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Live Security Platinum


Live Security Platinum is a variant of Win32/Winwebsec - a family of programs that claims to scan for malware and displays fake warnings of "malicious programs and viruses". They then inform you that you need to pay money to register the software to remove these non-existent threats. It may also terminate processes and services, modify security settings, and block access to websites.



What to do now

To detect and remove this threat and other malicious software that may be installed on your computer, run a full-system scan with an appropriate, up-to-date, security solution. The following Microsoft products detect and remove this threat:

Threat behavior

Live Security Platinum is a variant of Win32/Winwebsec - a family of programs that claims to scan for malware and displays fake warnings of "malicious programs and viruses". They then inform you that you need to pay money to register the software to remove these non-existent threats. It may also terminate processes and services, modify security settings, and block access to websites.

Win32/Winwebsec has been distributed with many different names. The name used by the malware, the user interface and other details vary to reflect each variant's individual branding. The following details describe Win32/Winwebsec when it is distributed with the name "Live Security Platinum".

Installation

When distributed as Live Security Platinum, the malware generates an identifier of around 32 hexadecimal characters, and uses this in its path and file names. It copies self to %common_appdata%\<identifier>\<identifier>.exe (for example, %common_appdata%\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287.exe)

It drops an icon file to %common_appdata%\<identifier>\<identifier>.ico (for example, %common_appdata%\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287.ico)

The rogue also creates a data file at %common_appdata%\<identifier>\<identifier> (for example, %common_appdata%\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287)

It creates a desktop shortcut at %desktopdirectory%\Live Security Platinum.lnk:

It creates a Start menu item at %programs%\Live Security Platinum\Live Security Platinum.lnk:

The rogue makes the following changes to the registry to ensure that it runs at each Windows start:

In subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
Sets value: <identifier> (for example, 6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287)
With data: <location of malware> (for example, %common_appdata%\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287.exe)

It also adds itself to the Add/Remove Programs list by creating the following registry entries:

In subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Live Security Platinum
Sets Value: "DisplayName"
With Data: "Live Security Platinum"
Sets value: "ShortcutPath"
With data: "<location of malware>" -u (for example,  "%common_appdata%\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287.exe" -u)
Sets value: "UninstallString"
With data: "<location of malware>" -u (for example, "%common_appdata%\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287.exe" -u)
Sets value: "DisplayIcon"
With data: <location of icon file>,0 (for example, %common_appdata%\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287\6F638BF02B17D979A3CB6D177B07D287.ico,0)

Payload

Displays false/misleading malware alerts

When run, Live Security Platinum performs a fake scan of your computer, and falsely claims that a number of files on your computer are infected with malware. Should you request that it clean the reported infections, it advises you that you need to pay money to register the program in order for it to do so.

Some examples of the interface, fake alerts, fake scanning results, and pop-ups displayed by "Live Security Platinum" are shown below:

Terminates processes

Upon installation, Live Security Platinum prevents you from launching any application by terminating its process and displaying a message that falsely claims that the process is infected. It continues to monitor all running processes, and will terminate any new process as it is launched. Upon doing so, it displays a message such as the following:

Win32/Winwebsec, however, avoids terminating the following processes:

  • aeadisrv.exe
  • alg.exe
  • audiodg.exe
  • conhost.exe
  • csrss.exe
  • ctfmon.exe
  • driverquery.exe
  • dwm.exe
  • explorer.exe
  • httpd.exe
  • iastordatamgrsvc.exe
  • iexplore.exe
  • iexplorer.exe
  • livesp.exe
  • lsass.exe
  • lsm.exe
  • makecab.exe
  • mdnsresponder.exe
  • mfnsvc.exe
  • nvscpapisvr.exe
  • nvsvc.exe
  • nvvsvc.exe
  • outlook.exe
  • pdagent.exe
  • relver.exe
  • rundll32.exe
  • searchindexer.exe
  • services.exe
  • slsvc.exe
  • smartfortress.exe
  • smss.exe
  • snort.exe
  • spoolsv.exe
  • svchost.exe
  • system
  • systeminfo.exe
  • taskhost.exe
  • tasklist.exe
  • werfault.exe
  • wininit.exe
  • winlogon.exe
  • winmail.exe
  • winroute.exe
  • wlmail.exe
  • wmiprvse.exe
  • wscntfy.exe
  • wuauclt.exe

It also avoids terminating any Win32/Winwebsec-related processes, or any process with a file name that has a length of exactly twenty characters, including the extension (for example, abcdef0123456789.exe).

It also specifically targets the following processes for termination:

  • mpcmdrun.exe
  • msascui.exe
  • msmpeng.exe
  • msseces.exe
  • nissrv.exe

Stops and disables services 

The malware may attempt to stop and disable the following services, which are related to Windows Update, Windows Security Center, and Microsoft and AVG antivirus products:

  • AVG Security Toolbar Service
  • avgfws
  • AVGIDSAgent
  • avgwd
  • msmpsvc
  • windefend
  • wscsvc
  • wuauserv

Closes windows

Should you attempt to open one of the following windows, the rogue may attempt to close them:

  • fwcplui_class (Windows Firewall)
  • msascui_class (Windows Defender)
  • wscui_class (Windows Security Center

Modifies security settings

The malware may attempt to modify your computer's security settings by making a number of registry modifications.

