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Zentom System Guard Refuses to Die


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#1 zentomed

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 06:46 PM

I am trying to clean up a malware infested Windows XP (SP3) computer for a co-worker. It has the Zentom Security Guard program on it which was regularly displaying warnings in the system tray with a yellow triangle/exclamation point icon, and various pop-up windows with either "Error" messages or fake program windows or a fake Windows Update window. I followed the instructions here:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-zentom-system-guard

Unfortunately, this did not work. The RKill program, no matter which named version I use, did kill the warnings/pop-ups but only temporarily. The warnings/pop-ups would start again within 30 seconds of RKill's completion. I continued anyway and installed Malwarebytes. The full scan did find quite a few issues which it cleaned up, but after a reboot the same malware behavior continued.

Next, I tried Combofix. This managed to clean up even more files, but the malware appeared to be interfering with it. During Combofix's run there were constant error messages about applications being forced to stop and other strange error messages, all of which I am 99% sure were Combofix related activities. Once Combofix completed, the fake program windows/Windows Update stopped, but the pop-up errors and system tray warnings continue.

Since then I have tried Malwarebytes, Combofix, and SuperAntiSpyware (all fully updated) in both Safe Mode and regular mode. Every time the software detects issues and cleans them up, but the malware behavior continues both before and after the reboot. The next scan finds the same issues but with different file names. RKill continues to be ineffective. I've run out of ideas.

Note that Task Manager can be started, but it closes/disappears after a few seconds. Also, the malware behavior is present both after a regular start up and in Safe Mode. I do not believe any of the three scanners found anything amiss in memory, despite the fact that there is typically a pop-up "Error" on the screen and a system tray warning active during its scans. The system tray icon immediately disappears by simply rolling the mouse over it.

Sample messages:

SYSTEM TRAY
Spyware protection is disabled. Your personal data is at high risk of being stolen and misused.

SYSTEM TRAY
System warning (exclamation point icon)
Keep your computer safe from viruses and malicious programs that can slow down or break your system

ERROR POP-UP
Surfing without protection tool installed may cause spyware intrusion through security holes in the Web browser or in other software.

ERROR POP-UP
Your computer is infected with Spyware! Detected malicious programs can damage your computer and compromise your privacy. It is strongly recommended to remove them immediately.

ERROR POP-UP
Internal conflict alert! Internal software conflict detected! Some application tries to get access to the system kernel.... (there is more, but I did not write it all down)

Any assistance is appreciated.

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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:06 PM

Since you ran Combofix, Please follow the instructions in ==>Malware Removal and Log Section Preparation Guide<==.

Once the proper logs are created, then make a NEW TOPIC and post it ==>HERE<== Please include the link to this topic in your new topic and a description of your computer issues and what you have done to resolve them.

If you can produce at least some of the logs, then please create the new topic and explain what happens when you try to create the log(s) that you couldn't get. If you cannot produce any of the logs, then still post the topic and explain that you followed the Prep. Guide, were unable to create the logs, and describe what happens when you try to create the logs.

Once you have created the new topic, please reply back here with a link to the new topic.

Most importantly please be patient till you get a reply to your topic.

#3 boopme

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:10 PM

Hello having run ComboFix we need to see that and a DDS log.

Skip the GMER step and instead post the ComboFix log you have.
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#4 zentomed

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 05:55 PM

Logs are posted here:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic414081.html

#5 boopme

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 07:02 PM

Now that your log is properly posted, you should NOT make further changes to your computer (install/uninstall programs, use special fix tools, delete files, edit the registry, etc) unless advised by a Malware Removal Team member, nor should you continue to ask for help elsewhere. Doing so can result in system changes which may not show it the log you already posted. Further, any modifications you make on your own may cause confusion for the helper assisting you and could complicate the malware removal process which would extend the time it takes to clean your computer.

From this point on the Malware Removal Team should be the only members that you take advice from, until they have verified your log as clean.

Please be patient. It may take a while to get a response because the Malware Removal Team members are very busy working logs posted before yours. They are volunteers who will help you out as soon as possible. Once you have made your post and are waiting, please DO NOT make another reply until it has been responded to by a member of the Malware Removal Team. Generally the staff checks the forum for postings that have 0 replies as this makes it easier for them to identify those who have not been helped. If you post another response there will be 1 reply. A team member, looking for a new log to work may assume another MRL Team member is already assisting you and not open the thread to respond.

To avoid confusion, I am closing this topic.
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