Sectop virus removal guide
What is Sectop?
Discovered by MalwareHunterTeam, Sectop (also known as 1xxbot) is a remote access trojan (RAT). Malware of this type operates by allowing remote access to infected devices and essentially hijacking them. The presence of a RAT in systems can cause severe issues.
After successful installation, Sectop can stream the current desktop (enable cyber criminals behind the infection to monitor/record the display) or create another desktop, which affected users cannot see. Desktop recording could be used to steal users' personal information. Via the "invisible" desktop, criminals can browse the internet. This can affect Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer operations/configurations. I.e., change browser configurations, use start parameters, alter registry settings, and disable security. For example, Sectop can disable certain graphics cache and graphics options on Chrome browsers. The affected browsers can be employed to visit malicious sites, which can execute scripts to further infect the system. They can also be used to generate traffic for websites, to improve their rating and profitability. Additionally, this trojan can send operating system data (username, OS name, etc.) and hardware information (RAM, processor name, core count, etc.). It also injects devices with an executable ("spoolsvc.exe") within the location "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\". Additionally, this infection is the origin of the "EFS UI Application" process. Based on current research, Sectop appears to be incomplete, and it is likely that improved variants will be released in future. To summarize, RATs can cause chain infections, lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss, and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, remove Sectop immediately.
|Name||Sectop remote access trojan|
|Threat Type||Remote Access Trojan.|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:TrojanX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.32712333), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Agent.CJJ), Kaspersky (UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic), Full List (VirusTotal)|
|Malicious Process Name(s)||spoolsvc.exe, EFS UI Application|
|Symptoms||Trojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate the victim's computer and remain silent, and 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 passwords and banking information, identity theft, the 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.
LimeRevenge, BlackRemote, and Gh0st are just some examples of other RAT-type trojans. Most malicious programs within this classification share similarities. Their capabilities can differ (e.g. they might track and record data, cause chain infections, mine cryptocurrency, etc.), however, they are all designed to generate revenue for the developers. These infections pose a a significant threat to computers and users, and therefore must be eliminated without delay.
How did Sectop infiltrate my computer?
How to avoid installation of malware
Do not open suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially those received from unknown senders (addresses). Any attachments or links found in suspect mail must never be opened - as these files are the origin of a potential system infection. Use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. The newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents MS documents from automatically enabling macro commands. This mode stops files from beginning to download/install malware when they are opened. Only official and verified download channels should be used, as opposed to various sharing networks and other third party downloaders. Programs should be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters can proliferate malicious content, and should thus be avoided. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. This software should be used for regular system scans and removal of detected threats/issues. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Sectop RAT process in Task Manager ("spoolsvc.exe"):
Sectop RAT's injected executable ("spoolsvc.exe"), which is located in "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\":
Persistence is achieved by adding "spoolsvc.exe" to the RUN key in the registry ("HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\SFddg"):
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:
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 "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.