XP Defender is a computer infection from the Rogue.PCDefPlus family of rogue anti-spyware programs. This program is classified as a rogue because it displays fake security alerts, displays false scan results, and takes over your computer so that you are unable to run your normal programs. This infection is promoted as a program required to view an online video. Once you install the program, though, it will hijack your computer so that every time you launch an executable it will launch XP Defender instead. Once started it will perform a scan of your computer and state that there are numerous infections present. If you try to remove these infections, it will then state that you first need to purchase the program before being allowed to do.
When an executable is launched on an infected machine the program will be blocked and XP Defender will be started instead. The program will then issue an alert that states that the program you tried to launch is infected. The text of this alert is:
XP Defender Firewall Alert
Iexplore.exe is infected with Hoax.HTML.Agent.i. Private data can be stolen by third parties, including credit card details and passwords.
Your normal programs are not actually infected and you can ignore this alert.
While installed, XP Defender will also display fake security warnings that are that are designed to think that your data is at risk or that your computer is vulnerable to attacks. These messages include:
System Security Alert!
Background scan for security breaches has been finished. Serious problems have been detected. Safeguard your system against exploits, malware and viruses right now by activating Proactive Defence.
System Security Alert!
Unknown program is scanning your system registry right now! Identify the theft detected!
Just like the firewall alerts, these security warnings are all fake and can be ignored.
Without a doubt, XP Defender was created to scare you into thinking your infected so that you will then purchase the program. Please do 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 computer infection and a scam. To remove XP Defender and related malware please use the 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.
- 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.
- Before we can do anything we must first end the processes that belong to
so that it does not interfere with the cleaning procedure. To do this we will download a program called Rkill on a clean computer and then transfer the program to the infected computer. You can transfer the files
via a CD/DVD, external drive, or USB flash drive.
The download link for Rkill is:
https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/rkill/ - (Download page will open in a new tab or browser window.)
When at the download page, click on the Download Now button labeled Rkill.com. When you are prompted where to save it, please save it on your desktop.
If you do not have any removable media or another clean computer that you can download Rkill onto, you can try and download it to your infected computer using another method. On the infected computer, right click on the Internet Explorer's icon, or any other browser's icon, and select Run As or Run as Administrator. If you are using Windows XP, you will be prompted to select a user and enter its password. It is suggested that you attempt to login as the Administrator user. For Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you will be prompted to enter your Administrator account password. This should allow your browser to open where you can then download Rkill from the above link and save it to a folder that your infected account can access.
- Once it is downloaded or transferred to the infected computer, double-click on the Rkill.com
icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with
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
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
. 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. All 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-1878.1878-220.127.116.119.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. If Malwarebytes did not prompt you to reboot your computer, please do so that you are back in normal mode.
- 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 XP Defender 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.