Powered By Zedo Removal Instructions and Help

What are Powered by Zedo and URL.CPVFEED.COM Popups?
I consider myself a pretty good spyware removal expert, but I ALMOST was stumped the other day when a customer's computer was infected with these strange "Powered by Zedo" ad popups. They would popup in the middle of the screen without warning usually when I was trying to search Google or another search engine. Then they would take my search term and put it in the popup ad showing Ebay or a few other sites.

The javascript that was producing the popups had several ad networks that it was using including
  • xads.zedo.com
  • upspiral.com
  • searchlocal.ws
  • aavalue.com
  • url.cpvfeed.com
The popups were appearing in Internet Explorer as well as Firefox and popup blockers including Google Toolbar were not stopping the invasion.

Removal Procedures I Tried

Everytime I thought I had these "Powered by Zedo" ads removed, they would return soon after a boot up,
The Hijackthis log didn't reveal any major problems.

Logfile of HijackThis v1.99.1
Scan saved at 2:49:00 PM, on 4/9/2007
Platform: Windows XP SP2 (WinNT 5.01.2600)
MSIE: Internet Explorer v6.00 SP2 (6.00.2900.2180)

Running processes:
C:\WINDOWS\System32\smss.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\winlogon.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\services.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\lsass.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\Ati2evxx.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe
C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccSetMgr.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\Ati2evxx.exe
C:\WINDOWS\Explorer.EXE
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccEvtMgr.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccProxy.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\SNDSrvc.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\SPBBC\SPBBCSvc.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\CCPD-LC\symlcsvc.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\spoolsv.exe
C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements 5.0\PhotoshopElementsFileAgent.exe
C:\Program Files\Symantec\LiveUpdate\ALUSchedulerSvc.exe
C:\WINDOWS\eHome\ehRecvr.exe
C:\WINDOWS\eHome\ehSched.exe
C:\Program Files\Google\Common\Google Updater\GoogleUpdaterService.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\LightScribe\LSSrvc.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\VS7DEBUG\MDM.EXE
C:\UPS\WSTD\MSSQL$UPSWSDBSERVER\Binn\sqlservr.exe
C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\navapsvc.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\BRMFRSMG.EXE
C:\WINDOWS\system32\dllhost.exe
C:\WINDOWS\ehome\ehtray.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccApp.exe
C:\WINDOWS\eHome\ehmsas.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe
C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
C:\Program Files\Google\Google Updater\GoogleUpdater.exe
C:\PROGRA~1\INCRED~1\bin\IMApp.exe
C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\hpqtra08.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Intuit\QuickBooks\QBUpdate\qbupdate.exe
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80\Tools\Binn\sqlmangr.exe
C:\UPS\WSTD\Messages\WSTDMessaging.exe
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Yahoo! Music Jukebox\ymetray.exe
C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\ymsgr_tray.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\Security Console\NSCSRVCE.EXE
C:\Documents and Settings\HP_Administrator\Desktop\comboscan.exe
C:\DOCUME~1\HP_ADM~1\Desktop\HP_Administrator.exe

