Redirects, Adware, browser hijacking -- HELP PLEASE!!!

ironarmygeneral1

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Oct 2, 2017
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Okay. So I recently moved in for a little while with my grandparents, and my grandpa has a Dell desktop (which I am on right now) with an i5 CPU, blah blah blah... that's not important right now.

Anyway, I've been using his computer, and I've noticed that he must have downloaded something from a malicious site or something. Every couple of times I click on a browser element, or just randomly after a couple of seconds, or minutes, things like to pop up. Some things like to pop up over top the screen, like this:



And sometimes, underlays from sites like "panzoid.com", or "[strike]www.pocketstarships.com[/strike]", or "[strike]us.search-find-it.com:443[/strike]" pop up as new Windows underneath my main browsing Window, like this (this is another one that likes to pop up, the ones I listed are the most common and repeating but sometimes there are ones that show up once and don't show up again):



Then, sometimes, I'll notice that my Window tab will start flashing that orange alert color. Then I know I'm in for some bad news. Because when this happens, it doesn't matter where I click on the page, but if I click on any page I have open in that browser (I use Chrome), I click anywhere and it opens up a new browsing tab, which is normally something like "trending-searches.com" or "[strike]click.media-find-it.com[/strike]" or something, which sits and loads for about half a second before redirecting me to another site.

My grandpa has AVG, Malwarebytes and CCleaner installed. I don't trust AVG, as I've always had a bad experience with it. My grandpa has the free version of AVG, and I did some research, and I've got mixed answers... but I've been told that the free version of AVG purposely installs malware and adware onto your computer to give an incentive to buy their full, paid version? Is this true? If not, I've tried everything else (installing adblock plus, blocking pop-ups, blacklisting sites, uninstalling PUPs or programs that my grandpa had installed that seemed fishy and malicious to me (for example, one program he had was called something like "fake video recorder" or something like that. Anyway, I can't think of any other way to get rid of this stuff other than to ask Tom's Hardware for suggestions! Thank you!
 

audie-tron25

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Mar 23, 2015
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AVG is a legitimate anti-virus. The worst "adware" you get with it is Chrome and the "Ask Toolbar", neither of which have the popups you are showing. It does occasionally have small popups advertising their paid products but they are not much of an issue.

My recommendation is to run Malwarebytes if you haven't already and to also run a program called "Adware Cleaner". I've used it countless times in situations like yours and these two programs fix practically anything.

Adware Cleaner (this is the source file, don't download from Softronic):
-[strike] https://toolslib.net/downloads/viewdownload/1-adwcleaner/ [/strike]
the source is
https://www.malwarebytes.com/adwcleaner/
 

ironarmygeneral1

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Oct 2, 2017
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Thank you. I've tried running Malwarebytes, which is fully updated to the latest update, but it does not find anything. I tried also running CCleaner, which also said the computer was clean. I've tried adwcleaner before for my own systems, not sure why I didn't think of that this time. I'll try that and get back to you if I find anything with it. (Also AVG didn't work either when I tried that, the unpaid version says it doesn't even work on browsers)
 

ironarmygeneral1

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Oct 2, 2017
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Well, I've tried Malwarebytes, AVG, CCleaner, AdwCleaner, etc. None of them have worked. AVG found a PUP but was not able to remove it since the AVG on this computer is unpaid. AdwCleaner found two PUPs, and I removed them. But I still have the same problem. Actually, it was fine until a few minutes ago, and then all the sudden, it started happening again. Do you think whatever software got on this computer also installed another program that the mal/adware programs won't detect? Or something? At this point, I am just lost...
 

audie-tron25

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Mar 23, 2015
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Sounds like you might have a semi-legit program on your PC doing this. I guess maybe try uninstalling programs that look suspicious or you don't need? Sometimes they can be driver programs or tune-up utilities.

Also, check the browser shortcuts you are clicking to ensure they are opening the right browser (right-click and look at "Target"). I've seen a virus once where it changed all shortcuts (even in Start Menu) for IE to a dodgy Chrome browser with pop-ups.

EDIT: CCleaner is fine, don't remove it
 

ironarmygeneral1

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Oct 2, 2017
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I tried uninstalling all unwanted and suspicious programs. All others are legit programs like Chrome, MS Office, etc.

And yes. All of that is fine. I just can't find the program doing this... :(
 
Mar 23, 2018
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I was going crazy running Malwarebytes, doing a full antivirus scan, downloading Rkill, etc. It turned out that all I had to do was go into my settings with Chrome and change it back. I never thought to try the simple solution first! While I was in the settings, I removed a couple of the other search engines too. The one involved in the hijack wasn't listed to remove which was odd, but whatever, the problem was solved.
 
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