WannaCry began infecting computers around May 2017, being downloaded onto windows machines and consequently encrypting the files it needs to run. While this form of infection is not new, the absolute scale of WannaCry leads it to be breaking news in most countries across the globe, especially the United Kingdom where it resulted in the NHS (National Health Service) to append various services, including operations. The infection was not mostly sophisticated and evidently was not some new super malware that will undermine the world’s computing infrastructure. Nonetheless, it did outline a more bold approach by hackers to request money upfront for their crimes. In the NHS scenario, a sum of over $300 worth of Bitcoin was demanded to decrypt the infected computers. Most of you are probably pondering the question ‘what is WannaCry?’ Well, you will learn more in this article.

What is WannaCry?

WannaCry is a Trojan virus known as ransomware. Just as the name suggests, the malware in effect holds the infected machine hostage and requests that the victims pay a huge amount of money in order to reclaim access to the files on their PCs. RansomWare such as WannaCry operates by encrypting most or all of the files on a user’s PC. Then, the program demands that payment be paid to have the files decrypted. In most cases, the program requests that the victim part with a ransom of $300 in bitcoins at the point of infection. If the victim fails to pay within three days, the ransom doubles to $600. WannaCry will then delete the encrypted files altogether, and data will be lost if no payment is made after seven days.

It is essential to note that WannaCry ransomware contains several components. The ransomware gets into the infected machine in the form of a dropper, an independent program that extracts other app components rooted within it. These components include:

  • An app that encrypts and decrypts data
  • Files that contain encryption keys
  • A copy of Tor

The origin of WannaCry is still unknown, but the program code was simple, and the IT experts efficiently analyzed it. After being launched, the ransomware attempts to get into the hard-coded URLs. However, it continues to look for and encrypt files in some essential formats, ranging from MKVs to MP3s to Microsoft Office files if it fails to locate the hard-coded URLs. Afterward, it shows the ransomware notice requesting the $300-worth of Bitcoin to decrypt the affected files.

How Ransom Payment Work

The WannaCry hackers demand that the payoff is paid using Bitcoins. WannaCry generates a matchless Bitcoin wallet address for every infected machine, but due to a race condition error, this code executes inappropriately. Afterward, WannaCry changes to 3-hardcoded Bitcoin address for the payment. It is often impossible to have your files decrypted since the attackers are unable to determine the victims that have parted way with the ransom using the hardcoded addresses. The WannaCry hackers consequently released a new version of the ransomware that resolved this bug, but this version was not successful in comparison to the original. After this release, a new notice was sent to the infected PCs informing the victims that the files would be decrypted if the payoff was paid.

How WannaCry Infects Computers

The attack method for WannaCry is quite interesting than the ransomware itself. The susceptibility the ransomware exploits is founded in the Windows enactment of SMB (Server Message Block). The server message block assists several nodes on a network to communicate, and specially crafted packets could dupe the enactment of Microsoft into implementing the arbitrary code. It is noted that the United States National Security Agency found this susceptibility and developed a code known as EternalBlue rather than reporting it. The exploit was however stolen and released in a complicated manner by a hacking team named Shadow Brokers. Microsoft on its part had discovered the susceptibility earlier and released a patch to counterattack it, but most systems remained susceptible, and WannaCry continued infecting PCs rapidly by utilizing EternalBlue. Microsoft blamed the United States government for not sharing the knowledge of the susceptibility.

WannaCry does not start encrypting files even if the computer has been successfully infected. This is so because the ransomware attempts to access the hard-coded URL first before beginning the work. The WannaCry then shuts itself down if it fails to access the domain.

Can users recover the encrypted files or should they just pay the ransom?

The decryption of encrypted files is not possible at the moment, but several researchers continue to examine the possibility. You may be able to retrieve your files if you have backup copies of your affected files. Most IT experts do not recommend users to pay for the payoff. In some situations, it is possible to recover files without using the backups. Files which are often saved on My Documents, Desktop or a removable disk are encrypted and their original copies deleted. These files are unrecoverable. Files which are stored in other locations in your PC are encrypted and their original copies just deleted. It means that these types of files can be retrieved by using a recovery tool.

Who is impacted by WannaCry?

All unpatched windows machine are potentially vulnerable to WannaCry. Companies are specifically at risk due to its capability to spread across networks, and several companies worldwide have been affected. Europe is the continent that has been majorly affected. Nonetheless, the ransomware can also affect individual PCs.

The best practices for protecting against ransomware such as WannaCry

  • Always ensure that the security software is up to date to defend yourself against potential attacks since ransomware appears on a frequent basis.
  • Make sure that your operating system is up to date. Software upgrades often integrate patches for newly discovered security susceptibilities that could be misused by attackers.
  • You should be wary of suspecting mails specifically if the mail contains attachments and URLs.
  • Backing up essential data is a significant way of avoiding the ransomware infection. Attackers have the tendency of encrypting valuable files and documents and then leave them inaccessible. You can, however, restore the encrypted files if you have any backup.
  • Using cloud services can help alleviate the ransomware infection because most retain the earlier versions of files allowing the user rollback to the unencrypted form.

