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How to uninstall DarkStealer malware from the operating system

Also Known As: DarkStealer virus
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

DarkStealer virus removal guide

What is DarkStealer?

DarkStealer is malicious software functioning as a file grabber, data stealer, and remote administration tool. This software is for sale on a hacker forums on which cyber criminals can purchase a monthly subscription for it. DarkStealer is powerful malware, which can be used for various malicious purposes. Users who have this malware installed on their operating systems should eliminate it immediately.

DarkStealer malware

One of the features available in DarkStealer is the remote administration/access tool. Using this, cyber cyber criminals can access and control infected computers and perform certain actions (e.g., they can download and execute malicious files, log keystrokes, access sensitive documents, files, etc.). DarkStealer can also be used to steal passwords, cookies, maps, various forms, browsing history and other data saved on browsers. Through access to such data, cyber criminals can steal various accounts (including email, social media, banking-related and other accounts). Research shows that DarkStealer has a separate feature targeting email clients only. It is also capable of stealing data from installed VPN and Discord clients, cryptocurrency wallets, and operating as a file grabber. Furthermore, cyber criminals can use DarkStealer to take screenshots, which means they could acquire images of any opened documents, accounts, etc. In summary, users who have this malware installed on operating systems may become victims of identity theft, suffer monetary loss, lose access to personal accounts, have their computers infected with other malware (e.g., Trojan, ransomware), experience serious problems relating to online privacy and browsing safety and other issues.

Threat Summary:
Name DarkStealer virus
Threat Type Password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names AVG (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Ser.Ursu.11528), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Spy.Agent.AES), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Agent.gen), Full List (VirusTotal).
Malicious Process Name(s) Intel plugin (its name may vary)
Symptoms Malicious programs often 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, installation of other malware, monetary loss, loss of access to personal accounts
Malware Removal (Windows)

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More examples of other malware that steals data, spreads other software of this kind, and perform other actions include CollectorStealer, ProstoClipper, Upatre, and MyDoom. In most cases, cyber criminals use malware of this type to steal sensitive information or proliferate other malware to enable them to generate revenue. Generally, users install malware on their computers inadvertently (they are tricked).

How did DarkStealer infiltrate my computer?

Malware is commonly spread using malspam campaigns, dubious file, software download channels/tools, third party software updating tools, unofficial activation ('cracking') tools and Trojans. Cyber criminals often send emails that are disguised as official/legitimate and contain a malicious attachment or website link. Cyber criminals behind these emails attempt to trick recipients into executing the file, which then installs malicious software. Some examples of files that they attach to their emails are malicious PDF, Microsoft Office documents, archive files (ZIP, RAR), executable files (.exe), and JavaScript files. Computers become infected with malware through dubious download channels when users open malicious files that were downloaded through them. These channels/tools are various unofficial pages, third party downloaders, free file hosting pages, freeware download sites, etc. Note that third party installers can also be designed to install malicious software. Third party software updaters infect systems by installing malware rather than updates/fixes for installed software, or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software that is installed on the computer. Unofficial activation ('cracking') tools infect computers by installing malicious programs rather than activating the installed software. People use these tools to activate licensed free of charge, however, they simply lead to problems. Trojans are malicious programs that can also install malware, thereby causing chain infections (they must already be installed on a computer to cause this issue).

How to avoid installation of malware

Website links, attachments in irrelevant emails should not be opened, especially if the emails are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. Software should be downloaded only from official pages and through direct links. Other channels and tools such as unofficial pages, third party downloaders (and installers), etc., should not be used/trusted. Furthermore, it is important to update and activate installed software properly using implemented functions and/or tools that are provided by official software developers. No unofficial, third party tools should be used. Furthermore, it is illegal to activate any licensed software with tools/programs of this kind. Scan the operating system regularly for threats with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software, that software, which should be kept up to date. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Screenshot of a hacker forum used to sell DarkStealer:

darkstealer malware for sale on hacker forum

Malicious DarkStealer process running in Task Manager as "Intel plugin":

darkstealer malware malicious intel plugin process in task-manager

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

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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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