How to remove the Hakops keylogger

Also Known As: Hakops malware
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Hakops virus removal guide

What is Hakops?

Hakops is a program designed to secretly monitor and log keystrokes. Typically, cyber criminals attempt to trick users into installing this software so that they can steal passwords and other confidential information entered via the keyboard. Therefore, having a keylogger such as Hakops installed on your computer might cause serious problems.

Hakops malware

There are many legitimate keyloggers on the internet, however, even they can be used by cyber criminals with malicious intent. In many cases, keyloggers such as Hakops are employed to steal users' data (e.g., credentials, credit card details) relating to online payment systems, however, they are often used to record and steal the passwords of various accounts (online gaming, email, social media, etc.). Cyber criminals misuse the accessed data to steal identities, spread malware (e.g., ransomware, Trojans) via email and pother accounts, make fraudulent purchases and transactions, trick other people into transferring money to them, and to generate revenue in other ways. Therefore, victims of Hakops attacks can suffer serious online privacy issues, monetary loss, become victims of identity theft and experience other problems. Additionally, this keylogger prevents victims from using Task Manager by disabling it. Therefore, neither Hakops nor other programs (processes) can be stopped from running.

Threat Summary:
Name Hakops malware
Threat Type Keylogger
Detection Names ( HileCin_BlackDesertHack.exe ) Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Generic.Keylogger.6.901064AD), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Spy.KeyLogger.OSB), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Diztakun.asae), Full List (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Keyloggers 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 other examples of keyloggers are Cheetah, Phoenix and Alpha. There are many unofficial and legitimate keyloggers available, all of which can be used with malicious intent. Typically, cyber criminals attempt to steal data to generate revenue and often target companies as well as regular users.

How did Hakops infiltrate my computer?

Cyber criminals commonly attempt to deceive users into installing keyloggers and other unwanted, malicious programs through spam campaigns (emails), Trojans, untrusted software download channels, tools that supposedly activate licensed software and fake software updaters. To spread malware via spam campaigns they send emails that contain malicious attachments. For example, Microsoft Office documents, executable files (.exe), archive files such as ZIP, RAR, PDF documents, JavaScript files, and so on. Their main goal is to trick recipients into opening attached a malicious file (or website link that leads to one). Once opened, the file runs and installs malware. Malware is also spread through Trojans. Commonly, Trojans install malicious programs (cause chain infections), however, this is only possible when a Trojan is already installed on the computer. Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule and other tools), freeware download or file hosting websites, unofficial websites, third party downloaders and so on can be used to proliferate malicious programs. Cyber criminals use such channels to host and upload malicious files. If users download and open them, they cause installation of viruses. Software 'cracking' tools supposedly activate licensed programs free of charge, however, they often install malicious programs rather than activating software or operating systems. Fake software updaters cause identical damage by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software or installing malware rather than updates or fixes.

How to avoid installation of malware

It is not safe to open files or links in irrelevant emails, especially if the emails are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. You are advised to ignore these emails and leave their contents unopened. Note that cyber criminals commonly disguise their emails as important, official, etc. All files and programs should be downloaded from official websites. Other channels (third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks, unofficial pages and so on), can be used to distribute and host files designed to install malware. Installed programs must be updated and activated through tools or implemented functions that are designed by official software developers. Third party, unofficial tools can proliferate malicious programs. Furthermore, it is illegal to activate any licensed programs with unofficial tools. Regularly scan your computer with reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software and remove detected threats immediately. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Pop-up window which appears after launching a malicious executable file:

pop-up displayed once the malicious hakops executable is opened

Pop-up which appears when users try to open Task Manager on a computer infected with Hakops:

pop-up displayed when trying to open task manager on a computer infected with hakops keylogger

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:
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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 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:

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 Malwarebytes for Windows.

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.

QR Code
Hakops malware QR code
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