Definition

Today, malware is one of the biggest threats on the internet. It is an abbreviation for malicious software. Malware is any software that has been developed by cyber attackers with the intention of damaging a computer or a network. In most cases, the owner is not aware of the compromise. Apart from destroying the computer, this software is mainly developed to steal, encrypt, and delete sensitive data or to monitor any computer activity without permission.

Types of malware

There are different types of malware. Each type has unique traits and characteristics. The following are the main types;

  • Computer viruses – This is the most common type of malware. A computer virus is a malicious program that executes itself and spreads uncontrollably through the machine thus infecting other programs and files. These viruses end up deleting or corrupting other files.
  • Computer Worm – This form of malware can replicate itself without the host program. Worms spread faster than computer viruses. They move from system to system across networks through programs or removable devices. For example, a computer worm can move from one machine to another through an email attachment. Worms are some of the long-lived forms of malware these days.
  • Scareware – It is also referred to as a rogueware. Just as the name suggests, this malware works by scaring the computer user with fake warnings. They are required to pay a certain fee if they want the detected malware to be removed. If the user buys the “advertised” application and installs it on the device, they will continue experiencing more of the scareware.
  •  Ransomware – This form of malware also scares the users with warnings of malware detected on the machine. However, ransomware also prevents the user from accessing the computer’s operating system or essential files. You will have to pay a huge fee if you want the OS and the vital data to be unblocked.
  • Trojan horse – This is a very common form of malware. It pretends to be a legitimate and useful tool and tricks the user into installing it. The installation will allow the software to access the computer’s operating system. This malicious software often deals with copying essential files and sending them to other devices.

In most cases, its functions are hidden from the user. The worst thing about Trojan horses is that they can be remotely controlled through a backdoor function. It makes it possible for cyber attackers to hijack the computer.

  • Adware – The word is a combination of advertisements and software. This malicious software works by inserting advertisements into programs. Online marketing has become the most common form of advertisements, and this makes adware one of the most common form of malware. Sometimes, it can make changes to the computer system without permission or even show fake websites.

How to recognize malware

Companies and individuals can be victims of malware attacks. In large organizations, cyber attackers can use malware to weaken the systems or expose essential data to gain profit. This could cause huge damage to the entire firm. Therefore, it is necessary to recognize the malware early enough and take corrective actions. There are very many signs that could guarantee that a computer has been infected with malware. Apart from a slow computer, other signs that the device has been infected with malware include;

  • Program crash – sometimes, the computer programs end up crashing because some malicious software has deactivated the program. Also, the machine could experience problems starting up or shutting down.
  • Installation of unwanted programs– If you notice that some programs are installing and opening themselves in your device, you should be aware that your machine has been infected by malware.
  • Promotional pop-ups– Also, if you are experiencing pop-ups, spam or frequent crashes in your device, there is a possibility that it has been infected with malware.
  • Low internet speed– when a malware affects the computer, it causes high data traffic which in turn lowers the internet speed.
  • Automatic redirection to unwanted sites-if you notice a lot of unwanted internet content such as the appearance of new pages or toolbars in the browser, you should know that your device has been infected.

How to remove malware

In most cases, malicious software is developed to make a profit from spreading fake emails, stealing or encrypting sensitive data or making money from false advertisements. If you have identified the above signs and you think that your machine has been infected by malware, it is good to know how to get rid of the malware as soon as possible. Each type of malware has a unique way of infecting a computer which means that each type has its own removal method. However, the following are some of the necessary steps for getting rid of malware.

  • Start by backing up all the critical files on the computer.
  • Ensure that the machine is disconnected from the internet.
  • Remove all the external storage devices from the computer. These include flash disks and USB drives.
  • Scan the computer using the antivirus program.
  • Restart it as you press the F8 button. This key should be pressed before the windows startup logo appears.

How to protect yourself against malware

Protection is always better than cure. Since anyone can be a victim of malware, it is necessary to take the basic cyber-security practices that can help users be safe from malware. The following are some of them.

  • Installing an anti-virus program – There are different programs available in the market today, choose the best one and install it on the computer. Use it to scan the machine as frequently as you can.
  • Updating the computer’s operating system – Computer users should ensure that will install all system updates as soon as they are released. Delays in patching up have caused many people to be victims of cyber-attacks.
  • Installing cyber-security software – These days, most software providers will update their programs as frequently as possible. It could either be daily or weekly. The updating ensures that there is enough protection from malware in case of an attack.
  • Being cautious about the email attachments that you open – It is correct to say that malware can also be transferred from system to system through email attachments. Therefore, if you want your machine to stay safe from any form of malware, you should ensure that email attachments are secure before downloading them.

With the many cases of hackers arising, your device is at a high risk of breaking down if not protected. However the good news is that the antivirus companies are also working to keep updating the packages that will help keep your devices safe from the hackers.

There are many types of anti-virus on the market. Without the best knowledge it can get confusing on picking up the best one both for your device and the purpose your device is serving.

