Security Shield is a computer infection from the same family
as MS Removal Tool. This program is a long running infection that was first seen in 2010 when it was simply called Security Shield. In 2011 it changed its name to Security Shield 2011 and it is now called Security Shield 2012. Security Shield 2012 is categorized as a rogue
anti-spyware program as it pretends to be an anti-virus program, but is
actually a program that displays fake security alerts and scan results in order
to make you think your computer is infected. Security Shield is installed through
the use of malware that will install the program onto your computer without
your knowledge or permission. When installed, the infection files will be created
in a random named folder in c:\Documents and Settings\<UserProfile>\Local Settings\Application Data\, in XP, or C:\Users\<UserProfile>\AppData\Local\, in Windows
Vista and Windows 7. It will then be configured to start automatically when
you login to your computer.
Security Shield 2012 screen shot
For more screen shots of this infection click on the image above.
There are a total of 7 images you can view.
Once running it will scan your computer and state that there are numerous infections
present, but will not allow you to remove them until you purchase the program.
It is important to understand that Security Shield is scripted to display fake scan
results regardless of whether or not your computer is infected. Therefore, please
do not be concerned if this program states you are infected. Security Shield will
also terminate any executables that you attempt to run in order to protect itself
from being removed. When you attempt to run any program, it will terminate that
program's process and then display a message similar to the following that states that the program is infected:
"notepad.exe" is infected with "Backdoor:Win32/Hackdef.O".
Do you want to register your copy and remove all threats now?
Other infections Security Shield may state your clean programs are infected with include 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 fake and should be ignored.
While Security Shield is running it will also display fake security alerts and
warnings from your Windows taskbar. These alerts are designed to scare you into
thinking that your computer is severely infected and that you should purchase
the program to protect yourself. The text of these messages include:
Security Shield 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 Shield.
Security Shield Warning
Security Shield has found viruses at your system.
We highly recommended to get license for Security Shield to remove harmful software now.
Security Shield Warning
Your computer is under the infections threat. Turn on instantshield protection to safe your data and prevent internet attacks for your credit card information.
Select this to turn instantshield on.
While the infection is running it will also hijack your web browser to display security warnings when you attempt to browse the web. 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 Shield" 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 warnings, this fake alert that is shown when browsing the web is false as well and should be ignored.
As you can see, this infection was created solely to make you think that your
computer is infected so that you will then purchase the program. It goes without
saying that you should definitely not buy Security Shield, 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 Shield and other
related malware, please use the free removal guide below.
View Security Shield 2012 files.
View Security Shield 2012 Registry Information.
Tools Needed for this fix:
Symptoms that may be in a HijackThis Log:
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings,ProxyServer = http=127.0.0.1:8888;https=127.0.0.1:8888;
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings,ProxyOverride = <-loopback>;
O4 - HKCU\..\RunOnce: [<random characters>] %LocalAppData%\<random characters>.exe
12/07/10 - Initial guide creation.
05/22/11 - Updated guide for new information.
06/16/11 - Updated for new variant.
02/06/12 - Updated for new information.
3/20/12 - Updated for new 2012 version.
Automated Removal Instructions for Security Shield 2012 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 you run into this problem
when following the steps in this guide 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.
- Reboot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking using
the instructions for your version of Windows found in the following tutorial:
to start Windows in Safe Mode
When following the steps in the above tutorial, select Safe Mode with
Networking rather than just Safe Mode. When the computer reboots
into Safe Mode with Networking make sure you login with the username you normally
use. When you are at your Windows desktop, please continue with the rest of
- This infection changes 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.
- Now we must end the processes that belong to
Security Shield 2012
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.
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 reenabled the proxy
settings. You may have to do this quite a few times before you can get RKill
downloaded. If you still cannot download the RKill 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
Security Shield 2012
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
Security Shield 2012
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
Security Shield 2012
. 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)
If you are unable to connect to the site to download Malwarebytes', please
go back and do steps 3-6 again and make sure the infection has not reenabled
the proxy settings.
- 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
Security Shield 2012
- 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.
- 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. 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 Security Shield 2012 Files:
<b>Windows Vista and Windows 7:</b>
%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Security Shield.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Security Shield.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.
%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.
%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 Shield 2012 Windows Registry Information:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings "ProxyServer"="http=127.0.0.1:8888;https=127.0.0.1:8888;"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings "ProxyOverride"="<-loopback>;"
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.