Threat Explorer

The Threat Explorer is a comprehensive resource consumers can turn to for daily, accurate, up-to-date information on the latest threats, risks and vulnerabilities.

Adware.IEHost

Adware.IEHost

Updated:
February 13, 2007
Risk Impact:
Medium
File Names:
%System%\pinstaller.exe %System%\Searchx.htm %System%\[8 characters].exe (7728 bytes) %System%\[8
Systems Affected:
Windows

Behavior


Adware.IEHost is adware that downloads and displays advertisements.

Symptoms


Files are detected as Adware.IEHost.

Behavior


Adware.IEHost is installed invisibly when a user extracts BlogJet.v1.5.0.37.WinALL.Keygen.Only-ECLiPSE, which is a hack tool used to generate a product keys for BlogJet. It may also be installed with other software.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version October 02, 2014 revision 022
  • Latest Rapid Release version February 01, 2015 revision 020
  • Initial Daily Certified version May 12, 2005
  • Latest Daily Certified version September 28, 2010 revision 036
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date May 18, 2005
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

When Adware.IEHost is executed, it performs the following actions:
  1. Creates the following files in the folder specified by the user:

    • eclipse.nfo
    • eclbje15.zip

      Note: These files are what the user expected to download and not related to Adware.IEHost.
  2. Creates the following files:

    • %System%\pinstaller.exe
    • %System%\Searchx.htm

      Note: %System% is a variable that refers to the System folder. By default this is C:\Windows\System (Windows 95/98/Me), C:\Winnt\System32 (Windows NT/2000), or C:\Windows\System32 (Windows XP).

  3. Creates the following files:

    • %System%\[8 characters].exe (73, 728 bytes)
    • %System%\[8 characters].exe (102, 430 bytes)
    • %System%\[8 characters].exe (24, 576 bytes)
    • %System%\[8 characters].exe (90, 112 bytes)

      Note: The file names are determined by the threat as follows:

    • It searches %System% folder for *.dll files.
    • It randomly selects one .dll file, which is listed within the top 100 .dll files in alphabetical order.
    • It changes the extension .dll to .exe.
    • If the length of the filename (without extension) is less than 8 characters, it adds random characters between '0' to '9' till it becomes 8 bytes long.

      Note: In order for each of these files to know the random names of the other files, each file is modified so that it contains the file names of the other files.

  4. Downloads a file from the download.bargain-buddy.net domain and executes it. The file may be the installer of another adware.

  5. Adds the following registry subkeys:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WhenUSave
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WhenUSearch

    for its own internal purposes.
  6. Adds the value:

    "[random 12 characters]" = "%System%\[Name of the file that is 90,112 bytes in length]"

    to the registry subkey:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

    so that the risk runs every time Windows starts.

  7. Adds the value:

    "Use Custom Search URL" = "1"
    "Search Bar" = "file://%system%\Searchx.htm"

    to the registry subkey:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main

    to modify the search page of Internet Explorer.

  8. Adds the value:

    "Display Name" = "IE Host R3"
    "UninstallString" = "%System%\[Name of the file that is 24,576 bytes in length]"

    to the registry subkey:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\[8 random characters]

    so that it can be listed in Add or Remove Programs window of Control Panel.

  9. Contacts a server on www.adsrve.com.

  10. Displays advertisements.



The following instructions pertain to all Symantec antivirus products that support security risk detection.
  1. Update the definitions.
  2. To uninstall the security risk.
  3. Run a full system scan.
  4. Delete any values added to the registry.
  5. Reset the Internet Explorer search page.
For specific details on each of these steps, read the following instructions.

1. To update the definitions
To obtain the most recent definitions, start your Symantec program and run LiveUpdate.

2. To uninstall the Security Risk
  1. Do one of the following:
    1. On the Windows 98 taskbar:
      1. Click Start > Settings > Control Panel.
      2. In the Control Panel window, double-click Add/Remove Programs.

    2. On the Windows Me taskbar:
      1. Click Start > Settings > Control Panel.
      2. In the Control Panel window, double-click Add/Remove Programs.
        If you do not see the Add/Remove Programs icon, click "...view all Control Panel options."

    3. On the Windows 2000 taskbar:
      By default, Windows 2000 is set up the same as Windows 98, so follow the instructions for Windows 98. If otherwise, click Start, point to Settings > Control Panel, and then click Add/Remove Programs.

    4. On the Windows XP taskbar:
      1. Click Start > Control Panel.
      2. In the Control Panel window, double-click Add or Remove Programs.

  2. Click IE Host R3.


    Note:
    You may need to use the scroll bar to view the whole list.

  3. Click Add/Remove, Change/Remove, or Remove (this varies with the operating system). Follow the prompts.

    Note: After running the Add/Remove programs applet, all the files may have been removed. You will want to run a full system scan to ensure that this is the case. However, it is possible that no files will be detected after using Add/Remove programs.