This article is here to help you narrow down your search for the best Anti-Virus 2018. They are the ones that have been tested and proved to work best. They have some packages both free and premium to make your decision making easy. They are recommendations that can be trusted.

The first thing to do when you are looking for an anti-virus is to first get to know your device, the purpose of it, that is whether it is business or personal. This will determine the type of protection that you need. Investing on a good anti-virus doesn’t mean that you will spend a lot as most people would think. The packages vary and the best can sometimes even be free. Here is some bit of things to look for.

What Makes A Good Anti-virus

Malware detection and removal

A good anti-virus will be able to detect different types of viruses and malware that is either in compressed or uncompressed. When doing this, it will still not consume a lot of the system resources.

Firewall

There are always new threats arising each and every minute. The firewall helps in keeping away all incoming threats.

Auto sandboxing technique

A good anti-virus will provide virtual space to run and analyze untrusted unknown and malicious applications. This provides secure environment to run files in real time to check for foul play.

Virus scan

A virus scan should automatically run at regular intervals to make sure the system is safe from all dangers. A good anti-virus will automatically be able to perform this task.

Identity protection

The theft of stealing identity has become so common in today’s world. A good anti-virus is able to safeguard your personal information.

Social media and email protection

A good anti-virus is able to detect any malicious link when using the social media. E-mails carry viruses especially through attachments which can cause damage on your device. With a good form of protection your device is safe from being a victim of such threats.

The above qualities will now make it easy to narrow down the best anti-virus. Listed below are some of the best ones that have already been tested.

  1. Bitfender antivirus plus
  2. Norton antivirus basic
  3. Webroot SecureAnywhere antivirus
  4. ESET NOD32 antivirus
  5. F-secure antivirus SAFE
  6. Kaspersky Antivirus 2018
  7. Trend Micro Antivirus
  8. Panda Antivirus Pro

Bitdefender Antivirus plus

Pros

  • Best antivirus protection against threats on windows pcs
  • Optimized performance preserves speed and battery life
  • Multi-layer ransom ware protection now with ransom ware remediation
  • Includes privacy tools such as bitdefender safe pay.

Cons

  • Can be resource hungry

This is one of the best anti viruse that provide the right security for your device. It has had the best threat detection rate in the industry for the past seven years. It uses advanced artificial intelligence and host of other revolutionary technologies.

It detects and even blocks the newest threats anywhere in the world. It does all these things and remain easy to use. It has the best cyber security and many people who have used it so far have rated it well.

Bitdefender anti-virus plus has different packages in terms of price and it is easy to pick the one that suits your needs. You will be able to find the packages by visiting bitdefender anti-virus site for more details.

There are many free security packages in the world currently. The annual fee may seem expensive but the good thing about it is that it has a lot of advantages.

Norton antivirus Basic

Pros

  • Blocks even brand new malware
  • Low impact on system resources

Cons

  • Browser extension extras can be unreliable

With this one, you will get great value protection and you will not be slowed down. It hunts malware and this one automatically protects your PC on its own. It is also one of the best values paid for security software solutions on the market in 2018.

It also recognizes suspected downloads immediately. This is the second best rated antivirus in 2018.

It is easy to use because it has the configuration options that experts need. It comes highly rated by the testing labs. It is designed to have the least possible impact on the performance of your system.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus

Pros

  • Extremely light on system resources
  • High speed
  • No interruptions while your computer runs a scan
  • Takes small amount of space on disk
  • Low price

Cons

  • No testing data from the test labs

The installation of webroot takes a very short time to install. In fact it takes just seconds to install. The program file takes less than 2MB of the hard drive. There are no bulky signature updates to tie up the bandwidth.

Webroot is hard to compare with other competitors because it has no evaluation from the test labs. However, reviews from those who have used it are very good. It is not a complicated antivirus and therefore becomes the best for those who are looking for easy to use anti-virus.

ESET NOD32 Anti-Virus

This is a good one for more experienced user.

Pros

  • Highly configurable
  • Device access control

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Not for beginners

This is a good one in protection against hackers, malware and data theft without slowing you down. You are able to enjoy the full power of your computer without experiencing a slowdown.

This anti-virus is more focused on the fundamentals of an anti-virus.

It has very advanced features which may make it hard for beginners to be able to use. This therefore makes it a perfect one for experienced users who will highly appreciate power and configurability.

It has an above average protection which is good for keeping you safe and a light weight design which ensures that you get a good speed.

F-secure Anti-virus SAFE

Pros

  • User friendly
  • Good value package

Cons

  • Prone to false positivities

This is a collection of anti-virus software tools. It comes with a good amount of features which makes the price at which you get it at worthwhile.

It comes with banking protection for safe online transactions, family safety tools which make it ideal for the children in the house too.

It performs well with AV-comparatives. It is really easy to use and the app alone can look after your PC.

It is one of the best to run alongside other security tools without experiencing any conflicts. The price has a good package which can be found by checking on the site.

Kaspersky Anti-virus 2018

This is a good one for both experts and beginners. Kaspersky is also one of the trustworthy anti-virus to many.

