Google redirect virus is one of the most annoying, dangerous and toughest infection ever released over internet. Google redirect virus is responsible for redirecting google search results to a malicious webpage or advertisement page using which a hacker can benefit financially by displaying ads or steal data by tricking viewer to enter critical information.
Google redirect virus not only redirects Google results, but also Yahoo and Bing search as well. So it is also called Yahoo Redirect Virus or Bing Redirect Virus. From time to time, malware coders modify their codes to create variations to escape easy detection by security software. Recent variations appeared such as Nginx Redirect Virus and Happili Redirect Virus etc. In real, all these infections are same, but with some changes in the way it attacks your computer.
Google redirect virus is not a virus, but a rootkit. Rootkit infections unlike virus, spyware or trojan infections are very difficult to remove. Rootkits are designed to attach itself with core Operating system files. They are also designed brilliantly to avoid detection by removing their footprints. To make problem worse, google redirect rootkit is seen associated with Trojans which makes it more deadly. According to a 2011 report, Google redirect virus have already infected 45,00,000 computers wide, out of which 1/3rd is from US.
A Quick Note from Author
My first experience with Google Redirect Virus was when working on a Symantec Project. This is one of the worst infections. Most security software’s fail to catch this infection as it is a rootkit level infection. So mostly, the only solution is manually removing the infected files from PC. It took a lot of trial and error to finally figure out an effective way to identify and get rid of this infection. The steps mentioned here are time tested methods developed after lot of trial and error. The same method is followed by virus removal professionals all over the world to remove these type of infections. In this article, I have done my best to explain the manual removal process. If followed properly, you will be able to remove the redirect virus.
- The steps mentioned here are very effective in XP, Vista and Win 7. Comparatively, the manual steps had less success in Win 8 and 10. This is due to the changes made in OS architecture and the advanced security features which prevent changes being made manually.
- Due to the highly technical nature, I did my best to explain all the steps with the help of a video tutorial which can be seen below.
- If you find the steps complicated or not working in your OS, as a last step you may opt for professional help which is mentioned below the video.
If the steps here failed or you are looking for a quicker and easy solution, you may try getting professional help from Fix Redirect Virus. They are a dedicated team of professionals involved in finding fix for redirect issues. Run the tools and do a scan as given in their user guide. As a final option, I highly recommend using the service as it is cheaper to pay $29.99 compared to a Tech shop repair which may cost couple hundred dollars.
- Collection of tools which are constantly updated for handling the latest variants of this infection. If one tool fails, you can try the other to remove the infection. Free access to their future updates. Guidance on how to use the tools also provided.
- Quick resolution so you can save time and prevent countless unproductive hours.
- A dedicated team providing 24/7 support within a certain time frame.
- Online service is cheaper. Professional services such as tech shop repairs and virus removal services charge may charge couple of 100$ for getting rid of this infection.
Google Redirect Virus Review
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Why is Google Redirect Virus tough to remove?
Google redirect virus is tough to remove because of its ability to hide deep inside the operating system and also its ability to remove traces and footprints on how it got inside the computer. Once it gets inside, it attaches itself with core Operating System files which makes it look like a legitimate file running in the background. Even if the infected file is detected, at times it is hard to remove cos of its association with operating system file. As of now, not a single security software in the market can guarantee you 100% protection from this infection. This explains, why your computer got infected in the first place even with a security software installed.
The article here explains on how to handpick and manually remove google redirect virus. From a technicians angle, this is the most effective method against this infection. Technicians working for some of the biggest security software brands are now following the same method. Every attempt is made to make the tutorial simple and easy to follow.
Two of the most popular methods to remove Google Redirect Virus
- Try tools available online or go for a professional tool
There are plenty of security tools available in the market. But none of these tools are developed specifically for removing google redirect virus. While some users had success in removing the infection using one software, the same may not work on another computer. A few end up trying all different tools which create more problems by corrupting OS and device driver files . Most of the free tools are hard to trust as they have a reputation for corrupting operating system files and crashing it. So take a back up of important data before trying any free tools to be on the safer side.
You can also get help from professionals who specialize in removing this infection. I am not talking about taking your computer to a tech shop or calling geek squad which costs you lot of money. I did mention a service before which you can try it as a last resort.
- Try to remove google redirect virus manually
There is no easier way to remove an infection other than running a scan using a software and fixing it. But if the softwares fail to fix the problem, the last resort is to try removing the infection manually. Manual removal methods are time consuming and some of you might find it hard to follow instructions cos of its technical nature. This method is very effective, but failure to follow instructions properly or possibility of human error in identifying the infected file can render your efforts ineffective. To make it easier for everyone to follow, I created a step by step video explaining details. It shows same exact steps used by virus removal experts to remove virus infection manually. You can find the video towards end of this post.
