Security Defender is a computer infection from the
family of rogue anti-spyware programs. This infection is considered a rogue because it deliberately displays false scan results, false security alerts, and hijacks your computer so that you are unable to run your normal applications. This infection is promoted as a utility that is required to view an online video, but actually installs the Security Defender infection instead. Once started, the rogue will pretend to be an anti-virus program but will display fake scan results and alerts. When you try to fix any of the infections it supposedly found, you will be shown a message stating that you need to purchase it before it can remove anything. As this is just a scare tactic, please ignore anything that it displays and continue with the rest of the removal guide.
Security Defender screen shot
For more screen shots of this infection click on the image above.
There are a total of 4 images you can view.
Security Defender will also make changes to the Windows Registry so that the infection is launched when you try to start any executable on your computer. Instead of your legitimate program being launched, the scareware will be started and state that the legitimate program is infected. The text of this alert is:
Security Defender Firewall Alert
Iexplore.exe is infected with Trojan.JS.Fraud.ba. Private data can be stolen by third parties, including credit card details and passwords.
Windows recommends activate Security Defender
As your normal programs are not actually infected, please ignore this alert.
While installed, Security Defender will also display fake security alerts that are designed to scare you into thinking your server is under attack or that your computer is severely infected. The text of these alerts are:
System Security Alert!
Background scan for security breaches has been finished. Serious problems have been detected. Safeguard your system against exploits, malware and viruses right now by activating Proactive Defence.
System Security Alert!
Unknown program is scanning your system registry right now! Identify the theft detected!
Just like the scan results and infection alerts, these security warnings are all fake and can be ignored.
Without a doubt, Security Defender was created solely to scare you into thinking your server was infected so that you will then purchase the program. With that said, please do not purchase this program , and if you already have, please contact your credit card company and dispute the charges stating that the program is a computer infection and a scam. To remove Security Defender and related malware please use the guide below.
View Security Defender files.
View Security Defender 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: [pcdfsvc] %CommonAppData%\pcdfdata\<random>.exe\pcdfdata\<random>.exe /min
01/24/13 - Initial guide creation.
Automated Removal Instructions for Security Defender 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.
- Before we can do anything we must first end the processes that belong to
so that it does not interfere with the cleaning procedure. To do this we will download a program called Rkill on a clean computer and then transfer the program to the infected computer. You can transfer the files
via a CD/DVD, external drive, or USB flash drive.
The download link for Rkill is:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/rkill/ - (Download page will open in a new tab or browser window.)
When at the download page, click on the Download Now button
labeled Rkill.com. When you are prompted
where to save it, please save it on your desktop.
If you do not have any removable media or another clean computer that you
can download Rkill onto, you can try and download it to your
infected computer using another method.
On the infected computer, right click
on the Internet Explorer's icon, or any other browser's icon, and select Run
As or Run as Administrator. If you are using Windows
XP, you will be prompted to select a user and enter its password. It is suggested
that you attempt to login as the Administrator user. For
Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you will be prompted to enter your Administrator
account password. This should allow your browser to open where you can then download Rkill from the above link and save it to a folder that your infected account can access.
- Once it is downloaded or transferred to the infected computer, double-click on the Rkill.com
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. All 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 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 Defender Files:
%CommonStartMenu%\Programs\Security Defender\Remove Security Defender.lnk
%CommonStartMenu%\Programs\Security Defender\Security Defender Help and Support.lnk
%CommonStartMenu%\Programs\Security Defender\Security Defender.lnk
File Location Notes:
%AllUsersProfile% refers to the All Users Profile folder. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users for Windows 2000/XP and C:\ProgramData\ for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
%CommonAppData% refers to the Application Data folder for the All Users Profile. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data for Windows 2000/XP and C:\ProgramData\ in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
%CommonStartMenu% refers to the Windows Start Menu for All Users. Any programs or files located in the All Users Start menu will appear in the Start Menu for all user accounts on the computer. For Windows XP, Vista, NT, 2000 and 2003 it refers to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\, and for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 it is C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\.
%CommonAppData% refers to the Application Data folder in the All Users profile. For Windows XP, Vista, NT, 2000 and 2003 it refers to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\, and for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 it is C:\ProgramData.
Associated Security Defender Windows Registry Information:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe "(Default)" = "<random>"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.exe\shell\open\command "(Default)" = ""%CommonAppData%\pcdfdata\<random>.exe" /ex "%1" %*"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "pcdfsvc" = "%CommonAppData%\pcdfdata\<random>.exe /min"
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.