Ghost Antivirus is a rogue security program discovered by Bharath M Narayan and is the successor to the prolific Internet Antivirus Pro malware. This program is promoted through the use of Trojans and advertisements that pretend to be online anti-malware scanners. Regardless of how Ghost Antivirus is installed on your computer, it uses aggressive techniques to make it difficult to remove it. First, it disables Task Manager so that you cannot end the processes associated with this program. It will also install another malware that has a filename of <random>onin.exe, such as atforonin.exe, and is created in random paths under the Windows folder. This process, along with the main GhostAV.exe, will terminate known security executables as well as constantly terminate Explorer.exe when it restarts itself so that you cannot access your Windows desktop or access any of the programs residing on it. Thankfully, for now, we can reboot into safe mode to bypass these restrictions and remove the program.
When Ghost Antivirus runs it will automatically scan your computer and display a list of supposed infections. If you attempt to remove any of these infections, though, it will state that you first need to purchase the program to do so. In reality, these detected files are legitimate Windows files that if removed could affect the proper operation of Windows. Therefore, please ignore any of the scan results this program may display and instead use the guide below to remove Ghost Antivirus.
As you can see, this program attempts to ransom the proper operation of your computer by making you purchase it before it allows you to see your desktop. It goes without saying that you should definitely not purchase this program, and if you have, please contact your credit card company and dispute the charges stating that this program is a scam and malware. Finally, to remove Ghost Antivirus you can use the guide below, which only uses programs that are free to use.
Self Help Guide
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.
- Print out these instructions as we will 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.
- 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 mb3-setup-1878.1878-188.8.131.529.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 steps.
- 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:
How to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector
Your computer should now be free of the GhostAntivirus 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.