Removal of TheSpyBot

What is TheSpyBot? 

TheSpyBot is the latest in a long list of fake "spyware removal programs". Most of these infect computers when you are required to download an infected codec program when you tried to watch a video online or you may have been attacked by a drive-by installation. In any case, the program "TheSpyBot" installs on your computer, then proceeds to run a scan and show you a variety of infections that need to be removed. The only problem is my test computer was completely clean of spyware, adware, viruses and other issues when I downloaded and installed TheSpyBot.

TheSpyBot desktop icon

What I found was TheSpyBot would list files on my computer like the version.txt file in the Dell/Drivers directory as being infected with the "Trojan VX 12" infection, or a Windows Update installation being infected with the Complexal trojan. These are all false positive results designed to scare the user into purchasing the removal program since it found these problems. Unfortunately, there is a reason ONLY THIS PROGRAM found these issues, the issues are not real and dont exist. They are only shown to scare the user into purchasing the software.

TheSpyBot removal program is a play on words for a real spyware removal program that does an excellent job Spybot Search and Destroy. Spybot Search and Destroy is a well known utility to remove spyware, adware, malware etc. but is not related in any way to the fake removal program called TheSpyBot.

When TheSpyBot program installs on your computer you'll see it perform a scan of your system showing many false positive results.

Scan Results from TheSpyBot

It will also popup the following screen from time to time to try to get you to purchase the program.

Popup screen used by TheSpyBot 

Hijackthis will show the following line in its log indicating the program starts up each time the user logs in.

O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [TheSpyBot] C:\Program Files\TheSpyBot\TheSpyBot.exe

Step by Step Procedure for Removing TheSpyBot

Although I tried to remove TheSpybot by going into Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel and clicking on Change/Remove this did not work. The program simply said it removed it and wiped it from the Add/Remove Program list, but nothing changed. The files, desktop icon, and icon in the system tray were still all intact and working.

TheSpyBot in Add/Remove Programs

I also tried such programs as SuperAntiSpyware, which I think is one of the top programs in its class, as well as MalwareBytes Anti-Malware program. However, as of March 16, 2008, neither noticed TheSpyBot as a threat and attempted to remove it. Therefore, I had to resort to a brute force removal technique shown below.

Removal Procedure

Open Task Manager and stop TheSpyBot process

1) Right-click in a blank space on the startup bar between the Start button and the time/date. Click on Task Manager to open it. You may also press CTRL-ALT-DEL on the keyboard to perform the same function.

2) In the Processes tab, click on the name TheSpyBot.exe in the Image Name column and click End Process at the bottom of the window. Close the Task Manager by clicking the X in the upper right corner.

Remove Desktop icon for TheSpyBot and Startup Menu icons

3) Right-click on TheSpyBot desktop icon and click Delete to remove it desktop icon for TheSpyBot

4) Click on the Start Button, then click on All Programs.

5) Right-click on TheSpyBot folder and choose Delete to remove it from the Startup Menu. Answer Yes to the question about deleting it and moving it to the Recycle Bin.

Remove TheSpyBot folder in Program Files

6) Open My Computer

7) Double-click on Drive C

8) Double-click on Program Files folder

9) Right-click on TheSpyBot folder in click on Delete to remove it

10) Close all open windows

Download Ccleaner and run it to remove leftover entries in the registry

11) Click on the following link and download Ccleaner to your desktop

http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner/

12) Double-click on the Ccleaner installation file on your desktop and install it.

13) Run Ccleaner. Click on the Registry option on the left side and Choose to Scan for Issues. Then Fix any selected issues the program finds. Run Ccleaner registry scan until it finds nothing left to remove.

14) Lastly, reboot your computer. It should now be free of TheSpyBot removal program.

As a precaution against any other spyware, adware, malware, viruses, etc. on your computer, you may wish to scan your computer with online virus scanner like Housecall, BitDefender, or eTrust or download and install an antivirus program and run a complete scan. A list of online scanners is below, some however will only scan but not remove issues.

Online Virus Checkers
Trend Micro Housecall - will scan and remove threats
BitDefender Scan Online - will scan and remove threats
Ewido Online Scanner - will scan and remove threats
Kaspersky Online Scan - will scan and remove threats
Panda Activescan - appears to only scan for but not remove threats
McAfee FreeScan - appears to only scan for but not remove threats
eTrust Antivirus Web Scanner - will scan and remove threats
Symantec Security Check - will scan and remove threats
Dr.Web Online Check
- user can upload and test for threats on particular files

You can visit my page for other Essential Tools to Use in Removing Spyware, Adware, Trojans, and Viruses

Congratulations! Your computer should be free of the fake spyware removal program called TheSpyBot and all the false positive results that it finds.


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