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Forum Thread: zombie installation

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TonyTwoTone zombie installation
Member 23rd Oct, 2011 04:56
Ranking: 3
Posts: 4
User Since: 23rd Oct, 2011
System Score: N/A
Location: US
Last edited on 23rd Oct, 2011 04:58

I recently found three installs of microsoft's malicious software removal tool in PSI. Two are noted as the actual installation and one is noted as a zombie installation with the MRT.exe extension. I'm not sure what it is but the word zombie tells me it's something I don't want on my computer.

Microsoft update KB890830.

I managed to delete the MRT.exe and when I ran PSI I found that it was no longer listed however, I just installed another update for the malicious software removal tool and I see that the zombie install shows up again in PSI. This update was KB2310138.

Is this something I need or is it spyware or maleware?

Thank You.
Tony

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TwoToneTony

mogs RE: zombie installation
Expert Contributor 23rd Oct, 2011 07:28
Score: 2265
Posts: 6,266
User Since: 22nd Apr 2009
System Score: 100%
Location: UK
@TonyTwoTone

Hello.
The following is an explanation of Zombie files taken from the FAQ's here :-
http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal...

Why are there so many detected files for program X?
Frequently when installing newer versions of a program, the vendor-provided installer/updater will occasionally not remove older versions of a program, and simply leave them on your hard-drive. These programs will typically not be shown in Add/Remove on the control panel either.

The PSI will group multiple detections of the same program together into one instance, and will rate the program's overall security based on the whether or not an up-to-date installation is present. The leftover files are known as 'zombie files'.

In earlier versions of the PSI (pre-2.0) it could appear that a program had not been updated because newly installed and updated version would be added to the 'Patched' tab, and the old and insecure versions would be left on the 'Insecure' tabs, apparently without changing. In the PSI 2.0, both insecure and secure instances of a program will be grouped together.

This prevents the worst confusion for users, and still allows advanced users to make full use of the PSI's capabilities.

For advanced users, it might be helpful to see the 'File Path' for each of the leftovers. To see this information, click "+" next to the detected program's entry, or double-click the program for more information. You can also sort the Scan Results based on how many detected instances are located on your system for a specific program by clicking the "#" header.


Hope this helps.......regards,

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Maurice Joyce RE: zombie installation
Handling Contributor 23rd Oct, 2011 10:57
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Tony,
KB890830 refers to Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. You should use it - the explanation is here:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/890830

KB2310138 is something different and implies U are currently using Microsoft Security Essentials as your main Firewall/Anti-Virus - is that the case?

Details here:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2310138

Where are U getting these downloads from? They are all part of Windows Update - is that your source for downloading & installing or a third party down loader?



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Maurice

Windows 7 SP1 64 Bit OS
HP Intel Pentium i7
IE 11 for Windows 7 SP1
16GB RAM
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ddmarshall RE: zombie installation
Dedicated Contributor 23rd Oct, 2011 12:05
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Posts: 965
User Since: 8th Nov 2008
System Score: 98%
Location: UK
Last edited on 23rd Oct, 2011 15:37
Where do you see this zombie installation?
In my case, it is in C:\Windows\WinSxS. This is normal.

The definition updates for Microsoft Security Essentials (KB2310138) do not need to be installed manually through the Windows Update interface. You should let MSE install them itself, either automatically or through the Update tab on the MSE interface.

Update
I've had a look at some different machines. One has a copy of MRT in a OEM file which seems to confuse the PSI. Here's what is in the usual installation

---START---

Program Name:
Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool

Security State:
Patched

Download Link:


Instances Found:
C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-malwarerem ovaltool_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_d390 9ca1dd6bb475\mrt.exe, version: 1.0.0.0
C:\Windows\System32\mrt.exe, version: 4.1.5503.0

Last System Scan (localtime):
19. Oct 2011, 13:07

Operating System:
Microsoft Windows Vista,

---END---

The system with the zombie had an old copy of mrt.exe in C:\x86\sources. Instead of treating this as a zombie, PSI was marking the copy in WinSxS as the zombie.
If an ignore rule is set up for the OEM file, PSI shows both instances as 'Actual installation'.


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This answer is provided “as-is.” You bear the risk of using it.
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TonyTwoTone RE: zombie installation
Member 23rd Oct, 2011 16:12
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User Since: 23rd Oct 2011
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Location: US
Thank you for your explanation. That makes perfect sense. I suppose I could continue to remove the mrt.exe file just to keep things clean on PSI. I changed my Windows update service from automatic download & install to download and choose installs when I noticed this. I feel more comfortable changing it back to the recommended settings now.


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TwoToneTony
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TonyTwoTone RE: zombie installation
Member 23rd Oct, 2011 16:18
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Location: US
I am aware that the KB890830 is an update to the software removal tool and that KB2310138 is an update for Securities Essential. I was just concerned with the word zombie which was just explained to me. I'm running Windows Vista Home Premium and I have my updates set on automatic. I am not receiving the updates from any other website or 3rd party.

Thank you

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TwoToneTony
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TonyTwoTone RE: zombie installation
Member 23rd Oct, 2011 16:22
Score: 3
Posts: 4
User Since: 23rd Oct 2011
System Score: N/A
Location: US
Yes, it shows up in the winsxs folder. I found instruction on line to remove the mrt.exe which I did a few days ago but my concern had been that it kept showing up as an update. Not knowing what a zombie file was, I started to ignore the request to automatically install. Now I know what a zombie file is and I will allow the install from here on.

Thank you

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TwoToneTony
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