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
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
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.
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
03-28-09 - Initial guide creation.
Automated Removal Instructions for System Protector using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Once the program is running, you should be presented with a screen similar
to the one below.
- 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.
- 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
At this point you should press the Yes button in order to
kill the process.
- 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)
- 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 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 start and you will be at the main screen as shown below.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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%\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
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_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.