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How to remove Defense Center (Removal Guide)

By on June 12, 2010 @ 09:20 PM | Last Updated: July 28, 2010 | Read 120,017 times.
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Defense Center is a program that is installed through the use of malware or fake anti-malware scanners and then uses deceptive warnings and scan results to scare you into purchasing the program. The Trojans that install this malware are typically ones that are installed through vulnerabilities in your installed programs or Windows. These vulnerabilities are exploited through sites that you may visit so that Defense Center is installed on to your computer without your permission or knowledge. Therefore, to block this program, and programs like it, from infecting you again please make sure to install all of the Windows updates that are released on Tuesdays and to make sure your programs like Adobe Reader, Flash, Shockwave, and Java are updated to the latest versions. Certain malware distributors are also bundling this Defense Center with the TDSS rootkit. If you are experience redirects when using Google or other search engines then you may be infected with the TDSS rootkit. It is then suggested you also follow the steps in this guide:

How to remove the TDSS, TDL3, or Alureon rootkit using TDSSKiller

When installed, Defense Center Will disable your Windows Task Manager and then remain dormant until a certain amount of time has passed. After this waiting period, you will start to see alerts appear from your Windows taskbar. When you click on these alerts, Defense Center will be downloaded and installed on your computer without your permission. While installing, Defense Center will also attempt to uninstall numerous legitimate anti-virus programs such as Malwarebytes', F-Secure, Trend Micro, and Symantec Antivirus. When you see the rogue stating that these programs are infected and trying to remove them, please do not allow it to do so.


Defense Center screen shot
Defense Center screen shot
For more screen shots of this infection click on the image above.
There are a total of 14 images you can view.


When Defense Center is started it will scan your computer and state that your computer is infected with numerous infections. These infections, though, are not real and the files it states are infected are actually legitimate Microsoft files that Windows needs in order to operate properly. So do not manually delete any of the files it states are infections as your computer may no longer operate correctly. In order to protect itself, Defense Center will also display an alert stating that any program you run is infected. It does this so that you will not run programs that may remove it from your computer. The text of this alert is:

Warning! Virus threat detected!
Virus activity detected!
Net-Worm.Win32 has been detected. This adware module advertises websites with explicit content. Be advised of such content being possibly illegal. Please click the button below to locate and remove this threat.

While Defense Center is running it will also display alerts that are designed to make you think that your computer is under attack or infected. The text of these alerts are:

Warning! Adware detected!
Adware module detected on your PC!
Zlob.Porn.Ad adware has been detected. This adware module advertises websites with explicit content. Be advised of such content being possibly illegal. Please click the button below to locate and remove this threat now.

Antivirus Alert - Critical threat detected
Network attack detected
Network attack has been detected. Process is attempting to access your private data.

Warning! Network attack detected!
Network intrusion detected!
Your computer is be attacked from a remote PC.
Attack from <ip address>:27040
Process is trying to steal your passwords listed below. It is highly recommended to block this threat now.

A security threat detected on your computer. TrojanASPX.JS.Win32. It strongly recommended to remove this threat right now. Click on the message to remove it.

A security threat detected on your computer. This malicious program may steal your private data. Click on the message to ensure the protection of your computer.

Harmful viruses detected on your computer. Click on the message to scan your computer for security threats for free.

Just like the fake scan results, all of these alerts are false and just another tactic being used to scare you into purchasing the program and should be ignored.

As you can see, this program was created with one purpose; to scare you into thinking your computer has a serious security problem so that you will purchase Defense Center. By no means should you purchase this program, and if you have, you should contact your credit card company and dispute the charges stating the program is fraudulent. To remove this program, and any related malware, please use the removal guide below.


Threat Classification:


Advanced information:

View Defense Center files.
View Defense Center Registry Information.


Entries for this program found in the Uninstall Programs control panel:

Defense Center


Tools Needed for this fix:


Symptoms that may be in a HijackThis Log:

O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Defense Center] "C:\Program Files\Defense Center\defcnt.exe" -noscan


Guide Updates:

06/12/10 - Initial guide creation.
07/28/10 - Added TDSS info.


