Windows 7 forum

Question

Browser hacker About: Blank

by RogerWStone / February 21, 2012 12:13 PM PST

With so many people reporting browser hacker problems since 2004, why is there not a very good software program that will eliminate this problem?
Many programs offer to identify and remove this
malware but none do. Many offer a free download or evaluation but none will remove "About:Blank"
browser hacker. Is this such an involved process
that a specialist troubleshooter is needed to identify and then offer to remove for a price? The worst part
is that all correspondance is handled through an E-mail which can not be accessed because of the hacker. A "catch 22" if I ever heard of one. Will not
do any good to track this thread for an E-mail notification because my E-mail has been hacked.
guess I'll just have to check back to see if any response to this thread.

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All Answers

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Answer
See if this helps ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 21, 2012 1:35 PM PST
http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/Popup-Ad-Spyware-Blockers/About-Buster.shtml

Since various problems require some specific steps that vary by OS and "flavor" of OS as well as Service Pack level it helps to inform us of what you actually have when telling about the problem - yes, this is the Windows 7 forum but we get posts about problems in other Operating Systems too.

Have you run MalwareBytes in Safe Mode to try to get rid of the problem?
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Browser Hacker - About:Blank
by RogerWStone / February 29, 2012 11:29 AM PST
In reply to: See if this helps ...

Ed, Thanks for you in put. Tried lots of adware, spamware, virus removal, virus identification to no avail. Found out that this
hacker goes back to about 2004. Not identified as a virus but a browser hacker - even had Norton try and identify - no luck.
Decided to reconfigure so as to not contaminate any backups or system. lost all my favorites but can rebuild them again.
Hacker was at Crawler.com. Infected me when I tried to download "Crawler Toolbar & E-Mail Notifier" . Both of which are at
Crawler.com. Don't know who to identify but hope the word gets around.

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Answer
What do you intend to do
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 21, 2012 8:10 PM PST

about this 'hacked email"?

I would do something about that.

Mark

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Answer
Quite simply
by Jimmy Greystone / February 21, 2012 9:51 PM PST

Quite simply, unless Microsoft were to rip out a huge chunk of Internet Explorer, a chunk on which the whole Windows Update website depends on no less, there is simply no way to deal with this problem except to use a different web browser than Internet Explorer. ActiveX was created back around 1995, before the age of malware. It could be argued that ActiveX actually ushered in the age of malware, but that's neither here nor there.

So here's my list of things to do to avoid this kind of crap in the future.

TIPS FOR A PROBLEM FREE COMPUTING EXPERIENCE
============================================

The more of these suggestions you follow, the fewer problems you should have. They won't solve any existing problems you have, but if you follow them all you should be able to avoid virtually all problems in the future.

Things you should NOT do
--------------------------------
1: Use Internet Explorer (1)
2: Use any browser based on Internet Explorer (e.g. Maxathon and MSN Explorer)
3: Use Outlook or Outlook Express (2)
4: Open email attachments you haven't manually scanned with your virus scanner
5: Open email attachments you were not expecting, no matter who they appear to be from
6: Respond to spam messages, including using unsubscribe links
7: Visit questionable websites (e.g. porn, warez, hacking)
8: Poke unnecessary holes in your firewall by clicking "Allow" every time some program requests access to the Internet (3)
9: Click directly on links in email messages
10: Use file sharing or P2P programs
11: Use pirated programs

Things you SHOULD do
-----------------------------
1: Use a non-IE or IE based browser (4)
2: Always have an up to date virus scanner running (5)
3: Always have a firewall running (6)
4: Install all the latest security updates (7)(8)(9)
5: Delete all unsolicited emails containing attachments without reading
6: Manually scan all email attachments with your virus scanner, regardless of whether it's supposed to be done automatically
7: Copy and paste URLs from email messages into your web browser
8: Inspect links copied and pasted into your web browser to ensure they don't seem to contain a second/different address
9: Establish a regular backup regimen (10)(11)
10: Make regular checks of your backup media to ensure it is still good (12)

Being a considerate Internet user & other online tips
----------------------------------------------------------------
1: Do not send attachments in emails (13)(14)
2: Do not use stationary or any other kind of special formatting in emails (13)
3: Do not TYPE IN ALL CAPS (15)
4: Avoid texting speak or "l33t speak" (16)
5: Do not poke sleeping bears (17)
6: Do not use registry cleaners/fixers/optimizers (18)(19)

Offline tips and suggestions
----------------------------------------------------------------
1: Avoid buying Acer, HP. Compaq, Gateway, and eMachines computers (20)(21)(22)(23)
2: Avoid sub-$500 systems that aren't netbooks or part of some limited time price promotion (24)

