How to remove Mekotio trojan from the operating system?

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

Mekotio virus removal guide

What is the Mekotio trojan?

Mekotio is a piece of malicious software, categorized as a banking trojan. This malware specifically targets banking information. The Mekotio trojan poses a significant threat to victims' finances and privacy. This malicious program endangers both device and user safety. Therefore, it is crucial to remove Mekotio infections immediately upon detection.

Mekotio malware detections on VirusTotal

Typically banking trojans target online banking account credentials like IDs, log-ins, passwords, etc. Banking account numbers, credit card details and other sensitive information are also of interest. The only goal of malware is to generate revenue for the cyber criminals using them. Hence, the stolen data is usually misused to make fraudulent transactions, online purchases, sold to third parties or otherwise abused for financial gain. Therefore, Mekotio infections can lead to significant monetary loss, severe privacy issues and even identity theft. Some trojans of this type target other information stored in or accessed through infected devices as well. Compromising or particularly vulnerable content can be used by criminals for blackmail/ransom purposes. Other accounts, which do not directly deal with financial information, yet are commonly targeted are emails, social networking and social media. Through such accounts cyber criminals can ask contacts/friends for loans and/or distribute malware by sharing infectious files - under the guise of the genuine owner. If it is suspected or known that Mekotio trojan (or other malware) has already infected the system, an anti-virus software must be used to eliminate it without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Mekotio malware
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names BitDefender (Gen:Heur.Kelios.1), Emsisoft (Gen:Heur.Kelios.1 (B)), Endgame (Malicious (high Confidence)), Rising (Malware.Heuristic!ET#96%(RDMK:cmRtazpu5y1wRC6hqQswmBARcaZS)), Full List (VirusTotal)
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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Zeus Sphinx, Lucifer, Cinobi and Guildma are a few examples of other banking malware. However, trojans can have a wide variety of functionalities. Some can enable remote access and control over the infected device, cause chain infections (i.e. download/install additional malware), exfiltrate and/or extract information, etc. Regardless of how these malicious programs operate, the end-goal is the same - to generate profit for the cyber criminals behind them.

How did Mekotio infiltrate my computer?

The Mekotio malware has been observed being distributed via Coronavirus/COVID-19 themed spam campaign. The term "spam campaign" defines a large scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive/scam emails are sent. The Mekotio-spreading letters are in Spanish, they are presented as judicial notifications from "Ministerio de Sanidad, Consumo y Bienestar Social" (Spain's Ministry of Health), concerning a complaint. The emails state that several complaints about the recipient have been received, due to alleged violations of current regulations, which were issued because of the ongoing pandemic. Hence, the recipients may be fined up to one hundred euros for ignoring to wear mandatory face-masks. These letters contain malicious links, which when clicked on - initiate the infection chain of Mekotio. In general, spam campaigns infect systems through virulent files distributed during these operations. The emails can contain links to malicious websites that host such content or download links of the files, alternatively - such files can be attached to the letters. Malicious files can be in various formats (e.g. archives, executables, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are executed, run or otherwise opened - download/installation of malware begins. However, malicious software is also proliferated via illegal activation tools ("cracks"), illegitimate updates and untrustworthy download channels. Rather than activate licensed product, "cracking" tools can download/install malware. Fake updaters cause infections by abusing flaws of outdated products and/or by simply installing malicious programs instead of the promised updates. Malware can be inadvertently downloaded from dubious sources, e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is strongly advised against opening suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially any links or attachments found in them - as that can lead to a high-risk infection. All downloads must be done from official and verified sources. It is just as important to activate and update products with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters must not be used, as they are often employed to proliferate malware. To protect device and user safety, it is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed and kept updated. This software is to be used for regular system scans and removal of detected/potential threats. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Screenshot of the deceptive email distributing Mekotio trojan:

Mekotio trojan spreading scam email

Text presented in this email letter:

Subject: Denuncia por Covid808674


9 Junio del 2020 Ministerio de Sanidad, Consumo y Bienestar Social
Notification Judicial por denuncia


Segun contempla el real decreto aprobado por el Gobierno, sanciona con multas de hasta cien euros para quien no cumpla la obligacion de llevar mascarilla en espacios cerrados y abiertos.


Hemos recibido varias denuncias de sus vecinos que indican que usted no cumple con las normas vigentes del uso de cubrebocas obligatorio hasta que finalize el estado de alarma por coronavirus.


El decreto regula la obligacion del uso de mascarillas para personas en la via publica, en espacios al aire libre y en cualquier espacio cerrado de uso publico o que se encuentre abierto al publico, siempre que no resulte posible garantizar el mantenimiento de una distancia física de seguridad de entre metro y meido y dos metros.

Informamos que usted cuenta con una Infraccion al Real decreto vigente Cubre bocas obligatorio

Descargar notification

Appearance of another spam email used to spread Mekotio trojan:

Mekotio trojan-spreading spam email

Text presented within:

Subject: Notifica dell'ammenda aperta 51555.

Dal 15 febbraio 2016 questo portale non è aggiornato in quanto le informazioni vengono pubblicate sul nuovo sito portale è al momento online per le informazioni storiche ancora in corso di migrazione.

Ministero delle Infrastrutture e dei Trasporti

Notifica dell'ammenda aperta

O non si tratta di un sistema di rilevamento o di una multa di transito diretta a se o ao seu veicolo.

Per ulteriori informazioni, vedere i dettagli sul pulsante fattura di segulto
Visualizza online
Per visualizzare le notifica, aprire su un sistema (Windows).

Update 24 August 2020 - Research shows that there are multiple variants of Mekotio that are being developed simultaneously. Certain variants have backdoor capabilities, can be used to steal Bitcoins by replacing Bitcoin wallet address in the clipboard with another one used by cyber criminals. Also, certain variants can gather information such as firewall configuration, operating system information, list of installed antivirus solutions, take screenshots, simulate mouse and keyboard, restart the computer, update themselves, steal passwords saved on Chrome browsers, and restrict access to various banking-related webpages.

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 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 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
Mekotio malware QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Mekotio malware on your mobile device.
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