How to get rid of Ramsay malware?

Also Known As: Ramsay virus
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Ramsay virus removal guide

What is Ramsay?

Ramsay is the name of malware which is capable of scanning computers, removable drives and network shares/drives that are isolated from unsecured networks (such as public Internet, unsecured local area network) for files such as Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents and ZIP archives. Simply said, it can steal files from compromised devices. Research shows that Ramsay is capable of spreading itself on other computers as well.

Ramsay malware

It is very likely that Ramsay exfiltrates stolen files through files (components) that were dropped by it on a network share, removable drive and/or local system and contain certain instructions from a cyber criminals behind this malware. Once an infected drive is connected to a computer with the Internet connection, Ramsay exfiltrates the stolen files. Research shows that there are at least three versions of Ramsay, one of them cannot spread itself further while the other two can. The damage that can be caused through Ramsay depends on the data stored on stolen files (Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents and ZIP archives). For example, if stolen files would contain information/data such as login credentials (usernames, passwords), credit card details, email addresses, then users might become victims of identity theft, lose access to various accounts, suffer monetary loss, experience problems related to online privacy, browsing safety and/or other issues. Either way, if there is a reason to believe that Ramsay has infiltrated a device, then it should be eliminated from it as soon as possible.

Threat Summary:
Name Ramsay virus
Threat Type File stealer
Detection Names (netwiz.exe) Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.42916371), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Ramsay.D), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), Full List (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Ramsay is 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 Exploits for Word vulnerabilities, malicious RTF files, 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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It is likely that Ramsay is still at a development state and may be upgraded into a more powerful, complex malware with more capabilities. Although, it does not mean that users who have their devices infected with it should not worry. An important detail about Ramsay is that it hides files prepared for exfiltration on the system.

How did Ramsay infiltrate my computer?

Research shows that Ramsay lands on computers through exploits for Word vulnerabilities from 2017 and malicious RTF files. It is very likely that malicious documents designed to proliferate this malware are distributed spam campaigns. It is common that cyber criminals attempt to trick users into installing malicious software through malicious attachments or website links that they send via email. Some more examples of files that cyber criminals often attach to their emails are PDF documents, executable files, archives (like ZIP, RAR). Also, users often get tricked into installing malware when cyber criminals distribute it through untrustworthy software download channels, unofficial activation ('cracking') tools, fake updaters and Trojans. Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), third party downloaders, from free file hosting websites, freeware download pages are some examples that can be used to distribute malware by disguising malicious files as legitimate, harmless. Users who open files downloaded through them risk to install malware. Various unofficial activation ('cracking') tools that supposed to illegally activate software for free often infect systems with malware too. Fake software updaters usually infect systems by installing malicious software instead of updating installed one, or by exploiting bugs, flaws of some outdated software. Trojans are malicious programs that can do such damage only if when they are already installed on the operating system. It is common that Trojan-type programs are designed to install additional malware (e.g., ransomware).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Various attachments and website links in irrelevant emails that were sent from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened without making sure that it is completely safe. Files and programs should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct download links. All the other channels that are mentioned in the paragraph above can be and often are used to distribute unwanted, malicious programs. Installed software must be activated and updated only through tools and/or implemented functions that are designed by official software developers. It is worthwhile to mention that users who activate software with third party tools do that illegally.  And finally, operating system should be regularly scanned for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite, any detected threats should be always removed as soon as possible. Also, security software should always be kept up to date. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

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.

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Ramsay virus QR code
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