How to remove VenomRAT malware from the operating system?

Also Known As: VenomRAT virus
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

VenomRAT virus removal guide

What is VenomRAT?

VenomRAT is the name of a malicious program. As is common for malware that is put up for sale, it is presented as an innocuous Remote Access Tool (RAT). However, VenomRAT has multiple heinous abilities that were clearly designed with malicious purposes in mind - hence, it is deemed to be a Remote Access Trojan. At the time of research, VenomRAT was offered at these prices - one month for 150$, three for 350$ and six for 550$. Malware within the RAT category operates by granting remote access and control over an infected device. These trojans can have a wide variety of functionalities that enable likewise varied misuse. VenomRAT is considered to be a highly dangerous piece of software and it can cause serious issues.

VenomRAT malware detections on VirusTotal

VenomRAT is compatible with Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 operating systems. The primary purpose of this remote access trojan is to steal information. It can exfiltrate (download) .doc, .docx, .txt and .log format files from the desktop. This malware also attempts to steal certain cryptocurrency wallets, e.g. BitcoinCore, Electrum, ETH, DSH, LTC, XMR and ZEC. VenomRAT can extract various data from specific browsers. Information of interest includes: auto-fills, browser cookies, credit card details, account log-ins and passwords. The trojan can gather server data from FileZilla FTP (File Transfer Protocol) application. It has keylogging capabilities as well. In other words, VenomRAT can record key strokes, thereby endangering the privacy/security of any and all typed information. According to the RAT's promotional material, it is able to hide its process in Windows Task Manager. This is only partially true, as VenomRAT's process is visible in Task Manager but it is has no title - just a blank space where the name should be. The malware is advertised as having remote webcam features - i.e. capable of recording video via integrated/connected cameras. Additionally, it is stated to have the capacity infiltrate (upload) and execute files, which means that VenomRAT can potentially be used to cause chain infections (i.e. to infect the system with additional malware). These are just some of the main functionalities of this RAT. To elaborate on how the information obtained by cyber criminals can be misused, then especially sensitive or compromising content (e.g. exfiltrated from the system, hijacked data storage accounts or stealthily recorded) can be used for blackmail/ransom purposes. Stolen communication accounts (e.g. emails, social networking/media, messengers, etc.) may be used to ask contacts/friends for loans and/or to spread malware by sharing infectious files - under the guise of the account's genuine owner. Accounts that deal with financial information may be used for fraudulent transactions and/or have vulnerable details (e.g. stored credit card information) extracted and used to make online purchases, etc. To summarize, VenomRAT can cause system infections, lead to financial losses, severe privacy issues and identity theft. If it is suspected/known that VenomRAT (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to eliminate it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name VenomRAT virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:RATX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Generic.MSIL.PasswordStealerA.F530561C), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Agent.AIA), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSIL.Zapchast.gen), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) Nameless process
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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RattyVanTomEpicSplit and Gh0st are some examples of other remote access trojans. These malicious programs are typically multifunctional and multipurpose. Therefore, how they are used or what problems they can cause depend on the program itself and the modus operandi of the cyber criminals using it. Regardless, the end-goal is the same - to generate revenue to the criminals. To ensure device integrity and user safety all malware infections must be removed without delay.

How did VenomRAT infiltrate my computer?

As mentioned in the introduction, VenomRAT is offered for sale in its promotional website. Hence, its proliferation can be varied - as it depends on the cyber criminals using it. In general, malware is mainly distributed via spam campaigns, illegal activation tools ("cracks"), illegitimate updaters and dubious download channels. Spam campaigns are large scale operations, during which deceptive emails are sent by the thousand. This mail has infectious files attached to it and/or contains download links of such content. Virulent files can be in various formats (e.g. archives, executables, PDF and Microsoft Office files, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are opened - the infection process (i.e. malware download/installation) begins. Rather than activate licensed product, "cracking" tools can download/install malicious programs. Fake updaters infect systems by exploiting flaws of outdated products and/or simply install malware instead of the updates. Malicious software can also be unintentionally downloaded from untrustworthy sources (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and/or irrelevant emails should not be opened, especially any attachments or links present in them - due to risk of potential malware infections. All downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Additionally, all products must be activated and updated with tools/functions, provided by legitimate developers. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters should not be used - as they are commonly used to proliferate malicious programs. It is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. Furthermore, this software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats/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 VenomRAT's process on Windows Task Manager:

VenomRAT malware process on task manager

Screenshot of the website used to promote/sell VenomRAT malware:

VenomRAT malware promoting site

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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VenomRAT virus QR code
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