Author Topic: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings  (Read 12327 times)

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Offline charles239

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Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« on: June 02, 2017, 11:04:29 PM »
I'm running Windows 10 Creators Update (64-bit) with Avast v17.4.2294, and it keeps erasing my windows Proxy settings.

It is annoying me to no end, and I'm very nearly at the point of uninstalling avast entirely. Can somebody please tell me how do I disable this "feature"?

Offline Eddy

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2017, 11:17:55 PM »
What part (shield/setting) of avast is doing it ?

Offline charles239

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2017, 11:49:51 PM »
I don't have the slightest clue. The only reason I even know it's Avast doing it is because I ran Process Monitor (from SysInternals Suite) and that was the only application that touched the proxy settings in the registry.

Offline DavidR

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2017, 12:33:19 AM »
What avast program are you using Avast Free Antivirus / Pro Antivirus / Internet Security/ Premier ?

Have you set any proxy setting in the avast Update settings ?
That said it shouldn't change your windows proxy settings as technically this would only be used for updates.
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Offline charles239

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2017, 01:07:45 AM »
It's the free version, and I haven't set any proxy update settings. Frustratingly, when I try to google search this problem, I only seems to get results related to the proxy settings for update.

I'm assuming that's completely unrelated to my problem.

Offline DavidR

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2017, 01:34:42 AM »
It's the free version, and I haven't set any proxy update settings. Frustratingly, when I try to google search this problem, I only seems to get results related to the proxy settings for update.

I'm assuming that's completely unrelated to my problem.

I had thought it might be firewall related, but since the free version doesn't have a firewall and would simply use the default proxy if set. There really shouldn't be any reason for it to change/erase them, I'm at a loss as to why this would be happening.

I would say that the update proxy settings would be unrelated.

It is a very long time since I used proxy settings (in XP), but my ISPs Modem Router doesn't allow for changes. And everything just works in my XP, Win7 and win10 systems.

Is there a specific reason you have to use a proxy ?
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Offline charles239

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2017, 02:52:10 AM »
Yes, there is a very specific reason I'm using a proxy, and I'm not willing/able to stop that.

Offline Eddy

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2017, 09:33:16 AM »
If you don't have the slightest clue, go found out.
Test things.

Offline charles239

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2017, 07:40:55 PM »
There really shouldn't be any reason for it to change/erase them, I'm at a loss as to why this would be happening.
DavidR, thank you for your candor. I'm not even familiar enough with the different areas of Avast to say which one this falls under. It could be general registry settings protection (which I had thought Avast doesn't do).  It's possible this is extra precautions applied to general Internet Explorer options (as the proxy settings are part of the same set of controls that govern homepages and other IE settings).

For reference sake, the exact set of registry keys it's reverting are under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\

If you don't have the slightest clue, go found out.
Test things.

Eddy, that response is staggeringly useless (and in my opinion extremely arrogant, as well).  You may as well have replied "Figure it out yourself, chump."  Without even a starting point, testing things from scratch will take hours if not days of my time -- time which I would honestly much rather spend with my family.  Reverting my proxy registry settings appears to happen at random irregular intervals (from as little as 5 minutes to as long as several hours between occurrences).  Testing blindly means turning off components and waiting an unknown amount of time and hoping enough time has passed that if it was going to happen it would have.

A more useful response would be like DavidR's, something along the lines of: "I don't know why it's doing this, but changing registry settings sounds to me like it's related to the File System, so try starting with disabling the File System Shield and see if that works." 

(For what it's worth, I have tried disabling the Web Shield, because that sounded like the best bet to me to start with, but that didn't prevent changing my proxy settings.  The File System seems like my next best bet, but even if that was the solution I see no sub-setting in that Shield that would prevent this from happening, nor any way to set exclusions that target the registry. I see the File System Shield as the single most important component to successful anti-virus, so disabling it entirely is not a long-term solution.)

I realize that by only using the Free version the only avenues I have open to me are the KnowledgeBase and community support here, but if Eddy's response is typical of the level of "community support" that Avast engenders, I certainly won't ever be upgrading to a paid version, and would honestly likely choose some other antivirus vendor entirely.

Offline Eddy

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2017, 07:51:38 PM »
I did asked you what part of avast/shield is causing the problem.
You could have found the answer by disabling them one at a time to see what part (if any) is doing it.
As it is your system, you will have to/test things and spend (some) time on it to find the culprit and solve the problem.
We can't do it for you.

Offline DavidR

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2017, 11:03:50 PM »
There really shouldn't be any reason for it to change/erase them, I'm at a loss as to why this would be happening.
DavidR, thank you for your candor. I'm not even familiar enough with the different areas of Avast to say which one this falls under. It could be general registry settings protection (which I had thought Avast doesn't do).  It's possible this is extra precautions applied to general Internet Explorer options (as the proxy settings are part of the same set of controls that govern homepages and other IE settings).

