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"AVG Secure Search" is obviously a kind of malware that attaches itself to FF. Is Mozilla working on killing it?

Posted

See, for example, http://techdows.com/2011/09/removing-avg-secure-search-as-search-engine-in-firefox.html. Since it's hijacking a Mozilla product, Mozilla's apparent indifference is baffling.

Chosen solution

So, I had this same problem, but I uninstalled the toolbar, but the search engine problem I could not fix. So I went straight to the AVG website for a fix and found this webpage:AVG Forums The solution worked well for me, you just have to follow directions.

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Additional System Details

This happened

Every time Firefox opened

This started when...

Yesterday evening

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 10.3 r183
  • NPRuntime Script Plug-in Library for Java(TM) Deploy
  • Next Generation Java Plug-in 1.6.0_27 for Mozilla browsers
  • 4.0.60531.0
  • MSN® Toolbar
  • BlackBerry WebSL Browser Plug-In
  • Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape 10.1.1

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.0; rv:6.0.2) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/6.0.2

More Information

I can't do the copy-and-paste because I was unaware that FF included a "troubleshooting information" module in its Help link. (I've succeeded in removing it temporarily, but I did that for the third time this evening, so it will probably be back.

the-edmeister
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
3197 solutions 24403 answers

It's a fine line between what some people consider Malware and a feature added by a security company like AVG which users install.

Helpful Reply

Respectfully disagree. It installs itself whether the FF user wants it or not, and is so structured as to make itself difficult to remove. That seems to exclude it from the "niceware" category.

bnovice 0 solutions 5 answers

I downloaded a program called File Cleaner and behold AVG was attached and installed itself. Next time I logged off and back on AVG highjacked all my browsers. I have been unable to remove it from Mozilla. Come to find out--AVG is listed on File Cleaner's webpage as an "associate". Needless to say, I'm not using FF. Somewhere this sh** is burried in my registry and I cannot find it. Mozilla should know what havock this malware is creating for their customers. Anyone got any ideas on removal?

Fred 2 solutions 7 answers

Helpful Reply

I also vehemently disagree with the-edmeister: AVG installed itself and other software without giving me the option to say "no" when I was trying to install another program - so I would definitely classify it as malware. If AVG is a security company, they will certainly never get any business from me because of their objectionable practices:

I downloaded a "free MP4 player" from <freemp4player dot org> today thinking the first download link in Google's results had a pretty good chance of being a safe bet. WRONG!

The installer told me I had a choice of "Express" install of the AVG "Secure Search" toolbar that makes AVG my home page and AVG the default search engine or "Custom" where I got to say no to those two options - but no choice of not installing the toolbar. I should have stopped there - I know better. Then it told me it was recommending some "bees bucks" program - but didn't give an installation option. Clearly my brain was off somewhere else, because I thought I'd be able to install the MP4 player and deal with the toolbar later, and I told it to proceed. The installer immediately hid its window to the System Tray to hide what it was doing - installing a bunch of B.S.!

When it stopped, all of my browser windows - FireFox and Chrome (which I have to use for work but otherwise wouldn't touch) - had been closed without my permission, and I had vprot.exe running, toolbarinstaller.exe running, and a few other processes I didn't recognize but didn't annotate.

Luckily for me, I had run PC Magazine's InCtrl5 before starting the installation, so I was able to delete everything it had put into my system - over the course of an hour and a half of Registry work and file deletes.

As nearly as I can tell, <freemp4player dot org> is nothing but a front to trick users into installing the AVG toolbar - because there was only *ONE* reference to an MP4 player in the crap I deleted - and that's what I thought I was installing!

I've posted the complete list of (hundreds of) Registry keys and values and (hundreds of) folders and files the AVG Secure Search toolbar installed on my system at http://wfredk.com/info/avg-secure-search-is-malware.php

If you want to truly delete this piece of garbage from your system, make sure nothing on that list is on your system.

Gingerbread Man
  • Top 25 Contributor
227 solutions 939 answers

Since Firefox 8, users are now prompted to confirm when a third-party application attempts to install an add-on.

If the prompt failed to appear for you, and you suspect AVG did something to bypass it, that would be a pretty severe issue that should be reported. See

If the prompt appeared, but you think Mozilla should still do more,

  • Open the Help menu and choose Submit Feedback.
  • Alternatively, you can attempt to get in touch with developers via IRC as mentioned in the above bug writing guidelines, or in the appropriate newsgroup (www.mozilla.org/about/forums/).

wfredk wrote:

I downloaded a "free MP4 player"
  • MPC-HC and VLC are both great, open-source media players that can handle MP4 videos among many others.
  • On Windows 7, Windows Media Player can play MP4 videos.
Fred 2 solutions 7 answers

LOL - like I'd use winDoze 7 voluntarily - HAH! When micro$**t decided that making it **IMPOSSIBLE** to delete WinMine and FreeCell was a good thing, it was the end of the road for winDoze for me. (That's only one of the problems, the one that comes first to mind.) I'm running w2K and wXP, and have *no* plans to go anywhere beyond that.

