Security Master AV is a program that impersonates an anti-malware program, but is in fact a computer infection that uses deceptive tactics to make you think you are infected. This program is considered a rogue anti-spyware program and is part of the Virus Doctor family. Security Master AV is typically installed through Trojans that pretend to be legitimate programs, but instead install this rogue onto your computer without your permission. The installer will also create numerous harmless files that will be detected as malware when Security Master AV scans your computer. When installed, the rogue will be configured to start automatically when you login to Windows. Once started, it will scan your computer and state that the files it created during installation are malware files residing on your machine. In reality, these files are harmless and pose no harm to your computer. They are only being shown to you in order to scare you into thinking that you are infected in the hopes that you will then purchase the program.
While Security Master AV is loaded it will also display fake security warnings and alerts that contain alarming messages stating that malware is stealing confidential information or that you are under attach from a remote hacker. Some of alerts you may see include:
Warning! Identity theft attempt detected
Hidden Connection IP:
Security Risk: High
Target: Microsoft Corporation Keys
Suspicious software which may be malicious has been detected on your PC. Click here to remove this threat immediately using Security Master AV.
Warning! Virus detected
Threat Detected: Trojan-Spy.HTML.Citifraud
Just like the scan results, none of the above alerts are real and should be ignored. This rogue will also hijack your Internet Explorer search engine so that it will use findgala.com instead of the search engine that your browser normally uses.
Without a doubt, Security Master AV was developed to scare you into thinking that you have a computer problem so that you will then purchase the program. It goes without saying that you should definitely not purchase this program, and if you have, you should contact your credit card company and dispute the charge. Finally, to remove this program and any related malware, please use the removal guide below.
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 may need to close every window that is
open later in the fix.
- 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.
- Before we can do anything we must first end the processes that belong to
Security Master AV
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.
- Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon
in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with
Security Master AV
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
Security Master AV
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
Security Master AV
. 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.
- 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-1878.1878-126.96.36.1999.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 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,
Security Master AV
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:
- 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 LinkYour Windows HOSTS file should now be back to the default one from when Windows was first installed.
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
- Now reboot your computer.
- 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 Security Master AV 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.