the guilty dll file.
5) Run l2mfix & look at the registry entries some will have blank content, but the name will be a hex code for another entry that points to the bad dll's.
6) This is where you need to take great care. If you do not understand what you are doing at this point, find someone who can help … I take NO responsibility for what happens, as a mistake within regedit can make your computer totally and completely unusable.
7) Run regedit & remove the "guilty" entries.
8) Cleanup ie caches prefetch dirs, etc.
9) Reboot to safe mode again.
10) Check for and remove any leftovers.