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Remove Guard Online (Uninstall Guide)

By on October 7, 2011 @ 11:16 PM | Read 24,108 times.
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Guard Online is a computer infection from the Rogue.WinAVPro family, which includes other rogues such as OpenCloud Security. This infection is classified as a rogue anti-spyware program because it uses false security alerts and fake scan results to try and trick you into thinking that your computer is infected so that you will then purchase it. This infection is promoted through hacked sites that use exploits to install this program onto your computer without your permission.

Once Guard Online is started it will do a fake scan on your computer that will state that there are numerous infections present. It will then prompt you to remove these so-called infections, but will not allow you to do so unless you first purchase the program. Please understand, that Guard Online is scripted to show you these fake scan results regardless of the computer you are on and how clean it is. Therefore, do not be concerned by any of the scan results as they are only being shown to scare you into thinking that you have a serious computer problem. Guard Online will also configure Windows to use a Proxy Server. This Proxy Server will intercept all Internet requests and instead of displaying your requested web pages, will show fake security alerts stating the web site you are visiting is malicious.

Some installations of the Rogue.WinAVPro family may be bundling the ZeroAccess rootkit along with the rogue. This rootkit will terminate any process that scans one of the items it is protecting in the Windows Registry or the file system. It will then change the permissions on that program so that when you attempt to run it again you will receive an access denied message. If you are infected with this Rootkit, then the following guide will not be able to remove the infection unless you first remove the rootkit. You can attempt to remove the rootkit using TDSSKiller as outlined in this guide:

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

If that does not work, then it is advised that you create a one-on-one virus removal assistance topic by following the instructions in this guide:

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

 

Guard Online screen shot
Guard Online screen shot
For more screen shots of this infection click on the image above.
There are a total of 3 images you can view.

 

Guard Online will also terminate the majority of programs that you attempt to run. When you start an executable it will automatically be closed and you will then be shown a security warning from the Windows taskbar stating that the program is infected. The text of this message is:

Warning!
The file "firefox.exe" is infected. Running of application is impossible.
Please activate your antivirus software.

Just like the scan results, this infection message is fake and should be ignored.

While running, Guard Online will display a variety of fake security alerts and warnings that are designed to make you think your computer has a serious security problem. The various text of the alerts that this program will show are listed below:

Serious security vulnerabilities were detected on this computer. Your privacy and personal data may be unsafe. Do you want to protect your PC?

svchost.exe
svchost.exe was replaced with unauthorized program.
It has encountered a problem and needs to close.
If you were in the middle of something, the information you were working on might be lost.
Please tell Microsoft about this problem.
We have created an error report that you can send to us. We will treat this report as confidential and anonymous.

Windows Security Alert
To help protect your computer, Windows Firewall has blocked some features of this program.
Do you want to keep blocking this program?
Name: Zeus Trojan
Publisher: Unauthorized

Warning! Infection found
Unauthorized sending E-MAIL with subject "RE:" to <fake email here> was CANCELLED.

Warning! Infection found
Unwanted software (malware) or tracking cookies have been found during last scan. It is highly recommended to remove it from your computer.
Keylogger Zeus was detected and put in quarantine.
Keylogger Zeus is a very dangerous software used by criminals to steal personal data such as credit card information, access to banking accounts, passwords to social networks and e-mails.

Security Warning
Your computer continues to be infected with harmful viruses. In order to prevent permanent loss of your information and credit card data theft please activate your antivirus software. Click here to enable protection.

Security Warning
Malicious programs that may steal your private information and prevent your system from working properly are detected on your computer.
Click here to clean your PC immediately.

Security Warning
There are critical system files on your computer that were modified by malicious software.
It may cause permanent data loss.
Click here to remove malicious software.

Warning: Infection is Detected
Windows has found spyware infection on your computer!
Click here to update your Windows antivirus software

Warning: Spyware Detected
Windows has found spy programs running on your computer!
Click here to update your Windows antivirus software

Windows Security Center
Serious security vulnerabilities were detected on this computer. Your privacy and personal data may be unsafe. Do you want to protect your PC?

As you can see, Guard Online was developed to scare you into purchasing your program by attempting to make you think your computer is infected. It goes without saying that you should definitely not buy Guard Online, and if you already have, please contact your credit card company and dispute the charges stating that the program is a scam and a computer virus. To remove Guard Online and other related malware, please use the free removal guide below.

 

Threat Classification:

 

Advanced information:

View Guard Online files.
View Guard Online Registry Information.

 

Tools Needed for this fix:

 

Symptoms that may be in a HijackThis Log:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "<random>"

 

Guide Updates:

10/07/11 - Initial guide creation.

