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Win32/FakeSecSen


Win32/FakeSecSen is a family of programs that claim to scan for malware and display 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. Win32/FakeSecSen appears to be based on Program:Win32/SpySheriff.
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, such as Trojan:Win32/Antivirusxp and Program:Win32/FakeRednefed may display product names or logos in an apparently unlawful attempt to impersonate Microsoft products.  These products may represent themselves as “Antivirus XP”, “AntivirusXP 2008”, “WinDefender 2008”, “XP Antivirus”, or similar.
 
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 will detect and remove this threat:
 
 
For more information on antivirus software, see http://www.microsoft.com/windows/antivirus-partners/.


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 will detect and remove this threat:
 
 
For more information on antivirus software, see http://www.microsoft.com/windows/antivirus-partners/.

Threat behavior

Win32/FakeSecSen is a family of programs that claim to scan for malware and display 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. Win32/FakeSecSen appears to be based on Program:Win32/SpySheriff.
Like Win32/SpySheriff, Win32/FakeSecSen has been distributed with several different names. The user interface varies to reflect each variant’s individual branding.
Installation
Win32/FakeSecSen usually installs six files. For example, when distributed as 'Micro AV', FakeSecSen installs the following files:
 
microav.exe – The main executable; shows the fake “scanner” interface, an associated icon on the system tray, and other fake infection warnings. Examples of these can be seen below:




microav.cpl – A control panel applet; adds an entry to the control panel called, for example, “MS AV”, with the icon of the Windows Security Center. When run, it simply launches the main executable (microav.exe in this example).
microav0.dat and microav1.dat – These files contain the malware information to report. There is no actual scanning done, all of the entries in these DAT files are reported.
microav.ooo – a harmless file usually only a few bytes long
microantivirus.lnk – a desktop shortcut pointing to the main executable.

All of the files are installed into a directory under the user’s program files directory (e.g. %ProgramFiles%\MicroAntivirus), except for the shortcut which is placed on the user’s desktop. The .cpl file (in this example microav.cpl) is also copied to the <system folder>.
 
Win32/FakeSecSen adds a registry entry to launch its main executable at system start, for example:
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: " %ProgramFiles%\MicroAntivirus\microAV.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: " %ProgramFiles%\MicroAntivirus\microAV.exe"

It also sets the following registry entry:
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\.key
Sets value: "(default)"
With data: "0"
Examples
Please see below for additional examples of filenames, registry modifications, interfaces, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by this group of rogue antivirus programs. Note that while these programs may appear to be different, the differences are only superficial - these programs are essentially identical.
 
MS Antivirus
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'MS Antivirus':
  • %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\msa0.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\msa1.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\msa.ooo
  • %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\msa.exe
  • %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\msa.cpl
  • %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\ms antivirus.lnk
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'MS Antivirus':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\MS Antivirus\MSA.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\MS Antivirus\MSA.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'MS Antivirus':





 
Spyware Preventer
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Spyware Preventer':
  • %ProgramFiles%\spp\spp.exe
  • %ProgramFiles%\spp\spp.ooo
  • %ProgramFiles%\spp\spp1.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\spp\spp1.dat
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\spyware preventer.lnk
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Spyware Preventer':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\SPP\SPP.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\SPP\SPP.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Spyware Preventer':
 
 


 
Vista Antivirus 2008
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Vista Antivirus 2008':
  • %ProgramFiles%\vav\vav.cpl
  • %ProgramFiles%\vav\vav.exe
  • %ProgramFiles%\vav\vav.ooo
  • %ProgramFiles%\vav\vav0.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\vav\vav1.dat
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\vista antivirus 2008.lnk
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Vista Antivirus 2008':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\VAV\vav.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\VAV\vav.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Vista Antivirus 2008':





 
Advanced Antivirus
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Advanced Antivirus':
  • %ProgramFiles%\aav\aav1.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\aav\aav.cpl
  • %ProgramFiles%\aav\aav.exe
  • %ProgramFiles%\aav\aav.ooo
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\advanced antivirus.lnk
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Advanced Antivirus':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\aav\aav.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\aav\aav.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Advanced Antivirus':






 
System Antivirus
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'System Antivirus':
  • %ProgramFiles%\sav\sav.ooo
  • %ProgramFiles%\sav\sav0.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\sav\sav1.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\sav\sav.cpl
  • %ProgramFiles%\sav\sav.exe
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\system antivirus 2008.lnk
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'System Antivirus':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: %ProgramFiles%\sav\sav.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\sav\sav.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'System Antivirus':






 
Ultimate Antivirus 2008
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Ultimate Antivirus 2008':
  • %ProgramFiles%\uav\uav.ooo
  • %ProgramFiles%\uav\uav1.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\uav\uav.cpl
  • %ProgramFiles%\uav\uav.exe
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\ultimate antivirus 2008.lnk
 
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Ultimate Antivirus 2008':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\UAV\uav.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\UAV\uav.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Ultimate Antivirus 2008':







 
Windows Antivirus 2008
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Windows Antivirus 2008':
  • %ProgramFiles%\wav\wav.ooo
  • %ProgramFiles%\wav\wav1.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\wav\wav.cpl
  • %ProgramFiles%\wav\wav.exe
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\windows antivirus 2008.lnk
 
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Windows Antivirus 2008':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\WAV\wav.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\WAV\wav.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Windows Antivirus 2008':
 

 



