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How does a virus do this?

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Tom Valois

Tom Valois

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I had a variant of Trojan.Agent on my computer. I have gotten rid of it (at least to the satisfaction of my AntiVirus software). However, after I got rid of it, Internet Explorer stopped working. Firefox worked, my e-mail client worked, BitTorrent worked, but not Internet Explorer. When I opened Internet Explorer, I got an error page telling me that I was not connected to the Internet. When I clicked "Diagnose Problem", it told me that there was no problem with my Internet connection, and gave me the option of "Browsing the Internet". Of course, when I clicked on "Browsing the Internet", Internet Explorer once again informed me that I was not connected to the Internet. I solved this by resetting my Internet Explorer options to the default settings.

So I guess I have two questions: first, how did Trojan.Agent (or whatever else I might have had) accomplish the disabling of Internet Explorer? And second, why can't Internet Explorer's diagnosis feature figure out that Internet Explorer isn't working? It doesn't seem to be a very helpful feature if it can access the Internet and say everything is ok, but the program that it is supposedly diagnosing can't access the Internet and says that everything is screwed up.
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Without seeing your logs I can't be sure but my guess is that your bug installed a proxy server on your PC then told IE to use it to get to the internet. (Proxy Servers are used at big companies and by speed up services. They store copies of popular webpages and cut down on the amount of traffic to the internet and make it look like the internet is much faster since the page only passes through high capacity local network connections and not through the much narrower internet connection.) Your antivirus managed to remove the proxy server but did not tell IE to stop looking to the proxyserver which was no longer there. When you reset IE to defaults you removed the ''use proxy server xyz' option and fixed your problem. As far as IE was concerned everything was working correctly.

You could have fixed it by IE, Tools, Internet Options, Connections, Lan Settings where you will see boxes to check to "Use a proxy server for your LAN" and a place where the address of the proxy server can be typed in. By unchecking the box IE would start using the regular internet connection instead of the proxy.

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