GootKit virus removal guide
What is GootKit?
GootKit (also known as talalpek, Trojan.GootKit or Xswkit) is a trojan-type malicious computer program. Like many other trojans, GootKit steals various personal, confidential information. Once installed, it also acts as a 'backdoor' allowing cyber criminals to access and control a computer remotely (e.g. to download additional files to an infected computer). GootKit is often distributed using another trojan-type program called Emotet.
|Threat Type||Trojan, Password stealing virus, Banking malware, Spyware|
|Name Of Malicious Attachment||gootkit-samples.zip|
|Detection Names||Avast (VBS:Agent-BUK [Trj]), ESET-NOD32 (VBA/TrojanDownloader.Agent.NJN), Fortinet (WM/Agent.7319!tr), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSOffice.SAgent.gen), Full List (VirusTotal)|
|Malicious Process Name||Standinstrument (the name may vary)|
|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.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
There are many trojans capable of stealing data, opening backdoors, or causing other problems. Some examples are Adwind, Pony, and Trickbot (and including the Emotet trojan). Computer infections of this type are designed to perform different actions but most are capable of causing serious problems. For this reason, you should eliminate them immediately.
How did GootKit infiltrate my computer?
Typically, cyber criminals proliferate GootKit trojan using spam email campaigns such as Emergency Exit Map. Most spam campaigns infect computers through presented web links or attachments. Opening these links or attachments leads to download and installation of a malicious program such as GootKit, or other high-risk computer infection. The presented attachments are often Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel, and so on), PDF or archive files (such as ZIP, RAR), executable files (.exe), and so on. For example, if a downloaded and opened attachment is an MS Office document, it will ask to enable macro commands. Allowing this gives permission for malware to be downloaded and installed. Similar rules apply to other malicious attachments - they must first be opened to do any harm.
How to avoid installation of malware?
To protect systems from infection by malicious programs such as trojans or others, browse the web with care. Do not open attachments or links that are presented in emails received from suspicious, unknown or untrustworthy addresses. Cyber criminals present these emails as legitimate and important, however, they are usually irrelevant to the recipient. The best way to keep your computer safe is to ignore these emails. Download software using trustworthy and official sources (websites) and avoid using third party software downloaders, installers, peer-to-peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, and so on. These tools are used by cyber criminals to trick people into downloading and installing infections rather than the expected software. They often use these tools to present malware as legitimate programs/files. Additionally, have a reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus suite installed and enabled. This software can detect and remove various threats (trojans and other infections) before they can damage the system. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Screenshot of a malicious Microsoft Word document designed to download the Emotet trojan, which then Injects GootKit into the system. As mentioned above, the document asks users to enable macro commands:
Text presented within this document:
This document is protected
To open the document, follow these steps:
This document is only available for desktop or laptop versions of Microsoft Office Word
Click Enable editing button from the yellow bar above
Once you have enabled editing, please click Enable Content button from the yellow bar above
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is GootKit?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of GootKit malware.
- STEP 2. Check if your computer is clean.
How to remove malware manually?
Manual malware removal is a complicated task - usually it is best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs to do this automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using Malwarebytes 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 is an example of a suspicious program running on a user's computer:
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:
Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:
Restart 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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.
In the Autoruns application, click "Options" at the top and uncheck the "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure, click the "Refresh" icon.
Check the list provided by the Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.
You should write down its full path and name. Note that some malware hides process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage, it is very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate the suspicious program you wish to remove, right click your mouse over its name and choose "Delete".
After removing the malware through the Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware will not 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 filename of the malware, be sure to remove it.
Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills. If you do not have these skills, leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it is best to prevent infection than try to remove malware later. To keep your computer safe, install the latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.
To be sure your computer is free of malware infections, we recommend scanning it with Malwarebytes for Windows.