Many unwanted programs such as adware and browser hijackers aim to change the default settings of your browser and set it to work in favor of their developers. Usually, the purpose is to make you visit unintended websites in order to generate traffic which generates them revenue.
Malicious Configurations of the AutoConfigURL
One of the ways to configure your browser settings is by the use of remote WPAD.dat file as the Automatic Configuration Script in Windows’ Internet Options. The configuration of this setting allows the download of a script from the remote location. The instructions in the script are then used for the configuration of other browser settings like proxy settings for a specified URL. Furthermore, this allows the attacker to intercept and modify all of “www” traffic. The problem of Windows WPAD handling is only fixed for “.com” domains in 2005.
The attacker can set up the browser to show you unwanted ads or redirect you to unwanted pages since he has control over the script. You may also observe a changed home page and different destination for the new tab page. Moreover, the changes could be even more annoying like unrelated redirects whenever you search for any term or click on a link.
The researchers from Bleeping Computer have provided a list of the malicious URLs configured as AutoConfigURL by adware. Here is the list:
Source: Bleeping Computer
It is good to remove Automatic Configuration Scripts just in case they are configured by adware programs. When the scripts are used for legitimate purposes, there is no need for removal. It is a common practice of system administrators to configure all workstation’s browsers to use a particular corporate proxy server for better security.
How Can the AutoConfigURL Settings Be Compromised?
The programs that compromise the AutoConfigUrl settings are usually adware programs. Adware programs are commonly bundled with free programs. When you download free software from the Internet, there is the high probability of installing adware or other unwanted program as a part of the freeware installation set. In such cases, it is probably mentioned what exactly you’re going to install in the user license agreements.
During the installation process always seek for Custom or Advanced options as they should provide information if other 3rd party software is installed too. Keep in mind that the information will not state that the additional things for install are adware or an unwanted program. If the user license agreement or any of the installation screens indicate that a toolbar or other unwanted adware will be installed, we recommend you to cancel the installation.
How to Remove Malicious Scripts in AutoConfigURL Settings?
In case that you observe redirects to unknown sites, increased number unwanted ads or both when browsing, it is good to check the Internet Options -> Connections Tab. If there is strange, unknown configuration of the Automatic Configuration Script contact your system administrator of your company whenever you see this on your working PC. If this happens on your personal computer, we suggest you follow our removal instructions. The steps will guide you to clean up all places on the system that could be infected by adware or unwanted programs that lead to compromised AutoConfigURL settings. For best results, we highly recommend you to utilize anti-malware tool and ensure instant security for you and your computer.
Remove malicious scripts in AutoConfigURL settings
SpyHunter anti-malware tool will diagnose all current threats on the computer. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove all malware threats instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter
STEP I: Start the PC in Safe Mode with Network
This will isolate all files and objects created by the browser hijacker so they will be removed efficiently.
- 1) Hit WIN Key + R
- 2) A Run window will appear. In it, write “msconfig” and then press Enter
3) A Configuration box shall appear. In it Choose the tab named “Boot”
4) Mark “Safe Boot” option and then go to “Network” under it to tick it too
5) Apply -> OK
Or check our video guide – “How to start PC in Safe Mode with Networking”
STEP II: Remove malicious scripts in AutoConfigURL settings from Windows
Here’s a way to remove the program. This method will work regardless if you’re on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP. Simply selecting the program and pressing delete won’t work, as it’ll leave a lot of small files. That’s bad because these leftovers can linger on and cause all sorts of problems. The best way to delete a program is to uninstall it. Here’s how you can do that:
- 1) Hold the “Windows” button (It’s between CTRL and Alt on most keyboards) and press “R”. You’ll see a pop-up window.
- 2) In the textbox, type “appwiz.cpl”, then press“ Enter ”.
- 3) The “Programs and features” menu should now appear. It’s a list of all the programs installed on the PC. Here you can find the malicious program, select it, and press “Uninstall“.
STEP III: Remove malicious scripts in AutoConfigURL settings From Your Browser
Before resetting your browser’s settings, you should know that this action will wipe out all your recorded usernames, passwords, and other types of data. Make sure to save them in some way.
- 1) Start Mozilla Firefox. In the upper right corner, click on the Open menu icon and select “Add-ons“.
- 2) Inside the Add-ons Manager select “Extensions“. Search the list of extensions for suspicious entries. If you find any, select them and click “Remove“.
- 3) Click again on the Open menu icon, then click “Options“.
- 4) In the Options window, under “General” tab, click “Restore to Default“.
- 5) Select “Search” in the left menu, mark the unknown search engine and press “Remove”.
- 1) Start Google Chrome. On the upper-right corner, there a “Customize and Control” menu icon. Click on it, then click on “Settings“.
- 2) Click “Extensions” in the left menu. Then click on the trash bin icon to remove the suspicious extension.
- 3) Again in the left menu, under Chrome, Click on “Settings“. Go under “On Startup” and set a new page.
- 4) Afterward, scroll down to “Search“, click on “Manage search engines“.
- 5) In the default search settings list, find the unknown search engine and click on “X“. Then select your search engine of choice and click “Make default“. When you are ready click “Done” button in the right bottom corner.
- 1) Start Internet Explorer. Go to the “Tools” menu and click on “Manage add-ons“.
- 2) In the “Manage add-ons” window, bellow “Add-on Types“, select “Toolbars and Extensions“. If you see a suspicious toolbar, select it and click “Remove“.
- 3) Then again in the “Manage Add-ons” window, in “Add-on Types“, Select “Search Providers“. Chose a search engine and click “Set as default“. Select the unknown search engine and click “Remove and Close”.
- 4) Open the Tools menu, select “Internet Options”.
- 5) In the “General” tab, in “Home page”, enter your preferred page. Click “Apply” and “OK”.
STEP IV: Remove Completely malicious scripts in AutoConfigURL settings Browser Hijacker Using SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
STEP V: Repair Windows Registry
- 1) Again type simultaneously the Windows Button + R key combination
2) In the box, write “regedit”(without the inverted commas) and hit Enter
3) Type the CTRL+F and then write the malicious name in the search type field to locate the malicious executable
4) In case you have discovered registry keys and values related to the name, you should delete them, but be careful not to delete legitimate keys
STEP VI: Preventive Security Measures
- 1) Enable and properly configure your Firewall.
2) Install and maintain reliable anti-malware software.
3) Secure your web browser.
4) Check regularly for available software updates and apply them.
5) Disable macros in Office documents.
6) Use strong passwords.
7) Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re safe.
8) Backup regularly your data.