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Windows 7: Fully updated install, MSE, Ask Toolbar was installed, security risk?


26 Jan 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
Fully updated install, MSE, Ask Toolbar was installed, security risk?

Hello there.

My father has a Windows 7 notebook, with nothing but the basics: Firefox (+Plugins), Thunderbird, VLC, Skype, MS Office 2010, SolidWorks, MS Security Essentials, everything updated. However, he told me that last week it began playing a sound like if a usb drive was plugged and Java began asking to update at every boot, he didn't want to update Java by himself, especially because it shows that administration privileges window, but after a few boots he succumbed and clicked to install, I don't know if it has something to do with it, but after that the computer start booting normally and an "Ask Toolbar" was installed on the system. I removed that (using "uninstall a program") as soon as I noticed, and scanned the system with a full MSE scan, nothing was found.
My father is not computer-savvy but he doesn't browse "risk" sites and he spends most of time on Thunderbird, Skype, Office and Firefox browsing Wikipedia and well-known sites on engineering, I have installed Adblock, Noscript, WOT and he almost never browse strange sites, when he does he search for them on Google and always check WOT ratings. On the recent history there are no downloads or unusual sites.
I know that Ask Toolbar is a software installed by malwares and generally 'criminal' stuff, so I'm attentive to any unusual signals like strange processes. I'm not sure if the very Ask Toolbar is a malware/spyware, but I'm beginning to think Ask is a criminal company itself.

Eventually the computer is used for internet banking, so I'm afraid there's some spyware on the system.

Is MSE reliable? I was reading some articles and it seems MSE is a very poor AV, and even free alternatives are better. For instance, pretty much every article agrees that Avast free is fairly superior.
Is there a way to know if the computer is infected? There are some anti-spyware applications on the web, but last time I've ran these they ironically installed malwares.

Sorry about the newbie questions but I'm not a Windows user any longer and the only thing I remember are the infernal viruses and malwares in general contaminating the entire system.

Thank you in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jan 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Unfortunately, Java has gone the way of many other free programs. They install unwanted crapware on unsuspecting people.

What is the Ask Toolbar?

You could try using the free 30 day trial version of Revo Uninstaller Pro (forced uninstall option) to remove the Ask Toolbar. Another free utility to help remove Ask Toolbar is AdwCleaner by Xplode.

Revo Uninstaller Pro - Uninstall Software, Remove Programs easily, Forced Uninstall

AdwCleaner

As far as whether or not MSE is any good, all I'll say is I use it and haven't been infected. But no anti-malware product is going to be 100% effective 100% of the time. If there was such a thing we'd all be using it. An anti-malware product that is rated high by one testing organization may rate low by another testing organization. That's just the nature of the business. Whatever anti-malware product one chooses to use, I recommend supplementing that product with additional free on-demand scanners just to make sure something didin't slip through.

Malwarebytes

ESET Online Scanner

HitmanPro

SuperAntispyware
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Thank you for your reply.
Hmmm... are you sure all these linked programs are reliable? I'm thinking about running MalwareBytes as it seems quite popular, but I definitely don't want to run all those programs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jan 2013   #4

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I use ESET Online Scanner just a couple of days ago to remove the Ask Tool Bar.
It worked like a charm on two of my hard drives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2013   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AlanQ View Post
Thank you for your reply.
Hmmm... are you sure all these linked programs are reliable? I'm thinking about running MalwareBytes as it seems quite popular, but I definitely don't want to run all those programs.
All of the links I provided are reliable and the products are reputable. They've all been recommended at various times on Seven Forums. I have all of them on my own computers and run them occasionally just to double check MSE. It's your choice if you want to run one, all, or none. The more scans that are run and come back "no malware found", the more likely it is that the scanned computer is malware free.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I use and trust malwarebytes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2013   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

AlanQ,

AdwCleaner, as mentioned above as one of the choices is an excellent program for what you are trying to accomplish:
AdwCleaner Download

It searches for and deletes Toolbars, etc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2013   #8

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Please don't misunderstand me. I keep on my computer and use all the programs that
marsmimar has recommended. As a mater of fact I recommend all of them myself quiet often to other members. AdwCleaner is another program I use and recommend. It is getting a little hard to find a site for a clean download.
I was just trying to confirm that marsmimar's recommandition of Eset online scan did solve my problem with the Ask Tool Bar. I did not intend to offend anybody. To put it simple; I trust marsmimar and the recommendation he has given.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2013   #9
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit SP1
 
 

Those are all legitmate sites. The only thing a user has to be careful of, is "wording" or a pre-checked tool bar and/or Application.

Unfortunately, many of our once 'trusted' apps come with bundled adware ... it's a definite shame that freeware downloaded/apps/programs are allowing the garbage to be bundled with their good names. Apparently this *garbage bundle* is paying more than user donations contribute to the developer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2013   #10
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

I don't think the Ask Tool Bar is malware in and of itself, but Java and some Adobe updates now have a crapware like it that one has to opt out of. You could get by with no Java as I do. I have found I have no trouble viewing or using any site without Java.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Fully updated install, MSE, Ask Toolbar was installed, security risk?




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