How to uninstall LuxNET malware from the operating system?

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

LuxNET malware removal guide

What is LuxNET?

LuxNET is a Remote Administration/Access Trojan (RAT), a piece of malware that cyber criminals use to control infected computers remotely. As a rule, they use RATs to steal sensitive, confidential information and/or infect computers with some other malicious software. It is common that RATs are difficult to detect, which means cyber criminals can use them for malicious purposes for an undetermined amount of time.

LuxNET malware

In most cases cyber criminals can use RATs like LuxNET to access confidential, sensitive information such as credit card details, login credentials (usernames, email addresses, passwords), and other data of this kind. In most cases RATs steal such data either by logging keystrokes (recording keyboard input) or by using some other spying technique/feature. Also, RATs often are capable of enabling webcam and/or microphone and recording video and/or audio. It is common that cyber criminals use recorded material to blackmail victims - they threaten do send it to other people, publish on some website, etc., and demand to be paid for not doing so. It is worthwhile to mention that malware of this type can be capable of taking screenshots as well. Furthermore, cyber criminals often use RATs to infect computers with other malware, for example, ransomware, a Trojan other kind. Another capability that many RATs have is file managing: they can be used to delete, modify, rename, and manage files in other ways. Therefore, users who have their computers infected with LuxNET (or other RAT) can become victims of identity theft, suffer monetary, data loss, lose access to various personal accounts, have their computers infected with some other malware, and experience other, serious problems.

Threat Summary:
Name LuxNET remote access trojan
Threat Type Remote Adminitration Trojan, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (MSIL:GenMalicious-AIR [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Razy.15021), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/PSW.Agent.OMJ), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSIL.SelfDel.gen), Full List (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Remote Access 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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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More examples of malicious programs that are classified as Remote Administration Trojans are ExpertRAT, SamoRAT, XpertRAT. As mentioned in the introduction, most of the times cyber criminals use RATs to steal sensitive information and/or install other malware on the infected machines. In one way or another, they use them to generate revenue. Typically, users install such malware unknowingly, examples of how it happens are described in the next paragraph.

How did LuxNET infiltrate my computer?

Typically, users become victims of malware attacks through malspam campaigns, untrustworthy file or software download channels, third party, fake software updating tools, Trojans and unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools. In the first case it happens when cyber criminals send emails that contain malicious attachments or website links and recipients execute download malicious files. Some examples of files that cyber criminals attach to their emails are malicious Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, archive files like RAR, executables (like .exe) and JavaScript files. Furthermore, malicious programs can be distributed through Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrents, eMule, freeware download websites, free file hosting websites and other similar download sources. Computers get infected when users open malicious files that were downloaded using the aforementioned sources. Usually such files are disguised as harmless, regular. When used to update programs, fake, third party updating tools infect systems by exploiting bugs, flaws of the outdated software that is installed on a computer or by simply installing malicious software instead of updates, fixes for the installed one. Another way to proliferate malware is through Trojans. When users already have a Trojan installed on their computers, then this malware can star causing chain infections/installation of other software of this kind. Users who try to activate licensed software with unofficial tools often cause installation of malware. Such tools often are designed to distribute malware and do not activate any licensed software.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses, have some files attached to them or contain website links should not be trusted. It is common that by opening files or links in them recipients cause installation of some malicious software. Installed software has to be updated and/or activated with implemented functions or tools that are provided by its official developers. Third party, unofficial tools should never be used neither to update or activate any software. Besides, it is not legal to use such tools to activate licensed programs. Furthermore, files or programs should not downloaded via untrustworthy, unofficial websites, through third party downloaders or other sources, tools of this kind. The only safe way to do it is by using official websites and direct links. It is worthwhile to mention that third party installers should never be used too. One more way to keep computers safe is to regularly scan them with reputable anti-spyware or antivirus and always keep it up to date. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

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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