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31 December 2001
13 February 2007
Also Known As:
Trojan.Win32.OptixKill, Win32/OptixKiller

Avkiller.Trojan is a Trojan horse that terminates the processes of common antivirus and firewall products.

NOTE: Definitions dated prior to April 9, 2002 may detect this threat as Trojan Horse.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 09 April 2002
  • Latest Rapid Release version 07 May 2019 revision 006
  • Initial Daily Certified version 09 April 2002
  • Latest Daily Certified version 07 May 2019 revision 008
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date 10 April 2002
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

Avkiller.Trojan is written in Delphi. It is usually UPX packed. The unpacked size is approximately 34 KB.

When Avkiller.Trojan is executed, it does the following:

It copies itself as:
  • \Windows\Spool16.exe
  • \Windows\Wininit.dta

It creates the \Windows\Winstart.bat file. If \Windows\Spool16.exe does not exist, this batch file copies C\Windows\Wininit.dta to C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\Spool16.exe.

It then adds the value

MSWindows  C:\windows\spool16.exe

to the registry key


The Trojan then runs as a service so that the Task Manager program in Windows 95/98/Me will not display it.

This Trojan horse also terminates antivirus programs and services; for example:
  • Zonealarm.exe
  • Zapro.exe
  • Vsmon
  • Minilog
  • Minilog.exe
  • Vsmon.exe
  • Svw3
  • Blackice
  • Blackd.exe
  • Blackice.exe
  • Nisum
  • Nisserv
  • Nisum.exe
  • Nisserv.exe
  • Nmain.exe
  • Iamapp.exe
  • Iamserv.exe
  • Frw.exe
  • Persfw.exe
  • Lockdown.exe
  • Lockdown2000.exe
  • Sphinx.exe
  • Nprotect.exe
  • Ndd32.exe
  • Smc.exe
  • Netutils.exe
  • Ldnetmon.exe
  • Portmonitor.exe
  • Connectionmonitor.exe
  • Cpd.exe
  • Defwatch.exe
  • Rtvscn95.exe
  • Vpc32.exe
  • Vptray.exe
  • Poproxy.exe
  • _Avp32.exe
  • _Avpcc.exe
  • _Avpm.exe
  • Avpcc.exe
  • Avpm.exe
  • Avp.exe
  • Nav Alert
  • Nav Auto-Protect
  • Navapw32.exe
  • Alertsvc.exe
  • Navapsvc.exe
  • Navlu32.exe
  • Navw32.exe
  • Sweepnet
  • Sweepsrv.Sys
  • Swnetsup.exe
  • Icload95.exe
  • Icmon.exe
  • Icsupp95.exe
  • Icloadnt.exe
  • Icsuppnt.exe
  • Iface.exe
  • Ants.exe
  • Anti-Trojan.exe
  • Wrctrl.exe
  • Wradmin.exe
  • Cleaner3.exe
  • Cleaner.exe
  • Tc.exe
  • Tca.exe
  • Tcm.exe
  • Moolive.exe
  • Mcshield
  • Avsynmgr
  • Mcshield.exe
  • Vshwin32.exe
  • Vsmain.exe
  • Scan32.exe
  • Scrscan.exe
  • Alogserv.exe
  • Vsecomr.exe
  • Webscanx.exe
  • Avconsol.exe
  • Vsstat.exe
  • Avxw.exe
  • Avxmonitornt.exe
  • Avxmonitor9x.exe
  • Avxquar.exe.exe
  • Amon9x.exe
  • Avgserv
  • Avgserv.exe
  • Avgw.exe
  • Avgcc32.exe
  • Iomon98.exe
  • Webtrap.exe
  • Pccwin98.exe
  • Pcciomon.exe
  • Pop3trap.exe
  • Tds-3.exe
  • Ss3edit.exe
  • Doors.exe
  • Jedi.exe
  • Monitor.exe
  • Rav7win.exe
  • Rav7.exe
  • Sweep95.exe
  • Mcagent.exe
  • Mcupdate.exe
  • Claw95.exe
  • Claw95cf.exe
  • Normist.exe
  • Nvc95.exe
  • Vet95.exe
  • Vettray.exe
  • Autodown.exe
  • Rescue.exe
  • Avkserv.exe
  • Ackwin32.exe
  • Dvp95.exe
  • Dvp95_0.exe
  • F-Agnt95.exe
  • F-Prot95.exe
  • Expert.exe
  • Fp-Win.exe
  • F-Stopw.exe
  • Vir-Help.exe
  • F-Prot.exe
  • Spyxx.exe
  • Atwatch.exe
  • Atupdater.exe
  • Atcon.exe
  • Pview95.exe
  • Wgfe95.exe
  • Avgctrl.exe
  • Ldpromenu.exe
  • Ldscan.exe
  • Generics.exe
  • Processmonitor.exe
  • Programauditor.exe
  • Avsynmgr.exe
  • Guard.exe
  • Tfak.exe
  • Luall.exe
  • Lucomserver.exe
  • Trjscan.exe
  • Regrun2.exe
  • Navapsvc
  • Symproxysvc.exe
  • Neowatchtray.exe
  • Netstat.exe
  • Regedit.exe
  • Regedit95.exe


