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Guide on how to remove System Protector

By on March 28, 2009 @ 02:46 PM | Read 85,357 times.
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System Protector is a rogue anti-spyware program that is installed and promoted through the use of Trojans. These Trojans will display fake security alerts and warnings on your computer, and then when clicked on, will download and install System Protector without your permission. Once installed, the program will be set to start automatically and to scan your computer. When the scanning has finished, it will state that your computer has numerous infections and will not remove them unless you purchase the program. These infections, though, are all false and do not even exist on your computer. System Protector also utilizes built-in removal protection by blocking proper access to certain anti-malware sites and tools. In order to bypass this protection you simply need to end the program's process so that you have proper functionality of your browser. Our guide below will explain how to do this. When the program is running you will also constantly see nag screens appearing stating that your computer is infected or has another problem. These nag screens are all fake warnings and should be ignored as well.

 

System Protector screen shot
System Protector screen shot
For more screen shots of this infection click on the image above.
There are a total of 7 images you can view.

 

Some installations of System Protector include a DLL that is loaded via the Winlogon Notify key. This DLL has a random name and is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. If this DLL is loaded it will make it so you cannot run numerous anti-malware programs on your computer. An example HijackThis entry for this type of DLL is:

O20 - Winlogon Notify: aeefaaeeafcbba - C:\WINDOWS\system32\aeefaaeeafcbba.dll

If you have problems starting anti-malware utilities or if they shut down automatically when you start them, then you may have this module installed. If this is the case you will need to delete this file before following the rest of the steps in this guide. For help removing and identifying this DLL, we suggest you ask about in the forums. Otherwise, please use the following guide to remove System Protector and any associated malware for free.

 

Threat Classification:

 

Advanced information:

View System Protector files.
View System Protector Registry Information.

 

Tools Needed for this fix:

 

Symptoms that may be in a HijackThis Log:

O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [System Protector] C%UserProfile%\Application Data\lsascs.exe

 

Guide Updates:

03-28-09 - Initial guide creation.

 


Automated Removal Instructions for System Protector using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:

  1. Print out these instructions as we will need to close every window that is open later in the fix. Due to this malware infecting Internet Explorer, it is suggested that you use Firefox or another browser when following these instructions.

  2. Before we can do anything we must first end the Total Security process so that it does not interfere with the cleaning process. To do this we must first download and install a Microsoft program called Process Explorer. Normally, we would have you use the Windows Task Manager, but this rogue will disable the ability to run it. Please download Process Explorer from the following link and save it to your desktop:

    Process Explorer Download Link

  3. You should now have the Procexp.exe file on your desktop. You now need to rename that file to iexplore.exe. To do this, right-click on the Procexp.exe and select Rename. You can now edit the name of the file and should name it to iexplore.exe. Once it is renamed you should double-click on the file to launch it.

  4. Once the program is running, you should be presented with a screen similar to the one below.


    Process Explorer

  5. Scroll through the list of running programs until you see a process named tsc.exe. When you see this process, select the tsc.exe process by left-clicking on it once so it becomes highlighted. Then click on the red X button as shown in the image below. Newer versions of this executable may be using names consisting of random numbers or characters. If you see a process that is composed of random numbers or characters and has a shield icon or a padlock icon next to it, then you have found the process you need to terminate.


    TSC Process

  6. When you click on the red X to kill the process, Process Explorer will ask you to confirm if you are sure you want to terminate it as shown in the image below.


    Confirm the closing of the TSC process

    At this point you should press the Yes button in order to kill the process.

  7. At this point you should download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, or MBAM, to scan your computer for any any infections or adware that may be present. Please download Malwarebytes from the following location and save it to your desktop:

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

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

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

  10. 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 Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware checked. Then click on the Finish button. If MalwareBytes prompts you to reboot, please do not do so.

  11. MBAM will now start and you will be at the main screen as shown below.



    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware


    Please click on the Scan Now button to start the scan. If there is an update available for Malwarebytes it will automatically download and install it before performing the scan.

  12. MBAM will now start scanning your computer for malware. This process can take quite a while, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.



    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware


  13. When MBAM is finished scanning it will display a screen that displays any malware that it has detected. Please note that the infections found may be different than what is shown in the image below due to the guide being updated for newer versions of MBAM.


    MalwareBytes Scan Results


    You should now click on the Remove Selected button to remove all the seleted 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.

  14. You can now exit the MBAM program.

Your computer should now be free of the SystemProtector 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

 


View Associated System Protector Files

%UserProfile%\Application Data\install.exe
%UserProfile%\Application Data\lsascs.exe
%UserProfile%\Application Data\shellex.dll
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Microsoft\windll32.exe
%UserProfile%\Application Data\SpyProtectorSC_Base_new.dat
%UserProfile%\Application Data\SpyProtectorSC_Config.ini
%UserProfile%\Desktop\System Protector.lnk
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\System Protector\Purchase License.url
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\System Protector\Support Page.url
%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\System Protector\System Protector.lnk
C:\Program Files\System Protector
C:\WINDOWS\system32\spyprotector.cpl

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.

View Associated System Protector Windows Registry Information

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System "DisableTaskMgr" => 1
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\System Protector
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\System Protector
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{107A1D63-2EAA-4694-8ABA-EC209C630D83}
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Directory\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\System Protector
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Drive\shellex
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Drive\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\System Protector
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\lsascs.exe
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "System Protector"


 

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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