Windows Guard Tools will attempt to imitate what good antivirus program does in order to deceive its victims. One can never tell about the programs best intention until you come face to face with this malware. All it wants from you is money. To achieve its goal, Windows Guard Tools will act the same as antivirus software. It will scan the system, provide reports and remove the threats. However, this rogue program fails in almost all aspects. It never scans the system, but rather plays trick on you to look like it was doing it. Provided reports by this malware are lies. Lastly, it does not have a capability to remove threats. Windows Guard Tools are lacking of modules that are commonly integrated to genuine security products.
You must be aware that this fake program is using every means to enter the computer. Do not be confident that your antivirus software may protect your system against this attack. Windows Guard Tools can actually bypass any security measures when it spots a weakness on the system. It often tries to get inside your computer through Internet browser exploits. Other way is to breach Windows security holes.
Once the malware is inside the computer, it starts the mission by tweaking the registry for the following reasons:
- Make sure that it will load every time Windows starts.
- Disable anti-virus programs.
- Blocks the Internet connection for software and antivirus updates.
The malware plans to stay in the computer until such time that you buy the full version of Windows Guard Tools. Remember, its main goal is to sell the program so that it can generate profit for its developers.
What are the Symptoms of Windows Guard Tools Infection?
Here is the snap shot of the rogue program’s virus scanner.
It will modify Windows Registry and add the following entries:
%AppData%\Protector-[random 3 characters].exe
%AppData%\Protector-[random 4 characters].exe
%CommonStartMenu%\Programs\Windows Safety Maintenance.lnk
%Desktop%\Windows Safety Maintenance.lnk
The threat will drop the following malicious files:
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings “WarnOnHTTPSToHTTPRedirect” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System “DisableRegedit” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System “DisableRegistryTools” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System “DisableTaskMgr” = 0
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system “EnableLUA” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Settings “net” = “u_2012-5-24_6″
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Settings “UID” = “wtycmiurps”
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\advxdwin.exe
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\SafetyKeeper.exe
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\titaninxp.exe
Follow these Procedures to Remove Windows Guard Tools
Procedure 1: Scan Computer in Safe Mode Using Installed Anti-virus Program
1. First, we will try to remove Windows Guard Tools by running a virus scan under Safe Mode with Networking. To perform this task, please complete these procedures.
Start in Safe Mode with Networking (Windows XP/Vista/7 Instruction)
- Please restart the computer and just before Windows start, press F8 on your keyboard repeatedly. You will be presented with Advanced Options Menu.
- From the selections, choose Safe Mode with Networking. Please use keyboard's arrow up/down to navigate between selections and press Enter to proceed.
Start Windows 8 in Safe Mode with Networking
- Please restart the computer and as soon as it begins to start, please press Shift+F8 keys.
- Instead of seeing Advance Boot Options, Windows 8 will display Recovery Mode. Continue with the given steps until you reach Safe Mode function.
- Click on 'See advanced repair options'.
- Then, click on Troubleshoot.
- Next, please select Advanced options.
- On the next window, please choose Windows Startup Settings.
- Lastly, click on Restart button. Windows 8 will now restart and boot into Advanced Boot Option wherein you can run the system in Safe Mode with Networking.
2. Open your installed anti-virus programs and update it to the most recent version by automatically downloading necessary updates.
3. Thoroughly scan the computer and remove all identified threats. Do not restart or turn off the computer after the scan process. You still need to run another scan. Please follow the next procedure.
Procedure 2: Scan and remove Windows Guard Tools files with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
To remove Windows Guard Tools, download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware by clicking on the button below. This tool is effective in getting rid of Trojans, viruses and malware.
1. Save the file on your hard drive or any accessible location.
2. Install the program after downloading. Setup with default configuration, there is no need to change anything.
3. Before the installation completes, please put a check mark on "download update."
4. It will launch on itself after installation. The tool will also initiate an update and will require connection to its server.
5. Thoroughly scan the computer and remove all threats detected by this anti-malware program. If it requires you to reboot Windows, please proceed.
Procedure 3: Run Another Scan Using RogueKiller
1. Click the button below to Download the program RogueKiller. This tool is effective in finding malware components left inside your computer.
2. After downloading the file, double-click on it to run the program.
Note: When using Internet Explorer 8 or 9, SmartScreen Filter will alert you that the file is "not commonly downloaded and could harm your computer." To proceed, please click on Actions. Select Run anyway from SmartScreen Filter pop-up.
