virtool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore Analysis
VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore stealthily infiltrates the system registry and disables protection.

VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore is the name of the Microsoft Defender detection of a malicious element present in the system. Usually, it marks a thing that can weaken the system security and make the device vulnerable to malware injection. Let’s find out how dangerous this is, and how to deal with it.

Threats like VirTool are often the sign of an ongoing malware attack. Threats may carry embedded code that targets security tools, as well as use a stand-alone script. The fact that malicious software tries to disable antivirus tools usually means that its activities are hard to conceal, i.e. it is something harsh and severe. Ransomware, desktop blockers, vandal viruses, coin miners – all of them can make use of a defenceless system.

Protect your computer with a persistent, threat-resistant antimalware tool! GridinSoft Anti-Malware will defend your system any time, in any circumstances, by your mere command. 👉🏻 Get yourself reliable protection

What is VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore?

VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore detection points at a malignant element that can prevent Microsoft Defender from working properly. This can include various scripts, ones that modify registry keys that control the functioning of Defender. It is also triggered when you are trying to run scripts or download programs designed to subvert system defenses. As I said, VirTool is hidden from the user and runs in the background. This makes malware detection and removal more difficult.

VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore - Detection

Also, pirated software can contain part of code that modifies system settings to bypass license restrictions but does not carry malicious functionality. Pirated software may also include scripts that disable Microsoft Defender to prevent malicious components from being detected and removed.

Is VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore false positive?

Although VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore usually indicates the presence of malicious activity, in some cases it may be the result of a false positive detection. This can happen if legitimate software or administrative scripts change security settings during standard operation or system maintenance.

complains for false positive
Users are complaining about false positives

VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore sometimes also appears in scenarios involving the use of Microsoft Safety Scanner (MSERT), which can identify and report changed settings as part of its scan, correcting them back to safer configurations.

DefenderTamperingRestore Analysis

As I said above, it specializes in modifying registry keys to disable Microsoft Defender, or restrict its capabilities. This is mainly done through PowerShell or Command Prompt commands that modify system policies and specific Defender settings.

One particular thing that quite a few VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore samples do is modify the registry entries responsible for real-time and heuristic protection. Malware particularly goes for the “DisableRealtimeMonitoring” key to disable real-time protection or modify “DisableBehaviorMonitoring” to stop tracking suspicious activity.

Walking Through Affected Registry Keys

Among the main targets of VirTool is to disable Defender completely. Malware creates the “DisableAntiSpyware” parameter, setting its value to 1, which stops Defender from running.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

To disable proactive protection, VirTool creates another key – “DisableRealtimeMonitoring” – and sets it to 1. This stops the security tools from continuous scanning of all the accessed folders and launched files.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection

A less often trick that thing pulls targets the automatic sample submission system. By setting the 1 value to the DontReportInfectionInformation entry in the following registry hive, it disables sending samples to Microsoft.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Spynet

Some of the things that Microsoft detects with this name reach a sky-high level of tricks with Windows commands. A confusing set of meaningless letters and symbols you can see below is in fact rather useful. It sets certain folders – particularly ones that malware uses – to the whitelist of Microsoft Defender. Several ransomware samples use same or similar commands during gaining persistence.


In rare cases, VirTool acted as a loader, downloading and executing additional malicious modules. It modified “Shell” and “Userinit” registry keys to execute malicious scripts at system startup. Though a much more common occasion is this malicious element being embedded into a more complex script. The latter typically orchestrates the initial malware injection, where disabling Microsoft Defender is a rather obvious preliminary step.

How to Remove VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore?

The appearance of VirTool:Win32/DefenderTamperingRestore is usually a bad omen. It is likely a sign of malware activity that goes below the radar. For that case, I recommend following these steps:

1. Restart your computer into Safe Mode with Networking

Open Start menu, then click the “Reboot” button while holding the Shift key. The Troubleshooting menu will appear, select here “Troubleshoot” → “Startup Settings” and click “Restart”. This sends you to the window with Safe Mode options.

There, click on the 5 button to launch the Safe Mode with Networking. This mode stops all non-essential processes from launching, leaving you with bare Windows and network connectivity features enabled. By doing so, you restrict malware from running, making the removal much easier to accomplish.

2. Run reliable antivirus software

Download a reliable antivirus software that can remove VirTool remnants permanently from your PC. GridinSoft Anti-Malware is an excellent option for this. Run a Full Scan and remove any detected threats.


By Stephanie Adlam

I write about how to make your Internet browsing comfortable and safe. The modern digital world is worth being a part of, and I want to show you how to do it properly.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *