How to remove Meterpreter

Also Known As: Meterpreter malware
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is Meterpreter?

Meterpreter is a malicious trojan-type program that allows cyber criminals to remotely control infected computers. This malware runs in computer memory without writing anything to disk. Therefore, it injects itself into compromised processes and does not create any new processes.

Meterpreter can be used to send and receive files, run executable files, run various commands through command shell, take screenshots and record keystrokes. Like most programs of this type, it is distributed to steal information that could be used to generate revenue and/or infect computers with other malware.

Meterpreter trojan

Through sending, receiving and executing files through Meterpreter, cyber criminals can infect victims' computers with more malware including, for example, ransomware. Ransomware encrypts data so that victims cannot use or access it unless they decrypt it with tools purchased from the cyber criminals who designed the program.

Meterpreter can, however, be used to install a variety of other malicious programs. Furthermore, using files from victims' computers, cyber criminals can gain access to personal files that might contain sensitive information. Furthermore, this malware can log keystrokes - recording keyboard input (keys pressed).

Generally, cyber criminals use this feature to steal credentials (logins, passwords) of various accounts and other personal information that could be misused generate revenue in various ways.

For example, by misusing stolen accounts to make fraudulent purchases and transactions, deceive other people into making financial transactions, proliferate scams or even malware through email and other platforms, and so on.

Meterpreter can also be used to take screenshots, and therefore cyber criminals might be able to collect images of opened confidential documents, accounts that contain personal information, etc. As mentioned, Meterpreter can access command shell, which allows cyber criminals to run various commands.

For example, to shut down, restart the computer, run or terminate programs (disable antivirus suites or other security software), and perform many other actions. Meterpreter is a powerful tool that can be used to cause serious problems.

If you believe that this trojan-type program resides in computer memory or is injected into a compromised process, it should be eliminated immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Meterpreter malware
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names (MS Office document) Avast (VBA:Downloader-EON [Trj]), BitDefender (VB:Trojan.Valyria.447), ESET-NOD32 (VBA/TrojanDropper.Agent.UR), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), Full List (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (Malicious Document's Payload) Avast (Win32:SwPatch [Wrm]), BitDefender (Trojan.CryptZ.Gen), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Rozena.ED), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), Full List (VirusTotal)
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 Combo Cleaner.
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More examples of malicious programs that are classified as Trojans include KBOT, Lampion and CryptBot. Software of this type is used to infect computers with other rogue programs and/or steal as much personal, sensitive information as possible. Cyber criminals proliferate them to generate revenue.

Trojan-type programs often cause users of infected machines problems such as monetary, data loss, identity theft, problems relating to privacy, and other serious issues. Therefore, if a Trojan or other malware is installed on the operating system, remove it immediately.

How did Meterpreter infiltrate my computer?

Research shows that Meterpreter is proliferated through spam email campaigns. Cyber criminals send emails with malicious MS Office documents attached/linked that install Meterpreter. When opened, the document asks permission to enable editing (macros commands). If allowed, the malicious document injects Meterpreter.

More examples of files that cyber criminals often attach to their emails are archive files (ZIP, RAR), PDF documents, executable files such as .exe, and JavaScript files. There are also other ways that malware is spread. For example, using untrusted download sources, fake software updaters and unofficial activation ('cracking') tools.

Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, etc.), free file hosting, freeware download websites, unofficial pages, third party downloaders, etc. are examples of untrusted software download channels/tools. Cyber criminals use them to host malicious files, which they disguise as harmless, regular files.

When downloaded and opened, however, they infect systems with malware. Fake software updating tools cause damage by installing malicious software rather than updates/fixes or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software that is installed on the operating system.

Software 'cracking' tools are used by people who seek to activate licensed software free of charge, however, they often proliferate malicious programs instead.

How to avoid installation of malware

We strongly recommend that you ignore irrelevant emails that contain attachments or web links, especially if the emails are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. The messages are usually disguised as important, official, and so on.

It is not safe to download or install software via third party downloaders/installers, unofficial pages, or the other sources/tools mentioned above. All software and files should be downloaded from official websites and direct links. Installed software must be updated using only tools or implemented functions designed by official developers.

Other unofficial, third party tools should not be trusted. The same applies to software 'cracking' tools - it is illegal to activate licensed software through these programs and they can cause installation of malicious programs. Have reputable anti-spyware or antivirus software installed on the operating system and scan it for threats regularly.

If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Malicious attachment/document distributing Meterpreter:

Malicious attachment distributing Meterpreter

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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:

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 1Download 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 the 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 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".

locate the malware file you want to remove

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.

searching for malware file on your computer

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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

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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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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