It attempts to disable various Windows Security Center notifications by making the following changes to the registry:

In subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Security Center
In subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Security Center\svc
Sets value: "AntiVirusDisableNotify"
With data: "1"
Sets value: "AntiVirusOverride"
With data: "1"
Sets value: "FirewallDisableNotify"
With data: "1"
Sets value: "FirewallOverride"
With data: "1"
Sets value: "UpdatesDisableNotify"
With data: "1"

It attempts to disable the Windows 7 Action Center by making the following changes to the registry:

In subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
Sets value: "HideSCAHealth"
With data: "1"

It attempts to disable the UAC File Virtualization Filter Driver by making the following changes to the registry:

In subkey: HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\luafv
Sets value: "Start"
With data: "4"

Live Security Platinum attempts to prevent the creation of automatic System Restore points by making the following changes to the registry:

In subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SystemRestore
Sets value: "RPSessionInterval"
With data: "0"

The rogue attempts to disable User Account Control (UAC) by making the following changes to the registry:

In subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system
Sets value: "EnableLUA"
With data: "0"

It attempts to disable Windows Defender by making the following changes to the registry:

In subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender
Sets value: "DisableAntiSpyware"
With Data: "1

Blocks access to websites

The rogue monitors for the following browsers:

  • chrome.exe
  • firefox.exe
  • iexplore.exe
  • opera.exe
  • safari.exe

If any of these are running, it may periodically display a dialog such as the following:

Live Security Platinum also monitors browser activity and may block access to certain sites, displaying the following text:

Warning! The site you are trying to visit may harm your computer!
Your security settings level puts your computer at risk
Activate Live Security Platinum, and enable safe web surfing (recommended)
Ignore warnings and visit that site in the current state (not recommended)

Analysis by David Wood


Symptoms

System changes

The following system changes may indicate the presence of this malware:

  • The presence of the following files:

    %desktopdirectory%\Live Security Platinum.lnk
    %programs%\Live Security Platinum\Live Security Platinum.lnk
  • The presence of the following registry modifications:

    In subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
    Sets value: <identifier>
    With data: <location of malware>

    In subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Live Security Platinum
    Sets Value: "DisplayName"
    With Data: "Live Security Platinum"
    Sets value: "ShortcutPath"
    With data: "<location of malware>" -u
    Sets value: "UninstallString"
    With data: "<location of malware>" -u
    Sets value: "DisplayIcon"
    With data: <location of icon file>,0

    In subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Security Center
    In subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Security Center\svc
    Sets value: "AntiVirusDisableNotify"
    With data: "1"
    Sets value: "AntiVirusOverride"
    With data: "1"
    Sets value: "FirewallDisableNotify"
    With data: "1"
    Sets value: "FirewallOverride"
    With data: "1"
    Sets value: "UpdatesDisableNotify"
    With data: "1"

    In subkey: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
    Sets value: "HideSCAHealth"
    With data: "1"

    In subkey: HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\luafv
    Sets value: "Start"
    With data: "4"

    In subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SystemRestore
    Sets value: "RPSessionInterval"
    With data: "0"

    In subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system
    Sets value: "EnableLUA"
    With data: "0"

    In subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender
    Sets value: "DisableAntiSpyware"
    With Data: "1"

  • The display of messages and icon:




Prevention

Take the following steps to help prevent infection on your computer:
  • Enable a firewall on your computer.
  • Get the latest computer updates for all your installed software.
  • Use up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Limit user privileges on the computer.
  • Use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers.
  • Use caution when clicking on links to webpages.
  • 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 websites. Instructions on how to download the latest versions of some common software is available from the following:

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 'Consumer security software providers'.

Limit user privileges on the computer

Starting with Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft introduced User Account Control (UAC), which, when enabled, allowed users to run with least user privileges. This scenario limits the possibility of attacks by malware and other threats that require administrative privileges to run.

You can configure UAC in your computer to meet your preferences:

Use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers

Exercise caution with email 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 webpages

Exercise caution with links to webpages that you receive from unknown sources, especially if the links are to a webpage that you are not familiar with, unsure of the destination of, or suspicious of. Malicious software may be installed in your computer simply by visiting a webpage 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 to compromise a computer, they also attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in human behavior to do the same. When an attacker attempts to take advantage of human behavior 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 computer.

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 eight characters, and combines letters, numbers, and symbols. For more information, see 'Create strong passwords'.


Alert level: Severe
This entry was first published on: Jul 30, 2012
This entry was updated on: Jul 31, 2012

This threat is also detected as:
No known aliases