Notes
--------

(1) Sadly sometimes this is unavoidable, so only use IE when the site absolutely will not work with any other browser and you cannot get that information/service anywhere else, and only use IE for that one specific site.
(2) Outlook and Outlook Express are very insecure, and basically invite spam. The jury is still out on Vista's Windows Mail, but given Microsoft's history with email programs, extreme caution is advised. Possible replacements include Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, The Bat, and dozens of others.
(3) When it doubt over whether or not to allow some program, use Google to find out what it is and whether or not it needs access to the Internet. Otherwise, denying access is the safest course of action, since you can always change the rule later.
(4) On Windows your options include: Mozilla Firefox, Seamonkey, Opera, Flock, Chrome, and Safari. I would personally recommend Firefox with the NoScript extension for added security, but it the important thing is to pick one and use it instead of IE.
(5) AVG Free and Avast are available if you need a decent free virus scanner
(6) XP/Vista's firewall is probably good enough for 99% of all Windows users, but other options include ZoneAlarm, Outpost Firewall, and Comodo. If you have a router with a firewall built into it, there is no need for any of the aforementioned firewalls to be running.
(7) Microsoft's usual system is to release security updates every second Tuesday of the month.
(8) Use of Windows Update on Windows operating systems prior to Windows Vista requires Internet Explorer, and is thus a valid exception to the "No IE" rule.
(9) Service packs should ALWAYS be installed. They frequently contain security updates that will ONLY be found in that service pack.
(10) You can go with a full fledged backup program, or simply copying important files onto a CD/DVD/Flash drive.
(11) I'd recommend a tiered backup system. For example, you might have 5 rewritable DVDs, and every day you burn your backup onto a new disc. On the 6th day, you erase the disc for Day #1 for your backup, and so on so that you have multiple backups should one disc ever go bad.
(12) Replace rewritable CDs and DVDs approximately every 3-6 months.
(13) These dramatically increase the size of email messages (2-3X minimum) and clog up email servers already straining to cope with the flood of spam pouring in daily.
(14) If you want to share photos with friends/family, upload them to some photo sharing site like Flickr or Google's Picasa Web and then send people a link to that particular photo gallery.
(15) This is considered to be the same as SHOUTING and many people find it to be hard to read along with highly annoying.
(16) Unless the goal is to make yourself look like a pre-adolescent girl, or someone overcompensating for their gross inadequacies, and you don't want people to take you seriously.
(17) Most REAL hackers are quite content to leave you alone unless you make them take notice of you. No dinky little software firewall or consumer grade router is going to keep them out of your system. So do not go to some hacker website or chat room and start shooting your mouth off unless you're prepared to accept the consequences
(18) Most of these programs are scams, and sell you something you don't need. Most of them report non-issues in an attempt to boost the number of "issues". Sometimes using these programs can lead to a non-functioning computer.
(19) The Windows registry is not some mystical black box of untapped performance tweaks for Windows, that will lead to untold improvements in system performance. Most of the tweaks will lead to very modest performance gains of 1-2% tops, and probably less than 10% all combined. There is also a good chance that you will render your system unbootable if you make a mistake when editing. Registry default settings are set that way for a reason. Just do yourself a favor, and forget you ever heard of the Windows registry unless you are a computer programmer/debugger and your job requires knowledge of the registry.
(20) Acer now owns Gateway and eMachines
(21) HP owns Compaq
(22) Hardware failures seem far more common with these brands than can be considered normal
(23) These companies use cheap labor in Asian countries were working conditions are often what would be considered sweat shops, and are run by brutal dictatorships, which you are supporting by buying from these companies
(24) If you just do some simple math, and realize that the cost of individual components like the CPU are around 25-33% of the total retail cost of the system, and everyone involved in the making and selling of the system is looking to make a profit, how much money can they possibly be making on each system. And if you're only making a few pennies on every system, how much quality control do you really think is going to go into the manufacturing process?

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Answer
Browser Hacker - About:Blank
by RogerWStone / February 29, 2012 11:41 AM PST

Jimmy, Thanks for all the knowledgeable input. You sound to be quite computer intelligent and very helpful. Who else would
offer so much info at such an early hour in the AM. I am just a 68 year old self taught computer hacker want-a-be. You have offered a lot of information and I will decifer it all. If this has been around since 2004, I'm sure it will continue to mess with
people's lives. It will take very smart people like yourself to find a way to bring these "low lifes" to justice. Keep up your great
work in helping others. Thanks again!

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