Attentive Antivirus

Also Known As: Attentive Antivirus Rogue
Damage level: High

What is Attentive Antivirus?

Attentive Antivirus is a fake antivirus program, which attempts to trick unsuspecting PC users into buying a useless 'full version' by generating fake security scans and mimicking the detection of various security threats. This program is developed by cyber criminals with the purpose of extorting money from Internet users who fall for the trickery displayed by this fake security scanner.

To scare computer users into activating a 'full version' of Attentive Antivirus, this rogue software imitates a security scan and generates a large list of supposedly-detected security infections.

In fact, none of the 'detected' malware or viruses actually exist on users' PCs - this bogus program mimics detection of various security threats simply to scare computer users into activating the 'full version', which purportedly fixes any computer security issues.

Attentive Antivirus rogue program

PC users should be aware that paying for this program is equivalent to sending money to the cyber criminals responsible for creating this scam. Furthermore, their banking information will be at risk.

Computer users who have already 'activated' a full version of Attentive Antivirus should immediately contact their credit card company and dispute the charges, explaining that they have been tricked into buying fake antivirus software.

This rogue antivirus program originates from a family called WinWebSec, and after successful infiltration, it blocks execution of installed programs and disables the Task Manager. If you see Attentive Antivirus 'scanning' your computer for security threats, do not trust this program, it is a scam. The correct way to deal with this rogue program is to eliminate is from your system.

Attentive Antivirus infects users' computers using 'exploit kits' and drive-by downloads. The best way to protect your computer from such fake antivirus programs is to use legitimate antivirus and anti-spyware software and keep your installed software (Java, Flash, etc.) up-to-date.

A previous variant of this rogue security software (WinWebSec family) was called System Care Antivirus.

Cyber criminals responsible for developing this scam have slightly changed its behavior - previous variants encouraged users to activate their full versions immediately after clicking the 'remove threats' button, however, Attentive Antivirus mimics removal of a few security infections before demanding purchase of the 'full version'.

This change is just a part of the evolving scam. Do not trust this bogus program or divulge your banking information to cyber criminals. If your computer is infected with this fake security scanner, use the removal guide provided to eliminate it from your PC.

Fake security warning pop-up messages generated by Attentive Antivirus:

Attentive Antivirus generates fake security warning pop-ups


"Windows Security Center: Warning! Suspicious activity detected. Virus activity detected. Attempt to change configuration files detected. Rootkit embedding attempt detected. Suitable solution found - Attentive Antivirus".

"Unless Attentive Antivirus is activated, some of the current critical threats will not be eliminated and your computer will remain unprotected. Are you sure you would like to precede unprotected?"

"Warning! Infected file detected. Suspicious activity detected in application setup.exe similar to behavior of the virus Win32/Conficker.X For your security and to avoid loss of data, the operation of application setup.exe has been temporary restricted. To rester the application's full operation, you must use the full edition of Attentive Antivirus. Recommended: You are using a limited version of Attentive Antivirus. Please activate Attentive Antivirus to resist all virus threats efficiently".

"Attentive Antivirus - Threats found when scanning, to keep your computer safe, repair is required".

"Warning! the site you are attempting to view may harm your computer! You current security settings put your computer at risk! Activate Attentive Antivirus and enable safe web surfing (recommended). Ignore warnings and visit that site is the current state (not recommended).

Attentive Antivirus - Warning! Suspicious activity detected. To keep your computer safe, the threat must be blocked".

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Quick menu:

Attentive Antivirus removal:

Attentive Antivirus generates fake security warning messages when users attempt to access the Internet using Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla FireFox. To remove this rogue antivirus from your computer, you will need to download recommended malware removal software.

If your Internet browsers are blocked by the "Warning! The site you are trying to visit may harm your computer! Your security setting level puts your computer at risk!" message, please click "Ignore warnings and visit that site in the current state (not recommended)" and continue with the download process.

Attentive Antivirus blocking Internet browsers

If you cannot run the remover, try to download an alternate installer (it is renamed to iexplore.exe, since most fake antivirus programs do not block execution of files with this name)

Optional method to download the recommended anti-spyware program:

If you cannot access your Internet browsers: Click Start then click Run. (Click Windows logo in Windows 7 and Windows Vista)

In Windows XP, when the Run dialog appears enter this text: www.pcrisk.com/download-spyware-remover and then press ENTER. In Windows 7 and Windows Vista you can type this line directly into the search field and then press ENTER.

download remover using run dialog windows xp
download remover using run dialog windows 7

After pressing enter, the File download dialogue of recommended malware removal software will appear. Click Run and follow the on-screen instructions.

If you are still unable to download the recommended malware removal software - before downloading, enter a retrieved activation key in the activation window of Attentive Antivirus. Click "Buy full edition" button at the bottom of the main window of this fake antivirus software and enter this key:


Note that entering this activation key will not remove Attentive Antivirus - it will simply make the removal process less complicated. This fake antivirus software will stop generating fake security warning messages and will allow execution of legitimate antivirus and anti-spyware programs.