Pros

  • One of the best performing security packages
  • Supremely easy to use
  • Simplifies security management

Cons

  • Full suites are better value

Kaspersky focuses on the core security essentials. It is among the best blocking malware. It is top rated regularly at sites like AV-comparatives.

This is an easy program to use. It gives a good number of on screen instructions that explains how it works.

This one will serve you very well when you are looking for accurate, reliable and consistent malware protection. It automatically scans your PC to find threats. If your PC is infected, the technologies in it help you to rescue and reset it.

Trend micro Anti-Virus

This one has good rating and it is a strong one in contending.

Pros

  • It is affordable

Cons

  • Might slow you down
  • Higher than average false positives

It is clear and easy to use. You are able to get security without complexity intuitive settings and clear status reports makes safety easy.

The above average anti-spam and an effective folder shield module to block ransom ware makes it a capable anti-virus package that is simple to use. It is rated well by the top testing labs. However there is mixed information about this though most people who have used it have given a good review.

The package allows you a free time to use it before buying it. This is good for you to test it and find out about its performance which will lead you to a good decision.

Panda Anti-virus Pro

It is a very well featured a Anti-Virus solution.

Pros

  • It comes with variety of features
  • It is easy to use

Cons

  • It has limited firewall

The features that come with this package are malware detection; speedy cloud based scanning, URL filtering for blocking malicious websites. These features helps to keep your system secure. Though it has many features, it remains an easy one to use with well-organized options.

It has good reviews from the people who have had an experience with it though test results from independent lab are not as many.

Paying for anti-virus services means that you get a better quality in your security and also getting a lot of quality features. The best recommendation when one is looking for a good anti-virus is to go for the premium ones. They will make sure that you enjoy a smooth running on your device.

However, there are still good anti-virus downloads which can still serve you well and they are absolutely free. They have their disadvantages which are important to get to know before getting the free antivirus.

A list of the disadvantages include:

  1. Lack of comprehensive protection. You only get basic level protection for your computer
  2. Numerous Ads
  3. Lack of customer support
  4. Inferior scanning performance
  5. Slower scans
  6. Sharing your data

When all detection techniques are not applied, your PC will automatically be at risk. Many free anti-virus downloads do not have the capability to do so.

Some of the best free anti-virus downloads include:

  1. Bitdefender anti-virus free edition – it essentially consists of the AV section of the full product. One of the advantages is that it has a fast scanning and excellent virus detection which are helpful if your PC does not perform a lot of tasks that causes threats to the device. However the advanced users who want more control and scans cannot be scheduled.
  2. Avast Free Anti-Virus – Avast scores well on AV tests and continues a clean sweep. It does not slow your computer and has a great virus protection, though not all of them but a big percentage of the threats. However it does not contain good privacy settings and includes links to pay for components which becomes irritating at times.
  3. Sophos Home – This is best suited for families and it performs better as a free Anti-Virus. You get standard anti-virus protection that is suitable for all members in the family, this means even the children. It is simple and non-intrusive and has good cloud based control of protected devices. The cons in this is it has no scan scheduling and has limited control for advanced users.
  4. Kaspersky free -There is accuracy and reliable anti-virus engine with Kaspersky free Anti-virus. It is also user friendly. It does not pester the user with nudges that keep reminding the user to upgrade to the full version. The disadvantage is that it has only the basic features which cannot be so useful to advanced users. There is also the disadvantage of limited technical support.
  5. Avira Free Anti-virus – It continues to perform well on AV tests and have proven to give protection against a high percentage of threats. It is not too bulky for the hardware either. The bad thing about this is the popups that keep appearing every time you are using your PC. It makes it annoying as it also keeps promoting other Avira products.

The problem that has been detected so far is that the chrome version sometimes stops working automatically with no apparent reason.

The best Anti-Virus 2018 are available in both premium and free packages. The choice depends on a person’s needs.

Coinminers, also known as Cryptocurrency miners are programs that generate cryptocurrencies such us Bitcoin, Ethereum among others. The program belongs to the Trojan family. If you run them for personal benefits, they may provide income. However, Trojans are the last malware you should want on your device because they are the worst type of cyber threat. They can create issues on your computer which can be frustrating. And for this reason, you should act fast if you detect any presence of it.

What is Coinminer?

It is considered to be a type of malware that provides havoc on your computer. It uses a computer’s resources to generate bitcoin blocks, and during this process, your computer may become slower than usual. A coinminer can be harmless but annoying. You will have to deal with endless messages popping up every time you are using your computer or live with the risk of your computer being disabled. The primary aim of hackers who create such a virus is to either delete, destroy or steal data. And as scary as that sounds, you may have to deal with this possibility.

Coinminer Viruses

Miner viruses have and still are evolving due to new technologies that enable them to infect as many computers a possible and use the infected machine to its full extent. Examples of such malware include Wannamine Cryptoworm and Javascript Miner. The symptoms of infection may vary depending on the type of virus. Some may add shortcuts of other programs into your desktop while some may start installing unwanted programs. A dangerous virus however, may present the blue screen of death that will force you to keep restarting the computer.

