Parallax virus removal guide
What is Parallax?
Parallax is a remote administration tool (RAT), which can be purchased on a hacker forum. Remote administration tools are programs used by cyber criminals to take full control over the targeted computer. Generally, they use RATs to infect systems with malware, steal personal information and perform other actions that enable them to generate revenue in various ways.
Parallax can be used to control multiple infected computers at once. Research shows that this RAT can be used to download and execute various files on victims' computers, steal credentials (logins and passwords) saved on Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Thunderbird, Outlook, view screen activity, manage files, run various commands and record keystrokes. Therefore, cyber criminals can infect operating systems that have Parallax installed with other malware. They often use RATs to infect systems with Trojans, ransomware-type software and other malicious programs. This software can cause serious problems such as loss of files, money, identity theft, issues relating to privacy, browsing safety, and so on. They can also use Parallax to install cryptocurrency miners that can use computer resources to solve mathematical problems. Programs of this type cause high CPU (and other hardware) usage, which results in higher electricity bills. They can also cause hardware to overheat and system crashes that can lead to data loss. Cyber criminals behind Parallax can run/execute various commands on the infected computer. They could shut down, restart the computer, disable running/enabled antivirus programs or other security suites, create scheduled tasks, and perform various other actions. Another Parallax feature is keystroke logging - it can be used to record keyboard input (keys pressed) and steal sensitive information such as banking details, credentials (logins, passwords) of various accounts, and so on. Typically, cyber criminals misuse stolen information to steal identities, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, etc. The same can be done by misusing credentials saved on Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Thunderbird, and Outlook, which the cyber criminals behind Parallax can also steal. Additionally, Parallax includes a file management feature, which can be used to delete, modify and manage files in other ways. Parallax's screen monitoring feature allows cyber criminals to monitor screen activity, and thus they can monitor everything users' actions on the infected computer.
|Name||Parallax remote access trojan|
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.33234228), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/TrojanDownloader.Agent.EYQ), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Agentb.jwcq), Full List (VirusTotal)|
|Payload||RATs are used to infect systems with a number of malicious programs.|
|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.
Other examples of RATs are ShadowTechRAT, Bandook and JhoneRAT. There are legitimate and unofficial RATs, which can be used by cyber criminals who seek to control computers remotely and infect them with malware, steal personal information, install cryptocurrency miners, and so on. In any case, cyber criminals attempt to trick people into installing RATs so that they can perform actions to generate revenue. If you believe that Parallax or another RAT is installed on the operating system (and it was not installed intentionally), remove it immediately.
How did Parallax infiltrate my computer?
In most cases, cyber criminals attempt to trick people into installing RATs and various malicious programs through spam campaigns, Trojans, dubious software download channels, fake software updaters and unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools. Cyber criminals often send emails that contain attachments such as malicious MS Office documents, Java Script files, PDF documents, executable files (.exe), and archive files such as ZIP, RAR. They seek to trick recipients into opening a malicious file that, if opened, installs rogue software. They include website links that also download malicious files. Third party software downloaders, free file hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule), websites host free software and other similar sources are used by cyber criminals to host malicious files. Typically, the files are disguised as harmless and legitimate, however, if downloaded and opened, they cause installation of malicious programs. Trojans cause chain infections and proliferate malware. In summary, if a computer is infected with a Trojan, it will be infected with other malware as well. Operating systems can be infected through fake software updaters, which install malware or infect systems by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Tools that supposedly bypass activation of licensed (paid) software are often designed to install malicious software. People who use them risk infecting systems with high-risk malware or RATs such as Parallax.
How to avoid installation of malware
Do not trust or open attachments or web links that are included in irrelevant emails. Typically, these emails are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses and disguised as important and official. All software and files should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. It is not safe to use other sources. Examples of dubious software download tools/channels are provided above. Installed software should be updated using tools and functions designed by official developers. If installed programs are not free and require activation, this should be done properly. Avoid 'cracking' tools, since they cause installation of malware and are illegal. Keep systems/computers safe by regularly scanning them with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Hacker forum that cyber criminals use to sell Parallax:
Screenshot of a spam email used to spread a malicious attachment ("QUOTE LIST.xlsm") that injects Parallax RAT into the system:
Text presented within this mail:
Subject: RE: RE: VERY TOP URGENT
VERY TOP URGENT
We are - a trading company established in Birmingham USA.
We have an urgent request for the enclosed list of your product range
Please check the quote list.
Your fast response is highly needed and appreciated
Important Notes, Please advise:
-If you receive this mail.
-The availability in stock.
-All the technical specs.
The origin of the goods (A Certificate of origin is a requirement)
Awaiting your reply soonest.
Screenshot of the malicious attachment ("QUOTE LIST.xlsm"):
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:
- What is Parallax?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of Parallax malware.
- STEP 2. Check if your computer is clean.
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.