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Removal instructions for (fake) AdwCleaner

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What is AdwCleaner?

Please note that this is a copy-cat of the real and trustworthy AdwCleaner.

This is the real difference, since AdwCleaner is free:


The Malwarebytes research team has determined that this AdwCleaner is a fake anti-malware application. These so-called "rogues" use intentional false positives to convince users that their systems have been compromised. Then they try to sell you their software, claiming it will remove these threats. In extreme cases the false threats are actually the very trojans that advertise or even directly install the rogue. You are strongly advised to follow our removal instructions below.

How do I know if I am infected with AdwCleaner?

This is how the main screen of the rogue application looks:

And see these warnings:





How did AdwCleaner get on my computer?

Rogue programs use different methods for spreading themselves. This particular one was installed by a fake online scanner.


How do I remove AdwCleaner?

Our program Malwarebytes Anti-Malware can detect and remove this potentially unwanted application.

  • Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to your desktop.
  • Double-click mbam-setup-version.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  • At the end, be sure a check-mark is placed next to the following:
    • Enable free trial of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium
    • Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
  • Then click Finish.
  • If an update is found, you will be prompted to download and install the latest version.
  • Once the program has loaded, select Scan now. Or select the Threat Scan from the Scan menu.
  • When the scan is complete , make sure that everything is set to "Quarantine", and click Apply Actions.
  • Reboot your computer if prompted.
Is there anything else I need to do to get rid of AdwCleaner?
  • No, Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware removes AdwCleaner completely.
How would the full version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware help protect me?

We hope our application has helped you eradicate this malicious software.

As you can see below the full version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware would have protected you against the fake AdwCleaner rogue. It would have warned you before the rogue could install itself, giving you a chance to stop it before it became too late.


Technical details for experts

Signs in a HijackThis log:

O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [AdwCleaner] "C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\4AdwCleaner.exe" -auto
Possible signs in a FRST log:

 HKCU\...\Run: [AdwCleaner] => C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\4AdwCleaner.exe [172136 2015-02-01] () () C:\Users\Malwarebytes\AppData\Local\4AdwCleaner.exe
Alterations made by the installer:

File system details  ---------------------------------------------    In the existing folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local       Adds the file 4AdwCleaner.exe"="2/1/2015 9:33 PM, 172136 bytes, ARegistry details  ------------------------------------------    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\4AdwCleaner_RASAPI32]       "ConsoleTracingMask"="REG_DWORD", -65536       "EnableConsoleTracing"="REG_DWORD", 0       "EnableFileTracing"="REG_DWORD", 0       "FileDirectory"="REG_EXPAND_SZ, "%windir%\tracing"       "FileTracingMask"="REG_DWORD", -65536       "MaxFileSize"="REG_DWORD", 1048576    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\4AdwCleaner_RASMANCS]       "ConsoleTracingMask"="REG_DWORD", -65536       "EnableConsoleTracing"="REG_DWORD", 0       "EnableFileTracing"="REG_DWORD", 0       "FileDirectory"="REG_EXPAND_SZ, "%windir%\tracing"       "FileTracingMask"="REG_DWORD", -65536       "MaxFileSize"="REG_DWORD", 1048576    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\AdwCleaner]       "id"="REG_SZ", "4462"    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run]       "AdwCleaner"="REG_SZ", ""C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\4AdwCleaner.exe" -auto"
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware log:

Malwarebytes Anti-Malwarewww.malwarebytes.orgScan Date: 2/12/2015Scan Time: 6:11:28 PMLogfile: mbamAdwCleaner.txtAdministrator: YesVersion: Database: v2015.02.12.04Rootkit Database: v2015.02.03.01License: FreeMalware Protection: DisabledMalicious Website Protection: DisabledSelf-protection: DisabledOS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1CPU: x86File System: NTFSUser: MalwarebytesScan Type: Threat ScanResult: CompletedObjects Scanned: 291443Time Elapsed: 4 min, 21 secMemory: EnabledStartup: EnabledFilesystem: EnabledArchives: EnabledRootkits: DisabledHeuristics: EnabledPUP: EnabledPUM: EnabledProcesses: 1Trojan.FakeAdwareCleaner.A, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\4AdwCleaner.exe, 1872, Delete-on-Reboot, [0a8a65b8ddadac8a86e525fb0cf62ad6]Modules: 0(No malicious items detected)Registry Keys: 0(No malicious items detected)Registry Values: 1Trojan.FakeAdwareCleaner.A, HKCU\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENTVERSION\RUN|AdwCleaner, "C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\4AdwCleaner.exe" -auto, Quarantined, [0a8a65b8ddadac8a86e525fb0cf62ad6]Registry Data: 0(No malicious items detected)Folders: 0(No malicious items detected)Files: 2Trojan.FakeAdwareCleaner.A, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\4AdwCleaner.exe, Delete-on-Reboot, [0a8a65b8ddadac8a86e525fb0cf62ad6], Trojan.FakeAdwareCleaner.A, C:\Users\{username}\Desktop\AdwCleanerV4_Setup.exe, Quarantined, [464e001d543673c35a11a27ed32fde22], Physical Sectors: 0(No malicious items detected)(end)
The full version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will protect your computer against this threat.

We use different ways of protecting your computer(s):

  • Dynamically Blocks Malware Sites & Servers
  • Malware Execution Prevention
Save yourself the hassle and get protected.
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