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Adware.Searchdot

Adware.Searchdot

Updated:
February 13, 2007
Risk Impact:
Medium
File Names:
Systeminit.exe,Sstyle.css
Systems Affected:
Windows

Behavior


Adware.Searchdot is an adware program that changes the Microsoft Internet Explorer search page to www.search-dot.com.

Symptoms


Your Symantec antivirus program detects this threat as Adware.Searchdot.

Behavior


This adware program must 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 October 02, 2014 revision 022
  • Initial Daily Certified version April 17, 2004
  • Latest Daily Certified version September 28, 2010 revision 036
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date April 17, 2004
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

When Adware.Searchdot is executed, it does the following:
  1. Copies itself as %Windir%\System\Systeminit.exe.


    Note: %Windir% is a variable. The Adware.Searchdot locates the Windows installation folder (by default, this is C:\Windows or C:\Winnt) and copies itself to that location.

  2. Creates the file, %Windir%\sstyle.css.

  3. Adds the value:

    "system32.dll" = "%Windir%\system\systeminit.exe"

    to the registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

    so that the adware runs when you start Windows.

  4. Adds the values:

    "Start Page"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/"
    "Search Page"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/search.html"
    "Search Bar"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/search.html"
    "Use Search Asst"="no"

    to the registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main

  5. Adds the values:

    "SearchAssistant"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/search.html"
    "CustomizeSearch"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/search.html"

    to the registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search

  6. Adds the values:

    "SearchAssistant"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/search.html"
    "CustomizeSearch"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/search.html"
    "Default_Search_URL"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/search.html"

    to the registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search\

  7. Adds the values:

    "Start Page"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/"
    "Search Page"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/search.html"
    "Default_Search_URL"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/search.html"
    "Default_Page_URL"="http:/ /search-dot.com/net/"

    to the registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main

  8. Adds the values:

    "Use My Stylesheet"="1"
    "User Stylesheet"="%Windir%\sstyle.css"
    "Use My Stylesheet"="1"
    "User Stylesheet"="%Windir%\sstyle.css"

    to the registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Styles

  9. Add these lines to the Hosts file:

    69.93.33.133 msn.com
    69.93.33.133 search.msn.com
    69.93.33.133 www.msn.com
    69.93.33.133 www.google.com
    69.93.33.133 google.com
    69.93.33.133 altavista.com
    69.93.33.133 www.altavista.com
    69.93.33.133 yahoo.com
    69.93.33.133 www.yahoo.com



The following instructions pertain to all Symantec antivirus products that support Security Risk detection.
  1. Update the definitions.
  2. Delete the value that was added to the registry.
  3. Run a full system scan and delete all the files detected as Adware.Searchdot.
  4. Reset the Internet Explorer home page.
  5. Reset the Internet Explorer Search page.
  6. Delete the added lines from the Windows Hosts file.
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 delete the value from the registry

WARNING: 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 keys only. Read the document, "How to make a backup of the Windows registry ," for instructions.
  1. Click Start, and then click Run. (The Run dialog box appears.)
  2. Type regedit

    Then click OK. (The Registry Editor opens.)

  3. Navigate to the key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

  4. In the right pane, delete the value:

    "system32.dll"="%WinDir%\system\systeminit.exe"

  5. Exit the Registry Editor.

  6. Restart the computer.

3. To scan for and delete the files
  1. Start your Symantec antivirus program, and then run a full system scan.
  2. If any files are detected as Adware.Searchdot, click Delete.


    Note: If your Symantec antivirus product reports that it cannot delete a detected file, write down the path and file name. Then use Windows Explorer to locate and delete the file.


4. To reset the Internet Explorer home page
  1. Start Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  2. Connect to the Internet, and then go to the page that you want to set as your home page.
  3. In the Home page section of the General tab, click Use Current, and then click OK.
  4. Click the Tools menu > Internet Options.

For additional information, or if this procedure does not work, read the Microsoft® Knowledge Base article, "Home Page Setting Changes Unexpectedly, or You Cannot Change Your Home Page Setting, Article ID 320159 ."


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 this picture:





      click the word Customize. Then skip to step h.

    • If the pane that opens has the words "Search Companion" at the top, and the center looks similar to this picture:





      click the "Change preferences" link as shown above. 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 now look similar to this:





    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," and then click OK.
  16. Close Internet Explorer. The next time you open it, it will again use the Search Companion.



6. To delete the added lines from the Windows Hosts file


Note: The location of the Hosts file may vary and some computers may not have this file. For example, if the file exists in Windows 98, it will usually be in C:\Windows; and it is located in the C:\WINNT\system32\drivers\etc folder in Windows 2000. There may also be multiple copies of this file in different locations.

Follow the instructions for your operating system:
  • Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000
    1. Click Start, point to Find or Search, and then click Files or Folders.
    2. Make sure that "Look in" is set to (C:) and that "Include subfolders" is checked.
    3. In the "Named" or "Search for..." box, type:

      hosts

    4. Click Find Now or Search Now.
    5. For each Hosts file that you find, right-click the file, and then click "Open With."
    6. Deselect the "Always use this program to open this program" check box.
    7. Scroll through the list of programs and double-click Notepad.
    8. When the file opens, delete all the entries in the Hosts file, except for the following line:

      127.0.0.1     localhost

    9. Close Notepad and save your changes when prompted.

  • Windows XP
    1. Click Start, and then click Search.
    2. Click All files and folders.
    3. In the "All or part of the file name" box, type:

      hosts

    4. Verify that "Look in" is set to "Local Hard Drives" or to (C:).
    5. Click "More advanced options."
    6. Check "Search system folders."
    7. Check "Search subfolders."
    8. Click Search.
    9. Click Find Now or Search Now.
    10. For each Hosts file that you find, right-click the file, and then click "Open With."
    11. Deselect the "Always use this program to open this program" check box.
    12. Scroll through the list of programs and double-click Notepad.
    13. When the file opens, delete all the entries in the Hosts file except for the following line:

      127.0.0.1     localhost

    14. Close Notepad and save your changes when prompted.