Search engines redirecting to spam websites
Thread poster: Sarah Port

Sarah Port  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:29
German to English
+ ...
Jan 27, 2012

My computer has developed a problem. When I use any search engine on any web browser and I click on one of the search results found by the search engine, instead of directing me to the site of my choice the computer redirects me to a spam website.

Does anyone know how to resolve this problem?

Many thanks in advance,
Sarah


 

Frank van Thienen (X)  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:29
Dutch to English
infection Jan 27, 2012

Hi Sarah,

Just guessing: you're infected with something unsavory.
I suggest you update your virus protection software and do a complete virus scan.

HTH
Frank


 

Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:29
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Your HOSTS file might have been hijacked Jan 27, 2012

Dear Sarah,

I had a similar problem and only found a solution after weeks of searching. The problem file, HOSTS.ics on modern PCs, is completely hidden nowadays. I've saved the instructions that helped me but don't recall the source. I'll copy and paste them here:

"
Solution
• For XP:
o Click on Start > Run >Type cmd
• For Vista and 7:
o Click in Start > Type cmd in the Search field> Right click > Run as Administrator.
<
... See more
Dear Sarah,

I had a similar problem and only found a solution after weeks of searching. The problem file, HOSTS.ics on modern PCs, is completely hidden nowadays. I've saved the instructions that helped me but don't recall the source. I'll copy and paste them here:

"
Solution
• For XP:
o Click on Start > Run >Type cmd
• For Vista and 7:
o Click in Start > Type cmd in the Search field> Right click > Run as Administrator.

Then enter these commands one by one (press enter after every command):
• Command 1:
o cd c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc
• Command 2:
o cacls hosts /p everyone:f
• Press Y and enter

There are cases when you may get an error 'The system cannot find the file specified'.
Reason why you face this issue is your hosts file may have got deleted and your computer may use backup file called hosts.old or hosts.backup which may have been hijacked. In those cases I will recommend you to replace hosts with hosts.old in every command
• Command 3:
o attrib hosts -s -h -r
• Command 4:
o notepad hosts

This command pops up a notepad, now remove unwanted entries below this line
127.0.0.1 localhost - XP
::1 localhost - Vista and windows 7
"

My additions: those entries might hide several empty pages below the forementioned lines. Other solutions didn't work for me.

Good luck,
Gerard
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Paul Carmichael  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:29
Spanish to English
OpenDNS Jan 28, 2012

Sarah Port wrote:

My computer has developed a problem. When I use any search engine on any web browser and I click on one of the search results found by the search engine, instead of directing me to the site of my choice the computer redirects me to a spam website.

Does anyone know how to resolve this problem?

Many thanks in advance,
Sarah


I suspect that you may benefit from signing up with OpenDNS.


 

Just Opera
Belgium
Local time: 22:29
French to English
+ ...
Defo a virus Jan 28, 2012

As others have noted, it sounds very much like a redirect virus.

They are quite hard to get rid of, as they are very good at hiding from standard Windows installed anti virus programs like AVG and usually sit dormant on your system for a while.

Run Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (free to download) or some other good anti virus software. That usually does the trick. Safer than messing about with the command line or inner workings of Windows.

[Edited at 2012-01-28 14:
... See more
As others have noted, it sounds very much like a redirect virus.

They are quite hard to get rid of, as they are very good at hiding from standard Windows installed anti virus programs like AVG and usually sit dormant on your system for a while.

Run Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (free to download) or some other good anti virus software. That usually does the trick. Safer than messing about with the command line or inner workings of Windows.

[Edited at 2012-01-28 14:22 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-01-28 14:22 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-01-28 14:22 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-01-28 14:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-01-28 14:24 GMT]
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