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Windows Security Master

Also Known As: Windows Security Master scam
Distribution: Low
Damage level: High

Windows Security Master removal instructions

What is Security Master?

Windows Security Master is a fake antivirus program, which reports non existent security infections to scare PC users into believing that their computers are infected with high-risk malware. To remove the supposedly 'detected' security infections, computer users are encouraged to "Activate Ultimate Protection" (purchase a license key for this program). PC users should not trust Windows Security Master - it is a scam created by cyber criminals. Paying for the 'full version' of this program is equivalent to sending your money to cyber criminals - you will lose your money and your operating system will remain infected with a rogue antivirus program. In fact, none of the security threats identified by this program actually exist on the user's computer.

Windows Security Master fake antivirus

Windows Security Master commonly infiltrates operating systems via fake online security scanners appearing on malicious or hacked websites. Users who observe pop-up ads scanning their computers for security infections, and offering download of Windows Security Master to clean the system, should be aware that this is a scam. Cyber criminals use deceptive pop-up ads such as these to proliferate their rogue antivirus programs. After successful infiltration, Windows Security Master modifies operating system registry files, blocks execution of installed programs, disables the Task Manager, and configures itself to run automatically on each system Startup.

Windows Security Master originates from a family of fake antivirus programs called FakeVimes. Previous variants were named Windows Defence Unit, Windows Protection Booster, and Windows Antivirus Booster. This rogue security scanner differs from other fake antivirus programs since it blocks the user's desktop (behavior similar to that of ransomware viruses), thus making its removal more complicated. This added functionality demonstrates that the business of rogue antivirus software is profitable and that cyber criminals continue to develop updated variants of their bogus software. To protect your computer from rogue programs such as these, keep your installed programs (Java, Flash, etc.) up-to-date and use legitimate antivirus and anti-spyware software. Computer users who observe Windows Security Master scanning their computers for security infections, should use this removal guide to eliminate the scam.

Screenshot of Windows Security Master generating fake security warning messages:

Windows Security Master showing fake security warning pop-ups

Screenshot of Windows Security Master demanding a payment of $99.9 for it's full version:

Windows Security Master rogue payment page

How does Windows Security Master infect user's computer?

This fake antivirus program infiltrates operating systems using fake online security warning messages. When landing on a malicious or hacked website, users are presented with the fake Microsoft Antivirus message: "Message from webpage - Microsoft Antivirus has found critical process activity on your PC. You need to clean your computer to prevent the system breakage".

Fake Microsoft Antivirus pop-up

In the second step of this scam, users are presented with another fake message, supposedly derived from Microsoft Security Essentials: "Microsoft Security Essentials Alert. Microsoft Security Essentials detected potential threats that might compromise your privacy or damage your computer. You need to clean your computer immediately to prevent the system crash".

Fake Microsoft Security Essentials pop-up

Clicking the "Clean computer" button downloads Windows Security Master on the victim's computer.

Windows Security Master startup screen

PC users who observe Windows Security Master scanning their computers for security infections should use this removal guide to eliminate this fake antivirus program from their computers.

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Quick menu:

Windows Security Master removal:

Complete these steps to access your desktop:

1. Wait until Windows Security Master completes the fake security scan and click "Settings" (at the top of the main window).

Windows Security Master settings

2. Select "Allow unprotected Startup".

Windows Security Master enabling unprotected startup

3. After selecting "Allow unprotected Startup", close Windows Security Master.

4. Access "My Computer". Double click on the "My Computer" icon.

Accessing My Computer

5. Navigate to C:\Users\[YOUR USER NAME]\AppData\Roaming

Accessing Appdata folder

6. Locate a file named "svc-[random letters].exe" and click your right mouse button over this file.

Renaming the executable file of Windows Security Master step 1

7. In the opened menu select "Rename". Change the filename of "svc-[random letters].exe" to "fake.exe".

Renaming the executable file of Windows Security Master step 2

8. After renaming the "svc-[random letters].exe" file restart your computer. Next time the operating system boots, Windows Security Master will be inactive and will not block access to Internet.

6. Download legitimate anti-spyware software to completely remove this rogue antivirus program from your computer.

If you cannot download or run the spyware remover, try running the registry fix (link below). It enables execution of programs. Download the registryfix.reg file, double click it, click YES and then OK.

Windows Security Master removal using a registry key:

1. Click the question mark icon (at the top of the main window of Windows Security Master) and select "Register".

Removing Windows Security Master using registration key step 1

2. In the opened window, enter this registry key: 0W000-000B0-00T00-E0021

Removing Windows Security Master using registration key step 2

3. After entering this registry key, Windows Security Master imitates the removal of previously-detected security threats and allows execution of installed programs. Note that entering this registration key will not remove this rogue antivirus program - it simply makes the removal process less complicated.

4. Download legitimate anti-spyware software to completely remove Windows Security Master from your computer.

Windows Security Master removal using Safe Mode with Networking:

Step 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.

Starting Windows in Safe mode with networking

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

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

Step 2

Remove proxy settings from Internet Explorer. This rogue antivirus adds a proxy to the user's Internet connection settings to display various errors when user attempts to access the Internet. To remove proxy settings: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. In the opened menu, select "Internet Options".

Removing proxy setings from Intenret Explorer step 1

In the opened window, select the "Connections" tab.

Removing proxy settings from Internet Explorer step 2

In the "Connections" tab, click on "LAN settings".

Removing proxy settings from Internet Explorer step 3

If "Use a proxy server for your LAN" is checked, uncheck it and click OK.

Removing proxy settings from Internet Explorer step 4

Step 3

Download legitimate anti-spyware software to completely remove this fake antivirus program from your computer.

Step 4

After removing this rogue software, reset your Hosts file. Do not skip this step, since Windows Security Master modifies your Hosts file, and you will encounter browser redirect problems if malicious entries are not eliminated.

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:

Other tools known to remove Windows Security Master:

Summary:

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 windows security master scam and other rogue antivirus programs:

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

To protect your computer from windows security master scam 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 are experiencing problems while trying to remove windows security master scam from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware removal forum.

If you have additional information on windows security master scam 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.

QR Code
Windows Security Master scam QR code
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