 


Automated Removal Instructions for Guard Online using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:

 

  1. Print out these instructions as we may 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. It is possible that the infection you are trying to remove will not allow you to download files on the infected computer. If this is the case, then you will need to download the files requested in this guide on another computer and then transfer them to the infected computer. You can transfer the files via a CD/DVD, external drive, or USB flash drive.

  4. This infection may change your Windows settings to use a proxy server that will not allow you to browse any pages on the Internet with Internet Explorer or update security software. Regardless of the web browser you use, for these instructions we will first need need to fix this problem so that we can download the utilities we need to remove this infection.

    Please start Internet Explorer, and when the program is open, click on the Tools menu and then select Internet Options as shown in the image below.



    Internet Explorer Tools Menu


  5. You should now be in the Internet Options screen as shown in the image below.



    Internet Options screen



    Now click on the Connections tab as designated by the blue arrow above.

  6. You will now be at the Connections tab as shown by the image below.


    Internet Options connections tab



    Now click on the Lan Settings button as designated by the blue arrow above.

  7. You will now be at the Local Area Network (LAN) settings screen as shown by the image below.



    Proxy Settings screen



    Under the Proxy Server section, please uncheck the checkbox labeled Use a proxy server for your LAN. Then press the OK button to close this screen. Then press the OK button to close the Internet Options screen. Now that you have disabled the proxy server you will be able to browse the web again with Internet Explorer.

  8. As this infection is known to be bundled with the TDSS rootkit infection, you should also run a program that can be used to scan for this infection. Please follow the steps in the following guide:
    How to remove Google Redirects or the TDSS, TDL3, or Alureon rootkit using TDSSKiller
    If after running TDSSKiller, you are still unable to update Malwarebytes' Anti-malware or continue to have Google search result redirects, then you should post a virus removal request using the steps in the following topic rather than continuing with this guide:

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

    If TDSSKiller requires you to reboot, please allow it to do so. After you reboot, reboot back into Safe Mode with Networking again.

  9. When in Safe More with Networking, we must first end the processes that belong to Guard Online so that it does not interfere with the cleaning procedure. To do this, please download RKill to your desktop from the following link.

    RKill Download Link - (Download page will open in a new tab or browser window.)

    When at the download page, click on the Download Now button labeled iExplore.exe download link. When you are prompted where to save it, please save it on your desktop.

  10. Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with Guard Online and other Rogue programs. Please be patient while the program looks for various malware programs and ends them. When it has finished, the black window will automatically close and you can continue with the next step. If you get a message that RKill is an infection, do not be concerned. This message is just a fake warning given by Guard Online when it terminates programs that may potentially remove it. If you run into these infections warnings that close RKill, a trick is to leave the warning on the screen and then run RKill again. By not closing the warning, this typically will allow you to bypass the malware trying to protect itself so that RKill can terminate Guard Online . So, please try running RKill until the malware is no longer running. You will then be able to proceed with the rest of the guide. Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.

    If you continue having problems running RKill, you can download the other renamed versions of RKill from the RKill download page. Both of these files are renamed copies of RKill, which you can try instead. Please note that the download page will open in a new browser window or tab.

  11. Now you should download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, or MBAM, from the following location and save it to your desktop:

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Download Link (Download page will open in a new window)

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

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

  14. 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. If MalwareBytes' prompts you to reboot, please do not do so.

  15. 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

  16. 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 Guard Online related files.

  17. 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

  18. 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 Guard Online removal process.

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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. You can now exit the MBAM program.

  23. 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 Guard Online 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 Guard Online Files:

%AppData%\<random>\
%AppData%\<random>\
%AppData%\<random>\
%AppData%\<random> Guard Online.ico
%AppData%\ldr.ini
%StartMenu%\Programs\Guard Online\
%StartMenu%\Programs\Guard Online\Guard Online.lnk
%System%\<random>.exe
%UserProfile%\Desktop\Guard Online.lnk

File Location Notes:

%System% is a variable that refers to the Windows System folder. By default this is C:\Windows\System for Windows 95/98/ME, C:\Winnt\System32 for Windows NT/2000, or C:\Windows\System32 for Windows XP/Vista/7/8.

%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.

%AppData% refers to the current users Application Data folder. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\<Current User>\Application Data for Windows 2000/XP. For Windows Vista and Windows 7 it is C:\Users\<Current User>\AppData\Roaming.

%StartMenu% refers to the Windows Start Menu. For Windows 95/98/ME it refers to C:\windows\start menu\, for Windows XP, Vista, NT, 2000 and 2003 it refers to C:\Documents and Settings\<Current User>\Start Menu\, and for Windows Vista/7/8 it is C:\Users\<Current User>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu.

 

Associated Guard Online Windows Registry Information:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "<random>"

 


 

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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