Remove Antivirus Action (Uninstall Guide)

  • October 10, 2010

Antivirus Action is a fake security program from the same family as Security Suite. This rogue is installed on your computer through computer infections and fake anti-malware scanners. When malware installs this infection it is commonly through exploit kits that attempt to install and execute files on your computer by exploiting a variety of exploits that may be available on your computer or through the software that you run. If an exploitable program is found it will then install and execute the Trojan that will ultimately download and install Antivirus Action on to your computer.

When Antivirus Action is installed it will be configured to start automatically when you login into your Windows account. Once started it will scan your computer and state that there are numerous infections, but will not remove any of them unless you purchase the program. This is a scam as the infections it states reside on your computer do not actually exist. They are only stating that there are infections to scare you into purchasing the program.

  • Antivirus Action screen shot
  • Scan results
  • Fake file infected warning
  • Windows security alert

While Antivirus Action is running it will not allow you to run most programs on your computer. When you attempt to run a program it will state that the file is infected and then terminate the program's process. The text of the infection message that you will see is similar to the one below:

Security Warning
Application cannot be executed. The file notepad.exe is infected. Do you want to activate your antivirus software now.

Antivirus Action terminates your programs for two reasons. The first is to protect itself from an infected user running a security program that may be able to remove it. The other reason is to further scare you into thinking that your computer has a serious computer infection so that you will then purchase Antivirus Action.

While the rogue is running it will also display numerous security warnings that are designed to make you think your computer is under attack or has computer infections running. The text of one of these alerts is:

Windows Security Alert
Windows reports that computer is infected. Antivirus software helps to protect your computer against viruses and other security threats. Click here for the scan your computer. Your system might be at risk now.

Just like the fake scan results, these security alerts are all false and are only being shown to scare you.

Last, but not least, Antivirus Action will configure itself to be a network proxy on your computer. This allows it to randomly show you fake security warnings when you are browsing the web. The text of this warning is:

Internet Explorer warning - visiting this site may harm your computer! Most likely causes:
  • The website contains exploits that can launch a malicious code on your computer
  • Suspicious network activity detected
  • There might be an active spyware running on your computer

This Internet Explorer hijack is false as well and just another tactic where the developers are trying to convince you that your computer is infected. It is important to note, though, that when you terminate or remove the Antivirus Action process, your browser will no longer work until you disable the configured proxy server. The guide below will walk you through removing the proxy server.

Without a doubt, Antivirus Action was created for one reason; to scare you into thinking your computer is severely infected so that you will then purchase the program. It goes without saying that you should definitely not purchase Antivirus Action, and if you already have, please contact your credit card company and state that the program is a computer infection and a scam and that you would like to dispute the charge. To remove this infection and related malware, please follow the steps in the guide below.

Self Help Guide

This guide contains advanced information, but has been written in such a way so that anyone can follow it. Please ensure your data is backed up before proceeding.

If you are uncomfortable making changes to your computer or following these steps, do not worry! Instead you can get free one-on-one help by asking in the forums.
  1. Print out these instructions as we may need to close every window that is open later in the fix.

  2. 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:


    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Screen

    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.

  3. It is possible that the infection you are trying to remove will not allow you to download files on the infected computer. If this is the case, then 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.

  4. Before we can do anything we must first end the processes that belong to Antivirus Action so that it does not interfere with the cleaning procedure. To do this, please download RKill to your desktop from the following link.

    RKill 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.

  5. Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with Antivirus Action 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 Antivirus Action 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 can terminate Antivirus Action . 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.

  6. 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)

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

  8. Double-click on the icon on your desktop named mb3-setup-1878.1878-3.0.6.1469.exe. This will start the installation of MBAM onto your computer.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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


  12. 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.

  13. You can now exit the MBAM program.

  14. 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, Antivirus Action 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:
    hosts-perm.bat Download Link
    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.

  15. 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.
    Windows XP HOSTS File Download Link
    Windows Vista HOSTS File Download Link
    Windows 2003 Server HOSTS File Download Link
    Windows 2008 Server HOSTS File Download Link
    Windows 7 HOSTS File Download Link
    Your Windows HOSTS file should now be back to the default one from when Windows was first installed.

  16. Now reboot your computer.

  17. 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:

    How to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector

 

Your computer should now be free of the Antivirus Action 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.

View Associated Antivirus Action Files

%Temp%\<random>\ %Temp%\<random>\<random>agnz.exe

File Location Notes:

%Temp% refers to the Windows Temp folder. By default, this is C:\Windows\Temp for Windows 95/98/ME, C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS\<Current User>\LOCAL SETTINGS\Temp for Windows 2000/XP, and C:\Users\<Current User>\AppData\Local\Temp in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

View Associated Antivirus Action Registry Information

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\<random> HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\PhishingFilter "Enabled" = "0" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings "ProxyOverride" = "<local>" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings "ProxyServer" = "http=127.0.0.1:33921" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings "ProxyEnable" = "1" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "<random>agnz.exe" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "<random>agnz.exe"

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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