3. During the first time of launching the software, it will run a scan check the computer for presence of threats. Let the scan to finish.
4. Click on the Scan button on right side of the console. See image below for reference. Be sure that you have check mark on MBR Scan, Check Faked, and AntiRootkit. RogueKiller will scan the computer for infected registry entries, driver, and files.
5. After scanning, the tool will display a list of identified threats. Please look at all the tabs to view infected components associated with Windows Guard Tools and other threats.
6. Select infected items and make sure that it has a check mark. Usually, the program will select all malicious items.
7. Click Delete on the Options area to remove selected items. Do the same on all tabs that contains infected elements.
8. Please restart Windows.
Removing Windows Guard Tools from an infected PC may not resolve all issues. Most of the time, there are inconsistencies left by the malware like disabled Internet connection, hidden files and folders, and missing shortcut icons. You may solve these errors by performing the following steps.
Fix and Restore Internet Connection After Windows Guard Tools Infection
1. Please run RogueKiller once more.
2. Go to Options and click on the following buttons one at a time:
- Host Fix - The tool will restore the original Windows Hosts file.
- Proxy Fix - It will remove proxy settings on your Internet browser that was configured by the malware.
- DNS Fix - Clicking on this button will reverse changes made by the rogue program on your DNS Settings.
3. You may now restart the computer.
Steps to Restore Shortcut Links and Start Menu Icons
During the presence of Windows Guard Tools, it will perform some changes on the registry that will result to missing shortcut links and Start menu icons. The following steps will help you restore these settings back to normal.
1. Open RogueKiller once again. We will use this tool to restore missing items in your Start menu and desktop.
2. Go to Options and click on the ShortcutsFix button. This will restore missing shortcut links and Start Menu icons. The scan would take a few minutes.
Run Windows Repair Tool
After removing Windows Guard Tools from your computer, the next move is to fix any damages caused by the infection. Most anti-virus programs are not designed to fix issues and errors initiated by Windows Guard Tools. This tool can do many things like repairing of modified winsock, hosts file, proxy, and file associations.
1. Download the program Windows Repair (All-In-One). This is a free tool. Download page will open on a new window.
2. Once downloaded, double-click on the file to launch the program.
3. When the program is running, please select Start Repairs tab. Then, click on Start button to see a list of repair options.
4. Windows Repair comes with pre-selected options. These are the common functions being affected by viruses and malware like Windows Guard Tools.
5. Click to Start to begin the troubleshooting procedure.
6. Once the repair has finished, the program may prompt you to restart Windows, please reboot the computer.
Protect your PC from Windows Guard Tools or Similar Attack
Turn On Security Features of your Internet Browser
Internet Explorer - Activate SmartScreen Filter
Internet Explorer versions 8 and 9 has this feature called SmartScreen Filter. It helps detect phishing web sites and protect you from downloading malicious files online. You may have avoided Windows Guard Tools virus if this has been active on your PC. To turn on SmartScreen Filter, follow these steps:
1. Please open Internet Explorer.
2. On top menu, select Tools (IE 9). For IE 8, please look for Safety menu.
3. Select SmartScreen Filter from the drop-down list and click on Turn on SmartScreen Filter.
4. Please restart Internet Explorer.
Google Chrome's Enable Phishing and Malware Protection
With Google Chrome's Phishing and Malware Detection feature, you will have lesser risks browsing the web. It will display a warning when the site you are trying to visit is suspicious. To enable Phishing and Malware Protection, please do these steps:
1. Open Google Chrome.
2. Click on the Customize and control Google Chrome (3-Bars Icon) located on top right corner of the browser.
3. Select Settings from the drop-down list.
4. Once on the settings page, click on Show advanced settings... at the bottom of the page to see the rest of the Chrome setup.
5. Locate Privacy section and mark 'Enable phishing and malware protection'.
6. Please restart Google Chrome. New settings keep your browser safe while surfing the web.
Mozilla Firefox - Block Attack Sites and Web Forgeries
Phishing and Malware Protection is a built-in feature on Firefox version 3 or later. It warns you when a page you are trying to visit contains phishing content or an attack site designed to drop threats on the computer. To help you keep safe while browsing the Internet using Firefox, please follow this guide:
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
2. On top menu, click on Tools. Then select Options from the list.
3. Select Security and put a check mark on the following items:
- Warn me when sites try to install add-ons
- Block reported attack sites
- Block reported web forgeries