Attentive Antivirus removal using Safe Mode with Networking:

1. Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer starting process press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Go to the Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click on Advanced Startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window select Advanced Startup. Click on the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into "Advanced Startup options menu".

Click on the "Troubleshoot" button, then click on "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen click on "Startup settings". Click on the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press "5" to boot in Safe Mode with Networking Prompt.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

2. Attentive Antivirus modifies the system Hosts file. The Hosts file is used to resolve canonical names of websites to IP addresses. When it is changed, the user may be redirected to malicious sites, despite seeing legitimate URLs in address bar. It is difficult to determine sites are genuine when the Hosts file is modified.

To fix this, please download the Microsoft Fix It tool, that restores your Hosts file to the Windows default. Run this tool when downloaded and follow the on-screen instructions. Download link below:

3. Download and install recommended malware removal software to completely remove this fake antivirus from your PC.

NOTE: Rogue antivirus programs can block the download of anti-spyware software. If you cannot download it using the default location, try one of the alternative download locations below:

  • Location 1 (the file is renamed to "iexplore.exe", since most spyware does not block this file)
  • Location 2

Attentive Antivirus removal using a retrieved activation key:

1. Wait until Attentive Antivirus rogue antivirus completes its fake security scan and click the "Remove Threats" button. You can also click the "Buy full edition" button on the bottom right corner of the main window of this rogue program. In the opened window click the "I already have activation key" button.

Entering a retrieved activation key to fake register Attentive Antivirus

2. In the opened window enter this retrieved registry key: AF03E-A1B69411-5E496BEE-92A70D00-1AD697F6 This will trick Attentive Antivirus into behaving as though you have already paid for the full version.

This step makes the removal process of this rogue antivirus program less complicated, since after entering this registry key, Attentive Antivirus allows execution of installed software (including Internet browsers) and you will be able to download anti-spyware software without various interruptions.

Activate Attentive Antivirus using a retrieved activation key

3. After entering this licence key, Attentive Antivirus generates some messages congratulating you for registration and imitates the removal process of previously 'detected' malware and virus infections.

Attentive Antivirus after entering the activation key

4. Note that entering this retrieved activation key does not remove Attentive Antivirus from your computer - it simply makes the removal process less complicated. To completely remove this rogue antivirus from your computer, download and install recommended anti-spyware software.

Optional methods used to eliminate Attentive Antivirus:

Attentive Antivirus removal using a new user account.

If you cannot access the Internet, please follow these instructions.


The fake antivirus programs (also known as "rogue antivirus programs" or "scareware") are applications that tries to lure computer users into paying for their non-existent full versions to remove the supposedly detected security infections (although the computer is actually clean). These bogus programs are created by cyber criminals who design them to look as legitimate antivirus software. Most commonly rogue antivirus programs infiltrate user's computer using poop-up windows or alerts which appear when users surf the Internet. These deceptive messages trick users into downloading a rogue antivirus program on their computers. Other known tactics used to spread scareware include exploit kits, infected email messages, online ad networks, drive-by downloads, or even direct calls to user's offering free support.

A computer that is infected with a fake antivirus program might also have other malware installed on it as rogue antivirus programs often are bundled with Trojans and exploit kits. Noteworthy that additional malware that infiltrates user's operating system remains on victim's computer regardless of whether a payment for a non-existent full version of a fake antivirus program is made. Here are some examples of fake security warning messages that are used in fake antivirus distribution:

Fake pop-up used in rogue antivirus distribution example 1

Fake pop-up used in rogue antivirus distribution example 2

Computer users who are dealing with a rogue security software shouldn't buy it's full version. By paying for a license key of a fake antivirus program users would send their money and banking information to cyber criminals. Users who have already entered their credit card number (or other sensitive information) when asked by such bogus software should inform their credit card company that they have been tricked into buying a rogue security software. Screenshot of a web page used to lure computer users into paying for a non-existent full version of attentive antivirus rogue and other rogue antivirus programs:

example of a webpage used to collect payments for fake antivirus programs

To protect your computer from attentive antivirus rogue and other rogue antivirus programs users should:

  • Keep their operating system and all of the installed programs up-to-date.
  • Use legitimate antivirus and anti-spyware programs.
  • Use caution when clicking on links in social networking websites and email messages.
  • Don't trust online pop-up messages which state that your computer is infected and offers you to download security software.

Symptoms indicating that your operating system is infected with a fake antivirus program:

  • Intrusive security warning pop-up messages.
  • Alerts asking to upgrade to a paid version of a program to remove the supposedly detected malware.
  • Slow computer performance.
  • Disabled Windows updates.
  • Blocked Task Manager.
  • Blocked Internet browsers or inability to visit legitimate antivirus vendor websites.

If you have additional information on attentive antivirus rogue or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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