Getting rid of ad.xtendmedia and other annoying malware popups
A week back I started noticing weird popups on the bottom left-hand side of my browser windows. They came up with IE, Firefox and Chrome. They were annoying and actually very easy to click by mistake. Mousing over these popups showed some links at either ad.xtendmedia.com or ad.yeildmanager.com or fhserve.com.
In order to get rid of these, as usual I Google-d the above and found a lot of suggestions. Apparently this is quite a well known problem and was considered a virus, since it could actually ‘grow’ and then capture and send cookie information to spam sites! Not good.
I followed the suggestions and solutions offered from different sites including bleepingcomputer.com. I went ahead and downloaded and ran every single anti-rootkit, anti-malware, anti-spyware mentioned, including TDSKiller, AdwCleaner, MalwareBytes anti-malware and so on and so forth. None of these could even find the virus (if it was indeed that). I did find one trojan with AVG free edition, but deleting that didn’t exactly help.
I was honestly contemplating rebuilding my laptop, when I came across this link
And that is what helped me resolve the issue!
If you ever encounter this problem, do this first! Open up your .hosts file. (On Windows 7, this is under Windows\System32\Drivers\etc folder and will need Administrator rights to update.) Check the host file for suspicious entries. I had the usual redirects for 127.0.0.1 at the top, followed by a whole lot of empty space just as mentioned in the blog above. Scrolling to the bottom and right at the very end of the file were some nasty redirects. If you find such entries in your hosts file, delete all of them and save your changes.
And ta-da, you are now home-free. No more annoying popups. Whew!
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