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.InstaFinder

Adware.InstaFinder

Updated:
February 13, 2007
Version:
3.0.2.1
Publisher:
http://www.instafinder.com
Risk Impact:
Medium
File Names:
instafink.dll instafin.dll instafinderk_inst.exe instafinder_inst.exe
Systems Affected:
Windows

Behavior


Adware.InstaFinder is a Browser Helper Object that redirects searches for non-existant sites to a pre-determined Web site. It can also display advertisements and can download and execute other adware programs.

Symptoms


Your symantec product detects the file as Adware.InstaFinder

Behavior


This program has to be manually installed or installed as a component of another program

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version October 02, 2014 revision 022
  • Latest Rapid Release version March 23, 2017 revision 037
  • Initial Daily Certified version April 06, 2005
  • Latest Daily Certified version March 23, 2017 revision 041
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date April 06, 2005
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

When Adware.InstaFinder is executed, it performs the following actions:
  1. Creates the following folders:

    • %ProgramFiles%\INSTAFINK
    • %ProgramFiles%\INSTAFINK\Cache
    • %ProgramFiles%\INSTAFINK\NewCfg
    • %ProgramFiles%\INSTAFIN

      Note: %ProgramFiles% is a variable that refers to the program files folder. By default, this is C:\Program Files.

  2. Copies itself as %ProgramFiles%\INSTAFINK\InstaFinderK_inst.exe.

  3. Downloads the following files:

    • %ProgramFiles%\INSTAFINK\instafink.dll
    • %ProgramFiles%\INSTAFINK\uninstall.exe
    • %Windir%\Downloaded Program Files\instafin.dll
    • %ProgramFiles%\INSTAFIN\uninstall.exe

      Note: %Windir% is a variable that refers to the Windows installation folder. By default, this is C:\Windows or C:\Winnt.

  4. Adds the value:

    "InstaFinderK" = "%ProgramFiles%\INSTAFINK\InstaFinderK_inst.exe"

    to the registry subkey:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

    so that Adware.InstaFinder runs every time Windows starts.

  5. Creates the following registry subkeys:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID
    \{4E7BD74F-2B8D-469E-90F0-F66AB581A933}
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\instafink.INSTAFINK
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    \Explorer\Browser Helper Objects
    \{4E7BD74F-2B8D-469E-90F0-F66AB581A933}
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    \Uninstall\INSTAFINK
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\INSTAFINK
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{4E7BD74F-2B8D-469E-DCF7-F96DA086B434}
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\instafin.INSTAFIN
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    \Explorer\Browser Helper Objects
    \{4E7BD74F-2B8D-469E-DCF7-F96DA086B434}
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    \Uninstall\INSTAFIN
    HEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\INSTAFIN

  6. Modifies the registry values as follows :

    HEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\"Search Bar" = ""
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search\"SearchAssistant" = ""
    HEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchURL\"provider" = "intranet"

  7. Redirects searchs for nonexistent sites to [http:/ /]www.instafinder.com/[REMOVED]

  8. May display advertisements and download other adware programs.



The following instructions pertain to all Symantec antivirus products that support security risk detection.
  1. Update the definitions.
  2. Run a full system scan.
  3. Delete any values added to the registry.
  4. 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 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.

    • 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.

Important: If you are unable to start your Symantec antivirus product or the product reports that it cannot delete a detected file, you may need to stop the risk from running in order to remove it. To do 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.

3. 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:

    "InstaFinderK" = "%ProgramFiles%\INSTAFINK\InstaFinderK_inst.exe"

  5. Navigate to and delete the following registry keys:

  6. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID
    \{4E7BD74F-2B8D-469E-90F0-F66AB581A933}
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\instafink.INSTAFINK
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    \Explorer\Browser Helper Objects
    \{4E7BD74F-2B8D-469E-90F0-F66AB581A933}
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    \Uninstall\INSTAFINK
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\INSTAFINK
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{4E7BD74F-2B8D-469E-DCF7-F96DA086B434}
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\instafin.INSTAFIN
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    \Explorer\Browser Helper Objects
    \{4E7BD74F-2B8D-469E-DCF7-F96DA086B434}
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    \Uninstall\INSTAFIN
    HEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\INSTAFIN

  7. Exit the Registry Editor.

4. 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.