Stalk virus removal guide
What is Stalk?
Stalk (also known as Worm.Win32 Stalk) is a malicious program which is categorized as worm. Typically, worms are designed to automatically spread themselves onto other computers and infect as many systems as possible. It is unknown what is the payload of this worm, however, it could be used to spread a variety of malicious programs. To avoid being detected, Stalk hides the "Show hidden files and folders" option by making changes in Windows registry.
Research shows that cyber criminals distribute Stalk by disguising various files as textbooks of essays. When opened, they install this worm, which copies itself to the c:\z\ folder and puts desktop.ini and csrss.exe files in there. In order to spread itself on other computers it might place these files in removable drives like USB that, if used, will spread Worm.Win32 Stalk (or Stalk) further. One of the possible scenarios is that this worm could be used to spread malware such as ransomware. Ransomware-type programs lock victim's files by encrypting them with strong encryption algorithm. Users of infected computers are unable to access their files unless they decrypt them with a decryption software or/and key that usually can be purchased only from cyber criminals who designed ransomware. Simply said, in order to recover files ransomware victims are forced to pay a ransom. Another possible payload is some information stealer that could be designed to steal logins, passwords of various accounts related to banking, email and so on. Typically, cyber criminals use programs of this type to steal sensitive details that could be used to make fraudulent transactions, purchases, or generate revenue in other ways. Furthermore, Stalk could be used to infect a computer with cryptocurrency miner. Cyber criminals seek to infect other computers with miners so they could use their hardware (GPU, CPU) to mine cryptocurrency. Users of infected systems usually get higher bills because programs of this type force computers to consume more electricity. Besides, high CPU and GPU usage could cause unexpected shutdowns that can lead to loss of unsaved data, also, miners could cause hardware overheat and other problems. Stalk could be used to install high-risk malware that could cause victims problems with privacy, browsing safety, lead to financial, data loss and other serious issues. If there is a reason to suspect Stalk of being installed on a computer, it should be removed immediately.
|Payload||Stalk could be used to spread some password stealing virus, banking malware, spyware, ransomware and other malware.|
|Symptoms||Worms 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 files that are disguised as textbooks or/and essays, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software cracks.|
|Damage||Stolen banking information, passwords, identity theft, victim's computer added to a botnet, additional installations of various malware.|
To eliminate Worm.Win32 Stalk our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
Other examples of worms are Retadup and Forbix. Programs of this type are designed to replicate themselves, in other words, to spread themselves further from one infected computer to another. Programs of this type could be used to infect systems with additional malware that might cause a variety of serious problems. It is important to avoid installation of worm or other malware in all possible ways.
How did Stalk infiltrate my computer?
How to avoid installation of malware?
We do not recommend to trust emails that are received from suspicious, unknown addresses. If they contain attachments or web links, they should not be opened, otherwise they might lead to installation of malware. All programs and files should be downloaded from official websites, none of the other tools can be trusted. Quite often cyber criminals use them to distribute malicious programs. Installed programs must be updated properly, it is important to do it using tools or functions that are provided by official developers and not some third party tools. If software is not free, it should not be activated using unofficial, 'cracking' tools. Tools of this type can be used to spread malware, besides, they are not legal. One more way to keep systems safe from malicious programs is to scan them for viruses regularly. It should be done using reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Instant automatic removal of Worm.Win32 Stalk:
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 Worm.Win32 Stalk. Download it by clicking the button below:
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:
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 Autoruns.exe file.
In 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.
Check 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"
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.
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.