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AntispywareSoft


Antispyware Soft is a variant of Win32/FakeSpypro - a family of programs that claims to scan for malware and displays fake warnings of “malicious programs and viruses”. They then inform the user that they need to pay money to register the software in order to remove these non-existent threats.
 
Special Note:
Reports of Rogue Antivirus programs have been more prevalent as of late.  These are programs that generate misleading alerts and false detections in order to convince users to purchase illegitimate security software.  Some of these programs may display product names or logos in an apparently unlawful attempt to impersonate Microsoft products. 
 
Use Microsoft Windows Defender, Microsoft Security Essentials, the Microsoft Safety Scanner, or another up-to-date scanning and removal tool to detect and remove this threat and other unwanted software from your computer. For more information on Microsoft security products, see http://www.microsoft.com/protect/products/computer/default.mspx.


What to do now

This trojan may prevent the infected computer from running applications such as security scanners or other utilities. This threat may make lasting changes to a computer’s configuration that are NOT restored by detecting and removing this threat. Registry data may require manual correction after the malware is removed.
 
To remove this threat, perform the following steps:
  • Restart the infected computer into Windows "safe mode" with networking. For more information about how to start Windows in "safe mode" with networking, see the following instructions:
  • Remove the "ProxyServer" setting created by the trojan

    IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry
    322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
  •  
    WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.
     
    To remove/modify the changes that Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro has made to your computer, follow these steps:
     
    1) Click Start and then click Run.
    2) In the Open box, type regedit and then click OK.
    3) Locate and then click on the following registry key:
    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings
    4) On the right panel, right-click on the following registry entry:
    ProxyServer
    5) Select Modify and then click OK.
    6) Remove the following incorrect value data (and replace with correct value data):
    http=127.0.0.1:5555
    7) Close Registry Editor.

Threat behavior

Antispyware Soft is a variant of Win32/FakeSpypro - a family of programs that claims to scan for malware and displays fake warnings of “malicious programs and viruses”. They then inform the user that they need to pay money to register the software in order to remove these non-existent threats.
Installation
Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro may be installed from the program's web site or by social engineering from third party web sites.
 
When distributed as Antispyware Soft, Win32/FakeSpypro creates a folder under %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data with a randomly generated name and copies the fake scanner with a random file name into this folder, as in the following example:
 
%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\upgkhjyxs\xaxiinjtssd.exe
 
Note - %USERPROFILE% refers to a variable location that is determined by the malware by querying the Operating System. The default installation location for the System folder for Windows 2000 and NT is C:\Documents and Settings\<user> or C:\Users\<user>; and for XP, Vista, and 7 is C:\Users\<user name>.
 
The registry is modified to ensure that the fake scanner is executed at each Windows start.
 
Adds value: "<random letters>" (for example, "fqjxtoxp")
With data: "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\upgkhjyxs\xaxiinjtssd.exe"
To subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
 
Adds value: "<random letters>" (for example, "fqjxtoxp")
With data: "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\upgkhjyxs\xaxiinjtssd.exe"
To subkey: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
 
It also creates the following registry subkeys for its own use:
 
HKCU\Software\AVSuite
HCKU\Software\avsoft 
Payload
Displays false/misleading malware alerts
When run, the malware performs a fake scan of the system, and falsely claims that a number of files on the system are infected with malware. Should users request that Antispyware Soft clean the reported infections, the program advises them that they need to pay money to register in order for it to do so.
 
Please see below for examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, and pop ups used by Win32/FakeSpypro when distributed as Antispyware Soft:
 
 
 
Payload
Lowers computer security settings
Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro modifies Windows settings that lower computer security, for example, it:
 
  • Disables the warning message displayed when downloading executables that are not digitally signed
    Adds value: "CheckExeSignatures"
    With data: "no"
    To subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Download
 
  • Adds executable files as a "low risk file type" such that a warning message is not displayed when downloading files with extension ".exe"
    Adds value: "LowRiskFileTypes"
    With data: "2E 00 65 00 78 00 65 00 00 00"  (".exe")
    To
     subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Associations
 
  • Allows software to run or install even if the signature is invalid
    Adds
     value: "RunInvalidSignatures"
    With data: "1"
    To subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Download
 
  • Prevents Windows from zone-marking files when downloaded from the Internet
    Adds
     value: "SaveZoneInformation"
    With data: "”1”
    To subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Attachments
 
Blocks executables from running
Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro blocks any executable from running and displays a misleading message that the requested application is infected.
 
 
The Trojan can display the following alert as a pop-up and in the system tray.
 
 
Blocks Web browsing
Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro modifies the registry so that the trojan runs as its own proxy server to manage Internet browsing.
 
