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.