For reference sake, the exact set of registry keys it's reverting are under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\
<snip quote>

As far as I'm aware the only interaction with the registry by the File System Shield would be if a detection was made of malware outside of the registry then it would check for any registry entry related to that detection. So it isn't scanning the registry in isolation as such.

The next thing I might consider looking at would be the Behaviour Shield, if it found the registry being changed, would it intervene. Since this is a relatively new function I'm not completely familiar with its workings.

Finally there is the Avast Self Defence Module, but that is there to protect avast files, folders, processes and presumably registry entries.

However, the last two I would consider preventative measures not allowing something to be changed rather than actually changing something.  I haven't had to set any proxy settings and I don't believe avast has changed anything and the attached image is my registry key you mentioned.
WinXP ProSP3/ Core2Duo E8300/ 4GB Ram/ avast! free 18.5.2342/ Firefox ESR, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro7.11.0/ DropMyRights/ WinPatrol+/ Drive Image 7.1/ SnagIt 10.0/ avast! mobile security
Windows 10 Home 64bit/ Acer Aspire F15/ Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD/ avast! free 19.6.2383 (build: 19.6.4546.508)/ WinPatrol+/ Firefox, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro7.11.0/ WinPatrol+/

Offline charles239

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2017, 04:21:31 AM »
The next thing I might consider looking at would be the Behaviour Shield, if it found the registry being changed, would it intervene. Since this is a relatively new function I'm not completely familiar with its workings.

Hmm, this one actually sounds like a strong possibility. I've had these proxy settings for a long time (I run a local instance of Privoxy as an ad-blocker, which I've found to be fantastic), and I've had Avast installed for a little over a year now.  I've never had any problems with them until recently. And now that you mention the way the Behaviour Shield works, it's possible the timing of the problem coincides with my adding another exception to my proxy settings.  I suppose it's possible Avast is detecting a change to the proxy registry settings and simply deleting all the the entries assuming them to be made by a virus or bad actor.  I can certainly understand how setting a proxy server can be one vector of attack for a piece of malware, but if that's the case (and admittedly that may be a big IF), it's strange of Avast to not recognize there are plenty of valid uses for proxy servers as well (i.e. school, work, ad-blocking as I'm doing) and revert to a known-good state of the settings rather than flat-out erasing all settings.

The Behaviour Shield being a new feature makes sense as well, as I can appreciate that using proxy settings may be an atypical use-case for Avast's user base; not all edge-cases may have been well thought out in advance.  Still, I'm fairly troubled that I have not been able to find any documentation even remotely covering what's happening to me.  I'm placing a fairly high level of trust in my anti-virus software, and if it's making undocumented changes to my system, that is a concern.

So, let's be optimistic and assume the Behaviour Shield is the problem.  (I've turned off that shield... I'll see if the proxy gets reset during the day tomorrow.) Are you (or anybody else) familiar with how I could set an exclusion for this?  The "application" I'm using to edit the proxy settings is the Internet Properties control panel (i.e. C:\Windows\System32\inetcpl.cpl). It looks like I can only set exclusions on folders, and I'm not keen on exempting my entire System32 from Behaviour Shielding.

Thank you very much for your help and patience, DavidR.

Offline DavidR

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2017, 10:06:41 AM »
This flavour of the Behaviour Shield was introduced in avast version 17.x.xxxx, so it is relatively new. Though it too as far as I'm concerned should be announcing any suspect activity rather than quietly blocking an activity so the user at least knows what is going on.

The avastUI > Settings > Components > Behaviour Shield > Customise has an Exclusions section, thought what to enter in there is a bit of a mystery as we don't know what it is acting on.

There is a Behaviour Shield log, though how helpful this might be for you I don't know, C:\ProgramData\AVAST Software\Avast\report\BehaviorShield.txt.
WinXP ProSP3/ Core2Duo E8300/ 4GB Ram/ avast! free 18.5.2342/ Firefox ESR, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro7.11.0/ DropMyRights/ WinPatrol+/ Drive Image 7.1/ SnagIt 10.0/ avast! mobile security
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Offline charles239

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2017, 02:57:57 PM »
There is a Behaviour Shield log, though how helpful this might be for you I don't know, C:\ProgramData\AVAST Software\Avast\report\BehaviorShield.txt.

The log files is a great tip.  Unfortunately, I've searched all 4 of them (Behaviour, Email, FileSystem, and WebShield), and none make reference to changing the registry during the affected time-frame (or at any other time, for that matter).

Nothing from Avast would lead me to think it's responsible for changing the registry, however it is very clearly AvastSvc.exe that is making the changes.

Offline Alikhan

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Re: Avast keeps resetting my Proxy settings
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2017, 03:07:22 PM »
You need to really narrow it down to which shield is causing the issue, it's either:

- Web Shield
- File Shield
- Behaviour Shield
- Self Defence (unlikely).

Once you get time, disable each shield manually via Settings > Components.
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