Troubleshooting steps for removing Google Redirect Virus manually
Unlike most of the infections, in case of Google Redirect Virus you will find only one or two files which is related to the infection. But if the infection is ignored initially, the number of infected files seems to increase over a period of time. So better get rid of the infection as soon as you find redirect problems. Follow the troubleshooting methods mentioned below to get rid of google redirect virus. There is also a video below.
1) Enable hidden files by opening folder options (start –>run –> control folders),under view tab
- enable show hidden files, folders and drives
- uncheck hide extensions for known file types
- uncheck hide protected operating system files
2) Open msconfig (start –>run –> msconfig)
- Click “Start” –> run –> msconfig)
- Go to “boot” tab if you are using Vista or Win 7. In case of XP, select “boot.ini” tab
- check bootlog
3) Restart computer
Restart computer for making sure that changes you made are implemented. (On restarting computer a file ntbttxt.log is created which is discussed later in troubleshooting steps)
4) Do a complete IE optimization
Read this article on how to do an Internet Explorer optimization. Internet explorer optimization is done to ensure that redirection is not as a result of problem with IE or corrupted internet settings. Even if you use a different browser other than Internet explorer, IE optimization is compulsory as IE settings acts as the basic settings for any web browser using windows operating system.
5) Open device manager (start –>run –> devmgmt.msc)
- Click “Start” –> run –> devmgmt.msc
- Click “view” tab on top. Select “show hidden devices”
- Look for “non-plug and play drivers”. Expand it to see entire list under option.
- Check if you have any entry TDSSserv.sys. Note down name carefully. Right click on entry and uninstall it. Don’t restart computer yet, cancel it. Continue troubleshooting without restarting.
6) Open registry (start –>run–>regedit). Take a backup of registry before making changes
- Click on edit –> find. Enter first few letters of infection name. In this case, I used TDSS and searched for any entries starting with those letters. Every time there is an entry starting with TDSS, it shows the entry on the left and value on right side.
- If there is just an entry, but no file location mentioned, then delete it directly. Continue searching for next entry with TDSS
- The next search took me to an entry which got details of file location on right which says C:\Windows\System32\TDSSmain.dll.You need to utilize this information. Open folder C:\Windows\System32, find and delete TDSSmain.dll mentioned here.
- Assume that you were not able to find file TDSSmain.dll inside C:\Windows\System32.This shows entry is super hidden. You need to remove file using command prompt. Just use command to remove it. del C:\Windows\System32\TDSSmain.dll
- Repeat same until all entries in registry starting with TDSS is removed. Make sure if those entries are pointing towards any file inside folder remove it either directly or by using command prompt.
Assume that you were not able to find TDSSserv.sys inside hidden devices under device manager, then go to Step 7.
7) Check ntbtlog.txt for corrupted file
By doing Step 2, a log file called ntbtlog.txt is generated inside C:\Windows. It’s a small text file containing lot of entries which might run to more than 100 pages if you take a printout. You need to scroll down slowly and check if you have any entry TDSSserv.sys which shows that there is an infection. Follow steps mentioned in Step 6.
In above mentioned case, I mentioned only about TDSSserv.sys, but there are other types of rootkits which do same damage. Let’s take case of 2 entries H8SRTnfvywoxwtx.sys and _VOIDaabmetnqbf.sys listed under device manager in my friends PC. The logic behind understanding if it is a dangerous file or not is mainly by their name. These name makes no sense and I don’t think any self respecting company will give a name like this to their files. Here, I used first few letters H8SRT and _VOID and did steps mentioned in Step 6 to remove infected file. (Please Note: H8SRTnfvywoxwtx.sys and _VOIDaabmetnqbf.sys are just an example. The corrupted files can come in any name, but it will be easy to recognize because of the long file name and presence of random numbers and alphabets in the name.)
Please try these steps at your own risk. steps mentioned above won’t crash your computer. But to be on the safer side, it is better to take a backup of important files and ensure that you have option to repair or re-install operating system using OS disk.
Some users might find troubleshooting mentioned here complicated. Let’s face it, infection itself is complicated and even the experts struggle in order to get rid of this infection.
You now have clear instructions including step by step video on how to get rid of google redirect virus. Also you know what to do if this didn’t work out. Take action immediately before the infection spreads to more files and render the PC unusable. Share this tutorial. It makes a huge difference to someone facing the same problem. Good Luck.