FormBook Virus

Also Known As: FormBook malware
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

FormBook malware removal instructions

What is FormBook?

FormBook is a virus designed to steal personal data from victims' computers. Research shows that this malware is distributed using spam emails that contain malicious attachments. In addition, developers provide this virus as a 'service' - any aspiring cyber criminal can pay a subscription and gain access to the FormBook tool. The list of victims is large, however, most FormBook infections have been detected in USA and South Korea.

Screenshot of a spam email distributing FormBook virus:

FormBook malware

Following infiltration, FormBook starts monitoring computer activity and gathers data. This malware records keystrokes, takes screenshots, and grabs other information such as visited websites, clipboard data, saved logins/passwords, etc. The information often includes personal details (e.g., banking information) that FormBook's distributor can misuse to generate revenue. Therefore, the presence of this malware can lead to significant financial losses and serious privacy issues. In addition, FormBook is capable of executing commands sent from remote Command and Control (C&C) servers. For example, the commands are able to reboot and shutdown the system, download various files/archives and run/extract them, and so on (full list of features). In this way, criminals can perform remote tasks, leading to other high-risk computer infections or system corruption (e.g., criminals might download and execute ransomware). FormBook malware must be eliminated immediately. If you have recently opened suspicious email attachments and believe that your system is infected, use a legitimate anti-virus suite to perform a full system scan and eliminate all threats. In fact, you are strongly advised to have one installed and running. This will help to prevent further infections.

Threat Summary:
Name FormBook malware
Threat Type Trojan, Password stealing virus, Banking malware, Spyware
Symptoms Trojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate victim's computer and remain silent thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.
Distribution methods Infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software cracks.
Damage Stolen banking information, passwords, identity theft, victim's computer added to a botnet.
Removal

To eliminate FormBook malware our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

FormBook shares similarities with a number of other malware infections such as Adwind. Most are developed by different cyber criminals and have slightly differing functionality. In general, however, they are more or less identical. These viruses typically record user-system information, open backdoors for other high-risk malware to infiltrate the system, misuse system resources to mine cryptocurrency, or run other unwanted processes (e.g., Botnet). The presence of these viruses might cause various problems including (but not limited to) system corruption, hardware damage, file loss, and privacy issues (e.g., identity theft).

FormBook trojan technical analysis:

  • Detection names: Avast (Win32:DangerousSig [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.31824150), Kaspersky (Trojan-Spy.Win32.Noon.ackv), ESET-NOD32 (a variant of Win32/Injector.EENG)
  • Full list of antivirus detections: VirusTotal
  • Executable file name: Janitors5.exe
  • Sample first submitted: 2019-03-26

How did FormBook install on my computer?

As mentioned above, FormBook is promoted using spam emails that contain messages relating to various business fields (e.g., engineering). These messages briefly describe the contents of malicious attachments (e.g., PDF file, MS Office document, or similar) and encourage users to open them. Opening them, however, executes scripts that stealthily download and install malware. This distribution method is very popular amongst ransomware developers. Many regular users (especially those who know little about cyber security) are often tricked into downloading and opening such attachments.

How to avoid installation of malware?

The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. If you want to prevent infections, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. We strongly advise you to think twice before opening email attachments - be sure that they are sent from trustworthy/recognizable addresses and that they are relevant. Messages received via suspicious email addresses should be deleted immediately, without reading. Spam email is not the only way to proliferate malware. Therefore, be cautious when downloading/installing software. Download applications from official sources only, using direct download links. Criminals monetize third party downloaders/installers by proliferating rogue apps, and thus, these tools should not be used. During downloading/installation, carefully analyze each step (especially "Custom/Advanced" settings) and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. We also advise to keep installed applications up-to-date and, again, use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite. Note, however, that criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters, so use implemented update functions only. As with download/installation tools, third party updaters should never be used. The key to computer safety is caution.

Another variant of spam email distributing FormBook:

FormBook distributing spam email

List of FormBook's actions that can triggered using C&C server:

  • Clear browser cookies
  • Collect passwords and create a screenshot
  • Download and execute file
  • Download and unpack ZIP archive
  • Launch a command via ShellExecute
  • Reboot system
  • Remove bot from host system
  • Shutdown system
  • Update bot on host system

Instant automatic removal of FormBook malware: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of FormBook malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Quick menu:

How to remove malware manually?

Manual malware removal is a complicated task, usually it's better to let antivirus or anti-malware programs do it automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using  Spyhunter for Windows. If you wish to remove malware manually, the first step is to identify the name of the malware that you are trying to remove. Here's an example of a suspicious program running on user's computer:

malicious process running on user's computer sample

If you checked the list of programs running on your computer, for example using task manager and identified a program that looks suspicious you should continue with these steps:

manual malware removal step 1 Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry and file system locations:

screenshot of autoruns application

manual malware removal step 2Restart your computer into Safe Mode:

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

 

manual malware removal step 3Extract the downloaded archive and run Autoruns.exe file.

extract autoruns.zip and run autoruns.exe

manual malware removal step 4In the Autoruns application click "Options" at the top and uncheck "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure click the "Refresh" icon.

Click 'Options' at the top and uncheck 'Hide Empty Locations' and 'Hide Windows Entries' options

manual malware removal step 5Check the list provided by Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.

You should write down it full path and name. Note that some malware hides their process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage it's very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate he suspicious program you want to remove right click your mouse over it's name and choose "Delete"

locate the malware file you want to remove

After removing the malware through Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware won't run automatically on the next system startup) you should search for the malware name on your computer. Be sure to enable hidden files and folders before proceeding. If you find the file of the malware be sure to remove it.

searching for malware file on your computer

Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should help remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills, it's recommended to leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it's better to avoid getting infected that try to remove malware afterwards. To keep your computer safe be sure to install latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.

To be sure your computer is free of malware infections we recommend scanning it with Spyhunter for Windows.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
FormBook malware QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of FormBook malware on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of FormBook malware today:

▼ REMOVE IT NOW with Spyhunter

Platform: Windows

Editors' Rating for Spyhunter:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.