Security Scanner is a computer infection from the same family
as Security Shield. This infection is categorized as a rogue
anti-spyware program as it pretends to be a legitimate security program, but instead displays false alerts, fake scan results, and does not allow you to run your normal executables. This infection is spread through the use of computer viruses or via hacked web sites that exploit security holes on your computer to install the program without your permission. When installed, it will add itself to your computer as a random named file located in in c:\Documents and Settings\<UserProfile>\Local Settings\Application Data\, in XP, or C:\Users\<UserProfile>\AppData\Local\, in Windows
Vista and Windows 7.
Security Scanner screen shot
For more screen shots of this infection click on the image above.
There are a total of 8 images you can view.
Once the program is running it will scan your computer and then state that there are numerous infected files on your computer. It will then prompt you to remove these infections, but will state that you must first purchase the program before you can remove anything. As all of the scan results are fake and in many cases the files it states are infected do not actually exist on your computer, you should definitely not purchase the program.
To protect itself from being removed and to further make you think your computer is severely infected, it will also terminate any programs that you attempt to run. When it terminates the program it will display an alert stating that the program is infected and that you should purchase Security Scanner to remove the infection. The text of this alert is:
"winword.exe" is infected with "Backdoor:Win32/Samsteal.A.dr".
Do you want to register your copy and remove all threats now?
Other infections Security Scanner may state your clean programs are infected with include Backdoor:Win32/Hackdef.O, Virus.DOS.Lct.599, Virus.DOS.Silver.2071, Virus.DOS.Zerobug.1536.a, Trojan.Win32.KillWin.bl, Backdoor.Win32.RA-based, Trojan.Win32.Killav.k, and Backdoor.WinCE.Brador.a. Just like the scan results, this message is false and should be ignored.
While Security Scanner is running it will also display fake security alerts and
warnings that are designed to make you think your computer has a serious security problem. The text of these messages include:
Security Scanner Warning
Spyware.IEMonster process is found. This is virus that is trying to send your passwords from Internet browser (Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Outlook & others) for the third-parties.
Click here to protect your data with Security Scanner.
Security Scanner Warning
Harmful software have been detected at your PC.
Click here to deactivate it.
Security Scanner Warning
Security Scanner has found viruses at your system.
We highly recommend to get license for Security Scanner to remove harmful software now.
This rogue will also hijack Internet Explorer to display a security alert when you browse web pages. This warning will state that the site you are visiting is unsafe and has attempted to infect your computer. The text of this browser hijack is:
Warning message from Internet browser. This page under virus attack. This may crash your system.
This may be caused by:
- Virus content founded at this site trying to install its components.
- Malicious & unknown network processes are determined.
- Your system is under virus attack
- Negative references from other citizens concerning this web page.
- Your system ports and backdoors have been checked by visited page for external access.
- Obtain a license of "Security Scanner" to protect your PC for the safest browsing Internet pages (desirable)
- Launch spyware, virus and malware scanning process.
- Keep browsing
Just like the fake security alerts, this browser message is completely false and should be ignored.
Without a doubt, Security Scanner was created to scare you into thinking your computer was infected so that they can trick you into purchasing it. It goes without
saying that you should definitely not buy Security Scanner, 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 Security Scanner and other
related malware, please use the free removal guide below.
View Security Scanner files.
View Security Scanner Registry Information.
Tools Needed for this fix:
Symptoms that may be in a HijackThis Log:
O4 - HKCU\..\RunOnce: [<random characters>] %LocalAppData%\<random characters>.exe
02/12/12 - Updated for new information.
Automated Removal Instructions for Security Scanner using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:
- Print out these instructions as we may need to close every window that is
open later in the fix.
- 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:
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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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:
If TDSSKiller requires you to reboot, please allow it to do so. After you reboot, reboot back into Safe Mode with Networking again.
Preparation Guide For Use Before Using Malware Removal Tools and Requesting Help Topic
- When in Safe More with Networking, we must first end the processes that belong to
so that it does not interfere with the cleaning procedure. To do this, please
download RKill to your desktop 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.
- 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)
- Once downloaded, close all programs and Windows on your computer, including
- Double-click on the icon on your desktop named mbam-setup.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, 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- As this infection also changes your Windows HOSTS file, we want to replace
this file with the default version for your operating system. Please note
that if you or your company has added custom entries to your HOSTS file then
you will need to add them again after restoring the default HOSTS file. In
order to protect itself,
changes the permissions of the HOSTS file so you can't edit or delete
it. To fix these permissions please download the following batch file and
save it to your desktop:
When the file has finished downloading, double-click on the hosts-perm.bat
file that is now on your desktop. If Windows asks if you if you are sure you
want to run it, please allow it to run. Once it starts you will see a small
black window that opens and then quickly goes away. This is normal and is
nothing to be worried about. You should now be able to access your HOSTS file.
- We now need to delete the C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\HOSTS file. Once it is deleted, download the following HOSTS file that corresponds
to your version of Windows and save it in the C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc folder. If the contents of the HOSTS file opens in your browser when you click
on a link below then right-click on the appropriate link and select Save
Target As..., if in Internet Explorer, or Save Link As..,
if in Firefox, to download the file.
XP HOSTS File Download Link
Your Windows HOSTS file should now be back to the default one from when Windows
was first installed.
Vista HOSTS File Download Link
2003 Server HOSTS File Download Link
2008 Server HOSTS File Download Link
7 HOSTS File Download Link
- Now reboot your computer.
- After rebooting if you are still unable to access the Internet, please confirm that your browser is not configured to use a proxy by following the instructions in steps 4-7. It is not required to perform these steps in Windows Safe Mode.
- 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:
detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector
Your computer should now be free of the
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 Security Scanner Files:
File Location Notes:
%LocalAppData% refers to the current users Local settings Application Data folder. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\<Current User>\Local Settings\Application Data for Windows 2000/XP. For Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 it is C:\Users\<Current User>\AppData\Local.
Associated Security Scanner Windows Registry Information:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce "<random characters>
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.