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Other Search Page attached in Player weknow.ac

New Here ,
Aug 11, 2018 Aug 11, 2018

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I'm not sure what the connection is here but several times I had a problem with an unwanted search page weknow.ac. I tried for days to get rid of it after an update was downloaded for Flash. Finally after uninstalling and reinstalling Chrome. I removed the Search page from Safari and all other places as instructed.I could not get rid of it even though the root was removed. Then I remembered the update and uninstalled Adobe Flash and Reader. It finally was gone.

Today I went directly to this website and downloaded Flash again thinking the first one was bogus. Guess what came back?! weknow.ac. I uninstalled Flash Player again and it gone.

I hope I do not need Flash, because I'm never downloading it again.Typically a choice is available to add extra apps. Maybe Adobe is unaware of this. Just saying. It was very frustrated.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 11, 2018 Aug 11, 2018

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When downloading ANY programs I am careful to read everything on the download page, so I may UN-check the options for anything I do not want

My flash is integrated and controlled by Microsoft for Internet Explorer, so I never go to the Flash download page to see what may be included by default... which I would then have to manually un-check

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New Here ,
Aug 11, 2018 Aug 11, 2018

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Thank goodness you didn't. This popped up on me and it never mentioned that weknow.ac search page. Weird, very weird. I hope someone else sees this as well.

Screen Shot 2018-08-11 at 3.41.08 PM.png ITS BACK!

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New Here ,
Aug 11, 2018 Aug 11, 2018

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Thank

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 13, 2018 Aug 13, 2018

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Sorry this happened to you.  I'm going to leave some advice here for other folks that may run across this.

Unfortunately, because Flash Player is installed on billions of computers, it's a common target for impersonation for people distributing malware.  A legitimate Flash Player installer would not include something from weknow.ac. 

As an industry, we've done a pretty good job of defending against technical attacks that allow bad guys to install software without your authorization.  In 2018, it's really difficult to do (assuming you're running a modern operating system and not something from 2005, in which case, you should get on that).

The result is that human factors are now the path of least resistance.  It's easier to trick you into installing something on behalf of the attacker, vs. figuring out how to defeat all of the security stuff required to do it without your express permission.

In general, you're better off setting everything to update automatically.  You can then go through life assuming that any update notifications you get are bogus.  This is actually what we strongly recommend, and it generally applies to anything tasked with handing untrusted communication (the operating system, your web browser, flash player, etc.).  The inconvenience of something functional breaking because of an update pales in comparison to the pain of recovering from identity theft.

Here are a few guidelines that will minimize your risk of getting tricked into installing malware:

- Wherever possible, use your operating system's App Store for downloading and updating software

- When software you want (like Flash Player) isn't available from the App Store for your operating system, always navigate directly to the vendor's website.  If you need to search for the download, that's cool -- but avoid "download" sites, and find the vendor's actual download link

- Never download stuff from a link in an email or update dialog.  Type it in.  It's easy to disguise fake URLs in links using internationalized characters and things (e is not the same as è, but it might be really easy to miss if you're not looking closely).  If it's a link from a URL shortener service like tinyurl.com/abcde or bit.ly/abcde, you don't know what the end result is going to be, and you're probably wise to just head to Google to find what you need instead.  As always, you want to find a link directly to the software vendor's download page.

- When the software offers automatic updates, just turn them on and stop worrying about maintaining all the moving parts running on your computer.  The threat landscape is so much different than it was 10-15 years ago.  Enable updates so that you're getting critical patches as soon as they become available.  Be confident that any subsequent update notifications are probably fake, and act accordingly (either ignore them, or consult the vendor for guidance before doing anything).

For Flash Player specifically:

Always download Flash Player from here:  https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

When you install, choose the default option of "Allow Adobe to Install Updates (recommended)", and we'll keep it updated for you.

Google Chrome ships Flash Player as a built-in component, and keeps it updated automatically.  There's nothing separate to download, install or configure.

Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer on Windows 8 and higher also include Flash Player as a built-in component of their browser, and updates are handled automatically through Windows Update.  Again, as long as Windows Update is enabled, there's nothing to download or configure.

Also, while you've manually cleaned up the stuff that you can see, you installed malware on your machine.  There's a large universe of unknown unknowns, but the malware guys at this point are generally professionals.  They test against the popular antivirus and cleanup tools.  While you've removed the obvious visible signs of the malware infection, you're putting a lot of faith into the tools that you used.  This sort of requires a gut-check on your part about what your risk tolerance and confidence level is.  It also depends on what you do with the computer (health care, banking, etc.).  Good malware is going to first establish a foothold, but the second order of business would be to ensure resilience.  Without an exhaustive (and expensive) forensic analysis, there are no guarantees that you've eradicated everything that was installed.

If it were me, I'd probably back up all of the critical data on the machine and then burn the whole thing down and start from scratch (e.g. format the hard disk, reinstall the operating system and applications from pristine sources, install a reputable antivirus utility, scan my backups and then restore them.  I'd then go buy a password manager like LastPass/OnePass/KeyPass/etc. and set about ensuring that I have unique, strong passwords for each of the important online services that I use (including any email services that could be used to reset those passwords), and set up two-factor authentication wherever it's offered.

Also, if you have a commodity wifi router (i.e. not one that's built in to your cable modem, etc.), it may also be wise to take a few minutes to reboot it, and then from a known-good machine (not the laptop that you're having weird malware symptoms from), updating the firmware on it.

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