How Coinminer Installs On Computers

There are several ways this virus can get into your computer. Some common ones are:

  • Email attachments that have infections
  • Downloads from malicious websites
  • Fake updates that you might have installed
  • External media such as flash disks, CDs and DVDs

How to Detect Coin Miner Viruses

Coinminer may present itself with the following symptoms.

  • Blue screen of death
  • Spam messages
  • Computer performance is slow
  • Sudden operating systems error messages
  • Programs stop responding

How Do I Remove Coinminer From My Computer?

Follow these steps to remove this stubborn virus.

Step 1. Use an Anti-Malware program

An anti-malware program works by scanning your computer to detect any virus that may have been installed. They run alongside antivirus software without any problems. There are different kinds of them including ClamWin which is a free program and a highly effective.

  1. Download antimalware programs from your browsers.
  2. After it has finished downloading, double-click the file to start the installation process.
  3. Click the “Next” button
  4. It should take you to the programs set up wizard which will guide you through the remaining installation process.
    NB: keep selecting next until the program is installed.
  5. After the installation process is over click the “Finish” Button
  6. Start the anti-malware program although some may start automatically, to update the anti-virus if you have any. Click “Scan” button.
  7. The program will begin the scanning process to detect and remove malware on your device. The process may take a while.
  8. You will be shown a list of malware infections that had been identified after the scan.
  9. Click the “Next” button to remove the unwanted programs that have been found.
  10. After, the anti-malware program may ask you to restart your computer to complete the malware removal process.

After the process, your computer should be completely free of coin miner infection. But, although the coinminer has been removed from your computer, it is equally important that you clean your Windows registry of any malicious programs.

Step 2. Cleaning the windows registry

Coinminer present in your computer may create a new registry and modify existing ones. After cleaning your computer, the next step to do is to clean your registry. Using windows registry cleaners can help clean, repair and optimize your Windows registry to eliminate errors and crashes that may have been caused by malware. We recommend registry editor or cc cleaner. Here is how to go about the process of cleaning up your registry.

  1. Backup all your files in case of computers disasters.
  2. Download and install the cleaning program from your browser.
    NB: Pay attention and read everything the cleaning tool says before installing it.
  3. Before opening the cleaning tool use the Emergency Recovery Utility (ERUNT) to back up your registry.
  4. Close all the running programs and start scanning for malicious programs.
  5. After scanning is finished set your cleaning tool to remove errors. Be extra cautious when choosing the errors to be fixed.
    NB: Once the registry cleaner begins removing and repairing don’t fiddle with your computer. You may end up making changes to the registry while the cleaner is working. In case you discover a problem, you should use the restore feature of the cleaner, it will guarantee safe changes to the program.

Step 3. Counter check for Coinminer virus using Zemana Antimalware

Zemana is a free program that can detect virus which other anti-malware programs have failed to identify.

  1. Download Zemana from your browser.
  2. Double click on the downloaded file to begin the installation process. A user account control may pop up asking if you want to run the program. Should this happen click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
  3. Click “Next” button to install Zemana Anti Malware. Until when you see the “Select Additional Task,” there you can opt out the “Enable Real Time Protection” option, then proceed with clicking the “Next” button.
  4. After the installation has finished, click “Scan.”
  5. Scanning will begin, and the process may take a few minutes. When scanning is finished, all the malicious programs that were still on your computer will be displayed.
  6. Click “Next” to remove all the malicious files. Zemana Antimalware Program will start eliminating all the malicious programs. When the process is over, you should restart your computer.

Conclusion

Coinminers and other viruses can cause a lot of damage to your computer. But you can avoid infections by avoiding downloading and installing programs from untrusted websites or avoid installing fake updates. But with the above steps, you can get rid of Coinminer malware for good.

Having malware on your PC is a terrible experience. One type of malicious software that most computer users have to deal with is the infamous rootkit. If you have ever encountered a rootkit, then you can bear witness on how it can badly affect your computer’s processes.

For those who have never been infected with such, a rootkit is a malware, but it’s unique because it helps mask the existence of other malicious software. Due to its ability to hide other malware, then your PC will be prone to a whole set of other malicious software. Once a rootkit finds its way into your PC then you need to act immediately. But, how do you get rid of such deadly malware? You might rush to installing the ordinary type of anti-malware software, but they are usually not effective in getting rid of rootkits. As a matter of fact, some are even unable to locate them, let alone remove them.

To remove malware like rootkits, you need a dedicated anti-toolkit. Not just a random one that you will find on the internet. To help you out, below is a list of the best malware removers in 2018. The apps below were thoroughly researched, tried out and found to be the most efficient in removing all sorts of malware. To make matters even better, the below malware removers were designed to get rid of rootkits specifically.

1. Sophos Anti Rootkit

At the top of the list is the Sophos Anti-Rootkit. Although it’s not a popular malware remover, but it’s quite useful and efficient. The free virus removal tool not only scans or detect, but it also removes all rootkits on your PC. The Sophos features advanced rootkit detection. Therefore it can easily locate the said virus no matter how much it masks itself.

