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Remove Microsoft Security Essentials Alert virus (Tech Support Scam) - Apr 2018 update

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Adware

Microsoft Security Essentials Alert is a malicious warning message, pretending to be a legitimate Windows BSoD

Microsoft Security Essential Alert known as Hicurdismos

Microsoft Security Essentials Alert (otherwise known as Hicurdismos) is a tech support scam[1] that is triggered by a malicious executable running in system's background. This executable is used to mislead its victim by causing a fake warning message claiming that he or she needs to install Microsoft Security Essentials. If you have been suffering from this alert for some time, you should take into account that it can also be caused by an adware-type program[2] which has to be removed before it causes more havoc on your PC system.

Name Microsoft Security Essential Alert, Hicurdismos, Microsoft Securoty Essentials
Type Adware/Malware
Syb-type Tech support scam
Associated executable files MadarchodLocker.exe, setup.exe
Symtoms Fake BSoD, fake messages, fake scan results, etc. 
Distribution Software bundling, malicious or hacked websites, etc.
Elimination Download and install Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. Run a full system scan

The main fact, showing that you are dealing with the Microsoft Security Essentials virus or Hicurdismos, is that it has already been replaced by Windows Defender[3] in Windows 8 and 10. Thus, there is no need to install it. Nevertheless, crooks typically use social engineering techniques to convince users that the install is necessary.

As soon as victims are convinced to download and install a file called “setup.exe,” (which shows Windows Defender icon to look legitimate) Hicurdismos displayes a fake BSoD[4] error screen. BSoD is typically used by Windows to prevent system damage when things go wrong. To recover from legitimate error, users have to restart their PCs, but not in this case. The fake Microsoft Security Essentials Alert offers its victims to contact the supposed technicians by displaying such warning message:

Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We're just collecting some error info, and then we'll restart for you. (0% complete)

If you'd like to know more you can search online later for this error HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED

If you'd like to resolve this issue over the phone you can call our support at 1-800-418-4202

To make the scam more real, Hicurdismos virus does the following:

  • Disables Task Manager and makes it impossible to load it;
  • Hides the mouse cursor;
  • The BSoD covers the whole screen and prevents users from operating their machines properly.

Staying calm is vital because Microsoft would never ask its users to contact them via the phone. Interestingly enough, the virus targets Windows 8 and Windows 10 operating systems, no matter that Microsoft Security Essentials was initially released for Windows 7 and some earlier OS versions. Please, keep in mind that the later versions are equipped with Windows Defender by default, so you do not need to download it's earlier nor the later versions!

If you are dealign with Microsoft Security Essentials scam, do not contact cybercriminals as you might end up with losing your money or getting your personal data[5] stolen. Instead, proceed with Microsoft Security Essentials Alert removal using Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego – it will help you eliminate adware and malware automatically.

Microsoft Security Essential Alert virus

There is yet another version of Microsoft Security Essentials Alert which is related to adware

You can also run into a similar tech support scam, which is related to MSE. It is known as Microsoft Security Essential Alert and is caused by adware. This type of tech support scam tries to convince its users that their machines are infected with malware.

In reality, your PC is not infected with Trojan-PSW.Win32.launch or similar virus. The main virus, which is hiding in the system, is adware. These ad-supported programs are usually not harmful on their own, as they do not damage systems directly. However, they might trigger false messages that may lead victims to money loss or malware infections. Thus, it is essential to remove Microsoft Security Essentials Alert virus before it is too late.

It is understandable that inexperienced users might be tricked by this fake alert as it looks identical to MSE messages. Typically, victims get frightened that their computers are in imminent danger because of severe malware infections. There are many variants of Microsoft Security Essentials Alert, including:

Microsoft Security Essentials Alert
Your system has been blocked for security reason.
Microsoft Security Essentials detected potential threats! Your system has reached the critical security level, because of visiting sites with infected and pornographic contents. Its further use may lead to the system collapse and complete loss of information. To restore Your Windows system performance, you need to download and install an additional module of the dynamic proactive protection. This module is an optional paid update for especially infected Windows systems. It eliminates the causes of system slowdown, associated with the presence of difficult-found malicious software, prevents the system crash and stabilizes its operation.

