How to remove VanTom remote access trojan from the operating system?

Also Known As: VanTom remote access trojan
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

VanTom virus removal guide

What is the VanTom RAT?

VanTom is the name of a Remote Access Trojan (RAT). It is based on the njRat malware. Malicious programs classified as RATs are designed to allow remote access and control over an infected machine. These trojans can have a wide variety of functionalities, which can enable likewise varied misuse. VanTom RAT is deemed to be a highly dangerous piece of software that poses a significant threat to device integrity and user safety.

VanTom malware detection on VirusTotal

Remote access trojans are primary used to steal information. Some of them can exfiltrate data directly from the systems. Particularly sensitive and/or compromising content can be used by cyber criminals for blackmail. In other words, victims can receive ransom demands - under threat of the information's publication and/or sale to their competitors. However, RATs can often obtain such data through spying capabilities. They can record audio/video through integrated and/or connected cameras and microphones. These malicious programs often target account log-in credentials (i.e. usernames and passwords) by extracting them from browsers or other applications, or by recording key strokes (keylogging). Accounts of interest include (but are not limited to): emails, social media, social networking, messenger, data sharing, data storage, e-commerce, online money transfer, banking, and so on. To elaborate on how some of these accounts can be misused, then hijacked communication accounts can be used to ask for contact/friends for loans and/or to proliferate malware (by sharing infectious files) - under the guise of the genuine owner. Banking accounts and those that deal with financial information (e.g. e-commerce accounts that store credit card details) - can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases. RATs can also have the ability to cause chain infections, i.e. they can download/install additional malware (e.g. ransomware, cryptominers, etc). To summarize, RAT infections can lead to severe system infections, financial losses, serious privacy issues and identity theft. If it is suspected or known that VanTom (or other malware) has already infected the system, an anti-virus must be used to remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name VanTom remote access trojan
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (MSIL:KillAV-B [Trj]), BitDefender (Generic.MSIL.PasswordStealerA.24B445B3), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Bladabindi.AT), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) Microsoft (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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DarkTrackEpicSplitHupigonLuminosity and Cardinal are some examples of other remote access trojans. As mentioned in the introduction, this malware has various malicious abilities/features. Hence, how they are used and what problems that can lead to - depend on the modus operandi of the individuals using them. However, the end-goal of all malicious programs is the same - to generate revenue to the cyber criminals behind them.

How did VanTom infiltrate my computer?

Malware is distributed using various methods; primarily, via spam campaigns, illegal activation ("cracking") tools, illegitimate updates and dubious download sources. The term "spam campaign" describes a large scale operation, during which scam emails are sent by the thousand. This mail can be presented as "official", "urgent", "important", "priority" and similar. These deceptive letters have infectious files attached to them or alternatively - they contain download links of malicious content. Virulent files can be in a variety of formats, such as: Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on. When they are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process is triggered (i.e. malware download/installation is initiated). Rather than activate licensed product, illegal activation tools ("cracks") can download/install malicious programs. Fake updaters infect systems by exploiting weaknesses of outdated products and/or by simply installing malware instead of the promised updates. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting (freeware) websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders - can offer malicious software, disguised as or packed together with ordinary content.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is advised not to open suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially ones received from suspect/unknown senders (addresses). Any attachments or links found in dubious letters - must not be opened, as doing so can result in 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/software provided by legitimate developers. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters must not be used, as they are commonly employed to proliferate malware. To ensure device and user safety, it is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed. Furthermore, this software has to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected threats and issues. 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 VanTom's process on Windows Task Manager ("Microsoft"):

VanTom remote access trojan process on task manager (process name - Microsoft)

Screenshot of VanTom's administration panel:

VanTom remote access trojan admin panel

Screenshot of the hacking website used to promote VanTom:

VanTom remote access trojan promoter

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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