My Windows XP PC started acting strange and I am right now actually in Linux running off of a USB drive. I am running Avast under Linux and it has discovered some viruses on my XP drive.

Some of the strange things happening in XP were:

  • I could not get to
  • My Hosts file was set to hidden and read only
  • My Hosts file had an entry of ::1
  • And AVG had ads in it I've never seen before. Maybe it is normal but I Binged for AVG anti-virus and but found no information. (The red lines and question mark are by me). So does AVG Antivirus have ads?

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  • This isn't a duplicate. I am not asking if I have a virus, nor am I asking what to do now. I am asking if these are normal AVG ads or if it has been taken over. – user390480 Sep 21 '12 at 22:25
  • Download and run Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes (both free). Run them. They will help you if it is a virus. – Xavierjazz Sep 21 '12 at 22:33
  • Note that an anti-virus program will often false-positive on the files of another anti-virus program. But those other symptoms are definitely suspicious. – zdan Sep 21 '12 at 22:41
  • 1
    AVG FREE 2013 is out, older versions were ad… – Moab Sep 21 '12 at 23:20
  • 2
    No, I have several installations of AVG 2012, and they do not have ads for non-AVG products. – jjlin Sep 22 '12 at 7:11

No, AVG doesn't have a virus. You've been infected by malware that's pretending to be AVG. It's not uncommon for malware to pretend to be a security tool, but this is a first time I've seen it emulate a popular antivirus program. Still, it doesn't surprise me — kind of an obvious approach really.

One approach is to roll back to a system restore point from before the infected. This kind of malware will try to prevent you from doing that, but you might be able to disable it by booting into safe mode.

But you had better prepare for the possibility that you'll have to reinstall from scratch. Has happened to me more than once.

  • Whenever I've seen malware pretend to be another program, It usually just does the main screen and none of the buttons work. However, all the menus work, I can update, and run scans. I am hesitant to say that a virus creator went through all that trouble to recreate AVG. I can believe that the existing app was hijacked. However, I just want to be sure that these are not AVG's built in Ads. Thanks. – user390480 Sep 21 '12 at 22:32

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