The reason that makes the Sophos better than the standard virus removal tools is its advanced rootkit detection feature. The other malware removers can do a great job at preventing new rootkits from infecting your system. But, they can’t remove the rootkits that had already infected your PC.

Another advantage is that it’s easy to use. You don’t need to be an IT expert for you to use Sophos to scan your PC for malware. The app takes you through a step by step procedure. All you need to do is to download the program and run it. Click on the scan button and once the search is complete, remove the malware found.

2. The Kaspersky TDSSKiller

Kaspersky, in general, is a popular anti-virus that is used by millions of people all over the world. The anti-virus does an excellent job of getting rid of malware and keeping your PC protected at all times. Additionally, the Kaspersky TDSSKiller is an ideal tool that can help you get rid of rootkits. This is a free toolkit that will quickly scan and detect any rootkit and help remove it. One thing that makes the Kaspersky TDSSKiller a favorite is its 15-second scanning duration. It’s unlike other malware removers that take forever to scan for viruses in your computer.

The Kaspersky TDSSKiller also removes bootkits which are another type of malicious software. You will be literally killing two viruses with one malware remover. However, one thing you need to note is that this toolkit won’t keep your device secure. Its only task is to detect and remove firmware. For safety purposes, you need to install internet security software. Plus, its interface is quite simple.

3. The Avast aswMBR

Similar to Kaspersky, Avast is another popular anti-virus service provider that has been in this industry for a long while. Avast, boast of having an excellent rootkit remover known as the Avast aswMBR. This is a rootkit scanner that is configured to scan for rootkit infecting your Master Boot Record also known as MBR. Before running this program, however, you should first need to download the Avast virus definitions.

Remember, it is typically difficult for you to remover rootkits compared to other types of malware. It’s why we recommend you only use stand-alone utilities such as the Avast aswMBR. You can run it when it’s on your USB drive. One thing you need to know about the aswMBR is that it’s quite powerful irrespective of how it appears as a terminal window when you launch it.

4. GMER

As mentioned earlier, rootkits aren’t the ordinary kind of malware. They are on another level. However, a tool like GMER can be quite useful in removing rootkits. The GMER tool is compatible with Windows 7, 8, XP and Vista. Its file size is quite small, and it only takes seconds to install.

Just like the aswMBR, the GMER doesn’t have a fancy user interface, but it’s great at doing what it’s meant to do. Once it’s installed, click on the malware tab at the top and then scan. You can now sit back and watch the GMER do its magic by laying out all the hidden content that could indicate the presence of rootkits. From there you can erase the files that need to be erased.

The downside of the GMER is that it requires some bit of tech-knowledge. It’s because, amidst the results shown, you could end up erasing essential files that may interfere with the running of other software installed on your PC. Other than that, it’s ranked among the best malware removers.

5. The Bit Defender Anti Rootkit

The Bit defender Anti-rootkit is another great malware remover. It’s a toolkit from the award-winning Bit Defender anti-virus. It consists of both an excellent user-friendly interface and robust capability. It’s good in dealing with rootkits quickly and effectively. You can run it without having to reboot your PC into safe mode. It also scans and removes bootkits. It is designed to handle different types of malware, more reasons why you should consider using it.

Final Thoughts

You never know when your PC might be infected with malware, especially a rootkit. In case it does, the above are the top 5 malware removers in 2018. At times, installing the above malware removers can be a bit of a challenge. It’s because rootkits are designed to block any security software that may remove it. To bypass this hurdle, all you have to do is rename the file before installing it. Thus, the rootkits infecting your computer won’t know what it is. Malware are malicious programs that need to be removed right away, and the above apps can help you with that.

Have you ever wondered why malware that you continuously remove affects your operating system or computer again? Well, you have a firewall, anti-spyware and antivirus but your PC is still infected by the virus or malware that you have removed regularly. The rootkit may be the source of this malware infection. Now, what is a rootkit? Well, a rootkit is a malicious software or program that tries to hide itself from system management utility, anti-spyware or even antivirus. The rootkit can also disable the anti-spyware, antivirus and firewall. By doing this, it enables the malicious program to install spyware or malware in a user’s PC. It is for this reason that the program keeps on coming back even after removing it severally.

It is possible for hackers to access your system because the rootkit disables the firewall and opens a precise port to enable intruders’ access your system. Apart from installing malware and spyware, a rootkit can also install keyloggers in your PC which is dangerous because hackers can access your social security number or credit card number. This will only lead to other more significant problems.

What can a Rootkit Do?

A rootkit enables an intruder to maintain command and control over a PC without the user or owner knowing about the activity. After a rootkit has been installed, the regulators of the rootkit are given the powers of remotely executing files and even alter some system configurations on the host computer. Additionally, rootkit on the infected machine also possesses the ability to access files and spy on the genuine PC owner’s usage.

How to Detect Rootkit Infection

It is typically hard to detect rootkits. However, just like other types of malware, rootkit infections are usually accompanied by normal signs that include windows settings changing freely, antivirus stops working, pinned items on the taskbar disappears for no reason and the background images changing on their own. Slow performance of your system may also be an indicator that the rootkit infects your PC. It is essential to note that there are no commercial products available to find and remove all the known as well as the unknown rootkits. As a solution, the viable option of eradicating rootkit is to rebuild the compromised system entirely.

