How to get rid of NUKESPED malware?

Also Known As: NUKESPED backdoor Trojan
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

How to remove NUKESPED from Mac?

What is "NUKESPED"?

NUKESPED is a backdoor Trojan which targets Mac users in Korea. A group of cyber criminals who designed and spread this malware is called Lazarus. They distributed this malicious software through an Excel documents and they do it by using Mac App bundle which contains a legitimate and a malicious versions of Adobe Flash Player files. Cyber criminals use NUKESPED as a tool to remotely access and control infected computers.

NUKESPED scam

The Mac App bundle is designed to run NUKESPED which is disguised as a legitimate version of Flash Player and the actual Flash Player to hide the previous one. The malicious version uses the legitimate one to play a SWF (Adobe Flash file format) video. While that video is playing the malicious version creates a hidden file in "~/.FlashUpdateCheck" and installs a persistence mechanism for that file though a "~/Library/Launchagents/com.adobe.macromedia.plist" PLIST file. The hidden file is used by cyber criminals to establish a communication through Command and Control (C&C) servers and perform various actions. It is known that this Trojan can be used to terminate processes, receive information about the system, check and update configuration of a backdoor, execute shell commands, download, upload and execute files. It is very likely that cyber criminals behind NUKESPED use it to infect systems with additional malware. For example, banking malware, Trojans of other type, and so on. Installed malware could be used to encrypt data, take screenshots/record screen, steal credentials and other confidential information, steal various personal accounts, record data saved in clipboard, and so on. Typically, most cyber criminals target information that could be used to generate revenue in one or another way. For example, they steal banking information and/or various accounts to make fraudulent purchases, transactions, etc., infect systems with ransomware to blackmail victims by demanding to pay a ransom in return for a decryption software, and so on. In most cases having a computer infected with malicious software like NUKESPED backdoor Trojan leads to financial loss, problems with privacy, browsing safety, data loss, and other serious problems.

Threat Summary:
Name NUKESPED backdoor Trojan
Threat Type Trojan
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:NukeSpeed-C [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.MAC.Lazarus.C), ESET-NOD32 (OSX/NukeSped.C), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Dropper.OSX.Agent.d), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name .Flash Player
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, fake Flash Player installers or updaters, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software 'cracks'.
Damage Stolen passwords and banking information, identity theft, victim's computer added to a botnet, installation of other malware.
Removal

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

More examples of backdoor Trojans are Casbaneiro, Kryptik and GoBotKR. Typically, cyber criminals who spread such malware seek to infect computers with malware that would help them to steal a variety of sensitive information. In most cases their main goal is to extract money from their victims or misuse their confidential data to generate revenue in other ways. If there is a reason to believe that a Trojan (or other malware) is installed on the system, it should be eliminated immediately.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

As we mentioned above, cyber criminals spread NUKESPED through Mac App bundle which contains a legitimate and a malicious versions of Adobe Flash Player. However, it is not the only way to spread malware. Quite often cyber criminals do it using spam campaigns (emails), fake software updaters, untrustworthy software download sources and software 'cracking' (unofficial activation) tools. Spam campaigns are being used to infect systems through malicious email attachments. Examples of files that cyber criminals usually attach are Microsoft Office and PDF documents, executable files (like .exe), JavaScript files, archives like ZIP and RAR, etc. When opened, those attachments install malicious software. Fake software updaters infect computers by exploiting bugs, flaws or other vulnerabilities of outdated software or by installing malicious software instead of updating installed one. Peer-to-Peer networks (eMule, torrent clients, and so on), third party downloaders, freeware and free file hosting websites and other similar download sources are often used as tools to upload malicious files. Typically, cyber criminals disguise them as legitimate. By downloading files using such sources and then opening/executing them people risk to cause installations of various malware by themselves. Software 'cracking' tools are programs that usually are designed to activate paid software for free. Nevertheless, cyber criminals often design them to spread malware as well. Simply said, tools of this type often install malicious programs instead of activating some installed software or operating system.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Software should not be downloaded (or installed) through various third party software downloaders, installers or other unreliable sources that we mentioned above. It should be downloaded using only official and trustworthy websites, and direct links. Unofficial/third party tools should not be used to update software, the only proper way to do it is by using implemented functions or tools that are provided by official software developers. Attachments that are presented in irrelevant emails and/or emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be trusted. Files attached to them should be opened only when there is no reason to believe that it is not safe. Furthermore, it is not legal to activate software or operating systems using software 'cracking' tools, besides, these tools often lead to installations of various malware. And finally, we recommend to have a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus software installed and scan computers with it regularly. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Appearance of malicious Flash Player version using the legitimate one to play a SWF file format (GIF):

Appearance of NUKESPED playing SWF video through malicious Flash Player

Malicious Flash Player version running in Activity Monitor:

nukesped activity monitor

Instant automatic removal of NUKESPED backdoor Trojan: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of NUKESPED backdoor Trojan. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner for Mac 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 Combo Cleaner.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

Potentially unwanted applications removal:

Remove potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac browser hijacker removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select "Applications". In the applications folder, look for "MPlayerX", "NicePlayer", or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove nukesped backdoor trojan related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder step 2
In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step2Check for adware generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder step 2
In the “Application Support” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, “MplayerX” or “NicePlayer”, and move these folders to the Trash.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 2

In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 2
In the “LaunchDaemons” folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”, "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, etc., and move them to the Trash.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure your system is not infected run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file double click combocleaner.dmg installer, in the opened window drag and drop Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide, otherwise it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

NUKESPED backdoor Trojan removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove nukesped backdoor trojan related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove nukesped backdoor trojan related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove nukesped backdoor trojan related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

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
NUKESPED backdoor Trojan 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 NUKESPED backdoor Trojan on your mobile device.
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Platform: macOS

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