How to remove the BLADABINDI backdoor from your operating system?

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


BLADABINDI is a backdoor threat, designed to inject systems with malicious payloads. In other words, following successful infiltration, it stealthily downloads/installs malware onto affected systems. At the time of research, BLADABINDI had been observed being proliferated bundled with Windscribe VPN installers.

"Bundling" is the term used to describe a deceptive marketing technique of packing ordinary software with unwanted or malicious additions. Windscribe is a legitimate cyber-security and privacy company, offering tools geared towards device and online security/privacy.

It must be emphasized that the BLADABINDI backdoor bundled with the aforementioned VPN application was not distributed through official channels (e.g. Windscribe's website, Google or Apple stores); cyber criminals pushed the modified installers through various unofficial and third party download sources.

BLADABINDI malware detections on VirusTotal

As mentioned in the introduction, the primary functionality of the BLADABINDI backdoor is causing chain infections (i.e. download/install additional malware). Hence, through this backdoor a compromised system can be infected with trojans, ransomware, cryptominers and other malicious programs.

To elaborate, BLADABINDI can download and execute files, as well as update them. The backdoor can also extract computer data, such as: device name, operating system details (e.g. version, architecture, etc.), and system account username. BLADABINDI can detect installed anti-virus tools installed onto the system as well.

Another feature of this backdoor is taking snaps of the screen (i.e. screenshots). To summarize, BLADABINDI infections can lead to a wide variety of problems, including (but not limited to): device/data damage, financial losses, severe privacy issues and identity theft.

If it is known or suspected that BLADABINDI (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to eliminate it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names (deceptive installer) Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Bulz.78687), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/TrojanDropper.Agent.EXX), Kaspersky (HEUR:Backdoor.MSIL.Bladabindi.gen), Full List (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (malicious file "lscm.exe") AVG (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.43751695), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/TrojanDownloader.Tiny.AOA), Kaspersky (HEUR:Backdoor.MSIL.Bladabindi.gen), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) lscm (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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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GroooboorUpatreBazarBackdoorBerbew and Buer Loader are some examples of malicious programs, which operate as backdoors for other malware. Malicious software can have a wide variety of functionalities that can be used in likewise varied ways, depending on the cyber criminals' goals and modus operandi.

However, regardless of how such programs operate, the end-goal is always the same - to generate revenue for their developers and criminals using them.

How did BLADABINDI infiltrate my computer?

BLADABINDI was spread through deceptive installers, disguised as the Windscribe VPN installation setups. The bundled installer consisted of the legitimate Windscribe VPN install setup, malicious file containing the backdoor ("lscm.exe"; filename may vary) and an app operating as the runner for the virulent file ("win.vbs"; may vary).

The fake installation setups were distributed through untrustworthy download sources. Malware and other dangerous/untrustworthy content is often spread through dubious download channels, e.g. fake, unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders.

This dangerous content is typically disguised as or bundled with ordinary products. However, malicious software is also proliferated via illegal activation ("cracking") tools, fake updaters and spam campaigns. "Cracking" tools can download/install malware, instead of activating licensed product.

Fake updaters infect systems by exploiting flaws of outdated products and/or by installing malicious programs, rather than the promised updated. Spam campaigns are mass-scale operations, during which scam emails are sent by the thousand. The deceptive letters contain download links of infectious files and/or the files are simply attached to the emails.

These files can be in various formats (e.g. executables, archives, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process/chain (i.e. malware download/installation) is triggered.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is highly recommended to only use official and verified download sources. Untrustworthy download channels are advised against use, as they commonly offer deceptive and malicious content. It is just as important to activate and update products with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. Since illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third party updaters are often used to proliferate malware.

Additionally, suspicious and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially any links or attachments found in them - as that can result in a high-risk system infection. To ensure device and user safety, it is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed.

Furthermore, this software must be kept up-to-date, used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats. 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 the deceptive installer used to proliferate BLADABINDI:

Deceptive install setup used to promote BLADABINDI

Screenshot of BLADABINDI's process on the Windows Task Manager ("lscm"):

BLADABINDI process on task manager (lscm)

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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