Malware Warning _____ istart123 Trojan Hijacker

In some ways, I was brought up in a pretty sheltered manner. This resulted in me believing that nobody is truly EVIL – and that anybody will really do the Right Thing if they have a choice or a chance – and that people who do bad things were really just victims of an unfortunate upbringing. Even when I would watch movies – Westerns or otherwise – and I would see some bad guy doing something on the screen, I would think to myself “That’s unrealistic – nobody is really like that. Those depictions were untrue.” I just couldn’t believe anybody was truly like that.

I was able to entertain such naïve notions for a couple of reasons: Nobody taught me any different. And I never really experienced much such behavior because our family moved around a lot and my existence, experience and relationships were mainly internal – in the family. Therefore I was not readily exposed to such outside influences. I carried these strange misconceptions for a long time.

How (unfortunately) wrong I was.

Then I left home – and it’s shelter. It didn’t take me long to find the truth.

And I was walking victim – ready to be used, abused and refused. I wish I could say this lesson happened quickly and I moved along right away. But I didn’t. I had to endure many years of hard knocks before I smartened up and learned to look out for myself and protect myself – and recognize my Right, Need and Responsibility to do so.

Why do I mention all this?

Because such people are abundant on the Internet. Because they can say and do things on the Internet with almost complete anonymity and impunity. Nobody knows who they are – where they are – and how to get at them. They can practice their abusive and ruthless disrespect and dishonesty from a distance. Such is one of the horrifying aspects of our wonderful Internet.

So this week I got nailed again. It came in the form of a Trojan virus called “Istart123” – a Hijacking Virus – that infests your computer and takes over your Internet Browser and puts many other intrusions all over your computer via hidden files that make it very difficult to find and remove – and it has the ability to re-install itself, if you do.

I’ve been trying for 3 days to get it off my system – and multiple effects – and failings – and it’s still there.

I’ve had similar garbage get on my computer in the past – but I was able to get rid of them with Malwarbytes Software or Spybot Software. At one time, both had free useful versions. I’ve used AVG with success in the past as well, but it’s not free anymore either. Only Spybot still maintains a free program. I did eventually buy AVG, but found to too large and pervasive on my system – and constant nagging to buy more of their stuff.

In this instance however, neither Malwarbytes or Spybot would remove – or even detect – this disgusting Virus. I’ve sent both companies email, but so far no indication that they know anything about it. These are usually good Programs …

Note: I’ve been attempting to use Microsoft Windows Defender – for a long time – but it seems to detect nothing. Ever. Nothing. Never has. Even while Malwarbytes and Spybot were detecting dozens of things. Likewise for Microsoft Malicious Malware Tool. It scans your system (for hours). But finds nothing. Nada. Microsoft Firewall might be good (?), but it’s Virus detection software appears to be garbage. Are you listening Microsoft????? Take some of your Billions of dollars and fix your useless Virus Software. Please.

By the way, this virus also seems to attempt to block any Internet Searches to find out how to remove it and also to sell you phony “Istart123 Virus removal software” – which will most likely install more garbage on your system. This is an old trick that these Virus making scums use: Infect your computer – then sell you a product to remove the Infection.

Why nobody arrests these morons … ??? I guess they can’t find them?

I also received a very suspiciously worded email with a PDF attachment – which I suspect is from these guys – as they’ve noticed I’ve been trying to get rid of their crap. I immediately threw it away. The lowest of the low.

So after several failed attempts to remove this thing via instructions from the Net and videos on YouTube I finally was told that there was a free Virus/Trojan detection program called SpyHunter would detect it and remove. I located the SpyHunter site – downloaded the program, installed it, and ran it. After an hour it claimed to have detected “114 Toolbar Infections”, 12 infections of “istart123”, 5 infections of “mysearchdial Toolbar”, 4 infections of “Softonic Search Toolbar”, 13 infections of “Speeddial Search”, etc etc.

Only one problem: when you go to purge these infection suddenly SpyHunter pops up a screen informing you that they won’t remove them unless you buy the “program for $30” – or “40 Dollars” for Spyhunter deluxe. “OH, did we forget to tell you that??? before you downloaded it? Installed it? Ran it? I hope you don’t think we hid that bit of information because we knew you wouldn’t Download it, Install it, and Run it … ?”

This is more standard operating and business procedure you find on the Internet. Ethics and Integrity be damned. Money is all that matters.