It is essential not to panic and realize that the error message is fake. Microsoft would never ask users to download additional software which they need to pay for in such a way. Remember that MSE is dedicated to Windows 7 and earlier, so if you run Windows 10, you would have Windows Defender installed by default. Nevertheless, real anti-malware programs would not ask you for additional payment for removal of certain viruses.

Microsoft Securoty Essentials – the newest addition to the MSE scam virus

Microsoft Securoty Essentials is a fake anti-virus program that (again) tries to make users believe that malware heavily damaged their computers. It is the latest addition to Microsoft Security Essentials Alert which is trying to lurk the world by using a well known name. The executable file which is responsible for its infiltration is called MadarchodLocker.exe.

The primary goal of the virus is to make victims download bogus software which allegedly can fix the “damaged” PC. To achieve that, Microsoft Securoty Essentials virus informs users that their system is so severely broken that Windows Defender download is impossible. In some cases, users are prompted to visit rogue websites that might be infected with malware.

Microsoft Securoty Essentials fake AV

Note that the fake Microsoft Securoty Essentials might block legitimate anti-malware program from starting properly. To avoid that, reboot your PC in Safe Mode with Networking and launch security software from there. We explain how to execute the procedure below this article.

Viruses can be obtained via different methods, like bundling and social engineering

As we have already mentioned, these fake alerts can be caused by installing either malware or adware on your computer. While adware is a relatively harmless software that is created to generate adverts, malicious programs, such as Hicurdismos, can initiate serious havoc. Therefore, security researchers[6] note that it is crucial to learn how to prevent PUPs and viruses before they infiltrate the system.

To avoid adware and malware, follow these tips:

  • Before installing freeware, make sure you read EULA and Privacy Policy thoroughly. Do not install programs that do not present these documents;
  • Do not rush by clicking “Next”  without looking – you might skip important steps;
  • Select Advanced/Custom installation mode instead of Recommended/Quick one and remove all the tick marks next to unwanted additional components;
  • Do not visit suspicious websites, including illegal software, adult content, free online gaming, etc.;
  • Do not click on ads or content that you inadvertently got redirected to;
  • Learn to spot phishing sites or messages
  • Be careful with emails from unknown sources and never download attachments without checking its sender.

Microsoft Security Essential Alert malware

Microsoft Security Essentials Alert can be eliminated in two methods

Security blogs, websites, and forums offer numerous recommendations on Microsoft Security Essentials Alert removal, so it may sometimes be difficult to distinguish one method that is truly effective. Naturally, there are two virus removal approaches – manual and the automatic one.

The manual removal method is a long process that might result in the loss of files or even damage to the system if not carried out carefully. Apart from that, it is quite an effective way to remove Microsoft Security Essentials Alert virus from an infected PC.

Nevertheless, you can simply run a full system scan with reliable anti-spyware and bypass all the previously mentioned manual removal risks. Anti-malware utilities will remove the threat automatically. If you can't launch these applications, reboot your system into safe mode with networking first.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Microsoft Security Essentials Alert virus, follow these steps:

Delete Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Windows systems

To eliminate fake alerts from Windows OS, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs). Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials Alert and related programs
    Here, look for Microsoft Security Essentials Alert or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'

Erase Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Mac OS X system

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for Microsoft Security Essentials Alert or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'

Remove Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Internet Explorer (IE)

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Microsoft Security Essentials Alert and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Microsoft Security Essentials Alert removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Get rid of Microsoft Security Essentials Alert virus from Microsoft Edge

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, Microsoft Security Essentials Alert should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select Microsoft Security Essentials Alert and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  4. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete Microsoft Security Essentials Alert removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Eliminate Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Google Chrome

It is essential to reset your browser to default after Microsoft Security Essentials Alert scam is deleted:

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select Microsoft Security Essentials Alert and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  4. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  5. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  6. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  7. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete Microsoft Security Essentials Alert removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Delete Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Safari

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for Microsoft Security Essentials Alert or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  4. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete Microsoft Security Essentials Alert removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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