- Internet & the Web
Antispyware Master: Ultimate Identity Theft
A short research I've conducted shows that Antispyware Master is a rogue security software that holds the second place by the number of web surfers desperately searching effective cure for it. You wonder who's the first place holder? I guess you'd never want XP Antivirus 2008 to demonstrate on your PC why it's the winner.
However, Antispyware Master by no means is an outsider. Its victims are ripped off by $115 - and that's before they learn that their credit card number was released to all those who can take a good advantage of it.
Scary? Add the highly sophisticated resilient mechanism making this malware prone to removal attempts. Consider the very few programs capable of detecting and deleting this scam. Finally, do you remember when you re-formatted your computer last time? Anti spyware master can easily make you spend a day reinstalling Windows and configuring hardware devices.
Anti spyware master: ways of infection
These days a computer with no real-time security monitoring stays safe for less than a minute when connected to the Internet. However, lots of security programs watching web traffic and hard disk activities don't provide 100% protection - and that's the only reason scams like anti spyware master find their way to sneak into PC's.
Surfing habits are primary reason why personal computers get infected with this dangerous malware. If you never visit websites outside .gov and .edu domains, you're unlikely to ever come across the webpage pictured below:
Antispyware master webpage
Antispyware master: ways of infection (continued)
Evidently most of us visit lots of websites - blogs, social bookmarking, gaming, and other web activities. This is the field where antispyware master promotes itself - well, not exactly itself, but by the hands of those interested in its distribution.
Luis Corrons, technical director of Panda Security’s technical support services, in describing AntiSpyware Master states, “When we analyzed this malicious code we found a file containing information about the infections to display. So, seemingly, this anti-spyware already knows the malicious code it will detect, before it has even begun to scan the computer! Evidently, this is a malicious program”.
So, here are several ways how your PC can become a victim of antispyware master:
- Social networks (web 2.0): accounts are created with the sole purpose to send out contagious links;
- torrent sites, warez sites, adult sites, pages listing pirated serial keys, etc. Lots of them embed the code to display a fake warning by antispyware master;
- a trojan;
- fake video codecs.
The danger of antispyware master lies in its look and design. Few people would really suspect identity theft to be committed by a decently looking banner or 3D box. The features look good, too, to many surfers. Free scan ads is a widely used technique to entice the user into downloading and installing the software. Who knows that once the download begins, antispyware master will never let the process be cancelled half-way? It smells the victim miles away, and once "OK" buttion is clicked, the malware WILL get installed (unless you throw the PC out of the window).
When installed, anti spyware master always reports infections it has found (it doesn't matter if your PC was as clean as a whistle a minute before the installation of the malware). The purpose of displaying fake spyware and worms is clear: to scare the user into paying for the full-featured version of the software with removal option enabled. Heck, wouldn't you want delete those entries immediately?
What You Get When Buying Antispyware Master
I plead you to never fall for this scam. Since you came here, I humbly hope to leave the creators of antispyware master without a lunch today.
The final price of antispyware master is shocking: $115. Taking into consideration very good security products available for under $30, this price seems to unreasonably high. Well, and did I say about recurring payments for antispyware master?..
I fell victim when “your files are being copied” kept popping up. Then came a popup with MSN at the top offering remedy. I clicked on it and got a free scan showing 13 virus. I clicked on and purchased AntiSpywareMaster for $49.99. I couldn’t get it to download. The next day I found that my credit card was billed $115 plus $3.44 for a foreign transaction.
Regretfully, you can find similar stories all over the web.
AntiSpywareMaster Removal: Manual
Antispyware master virus isn't easy to remove. It takes time to locate malicious files, registry entries, and delete stubborn files.
So, here's a set of steps you need to follow in order to successfully complete the antispyware master removal process:
- Go to Start-->Settings--Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs. Locate the Antispyware Master entry and remove it as you'd do for any program you want to un-install. There's no guarantee you'll find this entry - but if it is there, you should delete it this way (it doesn't remove the malware, unfortunately, but for the sake of Windows this step is recommended).
- Restart Windows and log in using Safe Mode option. To get there, hit F8 key continuously when the BIOS POST shows.
- Open Task Manager (prior to opening anything else) and look for the following processes: asm.exe, AntiSpywareMaster.exe, AntiSpywareMaster 7.3.exe. End each process you find.
- Locate the DLL-files belonging to antispyware master. Use the Search window and type in the following query: *spywaremaster*.dll (Note the asterixes - these symbols should be entered, too). Perform the search over all hard drives present in your system.
- If any DLL-files are found, look for their pathnames. You need to find out which directory hides those files.
- Go to Start-->Run, type in cmd and hit enter. A black DOS-like window will open. Here you need to unregister each of the found DLL's. To do that, set the current ditectory of the DOS window to that where the target DLL file is isntalled. You can do it by typing a cd command followed by Enter. When switched to the right directory, type in the following command: regsvr /u antispywaremaster.dll (note: the name of the DLL may be different). Below you'll find a screenshot to help you with this step.
AntiSpywareMaster Removal: Manual (continued)
Step 7: Now it's time to delete the malicious entries in the Registry pointing to Antispyware master's files. Go to Start-->Run, type in regedit, click OK, and after the Windows Registry Editor opens, look for the following keys:
Some of the keys may not be present on your system even if it's infected. In this case, delete those you find.
Step 8: Go to Program Files directory, and remove the folder named AntiSpywareMaster, with all its subdirectories and files. If Windows warns you about programs that may not work after removal, click "OK" and continue to delete the malware's nest.
Step 9: Restart Windows and log on normally.
Antispyware Master Removal: Automatic
Most of us would agree that removing such serious threats with the help of security software is certainly preferred. However, not all antivirus and antispyware programs are able to detect antispyware master virus. Therefore I'll list several programs (some of them allow the removal of infections even in free editions).
It is reported that the following PC security software products tackle the Antispyware Master infection.
- EMSISOFT Anti-malware
Anti-Trojan, Anti-Spyware, Anti-Wurm and Anti-Dialer all in one. Disk Scanner and Background Guard. SecuritySoftwareZone best rating. Scored 5/5 by Softpedia and Tucows!
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
Malwarebytes.org is home to a number of award winning applications, including Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, RogueRemover, Qoofix, FileASSASSIN, AboutBuster, RegASSASSIN, and more! Updates of malware definitions SEVERAL TIMES a day!
Do not use SpyHunter to Remove Antispyware Master
As you might have noticed, a number of websites recommend using SpyHunter's antispyware master scanner to remove the malware. I've googled a bit to find at least some reviews of SpyHunter to see what it is. Finally, I downloaded it.
My conclusion is that too many people report all kinds of troubles with Spy Hunter. Some suspect it to contain spyware, others insist it is a part of advertising scheme, while the antispyware performance (detection and removal) is mediocre, to say the least.
In fact, that's a problem of today: the number of antispyware programs on the market is outrageous. There's no surprise that people get lost. That's why I always advise to consult real-life experts or advanced PC users before buying this or that security program. Any unknown name should always alert you!
In my experience, new antispyware products with good scanning engines and effective algorithms quickly become popular and get decent web exposure.