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How to remove Lucifer malware from the operating system

Also Known As: Lucifer trojan
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is the Lucifer malware?

Lucifer is a malicious program classified as a banking Trojan. It primarily targets banking information, however, this malware also makes attempts to exfiltrate data relating to email, e-commerce and streaming accounts. Its range of attacks has covered most of Latin America, and Europe, Asia and North America.

There is reason to believe that the Lucifer Trojan will expand its area of interest and may become operational worldwide. In some cases, Lucifer malware has been distributed using the LokiBot trojan.

Lucifer malware detection on VirusTotal

The Lucifer banking Trojan has sophisticated anti-analysis techniques (e.g. "sandbox" environment recognition, splitting malicious code in several files, etc.), which aids concealment and complicates detection.

This malware targets banking data by monitoring users' browsing activity, and when a relevant banking website is opened, it begins taking screenshots and activates its keylogging feature. The latter refers to the capability of recording key strokes and enables cyber criminals to gather log-in credentials (e.g. usernames, passwords, etc.).

This endangers the security of victims' financial accounts, however Lucifer's keylogging feature can be employed to gather other typed data, thereby expanding the scope of potentially compromised information. Additionally, this malicious program can employ the infected system for spam email distribution.

This Trojan can exfiltrate data directly as well. It can steal passwords stored in popular browsers (e.g. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera etc.).

In a similar fashion, Lucifer malware attempts to gather emails, usernames, passwords, credit card information of email, social networking/media, e-commerce (online store) and streaming service accounts. To name some of the targeted accounts, the list includes Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Netflix and so on.

The stolen information can be misused in various ways. For example, through hijacked emails all accounts connected to them can be similarly stolen. Communication accounts can be used to spread malware and/or request contacts/friends for loans - under the guise of the genuine owner.

Financial accounts can be misused to make fraudulent transactions, while e-commerce ones (which often store credit card details) for various online purchases. In summary, the Lucifer banking Trojan can lead to financial loss, serious privacy issues and identity theft.

If it is known or suspected that this (or other) malware has already infiltrated the system, you are strongly advised to use an anti-virus suite to immediately remove it.

Threat Summary:
Name Lucifer trojan
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.42219369), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Injector.EJVH), Kaspersky (HEUR:Backdoor.Win32.Androm.gen), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) ExpressVPN (process name may vary)
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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GuildmaCinobi and Grandoreiro are a few examples of other banking Trojans. The term "Trojan" encompasses malicious programs with varied capabilities.

Aside from malware targeting banking information, other types can target different data, allow remote access and control over the infected machine, cause chain infections (i.e. download/install additional malware) and so on. Regardless of how malicious software operates, the end-goal is the same: to generate profit for the cyber criminals using it.

How did Lucifer infiltrate my computer?

Malware is mainly proliferated using backdoor Trojans, spam campaigns, illegal activation ("cracking") tools, fake updaters and untrustworthy download channels. Some malicious programs classified as Trojans are designed to download/install additional malware. In some instances, Lucifer has been distributed via these, specifically through the LokiBot Trojan.

"Spam campaign" refers to a large scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive/scam emails are sent. The messages are typically disguised as "official", "important", "urgent" and similar. These emails have infectious files attached to or linked inside them (i.e. download links, malicious websites).

Infectious files come in a variety of formats (e.g. Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archive and executable files, JavaScript, etc.). When they are opened, the infection processes is starts. Illegal activation tools ("cracks") can download/install malware rather than activating licensed products.

Fake updaters cause infections by exploiting weaknesses of outdated products and/or simply by installing malicious software, rather than the updates. Malware can be unintentionally downloaded from dubious sources, such as unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders.

How to avoid installation of malware

Opening suspicious and/or irrelevant emails is not advised, as the files and/or links present in these messages are commonly used to proliferate malicious content. Use official and verified download channels.

Furthermore, all products should be activated and updated with functions/tools provided by genuine developers, as opposed to illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters. To ensure system health and user safety, it is crucial to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed.

This software must be kept up to date, used to run regular systems scans and to remove detected threats/issues. 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.

Lucifer malware process on Windows Task Manager ("ExpressVPN" - process name might vary):

Lucifer malware process on task manager (disguised as ExpressVPN)

Instant automatic malware removal: 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 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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