3. To run the scan
  1. Start your Symantec antivirus program, and then run a full system scan.
  2. If any files are detected, and depending on which software version you are using, you may see one or more of the following options:

    Note: This applies only to versions of Norton AntiVirus that support security risk detection. If you are running a version of Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition that supports security risk detection, and security risk detection has been enabled, you will only see a message box that gives the results of the scan. If you have questions in this situation, contact your network administrator.
    • Exclude (Not recommended): If you click this button, it will set the risk so that it is no longer detectable. That is, the antivirus program will keep the security risk on your computer and will no longer detect it to remove from your computer.

    • Ignore or Skip: This option tells the scanner to ignore the risk for this scan only. It will be detected again the next time that you run a scan.

    • Cancel: This option is new to Norton Antivirus 2005. It is used when Norton Antivirus 2005 has determined that it cannot delete a security risk. This Cancel option tells the scanner to ignore the risk for this scan only, and thus, the risk will be detected again the next time that you run a scan.

      To actually delete the security risk:
      • Click its file name (under the Filename column).
      • In the Item Information box that displays, write down the full path and file name.
      • Then use Windows Explorer to locate and delete the file.

        If Windows reports that it cannot delete the file, this indicates that the file is in use. In this situation, complete the rest of the instructions on this page, restart the computer in Safe mode, and then delete the file using Windows Explorer. Restart the computer in Normal mode.

    • Delete: This option will attempt to delete the detected files. In some cases, the scanner will not be able to do this.
      • If you see a message, "Delete Failed" (or similar message), manually delete the file.
      • Click the file name of the risk that is under the Filename column.
      • In the Item Information box that displays, write down the full path and file name.
      • Then use Windows Explorer to locate and delete the file.

        If Windows reports that it cannot delete the file, this indicates that the file is in use. In this situation, complete the rest of the instructions on this page, restart the computer in Safe mode, and then delete the file using Windows Explorer. Restart the computer in Normal mode.
Important: If your Symantec antivirus product reports that it cannot delete a detected file, Windows may be using the file. To fix this, run the scan in Safe mode. For instructions, read the document: How to start the computer in Safe Mode . Once you have restarted in Safe mode, run the scan again.

After the files are deleted, restart the computer in Normal mode and proceed with the next section.

Warning messages may be displayed when the computer is restarted, since the risk may not be fully removed at this point. You can ignore these messages and click OK. These messages will not appear when the computer is restarted after the removal instructions have been fully completed. The messages displayed may be similar to the following:

Title: [File path]
Message body: Windows cannot find [file name]. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click the Start button, and then click Search.

4. To delete the value from the registry
Important: Symantec strongly recommends that you back up the registry before making any changes to it. Incorrect changes to the registry can result in permanent data loss or corrupted files. Modify the specified subkeys only. Read the document: How to make a backup of the Windows registry .
  1. Click Start > Run.
  2. Type regedit

    Then click OK.

    Note: If the registry editor fails to open the risk may have modified the registry to prevent access to the registry editor. Security Response has developed a tool to resolve this problem. Download and run this tool, and then continue with the removal.

  3. Navigate to the subkey:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

  4. In the right pane, delete the value:

    "[random 12 characters]" = "%System%\[Name of the file that is 90,112 bytes in length]"

  5. Navigate to the subkey:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\[8 random characters]

  6. In the right pane, delete the value:

    "Display Name" = "IE Host R3"
    "UninstallString" = "%System%\[Name of the file that is 24,576 bytes in length]"

  7. Navigate to and delete the following registry subkeys:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WhenUSave
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WhenUSearch

  8. Exit the Registry Editor.

5. To reset the Internet Explorer Search page
Follow the instructions for your version of Windows.

Windows 98/Me/2000
  1. Start Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  2. Click the Search button on the toolbar.
  3. In the Search pane, click Customize.
  4. Click Reset.
  5. Click Autosearch Settings.
  6. Select a search site from the drop-down list, and then click OK.
  7. Click OK.

Windows XP
Because Windows XP is set by default to use animated characters in the search, how you do this can vary. Read all the instructions before you start.
  1. Start Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  2. Click the Search button on the toolbar.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • If the pane that opens looks similar to the following picture, click the word Customize and proceed to step h:




    • If the pane that opens has the words "Search Companion" at the top, and the center looks similar to the following picture, click the Change preferences link and proceed with step d.




  4. Click the Change Internet search behavior link.
  5. Under "Internet Search Behavior," click With Classic Internet Search.
  6. Click OK. Then close Internet Explorer. (Close the program for the change to take effect.)
  7. Start Internet Explorer. When the search pane opens, it should look similar to the following picture:





    Click the word Customize, and then proceed with the next step.

  8. In the Search pane, click Customize.
  9. Click Reset.
  10. Click Autosearch Settings.
  11. Select a search site from the drop-down list, and then click OK.
  12. Click OK.
  13. Do one of the following:
    • If you were using (or want to continue using) the "Classic Internet Search" panel, stop here (or proceed with the next section).
    • If you want to go back to the "Search Companion" search (it usually has an animated character at the button), proceed with step n.

  14. Click the word Customize again.
  15. In the "Customize Search Settings" window, click Use Search Companion > OK.
  16. Close Internet Explorer. The next time you open it, it will again use the Search Companion.