Adds value: "ProxyServer"
With data: "http=127.0.0.1:5555"
To subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings
 
The trojan allows the user to run a Web browser such as Internet Explorer, but any attempts to visit Web sites result in the display of a false "Internet Explorer Warning" message such as the following:
 
 
Promotes purchase via Windows Security Center
Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro launches Windows Security Center and re-directs the user to the trojan's own purchase Web site if the user clicks the "How does antivirus software help protect my computer” hyperlink in the "Virus Protection" section.
 
 
If the user clicks the “Recommendations…” button, the "Recommendation" window is displayed. If the user clicks any of the hyperlinks displayed in the Window below, Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro will launch Internet Explorer and visit the site "protect-ware.net" to recommend purchasing the rogue.
 
 
At the time of writing, Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro redirected to "protect-ware.net" to recommend purchasing the rogue, as seen in the image below.
 
 
 
Displays pop ups
This distribution of Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro periodically launches Internet Explorer and connects to one of the websites listed below, some of which include content of a sexually explicit nature.
 
www.viagra.com
www.porno.org
www.porno.com
www.adult.com
 
The following alert is also displayed along with these pop ups:
 
 
Downloads and executes arbitrary files
This distribution of Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro can download an executable file onto the affected computer. At the time of writing, the downloaded file was detected as the threat Backdoor:Win32/Nuwar.A.
 
Analysis by Amir Fouda and Patrick Nolan

Symptoms

Symptoms vary among different distributions of Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro, however, the presence of the following system changes (or similar) may indicate the presence of this program:
  • Display one of the following graphics or pop ups when the trojan executes:



  •  
     

  • An inability to run programs or open documents or data files followed by a false alert displayed by the trojan as in the following examples:





  • Internet Explorer is unable to access Web sites and the following message is displayed within the Web browser:

  •  
  • The trojan may display the following pop-up:
  •  

Prevention

Take the following steps to help prevent infection on your system:
  • Enable a firewall on your computer.
  • Get the latest computer updates for all your installed software.
  • Use up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers.
  • Use caution when clicking on links to Web pages.
  • Avoid downloading pirated software.
  • Protect yourself against social engineering attacks.
  • Use strong passwords.
Enable a firewall on your computer
Use a third-party firewall product or turn on the Microsoft Windows Internet Connection Firewall.
Get the latest computer updates
Updates help protect your computer from viruses, worms, and other threats as they are discovered. It is important to install updates for all the software that is installed in your computer. These are usually available from vendor Web sites.
 
You can use the Automatic Updates feature in Windows to automatically download future Microsoft security updates while your computer is on and connected to the Internet.
Use up-to-date antivirus software
Most antivirus software can detect and prevent infection by known malicious software. To help protect you from infection, you should always run antivirus software, such as Microsoft Security Essentials, that is updated with the latest signature files. For more information, see http://www.microsoft.com/protect/computer/viruses/vista.mspx.
Use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers
Exercise caution with e-mail and attachments received from unknown sources, or received unexpectedly from known sources.  Use extreme caution when accepting file transfers from known or unknown sources.
Use caution when clicking on links to Web pages
Exercise caution with links to Web pages that you receive from unknown sources, especially if the links are to a Web page that you are not familiar with, unsure of the destination of, or suspicious of. Malicious software may be installed in your system simply by visiting a Web page with harmful content.
Avoid downloading pirated software
Threats may also be bundled with software and files that are available for download on various torrent sites. Downloading "cracked" or "pirated" software from these sites carries not only the risk of being infected with malware, but is also illegal. For more information, see 'The risks of obtaining and using pirated software'.
Protect yourself from social engineering attacks
While attackers may attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in hardware or software in order to compromise a system, they also attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in human behavior in order to do the same. When an attacker attempts to take advantage of human behavior in order to persuade the affected user to perform an action of the attacker's choice, it is known as 'social engineering'. Essentially, social engineering is an attack against the human interface of the targeted system. For more information, see 'What is social engineering?'.
Use strong passwords
Attackers may try to gain access to your Windows account by guessing your password. It is therefore important that you use a strong password – one that cannot be easily guessed by an attacker. A strong password is one that has at least 8 characters, and combines letters, numbers, and symbols. For more information, see http://www.microsoft.com/protect/yourself/password/create.mspx.

Alert level: High
This entry was first published on: May 24, 2010
This entry was updated on: Apr 17, 2011

This threat is also detected as:
  • Gen:Variant.Tdss.16 (BitDefender)
  • Trojan.Win32.FraudPack.awzq (Kaspersky)
  • FakeAlert-SpyPro.gen.d (McAfee)
  • W32/FakeAV.PPF (Norman)
  • Mal/FakeAV-DM (Sophos)
  • Antispyware Soft (other)
  • Trojan:Win32/FakeSpypro (Microsoft)