As for Firefox - well, I've downloaded the 3.6.28 source tarball so I can do my own updates - because the version number speedway has totally disgusted me. Firefox *used* to be a respectable browser, but having it go from 4 to 13 in a year blew that out of the water. (See my comments in the Why so many new major versions? discussion thread - it's about stability, not so much about version numbers...)

Even if I was using a "current" version of Firefox, there still wouldn't have been an opportunity to decline the toolbar installation: The AVG installer shut the browser down and modified the extensions directory itself - so Firefox had no opportunity to ask permission.

Modified by Fred

Fred 2 solutions 7 answers

Gingerbread_Man, thanks for the tips about MPC-HC and VLC - I will be sure to check them out.

bnovice 0 solutions 5 answers

Thanks wfredk. I have another problem. I finally got EI back. However, Firefox is different. When I click on a new tab this little grey colored box comes up versus Firefox logo. It will show Firefox icon as long as I stay in firefox, but the second I type in a new address this grey box is the icon. It does the same thing if I use Yahoo or Google. In addition most of my bookmarks have this grey box versus their legit icon. Do you have any idea how I can get them removed? Further, ever since the AVG installed on my machine, somehow it disabled my Iboit. I would hope Mozillia and Windows would take notice of this companies behavior. Have you noticed that AVG has almost duplicated the win logo? As this would somehow make them legit. I am not going to download anything from web sites anymore. If I can't buy it in a store I won't get it. I don't have the expertise to resolve some of the things wrong with my computer, so I will take it to an expert to get it fixed. I am certainly going to make complaints to the BBB about the company. Their base is in Chron Chezeh or something like that with offices at AVG Technologies USA, Inc., North America Headquarters, Channel Sales and Business Sales, 1 Executive Drive, 3rd Floor, Chelmsford, MA 01824, USA, 978-319-4460, 866-201-0003; AVG Technologies USA, Inc.,Education and Government Sales, 2105 Northwest Blvd., Newton, NC 28658, USA, 828-459-5422. What a joke! you get nothing except recordings.

Fred 2 solutions 7 answers

bnovice - It sounds like there's still something left from the AVG installation. When you take your computer to your expert you might want to have them look at the page I posted at http://wfredk.com/info/avg-secure-search-is-malware.php with all of the Registry keys and files that were installed.

Modified by Fred

rodtoip 0 solutions 1 answers

I am in the same boat. I installed a driver up-dater (Driver Tuner) to help with a sound problem I was having and all of the sudden here's AVG search and Google is gone. I assume DT is where the problem child installer. I've deleted ALL AVG files I can find reset my internet dealt. So on and so on. I always un-click add on software. I used to like AVG. Not no more.

Fred 2 solutions 7 answers

rodtoip - Deleting the files is the first step, but you need to delete the Registry keys, too. See my page at http://wfredk.com/info/avg-secure-search-is-malware.php for the list.

I also used to think AVG was a respectable company, but with this sort of behaviour, I can't say I'd trust them any more.

bnovice 0 solutions 5 answers

wfredk. Thanks for your help.

After having my computer checked out, the teck found no problems with mw, virus, etc. He told me it could be one of two things that the AVG had overwritten the code for the Firefox icon and some of those in my bookmarks since the all have the "grey box" icon. He said that if FireFox code was hacked here could be other problems as well--that it would be best to uninstall it. His only suggestion was to save my bookmarks to a text file and uninstall firefox. Needless to say, I'm using IE. Iobit is not working for me either--that would be AVG's competition too. I would hope Firefox would check this out to really test if AVG is hacking their browser.

Fred 2 solutions 7 answers

bnovice - Check your Firefox extensions directory. If you find a subdirectory named {40346aa9-a9d7-b1c4-ad87-bb0d0a1c10b8}, delete it: That directory contains the AVG extension files. You probably also have to delete the extensions.cache file from your profile directory. I didn't have to do that on my system, most likely because I deleted the AVG crap before I restarted any of my browsers.

FYI, on my systems, the profile directory is c:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\8randchr.default where username is my username as the system sees it and 8randchr is eight "random" characters Firefox picked for the directory name.

Plinkey 1 solutions 1 answers

Chosen Solution

So, I had this same problem, but I uninstalled the toolbar, but the search engine problem I could not fix. So I went straight to the AVG website for a fix and found this webpage:AVG Forums The solution worked well for me, you just have to follow directions.