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can a virus infect the recovery partition?

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After helping a friend do a complete system recovery using the laptop manufacturers recovery drive system, the laptop started blocking internet access again. Malwarbytes found a couple of PUP's but the symptoms remained. This happened within a day of use after resetting to factory defaults. I'm going to scan his external hard drive and get him to check his hotmail account as I think they are the most likely culprits but I wondered whether the recovery partition can be infected.

Any thoughts?
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These days we have malware that infect the MBR which I expect is not replaced by the recovery process. The recovery information on a hidden partition is also not invulnerable so that's possible too. Also if he backed up any files on an USB drive they can be infected too. If he didn't immediately go to windows updates and get all the updates before doing anything else he can get infected that way. Also an old factory recovery probably leaves you with an obsolete Java or Adobe Flash both of which are very vulnerable so a visit to a bad website could get you reinfected.

Without internet you will have to download the following for him and transfer the files to his desktop with a USB drive or CD: Also I don't know if he has XP or Vista/Win7 so I'm giving you the Vista/Win7 procedure. For XP it's the same but just double click on the file to run it. No need to right click and Run As Admin. Before putting the USB drive into his computer, create two folders in the root of the drive: autorun.inf and desktop.ini. This will help prevent the USB from getting infected and transferring the infection back to you.

Download aswMBR.exe ( 511KB ) to your desktop.
Right click aswMBR.exe and Run as Administrator
uncheck trace disk IO calls
Click the "Scan" button to start scan (Accept the Avast Engine)
On completion of the scan if the Fix button is enabled (not the FixMBR button) press it and then run a new scan and click save log, save it to your desktop and post in your next reply
If the Fix button is not enabled then just click save log, save it to your desktop and post in your next reply


:!: It must be saved to your desktop, do not run it from your browser:!:

:!: Disable your Antivirus software when downloading or running Combofix. If it has Script Blocking features, please disable these as well. See: http://www.bleepingc...opic114351.html

Download and Save this file -- to your Desktop -- from either of these two sources:

Rightclick on ComboFix and select Run As Administrator to start the program.

* :!: Important: Have no other programs running. Your Task Bar should be clear of any program entries including your Browser.

* A window may open with a series of Disclaimers. Accept the Disclaimers to start the fix.

A caution - Do not run Combofix more than once. Do not touch your mouse/keyboard until the scan has completed, as this may cause the process to stall or your computer to lock. The scan will temporarily disable your desktop, and if interrupted may leave your desktop disabled. If this occurs, please reboot to restore the desktop. Even when ComboFix appears to be doing nothing, look at your Drive light. If it is flashing, Combofix is still at work.

A file will be created at => C:\Combofix.txt. I'll need to see that in your reply.

Download TDSSKiller:
Save it to your desktop then run it.
Double click on TDSSKiller.exe (Vista or Win 7 must right click and Run As Admin)
If TDSSKiller alerts you that the system needs to reboot, please consent.

Run TDSSKiller again but this time:
before you hit the Scan hit Change Parameters and check the two items under Additional Options. OK then Scan.
In this mode it is prone to false positives so do not change the SKIP option to DELETE unless it says TDSS.
When done, a log file should be created on your C: drive named "TDSSKiller.txt" please copy and paste the contents in your next reply.

Download OTL from
and Save it to your desktop.

Copy the text in the code box:

%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\*.exe
%systemroot%\*. /mp /s
hklm\software\clients\startmenuinternet|command /rs
hklm\software\clients\startmenuinternet|command /64 /rs
%systemroot%\system32\*.dll /lockedfiles
%systemroot%\Tasks\*.job /lockedfiles
%systemroot%\system32\drivers\*.sys /lockedfiles

Run OTL (Vista or Win 7 => right click and Run As Administrator)

Paste (Ctrl + v) the copied text in the box where it says Custom Scan/Fixes

Select the All option in the Extra Registry group then Run Scan.

You should get two logs. Please copy and paste both of them.

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Hello Ron

thank you for your reply. At the moment his PC is working OK except for Internet Explorer won't search. I installed Google Chrome which is working perfectly. If the symptoms return (which I understand is a distinct possibility) I'll carry out your instructions.

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