Malware Defense is a rogue anti-spyware program that is promoted
through the use of Trojans and other malware. Once installed, this program will
perform a scan and then state that your computer is infected with a variety
of malware. If you try to use Malware Defense to remove any of these infections
it will state that you need to purchase the program first before it will attempt
to do so. This is a scam, though, as the the files it states are infected are
either legitimate Windows files or fake results. It is only showing you the
results in order to make you think that you are infected so that you will then
purchase Malware Defense. Therefore, please do not attempt to manually delete
any of the files it states are infections as you may remove legitimate Windows
files that could affect the proper operation of your computer.
Malware Defense screen shot
For more screen shots of this infection click on the image above.
There are a total of 6 images you can view.
While Malware Defense is running you will also see numerous security alerts
appear on your computer. These alerts will state that your computer is infected
or that it is sending your private data to the Internet. Two of the more common
messages you will see state that Internet Explorer and Windows Messenger are
infected with malware and prompt you to purchase Malware Defense in order to
protect your computer. Like the scan results, these security warnings are all
fake and are only being shown to further scare you into thinking you are infected.
Without a doubt, Malware Defense was created to scam you into thinking you
have a computer problem so that you will then purchase the program. Please do
not purchase this program, and if you already have, you should contact your
credit card company to dispute the charges. To remove Malware Defense please
use the removal guide below.
View Malware Defense files.
View Malware Defense Registry Information.
Entries for this program found in the Uninstall Programs control panel:
Tools Needed for this fix:
Symptoms that may be in a HijackThis Log:
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Malware Defense] "C:\Program Files\Malware Defense\mdefense.exe" -noscan
12/19/09 - Initial guide creation.
12/22/09 - Changed removal instructions.
Automated Removal Instructions for Malware Defense using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:
- Print out these instructions as we may need to close every window that is
open later in the fix.
- 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.
- This infection changes your Internet Explorer settings to use a proxy server
that will not allow you to browse any pages on the Internet. Therefore, if
you only have Internet Explorer installed, we will first need need to fix
this problem so that we can download the utilities we need to remove this
infection. If you already have another browser installed, then you can skip
to step 4 to proceed with the removal instructions. I
still advise that you do all of these steps so that Internet Explorer works
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.
- You should now be in the Internet Options screen as shown in the image below.
Now click on the Connections tab as designated by the blue
- You will now be at the Connections tab as shown by the image below.
Now click on the Lan Settings button as designated by the
blue arrow above.
- You will now be at the Local Area Network (LAN) settings screen as shown
by the image below.
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.
- Now we must end the processes that belong to
so that it does not interfere with the cleaning procedure. To do this, please
download RKill from the following link.
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.
If you are unable to connect to the site to download rkill, please go back
and do steps 3-6 again and make sure the infection has not enabled the proxy
settings again. You may have to do this quite a few times before you can get
the rkill.com file downloaded. If you still cannot download the rkill.com
program on the infected computer, you should download it to a clean computer
and copy it to the infected one via a USB flash drive or CDROM.
- Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe
icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with
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
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
. 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.
- 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)
- When the file has finished downloading, look on your desktop for mbam-setup.exe
and right-click on it and select Rename. The title of the
program will now have a blinking cursor where you can edit the name. Please
change the name of the program to explorer.exe.
- After you rename the mbam-setup.exe to explorer.exe, close all your programs
and Windows on your computer, including this one.
- Double-click on the icon on your desktop named explorer.exe.
This will start the installation of MBAM onto your computer.
- 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 and is at the last screen, make
sure you uncheck both of the Update Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
and Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware check
boxes. Then click on the Finish button. If Malwarebytes'
prompts you to reboot, please do not do so.
If you receive a code 2 error while installing Malwarebytes's, please press
the OK button to close these errors as we will resolve them
in future steps. The code 2 error will look similar to the image below.
- As this infection deletes a core executable of Malwarebytes' we will need
to download a new copy of it and put it in the C:\program files\Malwarebytes'
Anti-Malware\ folder. To download the file please click on the following
When your browser prompts you where to save it to, please save it to the C:\program
files\Malwarebytes Anti-Malware\ folder. When downloading the file,
it will have a random filename. Please leave the filename the way it is as
it is important that it is not changed. You may want to write down the name
of the file as you will need to know the name in the next step.
- Once the file has been downloaded, open the C:\program files\Malwarebytes'
Anti-Malware\ folder and double-click on the file you downloaded
in step 14. MBAM will now start and you will be at the main program screen
as shown below.
- Before you can perform a scan, you must first update the program. To do
this click on the Update tab, and that at the new screen
click on the Check for Updates button. Malwarebytes' will
now check for new updates and download and install them as necessary. When
the update is completed, you will be prompted with a message stating either
that you already have the latest updates or that they have been updated. Either
way, you should now click on the OK button to continue.
- Now click on the Scanner tab and make sure the the Perform
full scan option is selected. Then click on the Scan
button to start scanning your computer for
- 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
- When the scan is finished a message box will appear as shown in the image
You should click on the OK button to close the message box and continue with
- You will now be back at the main Scanner screen. At this point you should
click on the Show Results button.
- 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.
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
- 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
- You can now exit the MBAM program.
Your computer should now be free of the
program. You may want to consider purchasing
the PRO version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types
of threats in the future, as if you had the real-time protection component,
that comes with the paid for version, activated it would not have allowed this
infection to install.
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 Malware Defense Files:
c:\Program Files\Malware Defense
c:\Program Files\Malware Defense\help.ico
c:\Program Files\Malware Defense\md.db
c:\Program Files\Malware Defense\mdefense.exe
c:\Program Files\Malware Defense\mdext.dll
c:\Program Files\Malware Defense\uninstall.exe
%UserProfile%\Desktop\Malware Defense Support.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Malware Defense
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Malware Defense\Malware Defense Support.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Malware Defense\Malware Defense.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Malware Defense\Uninstall Malware Defense.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 Malware Defense Windows Registry Information:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "Malware Defense"
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.