Svchost.exe Virus

Also Known As: svchost.exe malware
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

Svchost.exe virus removal guide

What is svchost.exe?

The svchost.exe is a generic name of a legitimate Microsoft Windows process that can be found always running in the Task Manager. Typically, there is more than one Service Host process running at once, separate processes handle separate groups of various services. For example, one svchost.exe process might be dealing with services related to network services, another one might be dealing with services related to remote procedure calls and so on. However, there are many cases when cyber criminals disguise malicious files/processes by using names that are similar to the names of legitimate processes.

svchost.exe malware

Svchost.exe is an important part of the operating system that hosts various services. Simply said, svchost.exe is used to group/allocate services so that they would use less of the system's resources. Typically, the svchost.exe file can be located in "%SystemRoot%\System32\svchost.exe" or "%SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\svchost.exe". If the svchost.exe is placed somewhere else, it might be a virus. Or if the filename is not correct, for example, the file is named svhost.exe (without the "c") or svchosts.exe (with additional "s"). Service Host's location can be checked by right-clicking the any of its processes in Task Manager and selecting the "Open file location" from the dropdown menu. Additionally, malicious processes that are disguised as official and legitimate, when running in Task Manager often have some graphical icon next to them, when their icon supposed to be a default system icon. Typically, cyber criminals disguise various high-risk malware, for example, malicious programs like Netwire RAT. They attempt to infect computers with programs that would help them to proliferate additional malware (like ransomware), steal personal details (including banking information), control computers remotely and so on. Basically, they use them to generate as much revenue as possible, it often causes people financial, data loss, problems with privacy and so on. If there is any reason to think the running svchost.exe process is not a part of Windows (it is named something like svhosts.exe, it is not in its location etc.), then we recommend to remove it as soon as possible.

Threat Summary:
Name svchost.exe malware
Threat Type False positive detection, Trojan, Password stealing virus, Banking malware, Spyware
Detection Names (malicious file which disguises as svchost.exe)
Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.32016925), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Generik.EAOKAT), Kaspersky (Backdoor.Win32.Poison.jhds), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name (svchosts.exe)
NW Octagonal Earliest Tec Ubt
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.
Additional Information svchost.exe is a name of a genuine Windows process, however, crooks may use it to disguise malware.
Removal

To eliminate svchost.exe 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.

Svchost.exe is not the only legitimate process that can be used to disguise malware. Other examples are gwx.exe, csrss.exe and msfeedssync.exe. There are cases when virus detection engines detect provide users with "false positive" results, it means that they detect legitimate files as threats. In some cases it results in removal of harmless and/or important files. It happens due to mistakes in databases (incorrect filenames). That is why it is important to make sure that a file/process is actually malicious and can be removed.

How did svchost.exe infiltrate my computer?

Malware can be distributed in various ways, here are some most popular methods: spam campaigns (emails), untrustworthy software download channels, fake software updating tools, trojans and software 'cracking' (activation) tools. Cyber criminals send emails that include malicious attachments that, if opened, download and install some malicious software. Some examples of files that they usually attach are Microsoft Office documents, executables (.exe files), JavaScript files, archives like ZIP, RAR and PDF documents. Another way to proliferate malware is through various untrustworthy download channels such as various Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule and so on), unofficial websites, free file hosting or freeware websites, third party downloaders etc. These channels are used to disguise malicious files as legitimate. If downloaded and opened (executed) they cause installations of some high-risk malware. These sources are used to trick people into installing malicious software by themselves. Fake software updating tools infect systems by downloading and installing computer infections instead of updates, fixes etc. They can be used to exploit bugs, flaws of some outdated software too. Trojans are malicious programs that are designed to spread other programs of this type - they cause chain infections. However, a Trojan must be installed first. Software cracking tools supposed to activate installed software for free, to bypass paid activation. There are two problems with them: these tools are illegal and they often are used to spread malicious software.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We recommend to ignore emails that are received from unknown addresses, contain attachments (or web links) and are irrelevant. The safest way is to simply ignore them. Furthermore, we advise to avoid downloading files and software using third party downloaders, unofficial pages and other tools that we mentioned above. All files and software should be downloaded from official websites and using direct download links. It is important to update software appropriately too. It should be done using tools or implemented functions that are provided by official software developers but not some third party, fake updating tools. As we mentioned in the paragraph above, software 'cracking' tools are not legal and often are used to proliferate various infections. Therefore, they should not be used as well. And finally, computer is always safer when there is a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed on it. These programs should be updated and virus scans performed regularly. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Screenshot of a malicious file which disguises as svchost.exe detected as a threat by multiple virus engines:

Malicious attachment distributing svchost.exe virus

Instant automatic removal of svchost.exe 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 svchost.exe 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.

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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.

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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
svchost.exe 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 svchost.exe malware on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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