R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/fix_homepage
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = http://ie.redirect.hp.com/svs/rdr?TYPE=3&tp=iehome&locale=EN_US&c=Q405&bd=pavilion&pf=desktop&parm1=seconduser
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Connection Wizard,ShellNext = http://ie.redirect.hp.com/svs/rdr?TYPE=3&tp=iehome&locale=EN_US&c=Q405&bd=pavilion&pf=desktop&parm1=seconduser
O2 - BHO: AcroIEHlprObj Class - {06849E9F-C8D7-4D59-B87D-784B7D6BE0B3} - C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\ActiveX\AcroIEHelper.dll
O2 - BHO: SSVHelper Class - {761497BB-D6F0-462C-B6EB-D4DAF1D92D43} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_10\bin\ssv.dll
O2 - BHO: Norton Internet Security 2006 - {9ECB9560-04F9-4bbc-943D-298DDF1699E1} - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\AdBlocking\NISShExt.dll
O2 - BHO: NAV Helper - {A8F38D8D-E480-4D52-B7A2-731BB6995FDD} - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\NavShExt.dll
O2 - BHO: Google Toolbar Notifier BHO - {AF69DE43-7D58-4638-B6FA-CE66B5AD205D} - C:\Program Files\Google\GoogleToolbarNotifier\2.0.301.3558\swg.dll
O3 - Toolbar: Norton Internet Security 2006 - {0B53EAC3-8D69-4b9e-9B19-A37C9A5676A7} - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\AdBlocking\NISShExt.dll
O3 - Toolbar: Norton AntiVirus - {C4069E3A-68F1-403E-B40E-20066696354B} - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\NavShExt.dll
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [ehTray] C:\WINDOWS\ehome\ehtray.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [ccApp] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccApp.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [HPHUPD08] c:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\{33D6CC28-9F75-4d1b-A11D-98895B3A3729}\hphupd08.exe
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [ctfmon.exe] C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [IncrediMail] C:\Program Files\IncrediMail\bin\IncMail.exe /c
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [MSMSGS] "C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe" /background
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Yahoo! Pager] C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\ypager.exe -quiet
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [swg] C:\Program Files\Google\GoogleToolbarNotifier\GoogleToolbarNotifier.exe
O4 - Global Startup: Adobe Reader Speed Launch.lnk = C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Reader\reader_sl.exe
O4 - Global Startup: Google Updater.lnk = C:\Program Files\Google\Google Updater\GoogleUpdater.exe
O4 - Global Startup: HP Digital Imaging Monitor.lnk = C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\hpqtra08.exe
O4 - Global Startup: Microsoft Office.lnk = C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10\OSA.EXE
O4 - Global Startup: QuickBooks Update Agent.lnk = C:\Program Files\Common Files\Intuit\QuickBooks\QBUpdate\qbupdate.exe
O4 - Global Startup: Service Manager.lnk = C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80\Tools\Binn\sqlmangr.exe
O4 - Global Startup: UPS WorldShip Messaging Utility.lnk = C:\UPS\WSTD\Messages\WSTDMessaging.exe
O4 - Global Startup: UPS WorldShip PLD Reminder Utility.lnk = C:\UPS\WSTD\wstdPldReminder.exe
O4 - Global Startup: ymetray.lnk = C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Yahoo! Music Jukebox\ymetray.exe
O8 - Extra context menu item: &Google Search - res://c:\program files\google\GoogleToolbar1.dll/cmsearch.html
O8 - Extra context menu item: &Translate English Word - res://c:\program files\google\GoogleToolbar1.dll/cmwordtrans.html
O8 - Extra context menu item: Backward Links - res://c:\program files\google\GoogleToolbar1.dll/cmbacklinks.html
O8 - Extra context menu item: Cached Snapshot of Page - res://c:\program files\google\GoogleToolbar1.dll/cmcache.html
O8 - Extra context menu item: E&xport to Microsoft Excel - res://C:\PROGRA~1\MI1933~1\Office10\EXCEL.EXE/3000
O8 - Extra context menu item: Similar Pages - res://c:\program files\google\GoogleToolbar1.dll/cmsimilar.html
O8 - Extra context menu item: Translate Page into English - res://c:\program files\google\GoogleToolbar1.dll/cmtrans.html
O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_10\bin\ssv.dll
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Sun Java Console - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_10\bin\ssv.dll
O9 - Extra button: Research - {92780B25-18CC-41C8-B9BE-3C9C571A8263} - C:\PROGRA~1\MI1933~1\OFFICE11\REFIEBAR.DLL
O9 - Extra button: Connection Help - {E2D4D26B-0180-43a4-B05F-462D6D54C789} - C:\WINDOWS\PCHEALTH\HELPCTR\Vendors\CN=Hewlett-Packard,L=Cupertino,S=Ca,C=US\IEButton\support.htm
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Connection Help - {E2D4D26B-0180-43a4-B05F-462D6D54C789} - C:\WINDOWS\PCHEALTH\HELPCTR\Vendors\CN=Hewlett-Packard,L=Cupertino,S=Ca,C=US\IEButton\support.htm
O9 - Extra button: Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Windows Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
O16 - DPF: {6414512B-B978-451D-A0D8-FCFDF33E833C} (WUWebControl Class) - http://update.microsoft.com/windowsupdate/v6/V5Controls/en/x86/client/wuweb_site.cab?1175723153484
O16 - DPF: {644E432F-49D3-41A1-8DD5-E099162EEEC5} (Symantec RuFSI Utility Class) - http://security.symantec.com/sscv6/SharedContent/common/bin/cabsa.cab
O20 - Winlogon Notify: WgaLogon - C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\WgaLogon.dll
O23 - Service: Adobe Active File Monitor V5 (AdobeActiveFileMonitor5.0) - Unknown owner - C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements 5.0\PhotoshopElementsFileAgent.exe
O23 - Service: Ati HotKey Poller - ATI Technologies Inc. - C:\WINDOWS\system32\Ati2evxx.exe
O23 - Service: Automatic LiveUpdate Scheduler - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Symantec\LiveUpdate\ALUSchedulerSvc.exe
O23 - Service: Brother Popup Suspend service for Resource manager (brmfrmps) - Unknown owner - C:\WINDOWS\system32\Brmfrmps.exe" -service (file missing)
O23 - Service: Symantec Event Manager (ccEvtMgr) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccEvtMgr.exe
O23 - Service: Symantec Internet Security Password Validation (ccISPwdSvc) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\ccPwdSvc.exe
O23 - Service: Symantec Network Proxy (ccProxy) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccProxy.exe
O23 - Service: Symantec Settings Manager (ccSetMgr) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccSetMgr.exe
O23 - Service: COM Host (comHost) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\comHost.exe
O23 - Service: Google Updater Service (gusvc) - Google - C:\Program Files\Google\Common\Google Updater\GoogleUpdaterService.exe
O23 - Service: InstallDriver Table Manager (IDriverT) - Macrovision Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\InstallShield\Driver\11\Intel 32\IDriverT.exe
O23 - Service: iPod Service (iPodService) - Apple Computer, Inc. - C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
O23 - Service: LightScribeService Direct Disc Labeling Service (LightScribeService) - Hewlett-Packard Company - C:\Program Files\Common Files\LightScribe\LSSrvc.exe
O23 - Service: LiveUpdate - Symantec Corporation - C:\PROGRA~1\Symantec\LIVEUP~1\LUCOMS~1.EXE
O23 - Service: Norton AntiVirus Auto-Protect Service (navapsvc) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\navapsvc.exe
O23 - Service: Norton Protection Center Service (NSCService) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\Security Console\NSCSRVCE.EXE
O23 - Service: Symantec AVScan (SAVScan) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\SAVScan.exe
O23 - Service: Spyware Doctor Auxiliary Service (sdAuxService) - PC Tools - C:\Program Files\Spyware Doctor\svcntaux.exe
O23 - Service: Spyware Doctor Service (sdCoreService) - PC Tools - C:\Program Files\Spyware Doctor\swdsvc.exe
O23 - Service: Symantec Network Drivers Service (SNDSrvc) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\SNDSrvc.exe
O23 - Service: Symantec SPBBCSvc (SPBBCSvc) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\SPBBC\SPBBCSvc.exe
O23 - Service: Symantec Core LC - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\CCPD-LC\symlcsvc.exe

