|NOTE: This blog was previously published as a [Facebook Note] at http://facebook.com/jesse.ferrell but has been absorbed into Jesse's main blog for archival purposes.|
So my father-in-law's computer contracted a virus/malware and I drove up to his house to eradicate it last week. This is something I have done many times before for several friends & family members. McAfee couldn't find it but Comcast was forcing its customers to switch to Norton anyway so I installed that and it said it had fixed the problem. This week I get a call from him saying that his Google Searches are hijacked, something I had never heard of before but when I saw it last night, I certainly believed it. When you searched for something on Google, the list came up, but no matter what you searched for, it sent you to a spam site. Since McAfee & Norton didn't do the job, I installed SpywareTerminator which has worked miracles that the "big two" couldn't solve for me in the past, but it couldn't find it either. I tried deleting all cookies, as one site suggested, but that didn't work (keeping in mind here that, since Google was disabled, even researching this was a pain). My fifth idea was to run a risky fix from Russia recommended on a discussion board, but I was desperate. After a little research to make sure the company was legit, I ran the batch file, but it came up empty as well. My sixth and final idea before reinstalling Windows (something malware has driven me to do before) was to try a new Anti-spyware program recommended on the same forum page as the Russian fix, called "HitManPro" It is made in the Netherlands, and is a cloud computing program (meaning the analysis is done remotely which is more efficient than running it on your machine). By golly, the sixth time was a charm. HitmanPro found and deleted the malware. It never ceases to amaze me how so many major anti-spyware/virus programs can fail to find some problems. I guess the moral of this story is, if one program doesn't fix it, try another, until you're frustrated enough to reinstall Windows. Here's hoping that there's nothing else on his machine.