Lessons learned from the Conduit Search virus

English: Firefox Nightly Update Screen
English: Firefox Nightly Update Screen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what is Search Assist? If we look at the Mozilla support forum, they asked an interesting question. How can I remove the Search Assist virus from my browser? Another word for it is Conduit search. The reason this question is interesting is that it’s personal. I had it in all my browsers. It tries to help you by highlighting words you click on. Or it automatically says you have won a prize.

It’s really a pain. How do you remove this virus? My solution is to find out what others have done. It involves typing the proper keywords into Google and/or Bing. In my case, I put in the words “remove search assist” or “remove Conduit search”.

The best solution came from the article Remove “Search Assist” pop-up ads (Virus Removal Guide). I had removed the virus from programs and the browsers. But it still kept creeping back in. The solution recommended AdwCleaner, which is a free program to remove spyware. You should scan any executable with a virus program first. My system comes with Norton Security Suite, which is free with Comcast. But you can use the Virus Total website – good for a second opinion. Or you can use a good freeware program like Avast or AVG.

The program worked like expected. The last step is to run a program called Malwarebytes. They do have a free version and you should ensure that it is updated first. The program did a great job of removing the remaining issues.

Now the only thing I experience is with Firefox. When I click on the first parts of a website address, it doesn’t display for the full-site name. The best response is to wait for a Firefox update. There is a good site called FileHippo. They even have an update check. For me, it’s great – I run a lot of quality freeware and open source software. And I run them in Windows 7, even though I have Ubuntu installed via a dual-boot.

windows 7 desktop wallpaper
windows 7 desktop wallpaper (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

So what are the lessons learned?

If you get a virus or Malware, it’s best to search the forums. Do this with the right keywords via Google or Bing. And read through the forum responses. Not all solutions are good and you will find an exceptional one somewhere.

Make sure you check any executable against a good virus program. For a second opinion, you can send it to the Virus Total website.

For the record, this virus never appeared in the Ubuntu version of Firefox. I can’t recall having any virus yet appear in my Ubuntu software or the operating system itself. But Windows does run the majority of software. I will run a good version of Windows – like Windows 7. I just hope that Windows nine is not a dud – like Windows eight was.

Google Chrome

I do have some favorable impressions of Google Chrome plug-ins.  Avast has a great free security extension, which worlds well with the WOT (i.e. Web of Trust plug-in) and Webutation.  Chrome is my favorite browser, followed closely by FireFox.

Randy Kemp

B2B technology content marketer and writer (i.e. white papers, case studies,blog posts, articles, etc.).



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