A while back, the following occurred. The PC is a Dell Inpsirion, running Windows 7. The browser was IE6. The network router was Linksys though the PC was wired to it. The router was secured.

Prior to the curious occurance, the browser history was reviewed. It contained numerous entries for Craigslist. During a browsing session a day after the history was reviewed the history dropdown would expand and the screen in this space showed jagged dancing lines. Then the history would return to it's normal, collapsed state. This process occurred many times.

The next day, the browser history was again reviewed. This time, there were no Craigslist entries.

My questions:

  1. What is the likelihood that this was random?

  2. Assuming a black hat actor, what skills would be required to delete specific browser history, from a remote location?

  3. What, if any, security information would the black hat need, assuming assistance from inside the network?

  • 14
    A more important question. Why are you using IE6? – Bacon Brad Nov 8 '16 at 0:09
  • 4
    More to the point, how are you running IE6 (which came with XP) on Windows 7 (which came with IE8 as standard)? That suggests that something non-standard is going on here. – Matthew Nov 8 '16 at 9:41
  • Are you sure it's actually IE6? That seems impossible as Windows 7 ships with a later Internet Explorer by default. – André Borie Nov 8 '16 at 11:51

Taking in to account that you would have to manually install IE6(not sure you could, not going to try) , this is your only question I can see in Stack Exchange, and that jagged dancing lines are present, the KISS rule states this is probably:

1: Out-dated or non-existent display drivers. I am willing to bet that you do not have the most recent display drivers for your integrated or dedicated display device. This may help you. The Jagged lines sound like font smoothing gone wrong - because your driver doesn't know how to properly handle this.

2: Out-dated patches on your Internet Browser. If, for some reason you absolutely need to use IE6 (you shouldn't), you probably aren't using the most recent version of it.

3: You've forgotten that you have a tool set up to clear history. It's possible you run CCleaner or have a setting up to delete history automatically.


If there is a real threat on your PC, it could be any number of items - your IE would be so very outdated, that you can be dealing with threats that existed in 2001 - luckily there should be a signature available for that, use AV. I would suggest you upgrade your browser.

TL;DR - direct answers.

1: Very. 99.99% random. You could have up to 15 years of attacks on your browser.

2: Minimal. You're using something so old, no one would even pay for the tools to perform the really vital step of "Deleting Browser History".

3: The user is pretty exposed to threats due to the patch state of IE6, so he'd need 0 "insider" access.

Super TL;DR



Using Internet Explorer to surf the internet is a great risk, even with all the latest security patches you can get. Microsoft is stopping support for IE 7,8,9 now why would you use 6?

  1. Unless you are an important and a profitable target, this was definitely random, and there are numerous reasons why hackers would infect you.
  2. After infecting you with a malicious software, deleting the history would be very easy, every modern malware would support that.
  3. One of the many ways to gain access to your computer was serving an IE exploit on one of the web pages you visited, you could have been targeted by email randomly or you were unlucky to visit an infected website.

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