How to uninstall the Ap0calypse Remote Administration Tool (RAT)

Also Known As: Ap0calypse remote access trojan
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is Ap0calypse?

Ap0calypse is a Remote Administration Tool (RAT). Cyber criminals commonly attempt to trick users into installing this software so that they can remotely control computers and perform tasks to generate revenue. If you suspect that Ap0calypse or another RAT is installed on the operating system (and it was installed unintentionally), it should be removed immediately.

Ap0calypse malware

Cyber criminals often use RATs like Ap0calypse to infect computers with malicious software such as ransomwareTrojans, cryptocurrency miners or other high-risk malware. Ransomware usually encrypts files so that victims are unable to access them without having to purchase specific decryption tools or keys from the cyber criminals who designed the program.

Trojans proliferate malware and steal various personal, sensitive information. This software can also lead to serious problems. Cryptocurrency miners are programs that use computer hardware/resources (CPU, GPU) to solve mathematical problems. I.e., to mine cryptocurrency.

These programs cause high CPU (and other hardware) usage, hardware overheating, system crashes that can lead to data loss, and so on. Note that users who have this software installed on their computers receive higher electricity bills. Furthermore, a RAT such as Ap0calypse can be used to log keystrokes (record keys pressed on the keyboard).

This feature allows cyber criminals to steal logins, passwords (and other credentials), credit card details, and other sensitive, personal information. Cyber criminals misuse recorded details to steal accounts and use them to make fraudulent purchases and transactions, trick other people into transferring money, installing malware on their computers, etc.

Furthermore, Ap0calypse can be used to take screenshots, monitor computing activity, manage startup items, steal data saved on the clipboard, and so on. In any case, having software such as Ap0calypse installed on the operating system could be the reason behind serious problems.

For example, victims might have their identities stolen, suffer data and monetary loss, have their computers infected with other malware, experience problems relating to privacy, and so on. Therefore, if Ap0calypse (or another RAT) is installed on the operating system, remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Ap0calypse remote access trojan
Threat Type Remote Access Trojan
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Buzus-IV [Trj]), BitDefender (Generic.Malware.SP!V!.9D2E2C6B), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Lypserat.A), Kaspersky (Backdoor.Win32.Shiz.kour), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) apocalyps32.exe
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)

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Some examples of other RATs are BlackRemote, Xtreme and Parallax. Note that not all of these tools are malicious. Many RATs are legitimate, however, many are used with malicious intent by cyber criminals who seek to use infected machines to generate revenue.

How did Ap0calypse infiltrate my computer?

It is unknown exactly how cyber criminals attempt to trick users into installing Ap0calypse on their computers. One of the most popular ways to proliferate malicious programs is by sending emails that contain malicious attachments, or website links that download malicious files.

Cyber criminals often send emails that contain a malicious Microsoft Office document, PDF document, executable file such as .exe, archive file (ZIP, RAR or JavaScript file. Unwanted, malicious software is installed when recipients open a malicious file/attachment. Systems are also infected with malware by tricking people installing a Trojan-type program.

When installed, Trojans can cause installation of other malicious programs, including RATs. Fake software updaters are used to proliferate malicious software. When people use programs of this type, they allow them to infect computers simply by installing malicious software or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated programs.

Untrustworthy software download sources such as freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrents, eMule etc), various third party downloaders are often are used to host and distribute malicious files. If opened, files that are downloaded through these sources can lead to installation of malware.

Malicious programs are also spread through software 'cracking' (unofficial activation) tools. These supposedly activate licensed programs free of charge and bypass activation, however, they can install malicious software rather than activating installed products.

How to avoid installation of malware

All software and files should be downloaded from official, trustworthy websites and via direct links. Other sources and tools should not be trusted or used. Do not open attachments or web links within irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses.

If you believe that an email is received from cyber criminals, leave the contents unopened. Installed software must be updated and activated with tools/functions that are provided by official software developers. Furthermore, it is illegal to activate licensed software with 'cracking' tools (unofficial activators).

Keep operating systems safe by regularly scanning them for threats with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and ensure that it is up to date. 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.

Ap0calypse process running in Task Manager as "apocalyps32.exe":

ap0calypse rat apocalyps32.exe process in task manager

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.

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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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