How to Remove Fake Antivirus Software

If you have the habit of browsing the internet a lot, you would have encountered the following screen.

OMG, it’s a virus scan and it says my PC is badly infected.

How to Remove Fake Antivirus Software

You get panic that your system is infected and immediately start downloading the “security software” download that pops up all of a sudden. After installing it, you find that your system behaves strangely. From now on, a nagging message window shows up, asking you take “immediate action”.

Now you also find that you are not anymore able to open the Task Manager, Registry Editor, “msconfig” and many other essential Windows tools including “Run” window.  Depending on the rogue program, you may not able to open other applications like Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, Firefox etc. Some of them even disable internet connectivity. If this happens, you have to remove the fake antivirus software immediately.

How to know It’s Fake

How many times have you encountered this error message? Have you thought what you were doing when you received the “scan” window? I’m sure many of us are not aware of what happened and how the system got infected. If you look at the above image, you can clearly see that it’s a browser window with an Explorer disguise. If you are using Windows XP, open My Computer and see how it looks. It will look the same but without the “scan log”.

Keep in mind that a browser window will never show C:, D: and so on. It won’t also have the Windows Explorer links like “Add remove programs”, “My Network Places” etc. Lastly, a browser cannot scan your system all by itself. There are legitimate online virus scan websites but without your intervention, a browser won’t scan your computer and no virus scan can scan an entire drive this fast.

Since there are many fake and rogue applications, I can’t post the image of all of them here but you can do a Google image search for “fake antivirus” (without quotes). This will give you an idea about it and how to remove fake antivirus.

When does it happen?

It can happen when you are browsing. When you click an innocent looking link or image from some other website, you immediately see this “scan” window. It can happen even when you click Google web or image search results. If you see this type of suspicious window, close the window immediately. If your browser prompts you to download anything at that time, cancel it.

How to Remove the Fake “Antivirus Software”?

Though there are many tools that claim to remove these types of fake security software, my favorite is Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, which has never let me down whenever I try to clean up my friends/relatives PCs. This free security software is surprisingly effective at eliminating rogue apps even when your regular antiviruses fail to do so.

If you keep on receiving fake alerts, download Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, install it, update it, and do a thorough scan (Perform full scan). Once the scan is done, remove all traces of malware.

But chances are there that you are not even able to use internet to download Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware. If this happens, restart your system and just before windows loads, press F8. Now select Safe Mode with Networking. If you are not able to install any antivirus under normal mode due to an infection, you can install it under Safe Mode.

Windows - Safemode with networking

Once booted, download Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware and do as explained before.

After cleaning your system of fake antivirus, it’s also recommended that you scan your system with CCleaner.

On the Registry tab on CCleaner, select Scan for Issues. Once the scan is complete select Fix Selected Issues.

This should remove any remaining malware registry traces.

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  1. Nice post Mr.Vijay…

    • Azim
    • July 28th, 2012

    Thanks a lot buddy..

    • Emily
    • August 4th, 2012

    Just wanted to say thank you for your help! These steps were very easy to understand.

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