How to remove Upatre malware from the operating system?

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

Upatre virus removal guide

What is Upatre malware?

Upatre is the name of a malicious program. It operates as a backdoor trojan - opens a "backdoor" for other malware. In other words, this piece of malignant software can download/install additional malware (cause chain infections). What malicious programs are installed onto the compromised system depend on the goals and modus operandi of the cyber criminals using Upatre. It is deemed to a be a highly dangerous piece of software; hence, Upatre must be removed from operating systems immediately upon detection.

Upatre malware detections on VirusTotal

The primary function of Upatre is injecting other malware into the affected system. However, newer versions of this trojan can also extract certain system information, such as device name and operating system details. As mentioned in the introduction, various malicious programs can gain entry into the system via Upatre. For example, it may be Remote Access Trojans (RATs) - that are designed to grant remote access and control over an infected device (possibly, user-level control). Information stealers can be loaded as well. This type of malware has varied functionalities aiding it in data-theft. These programs can exfiltrate (i.e. download) stored files, extract information from browsers and other applications (e.g. account log-in credentials), record key strokes (keylogging), monitor victims' activities, take screenshots or recordings of the screen, and/or record video/audio through integrated or connected microphones and cameras. Cryptominers are malicious programs, which exploit the infected system's resources in order to mine cryptocurrencies, thereby rendering the device unresponsive and practically unusable. Another potential infection can be ransomware, which can encrypt data and/or lock the screen - in order to demand payment for access restoration to the files or device. These are just some examples of possible infections caused by Upatre. To summarize, this malware can lead to significant device damage, permanent data loss, severe privacy issues, financial losses and identity theft. Therefore, it is suspected/known that Upatre (or other malicious software) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to eliminate it without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Upatre virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Crypt-SHM [Trj]), BitDefender (Generic.Nymaim.E.F9777AE0), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/TrojanDownloader.Waski.N), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) koekuky.exe (process name may vary)
Payload Various malicious programs
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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Smoke LoaderBuer Loader and ZLoader are a few examples of other malicious programs capable of causing chain infections. They can inject infected systems with RATs (e.g. VanTomDarkTrack, etc.), information stealers (e.g. HakopsSonbokli, etc.), banking malware (e.g. MekotioZeus Sphinx, etc.), cryptominers (e.g. BitCoinMinerIdleBuddy, etc.), data-encrypting ransomware (e.g. VaweBase, etc.), screenlockers (e.g. ComputerDestroyer, Rubly, etc.), and so on. Regardless of how malware operates, it poses a serious threat to device and user safety. Therefore, such infections necessitate immediate removal.

How did Upatre infiltrate my computer?

Upatre has been mainly proliferated via spam campaigns. The term "spam campaign" describes a large-scale operation, during which deceptive/scam emails are sent by the thousand. These letters contain download links of malicious files and/or the files are attached to the emails. These infectious files can be in various formats, e.g. archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc. When they are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process/chain is initiated. However, malware is also distributed through untrustworthy download sources, illegal software activation tools ("cracks") and illegitimate updates. Dubious download channels, like: unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders - can offer malicious programs, disguised as or bundled with ordinary content. Rather than activate licensed products, "cracking" tools can download/install malware. Fake updaters infect systems by abusing weaknesses of outdated products and/or by simply installing malicious software instead of the promised updates.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is strongly advised against opening suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially any attachments or links found in them - as that is a potential sources of malware infections. Only official and verified download channels should be used. Additionally, it is recommended to always activate and update products with functions/tools provided by genuine developers. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters must not be used, as they are commonly employed to proliferate malicious programs. To ensure device integrity and by extension - user safety, it is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed. Furthermore, this software must be kept updated, 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 Upatre malware's process on Windows Task Manager ("koekuky.exe"):

Upatre malware process on task manager (koekuky.exe)

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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Upatre virus QR code
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