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Google defaulting to UK site and I'm in US [SOLVED]

LanchesterLanchester Registered User regular
edited August 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Ok, so my fiancé asked me over last night because her laptop was acting up...her google would provide results in other languages and "skip around" when she clicks on results, meaning it wouldn't take her to the place she clicked on, but some weird almost spam like sites.

So when I'm taking a look at it, when you type in it would automatically go to the page (I'm in the United States), sometimes in english and sometimes not. Twice it went to the Lithuania page. After looking things up and finding out that Google gets your location from either your "My location" field in the google settings (Her's was blank, so it's default) or through your IP address. So I have no idea why it's defaulting to the wrong google site.

Also, the other weird thing, since I hate Internet Explorer like most, I encourage her to use Firefox or Chrome...but when you try in those browsers shows a 404 Not found error (IE will display the US google site after a while when it finally doesn't auto jump to the UK version). Firefox and Chrome will display the UK version, but not the US.

Anyone seen or heard of something like this before? Have any ideas what's going on or what the solution for this is? Thanks H/A

I've scanned for virus' and did find something in a registry...cleaned it up, but still got the same results afterwords, uninstalled IE, Firefox, and Chrome then re-installed all of them and still get the same results.

Lanchester on


  • yurnamehereyurnamehere Registered User regular
    Did you do any malware scans other than for viruses?

  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    That is definitely malware. And it's possibly set up a proxy and is routing your searches elsewhere.

    First, download Malwarebytes here. Do this on a computer that isn't affected, rename the .exe to something else (some malware programs will kill the install process otherwise), then transfer that to the affected computer. Install Malwarebytes to a folder other than the default, name it something different just like you did with the original .exe (for the same reason). Once it's done installing, run it, and do a full scan.

    Next, open IE, go to Tools > Internet Options > Connections > LAN Settings, and make sure the box next to "Automatically Detect Settings" is checked.

    Then, open Firefox, go to Tools > Advanced > NetworkTab > Settings (under "Configure how Firefox connects to the internet") and make sure the "No Proxy" box is checked.

    If you can't get the Malwarebytes download to work, do the second and third steps first.

    After all this, run a virus scan.

    matt has a problem on
  • LanchesterLanchester Registered User regular
    Malware was my first thought too.

    She has AVG and Malwarebytes installed. Last night I did the quick scan with malware and that's when I found something in the registry, so I mispoke in the OP. AVG is always running on the laptop.

    When I left her place last night, I set malware to perform a complete scan and she hasn't told me the results so I'll have to check up on that. I will also make sure the settings in IE and firefox are as you stated.


  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    Most definitely unusual behaviour, and the fact that you reinstalled the browsers means whatever is doing it is either in your OS, router or reasonably clever and detects attempts to kill it and reinstalls. Options, do them in order and check if the problem still exists after each to cause yourself least trouble:

    First, do what matt has a problem suggested.

    Second, restore the system back a week or more.

    Third, download every free AV software you can find and hope one of them catches it.

    Fourth, wipe / upgrade router firmware (unlikely you have router malware, but possible).

    Fifth, some of the more advanced bot software will run your connection through rotating proxies in order to disrupt tracking of the botnet. If this is the case, your girlfriend may be one of the unlucky few with a new piece of malware, and free AV software may not do the trick. Best way to solve this is an OS reinstall, I'm afraid. Then find out what bizarre shit she is opening, browsing or downloading and suggest she stops.

    Check after you do each, and record any changes in behaviour, might help identify it further if the fifth option still doesn't work.

  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    Third, download every free AV software you can find and hope one of them catches it.

    Not sure this is the best idea. A) It can be difficult to tell what is ACTUALLY a legit anti-virus if you're just randomly searching for them and not, say, looking at this thread in Moe's Technology Tavern on here, and B) Lots of anti-virus software (rather than anti-malware or anti-spyware) LOVES to run active protection when you install it... and if you install more than one anti-virus with that sort of protection, you can really slow your poor machine to a crawl because there's a good chance they'll conflict. Happens all the time.

    Personally, I would remove AVG (it really isn't as good these days) and install/run either Avira (I've heard very good things about it for a long time) or Microsoft Security Essentials (which is what I'm personally using right now, also quite good). Malwarebytes was probably your best bet for anti-malware scanning, so hopefully the full scan (I never EVER bother with a quick scan for the most part) will catch something. You can also grab Spybot: Search & Destroy, which includes info about all sorts of things (startup programs, default search and home pages, ActiveX controls, browser helper objects like Java) that are currently set up on your machine, if you put it into Advanced mode. Anyway, Malwarebytes/MSE/Spybot is my current protection/scanning setup that I tell people to use, and so far it has worked very well. But I also hear good stuff about Avira, as I said.

  • PeccaviPeccavi Registered User regular
    Yeah, if non-IE browsers don't work, and IE directs you to the wrong site, it's almost certainly malware.

  • LanchesterLanchester Registered User regular
    Looks like H/A was usual. It seems to be some malware. Looking at the forums in Malewarebytes, there is malware that does the whole google redirect thing she is experiencing. And the malwarebytes complete scan detected a couple files.

    Thanks everyone for the advice

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