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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.

SUMMARY
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fact, showing that you are dealing with the Microsoft Security Essentials virus or Hicurdismos, is that it has already been replaced by Windows Defender[3] in Windows 8 and 10.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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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:

To remove Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Windows 10/8  machines, please follow these steps:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find entries related to Microsoft Security Essentials Alert (or any other recently installed suspicious program).
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK.Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Erase Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Mac OS X system

If your macOS is displaying some infection symptoms, proceed with the following guide:

Remove Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for Microsoft Security Essentials Alert-related entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove Microsoft Security Essentials Alert, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries related to Microsoft Security Essentials Alert and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the Microsoft Security Essentials Alert-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Remove Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Internet Explorer (IE)

Remove dangerous add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top-right corner of the browser
  2. Pick Manage Add-ons.
  3. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Microsoft Security Essentials Alert and other suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Change your homepage if it was altered:

  1. Open IE and click on the Gear icon.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. In the General tab, delete the Home page address and replace it by your preferred one (for example, Google.com).
  4. Click Apply and then select OK.Reset IE homepage

Delete temporary files:

  1. Press on the Gear icon and select Internet Options.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete…
  3. Select relevant fields and press Delete.Clear temporary files from Internet Explorer

Reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on Gear icon > Internet options and select Advanced tab.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. In the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Microsoft Security Essentials Alert removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Get rid of Microsoft Security Essentials Alert virus from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the Microsoft Security Essentials Alert-related extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom.Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear.Clear Edge browsing data

Reset MS Edge if that above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running.Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick DeleteAdvanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -VerboseAdvanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset.Reset Chromium Edge

Uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select plugins that are related to Microsoft Security Essentials Alert and click Remove.Remove extensions from Firefox

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Options.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear.Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

In case Microsoft Security Essentials Alert did not get removed after following the instructions above, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information.Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox – this should complete Microsoft Security Essentials Alert removal.Reset Firefox 2

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:

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to Microsoft Security Essentials Alert by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data.Clear cache and web data from Chrome

If the above-methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the Microsoft Security Essentials Alert-components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings to complete Microsoft Security Essentials Alert removal.Reset Chrome 2

Delete Microsoft Security Essentials Alert from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension related to Microsoft Security Essentials Alert and select Uninstall.Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History.Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches.Reset Safari

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 from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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