Protection against Rootkit

Most rootkits enter the computer systems by sponging with a virus or software that a user trusts. You can secure your system from rootkits by ascertaining it is kept covered against known susceptibilities. This incorporates patches of your operating system, up-to-date virus definitions, and applications. For instance, you should avoid accepting files or opening file attachments from anonymous sources. It is also essential for you to be extra careful when installing apps and also reading the end-user license agreements. IT departments and enterprise developers purchasing ready-made apps can scan their applications to identify threats including ‘hidden-credentials’ and ‘special’ backdoors.

Popular Examples of Rootkits

  • Kernel Rootkit – these are the type of rootkits that function at the kernel level (the core of the OS) and possess severe impact on the system. These rootkits are typically difficult to identify because they operate at the kernel which means they boast same privileges as the operating system.
  • Application Rootkit – these rootkits work at the application level. The rootkits do not infect the kernel but the app files inside your PC. These frequently replace the app files (which they are trying to affect) with the rootkit files or even alter the behavior of the app by inserting code.
  • Firmware Rootkit – these rootkits impacts the firmware gadgets such as network devices. These rootkits are typically booted when the computer gets booted and is present as long as the gadget is. The rootkit is also difficult to identify.
  • Bootkit Rootkits – these rootkits are also referred to as the boot loader level kits, and they affect the genuine bootloader of the operating system with the respective rootkit. Whenever the operating system is started, the rootkits gets activated. Clearly, these rootkits also pose a severe threat to your operating system.
  • Memory Rootkit – these rootkits typically hide themselves and function from the machine’s memory, that is, the RAM.
  • Library Rootkits – just like the name denotes, these rootkits infects the library files in a user’s computer. For instance, it impacts the window’s ‘dll’ files. Also, as seen on other toolkits, it impacts various files and replaces them with its own code.
  • Persistent Rootkits – it is a standard toolkit that starts up and stays functional until the operating system is shut down. A con about this toolkit is that it can restart your system’s processes.

Now, even though rootkit is difficult to eradicate, there are various ways on how one can identify, eliminate and avoid it infect your system.

1. Rootkit Revealer

Rootkit Revealer is software that can reveal the impacts of a rootkit. It is a 225kb software that shows files and registry modifications. Nonetheless, not all the results given by the Rootkit Revealer are rootkits, and the results should thus be examined first. You can consider participating in computer forums and ask more about the results in these forums.

2. Schedule the anti-malware to scan before the OS boots

The persistent rootkits are linked to the malware and will operate each time the system starts, and it is hard to identify it when the OS runs. Thus, you should schedule a scan before the operating system starts. There are anti-spyware that boast this feature and will allow you to scan the OS before it boots, and the anti-malware will have the capability of detecting the rootkit. If the antivirus scans before the OS boots, the rootkit will not hide from the scan.

3. Reboot

Memory-based rootkits can be eliminated by rebooting your machine since they do not survive reboots. Thus, restarting your computer may help you deal with this kind of rootkit.

4. Avoid login using the Administrator Account

Logging in as the administrator to your system account will allow the rootkit to interfere with the OS. Thus, you should try using another account to avoid this scenario from happening. Using a standard account may limit your activity, but it may prevent hackers and intruders using the functions in the OS that are often associated with the admin account.

The above security measures are useful in preventing attackers installing rootkits and gaining root; however, your system is not still a hundred percent safe. An intruder may even be able to find some unknown openings in your system and gain root. Probably, the ideal way of safeguarding your system against rootkits is by using program integrity checkers. The integrity checking tools often create cryptographically protected digital fingerprint on the crucial files.

If you asked malware experts to list the most nefarious and dangerous Trojans, Emotet will be truly present in their list. According to various research, the Emot malware continues to be among the most destructive and costly malware affecting territorial governments, states, locals, as well as public and private sectors. Sneaky and cunning, Emotet malware is hugely spread across the world.

Overview of Emotet

What is Emotet? Emotet is a form of modular banking malware that majorly works as a dropper or downloader of several other banking Trojans. Besides, Emotet is recognized as a polymorphic banking malware that can escape common signature-based identification. The malware boasts various ways of maintaining persistence that include auto start registry keys and services. Emotet utilizes (DLLs) Dynamic Link Libraries to continually advance and update its abilities. Additionally, the Trojan is a virtual machine malware and can produce false indicators if operated in a virtual environment.

Emotet Distribution

Emotet is distributed via malspam (emails that contain malicious links or attachments) that utilizes branding that is conversant with the recipient. This malware has been typically distributed using the MS-ISAC name. Emotet malware was recently seen as of July 2018 where replicate PayPal receipts, past-due invoices and shipping notifications were allegedly sent to various users from MS-ISAC. The first infection often happens when a user clicks or opens malicious PDF files, download links, as well as macro-enabled Microsoft word files in the malspam. After being downloaded, Emotet starts persistence and tries to propagate local networks via integrated spreader modules.