I don’t expect anything for nothing, but don’t please don’t deliberately deceive me and pretend you’re a reputable company. Thank you. Now go to hell.

So … here I am. That garbage is still on my system. And I can’t get it off.

I may have to completely re-install Windows to get rid of it? I’m not even sure that will work?

Yes folks … there’s plenty of badguys out there.

Easy to find on the Net.

UPDATE: Bloggers and Webmasters furious with Google …


In case you don’t think Googles new image search format is a serious matter, read what Blog owners and Webmasters (and users) are saying:

The revised image search is AWFUL. In order to search “similar to”, you have to now select an image, select more sizes, and then go up and change “more sizes” to “similar to.” This is the only way to get to it, and it’s extremely convoluted and non-intuituve. In fact, the only way I discovered what happened to the feature was by accident. Don’t you have your teams do real-world testing before you release things?

Hi Google,
Don’t be evil” your corporate motto, if are to live up to this, then you should seriously consider your new image search function and listen to the image agency’s and their professional photographers and illustrators – you are effectively helping people steal their images.
Just going to the image on a click “VIEW ORIGINAL IMAGE” and not the website were the image is, is a violation of copyright, human nature is to take the image if you have gone this far, basically stealing.
This is of real concern to thousands of people.
Hope you can live up to your MOTTO. 

You have no right to leave my photographs up for grabs in high resolution. I make a living selling those.
We need to get a class law-suit together.
Models in those photos have also been promised controlled licensing..
Are you out of your mind!!!
It is like leaving the door open to someone else’s house, to let the thieves in.
You have no right!

This needs to be modified so that the viewer is directed to the page on the publisher’s website where the image originated. Not only is Google stealing copyrighted work and posting it on their site these full resolution images can be right clicked and stolen yet again by third parties who then use them on their websites to sell their products. If Google is going into the stock image business they need to pay for the usage rights. If they want to give away an image to fifty people that’s great, just pay me each time a pre-negogiated amount.

I searched and downloaded several of my images. Most arrived with either minimal or no contact information. Metadata has been stripped, which I consider a vital part of my images. The image search will encourage theft by making licensing more difficult. Yes, images are stolen and misused all over the internet every day. Google should not be facilitating this. I will also note that many, many irrelevant images showed up under my very specific searches.

Google, this was a terrible idea and you’ve greatly undermined the many webmaster’s that have made what google is today…Yes it is good in terms of user experience but the problem is that you are no longer giving any benefit to those providing you with the content (webmasters). This decision will greatly affect the amount of search results in the future.

I don’t like this new feature 🙁

i lost from 10000 to 4000, some day less, is possible google returns back ?

This change breaks two privacy controls at Google’s Picasaweb, as described in this thread at the Picasaweb help forum.
Picasaweb has long offered its users a sort of security-through-obscurity setting that makes individual photos posted there unfindable except in ways that the owner of the image controls. The new behavior takes that away.
Second, Picasaweb allows its users to specify that images are not available for reuse. This setting is not communicated to the users of google image search under the new format.
Quite honestly, the new arrangement is great for thieves, the only people likely to be interested in viewing these images divorced from their context on the web. 

So you win a lawsuit because you are not duplicating full size images and then you do this!
Thanks Guys, I am already losing traffic to Pinners who Pin my stuff on Pinterest without my permission and now you have just about killed off the traffic I get from Image Search.
Where’s the incentive for them to click though to my sites so they can see a better image?
And thank you so much for making it easier for Image Thieves to steal my images.
But of course I don’t matter. I am only one of the little guys and when I go down, there’s enough new people to take my place.
Oh joy!

I am very concerned about the metadata stripping that occurs when photographs are displayed in the search. I located a number of my images and several of them arrived on my desktop with minimal or no contact information. Keeping metadata intact is key for proper licensing of photographs. Yes, images are being stolen and used without permission all over the internet but we shouldn’t be encouraging it.

After the update, my CTR for pictures went from 120 – 150 visits a day to 20. 
That’s very disappointing because obviously, people take the picture without going to the source anymore. Formerly, I got decent traffic from google images but now this is gone, which is sad.

A LOT of very upset people – and rightfully so.

All these complaints were posted at this site:

I am still urging all readers to PLEASE take a few minutes and lodge a complaint (to the above site) as these folks have.

Many of your favorite Blogs and Websites are in jeopardy.

Thank you.