Symantec Security Response encourages all users and administrators to adhere to the following basic security "best practices":

  • Use a firewall to block all incoming connections from the Internet to services that should not be publicly available. By default, you should deny all incoming connections and only allow services you explicitly want to offer to the outside world.
  • Enforce a password policy. Complex passwords make it difficult to crack password files on compromised computers. This helps to prevent or limit damage when a computer is compromised.
  • Ensure that programs and users of the computer use the lowest level of privileges necessary to complete a task. When prompted for a root or UAC password, ensure that the program asking for administration-level access is a legitimate application.
  • Disable AutoPlay to prevent the automatic launching of executable files on network and removable drives, and disconnect the drives when not required. If write access is not required, enable read-only mode if the option is available.
  • Turn off file sharing if not needed. If file sharing is required, use ACLs and password protection to limit access. Disable anonymous access to shared folders. Grant access only to user accounts with strong passwords to folders that must be shared.
  • Turn off and remove unnecessary services. By default, many operating systems install auxiliary services that are not critical. These services are avenues of attack. If they are removed, threats have less avenues of attack.
  • If a threat exploits one or more network services, disable, or block access to, those services until a patch is applied.
  • Always keep your patch levels up-to-date, especially on computers that host public services and are accessible through the firewall, such as HTTP, FTP, mail, and DNS services.
  • Configure your email server to block or remove email that contains file attachments that are commonly used to spread threats, such as .vbs, .bat, .exe, .pif and .scr files.
  • Isolate compromised computers quickly to prevent threats from spreading further. Perform a forensic analysis and restore the computers using trusted media.
  • Train employees not to open attachments unless they are expecting them. Also, do not execute software that is downloaded from the Internet unless it has been scanned for viruses. Simply visiting a compromised Web site can cause infection if certain browser vulnerabilities are not patched.
  • If Bluetooth is not required for mobile devices, it should be turned off. If you require its use, ensure that the device's visibility is set to "Hidden" so that it cannot be scanned by other Bluetooth devices. If device pairing must be used, ensure that all devices are set to "Unauthorized", requiring authorization for each connection request. Do not accept applications that are unsigned or sent from unknown sources.
  • For further information on the terms used in this document, please refer to the Security Response glossary.

Delete files that are detected as Avkiller.Trojan, delete the C:\Windows\Winstart.bat file if exists, and remove the value that the Trojan added to the registry. Detailed instructions follow.

To remove this Trojan:
  1. Obtain the most recent virus definitions. There are two ways to do this:
    • Run LiveUpdate. LiveUpdate is the easiest way to obtain virus definitions. These virus definitions have undergone full quality assurance testing by Symantec Security Response and are posted to the LiveUpdate servers one time each week (usually Wednesdays) unless there is a major virus outbreak. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by LiveUpdate, look at the Virus Definitions (LiveUpdate) line at the top of this write-up.
    • Download the definitions using the Intelligent Updater. Intelligent Updater virus definitions have undergone full quality assurance testing by Symantec Security Response. They are posted on U.S. business days (Monday through Friday). They must be downloaded from the Symantec Security Response Web site and installed manually. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by the Intelligent Updater, look at the Virus Definitions (Intelligent Updater) line at the top of this write-up.

      Intelligent Updater virus definitions are available here. For detailed instructions on how to download and install the Intelligent Updater virus definitions from the Symantec Security Response Web site, click here.
  2. Start Norton AntiVirus (NAV), and make sure that NAV is configured to scan all files. For instructions on how to do this, read the document How to configure Norton AntiVirus to scan all files.
  3. Run a full system scan.
  4. Delete all files that are detected as Avkiller.Trojan.
  5. Use Windows Explorer to determine whether C:\Windows\Winstart.bat exists. If it does, delete the file.

To edit the registry:

CAUTION : We strongly recommend that you back up the registry before you make any changes to it. Incorrect changes to the registry can result in permanent data loss or corrupted files. Modify only the keys that are specified. Read the document How to make a backup of the Windows registry for instructions.
  1. Click Start, and click Run. The Run dialog box appears.
  2. Type regedit and then click OK. The Registry Editor opens.
  3. Navigate to the following key:

  4. In the right pane, delete the following value:

    MSWindows  C:\windows\spool16.exe
  5. Click Registry, and click Exit.

Writeup By: Yana Liu