The Type and Source of Infection

Emotet is often distributed via emails, using embedded URLs as well as infected attachments. These emails may seem to originate from reliable sources, as the malware takes control of the email accounts of its victims. This aspect tricks computer users into downloading the deadly Trojan into their PCs. After the malware has infected a networked computer, it will spread using the EternalBlue vulnerability to exploit unique systems. These infected computers try to spread the Trojan laterally through brute forcing of domain credentials as well as externally through the inbuilt spam module. With this tactic, the Emotet botnet is somewhat active and accountable for much of the malspam that users encounter.

Presently, this Trojan utilizes five known spreader modules that include the WebBrowserPassView, Netpass.exe, mail PassView, a credential enumerator as well as outlook scraper.

  • WebBrowserPassView is a password retrieval tool that captures the passwords stored by Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Google Chrome, and Safari and transmits them to the credential enumerator module.
  • Netpass.exe is a genuine utility invented by Nirsoft, and it retrieves all network passwords on a system for the present user that is logged on. This tool also possesses an ability of retrieving passwords stored in credentials file of external hard drives.
  • Mail PassView is a password retrieval tool that shows account and password details for several email clients including Windows Mail, Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo mail, Gmail, Hotmail, and Mozilla Thunderbird and transfers the details to the credential enumerator module.
  • Credential Enumerator is an independent-extracting RAR that incorporates two components, a service component, and a bypass component. The bypass component is utilized for the listing of network resources and either locate writable share drives by use of SMB (Server Message Block) or attempts to access user accounts including the admin account forcefully. After an available system is located, the Trojan is written on the disk after a service component is written on the system by the malware itself.
  • Outlook scraper is a tool that scrapes email addresses and names from the target’s outlook accounts and utilizes the info to transfer extra phishing emails from the compromised email accounts.

The Infection Process of Emotet

In order to sustain the persistence, the malware inserts programs into explorer.exe as well as other functional processes. Emotet can also gather subtle info such as operating system version, system name, and location, and then connect to a remote control and command server. Typically, it connects via a sixteen-letter domain name that often ends in ‘.eu.’ After the malware develops a connection with the control and command server, it reports a new infection, downloads and runs files, receives configuration data, receives data and also uploads data to this server.

Emotet files are often located in arbitrary paths situated off the AppData Roaming directories and AppData\Local. These files typically simulate the names of known executable. Persistence is usually maintained via registry keys or through the scheduled tasks. Besides, this Trojan is known to create randomly-named files in the system root directories operated by the windows services. If the files are executed, the services try to distribute the malware to close systems through accessible admin shares.

The Aftermath of Emotet

Emotet is polymorphic and thus difficult to identify by signatures. Due to various ways this malware propagates via an organization’s network, any infected computer on the network will re-infect computers that have been earlier cleaned when they rejoin the organization’s network. With this tactic, it is essential for IT departments to separate, cover, and remediate every infected system one-by-one. Cleaning an affected network is indeed a process that can take a prolonged time, sometimes even months on the basis of the number of computers involved.

The Consequences of Emotet Malware Infection

  • Interruption to the normal operations
  • Permanent or temporary loss of proprietary or subtle info
  • Financial losses incurred when restoring files and systems.
  • Prospective harm to a company’s status

Protection against Emotet

Home and business users already utilizing Malwarebytes are protected from the malware through the anti-exploit technology. The real-time protection also protects malwarebyte users against this Trojan.

Business Remediation

Malwarebytes can identify and eradicate Emotet malware on business endpoints without additional user interaction. For you to be effective on networked computers, it is essential to follow these steps.

  • Detect the infected computers
  • Remove the infected PCs and gadgets from the network
  • Patch for Eternal Blue
  • Disable administrative shares
  • Eradicate the Trojan completely
  • Change account details

Solution to Attack by Emotet

MS-ISAC and NCCIC recommend that companies follow the following practices to lower the attack of Emotat as well as other malspam.

  • Using group policy object to set up a windows firewall rule to stop the inbound SMB communication amongst the clients.
  • Use anti-malware software with automatic updates of software and signature, on servers and clients.
  • Apply the right upgrades and patches instantly.
  • Install filters at the email gateway to eradicate emails with known malspam indicators.
  • The external emails should be marked with a banner to make it easier for users to identify spoofed emails.
  • The users should also be given sufficient training concerning phishing and social engineering.
  • The file attachments with associated malware such as .exe and .dll file attachments should be blocked.

From the above, it is notable that the Emotet malware is an extraordinarily automated and developing threat targeted to the banks. The malware is seen as an essential weapon for the cybercrime thanks to its small size and dispersal methods. Nonetheless, Emotet does not integrate conceptually modern technology, and thus the utilization of the latest antivirus software can offer the desired defense against the threat. Additionally, Emotet cannot operate effectively without the help of the user; the Emotet inventors have aggressively utilized social engineering techniques to attain their criminal objectives. Therefore, the technical awareness and alertness of the user together with the utilization of proficient antivirus software can offer dependable protection against Emotet as well as other banking threats.