T
he customer's computer had a current version of Norton Internet Security 2006 and he had also used Spyware Doctor by PCTools to remove the problems. I used all the basic tools at first to try to remove them including SmitRem, CWShredder, SmitFraudFix, Lop Uninstaller, Look2Me Uninstallers, VundoFix, etc. but nothing seemed to touch this infection.

On to the Online Scanners...First I tried Housecall, then Panda ActiveScan, nothing was found...Finally I tried Kaspersky Online Scanner and it found a Rootkit (Rootkit.Win32.Agent.EQ) infecting a file called core.sys in the c:\windows\system32\drivers directory.

Upon further investigation, I also found a second file called core.cache.dsk that was related in the same directory. The core.sys file had registered itself as a service and was starting automatically each time Windows booted. Because of such a generic name, it didnt appear suspicious when I was examining the running services early on in the investigation.

How to Remove Core.sys

Follow the instructions below to remove core.sys and core.cache.dsk and rid your computer of the "Powered by Zedo" and other ads.

1) Boot into Safe Mode
2) Click on Start, Search, and choose All Files and Folders
3) In the all or part of file name box, type the following

core.sys

4) In the Look In box, choose local hard drives and click Search
5) When core.sys is found in the c:\windows\system32\drivers directory, right-click on it and choose Delete
6) Repeat steps 2-5 for the file core.cache.dsk

7) Close the Search box
8) Click on Start, Run and type REGEDIT and press Enter
9) Click on the Plus sign (+) next to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
10) Click the plus next to SYSTEM
11) Click the plus next to CurrentControlSet
12) Click the plus next to Services
13) Find the folder called CORE and right-click on it and choose Delete

*** WARNING *** If the folder CORE does not exist, dont do anything

14) Close the Registry Editor by clicking on the X in the right-hand corner of the window

15) Reboot your computer in Normal mode
16) Once the computer is rebooted, open your web browser and go to Kaspersky Online Scanner by clicking on the link below.

http://www.kaspersky.com/virusscanner

17) Scan your computer and delete any other files flagged as problems.

Your computer should now be free of these vicious popups.


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