Smart Guard Protection is a scareware program from the Rogue.WinWebSec family of computer infections. This program is classified as scareware because it displays fake security alerts, fake scan results, and does not allow you to run your normal applications. This program is distributed through hacked web sites that exploit vulnerabilities on your computer and as Trojans disguised as a program necessary to view an online video. This name Smart Guard Protection is currently being used by two different variants of rogue anti-spyware programs. Images of each variant can be found below and this guide can remove both of them.
When Smart Guard Protection is installed on your computer it will be configured to start automatically when you login to Windows. Once started, it will disable Windows Defender, Windows Update, and the Windows Security Center services in order to protect itself from being removed by built-in Windows security software. It will then pretend to scan your computer and then state that there are numerous infections present. If you try to clean these infections, though, Smart Guard Protection will state that you first need to purchase a license of the program before being allowed to do so. In reality, none of these files are infected or even exist on your computer, so please ignore the results and do not purchase the program.
To protect itself from being removed, Smart Guard Protection will also terminate any program you try to run on your computer. It does this to protect itself from being removed by legitimate programs and to scare you into thinking they are infected. The message that you will see when the infection terminates a program is:
Warning! Infected file detected
Location: File System
Behavior description: Destroys and infects system files.
Suspicious activity detected in the application notepad.exe to the behavior of the virus Win32/Conficker.X. For your security and to avoid loss of data, the operation of application cmd.exe has been temporarily restricted.
Do not be concerned when you see this message as your programs are not infected and will work normally after this infection is removed.
While Smart Guard Protection is active it will also display random security alerts that are worded to scare you into thinking your infected. The text of these alerts are:
Windows Security Center
Warning! Suspicious activity detected.
Virus activity detected.
Attempt to change configuration files detected.
Rootkit embedding attempt detected.
Warning! Infected file detected.
We strongly recommend activating full edition of your antivirus software for repairing threats.
Warning! Network attack attempt detected.
To keep the computer safe, the threat must be blocked.
Last, but not least, this infection with hijack your web browser so that you will be shown a message stating that sites you are visiting are unsafe. When you see this message you can safely click on the Ignore warnings and visit that site in the current state (not recommended) link so that you can browse to the desired site. Just like the scan results, these alerts can safely be ignored.
As you can see, Smart Guard Protection was created to scare you into thinking that you are infected so that you will then purchase the program. It goes without saying that you should definitely 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 scam and a computer virus. To remove Smart Guard Protection and other related malware, please use the free removal guide below.
Self Help Guide
- Print out these instructions as we will 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.
- Now we must first end the processes that belong to
Smart Guard Protection
and clean up some Registry settings so they do not interfere with the cleaning
procedure. To do this, please download RKill to your desktop from the following
RKill Download Link - (Download page will open in a new tab or browser window.)
When you click on the above link, if the malware displays a browser hijack stating that the page is unsafe, please click on the option to ignore the warnings and continue. When you are at the download page, scroll down and click on the click on the link 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
icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated
Smart Guard Protection
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
Smart Guard Protection
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
Smart Guard Protection
. 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. If you continue
having problems running RKill, you can download the other renamed versions
of RKill from the rkill
download page. All of the 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.
Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.
- 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 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 Smart Guard Protection 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.