Automated Removal Instructions for Defense Center using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:


  1. Print out these instructions as we will need to close every window that is open later in the fix.

  2. Reboot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking. To do this, turn your computer off and then back on and immediately when you see anything on the screen, start tapping the F8 key on your keyboard. Eventually you will be brought to a menu similar to the one below:

    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Screen

    Using the arrow keys on your keyboard, select Safe Mode with Networking and press Enter on your keyboard. If you are having trouble entering safe mode, then please use the following tutorial: How to start Windows in Safe Mode

    Windows will now boot into safe mode with networking and prompt you to login as a user. Please login as the same user you were previously logged in with in the normal Windows mode. Then proceed with the rest of the steps.

  3. Download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, or MBAM, from the following location and save it to your desktop:

    http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/malwarebytes/mbam-setup.exe - Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Download Link (Download page will open in a new window)

  4. Once downloaded, close all programs and Windows on your computer, including this one.

  5. Double-click on the icon on your desktop named mbam-setup.exe. This will start the installation of MBAM onto your computer.

  6. When the installation begins, keep following the prompts in order to continue with the installation process. Do not make any changes to default settings and when the program has finished installing, make sure you leave both the Update Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware checked. Then click on the Finish button.

  7. MBAM will now automatically start and you will see a message stating that you should update the program before performing a scan. As MBAM will automatically update itself after the install, you can press the OK button to close that box and you will now be at the main program as shown below.

    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Screen

  8. On the Scanner tab, make sure the the Perform full scan option is selected and then click on the Scan button to start scanning your computer for Defense Center related files.

  9. MBAM will now start scanning your computer for malware. This process can take quite a while, so we suggest you go and do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan. When MBAM is scanning it will look like the image below.

    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Scanning Screen

  10. When the scan is finished a message box will appear as shown in the image below.

    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Scan Finished Screen

    You should click on the OK button to close the message box and continue with the Defense Center removal process.

  11. You will now be back at the main Scanner screen. At this point you should click on the Show Results button.

  12. A screen displaying all the malware that the program found will be shown as seen in the image below. Please note that the infections found may be different than what is shown in the image.

    MalwareBytes Scan Results

    You should now click on the Remove Selected button to remove all the listed malware. MBAM will now delete all of the files and registry keys and add them to the programs quarantine. When removing the files, MBAM may require a reboot in order to remove some of them. If it displays a message stating that it needs to reboot, please allow it to do so. Once your computer has rebooted, and you are logged in, please continue with the rest of the steps.

  13. When MBAM has finished removing the malware, it will open the scan log and display it in Notepad. Review the log as desired, and then close the Notepad window.

  14. You can now exit the MBAM program.

  15. As many rogues and other malware are installed through vulnerabilities found in out-dated and insecure programs, it is strongly suggested that you use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs on your computer. A tutorial on how to use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs can be found here:

    How to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector

Your computer should now be free of the Defense Center program. If your current anti-virus solution let this infection through, you may want to consider purchasing the PRO version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future.

If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow the steps outlined in the topic linked below:

Preparation Guide For Use Before Using Malware Removal Tools and Requesting Help



Associated Defense Center Files:

c:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Favorites\_favdata.dat
c:\Program Files\Defense Center
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\about.ico
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\activate.ico
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\buy.ico
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\def.db
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\defcnt.exe
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\defext.dll
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\defhook.dll
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\help.ico
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\scan.ico
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\settings.ico
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\splash.mp3
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\Uninstall.exe
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\update.ico
c:\Program Files\Defense Center\virus.mp3
%UserProfile%\Desktop\Defense Center Support.lnk
%UserProfile%\Desktop\Defense Center.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Defense Center
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Defense Center\About.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Defense Center\Activate.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Defense Center\Buy.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Defense Center\Defense Center Support.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Defense Center\Defense Center.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Defense Center\Scan.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Defense Center\Settings.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Defense Center\Update.lnk

File Location Notes:

%UserProfile% refers to the current user's profile folder. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\<Current User> for Windows 2000/XP, C:\Users\<Current User> for Windows Vista/7/8, and c:\winnt\profiles\<Current User> for Windows NT.


Associated Defense Center Windows Registry Information:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Defense Center
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System "DisableTaskMgr" = "1"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "Defense Center"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system "DisableTaskMgr" = "1"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Approved "{5E2121EE-0300-11D4-8D3B-444553540000}"



This is a self-help guide. Use at your own risk.

BleepingComputer.com can not be held responsible for problems that may occur by using this information. If you would like help with any of these fixes, you can ask for malware removal assistance in our Virus, Trojan, Spyware, and Malware Removal Logs forum.

If you have any questions about this self-help guide then please post those questions in our Am I infected? What do I do? and someone will help you.

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