 
XPert Antivirus
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'XPert Antivirus':
  • %ProgramFiles%\xpa\xpa.cpl
  • %ProgramFiles%\xpa\xpa.exe
  • %ProgramFiles%\xpa\xpa.ooo
  • %ProgramFiles%\xpa\xpa0.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\xpa\xpa1.dat
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\xpert antivirus enterprise.lnk
 
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'XPert Antivirus':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\XPA\XPA.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\XPA\XPA.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'XPert Antivirus':
 


 
 

 
Power Antivirus
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Power Antivirus':
  • %ProgramFiles%\PWA\PWA0.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\PWA\PWA1.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\PWA\PWA.cpl
  • %ProgramFiles%\PWA\PWA.exe
  • %ProgramFiles%\PWA\PWA.ooo
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\power antivirus.lnk
or
  • %ProgramFiles%\pwx\pwx.cpl
  • %ProgramFiles%\pwx\pwx.exe
  • %ProgramFiles%\pwx\pwx.ooo
  • %ProgramFiles%\pwx\pwx1.dat
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\power antivirus.lnk
 
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Power Antivirus':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\PWA\PWA.exe"
Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\PWA\PWA.exe"
Or
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\PWX\PWX.exe"
Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "Antivirus"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\PWX\PWX.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Power Antivirus':
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ultra Antivirus 2009
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Ultra Antivirus 2009':
  • %ProgramFiles%\UltraAV\UltraAV1.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\UltraAV\UltraAV.cpl
  • %ProgramFiles%\UltraAV\UltraAV.exe
  • %ProgramFiles%\UltraAV\UltraAV.ooo
  • %ProgramFiles%\UltraAV\Uninstall.exe
  • %ProgramFiles%\UltraAV\UltraAV0.dat
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\Ultra Antivirus 2009.lnk
 
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Ultra Antivirus 2009':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\UltraAV\UltraAV.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\UltraAV\UltraAV.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Ultra Antivirus 2009':
 

 
 

 
 
AntiVirus Sentry
The following filenames may be used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Antivirus Sentry':
  • %ProgramFiles%\AVS\avs1.dat
  • %ProgramFiles%\AVS\AVS.exe
  • %ProgramFiles%\AVS\AVS.ooo
  • c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\AntiVirus Sentry.lnk
 
The following registry modifications may be made by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Antivirus Sentry':
Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\AVS\AVS.exe"

Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
With data: "%ProgramFiles%\AVS\AVS.exe"
 
Examples of interface, fake alerts, false scanning results, icons and pop-ups used by Win32/FakeSecSen when distributed as 'Antivirus Sentry':
 
 
 
 
 
Analysis by Hamish O'Dea

Symptoms

Symptoms vary among different distributions of Program:Win32/FakeSecSen, however, the presence of the following system changes (or similar) may indicate the presence of this program:
  • Presence of the following files, or similar (for example):
    %ProgramFiles%\vav\vav.cpl
    %ProgramFiles%\vav\vav.exe
    %ProgramFiles%\vav\vav.ooo
    %ProgramFiles%\vav\vav0.dat
    %ProgramFiles%\vav\vav1.dat
    c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\vista antivirus 2008.lnk
    %ProgramFiles%\spp\spp.exe
    %ProgramFiles%\spp\spp.ooo
    %ProgramFiles%\spp\spp1.dat
    %ProgramFiles%\spp\spp1.dat
    c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\spyware preventer.lnk
    %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\msa0.dat
    %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\msa1.dat
    %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\msa.ooo
    %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\msa.exe
    %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\msa.cpl
    %ProgramFiles%\ms antivirus\ms antivirus.lnk
    %ProgramFiles%\microantivirus\microav0.dat
    %ProgramFiles%\microantivirus\microav1.dat
    %ProgramFiles%\microantivirus\microav.ooo
    %ProgramFiles%\microantivirus\microav.exe
    %ProgramFiles%\microantivirus\microav.cpl
    c:\documents and settings\administrator\desktop\microantivirus.lnk
  • Presence of the following registry modifications or similar (for example):
    Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • Sets value: "Antivirus"
    With data: "%ProgramFiles%\VAV\vav.exe"
    Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    Sets value: "Antivirus"
    With data: "%ProgramFiles%\VAV\vav.exe"
    Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    Sets value: "Antivirus"
    With data: "%ProgramFiles%\SPP\SPP.exe"
    Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    Sets value: "Antivirus"
    With data: "%ProgramFiles%\SPP\SPP.exe"
    Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
    With data: "%ProgramFiles%\MS Antivirus\MSA.exe"
    Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
    With data: "%ProgramFiles%\MS Antivirus\MSA.exe"
    Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
    With data: " %ProgramFiles%\MicroAntivirus\microAV.exe"
    Under key: HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    Sets value: "ANTIVIRUS"
    With data: " %ProgramFiles%\MicroAntivirus\microAV.exe"
    Under key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\.key
    Sets value: "(default)"
    With data: "0"
  • Display of the following images/dialogs, or similar (for example):






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.
 
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/windows/antivirus-partners/.
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. 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 eight 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 17, 2010
This entry was updated on: Apr 17, 2011

This threat is also detected as:
  • Micro AV (other)
  • MS Antivirus (other)
  • Spyware Preventer (other)
  • Vista Antivirus 2008 (other)
  • Advanced Antivirus (other)
  • System Antivirus (other)
  • Ultimate Antivirus 2008 (other)
  • Windows Antivirus 2008 (other)
  • XPert Antivirus (other)
  • Power Antivirus (other)
  • Ultra AV (other)
  • AntiVirus Sentry (other)