How to remove the Covid stealer malware from your operating system?

Also Known As: Covid malware
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Covid virus removal guide

What is the Covid stealer?

Covid is the name of a piece of malicious software, classified as a stealer. As the classification implies, this malware is designed to steal information. Stealers can employ a variety of functionalities to stealthily obtain data from infected systems. The Covid malware is deemed to be highly dangerous; hence, its infections must be eliminated immediately upon detection.

Covid malware detections on VirusTotal

Typically, the primary functionality of stealers is extraction and exfiltration of information from certain browsers and other specific applications. From targeted browsers, these malicious programs can steal browsing and search engine histories, browser cookies, autofill data and stored log-in credentials (i.e. IDs, usernames and passwords). Other applications are similarly targeted for the log-in credentials that they store. Cyber criminals mainly attempt to extract the usernames/passwords of email, social media, social networking, messenger, data storage and transferring, e-commerce, online money transferring, cryptocurrency wallet, e-wallet, and banking accounts. Through hijacked communication/social accounts, criminals can ask contacts/friends for loans and/or proliferate malware (by sharing infectious files) - under the guise of the genuine owner. Accounts that directly or indirectly deal with financial information (e.g. banking account and/or credit card details) are of particular interest, as they can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases. Some stealer-type malware has keylogging features. In other words, these stealers can record key strokes. This endangers the privacy of any and all typed information. These malicious programs may also be able to exfiltrate (i.e. download) content stored on the compromised device. If the stolen files are especially sensitive and/or compromised - they may be held for ransom, under threat of publication and/or sale to the victims' competitors. To summarize, Covid stealer infections can result in severe privacy issues, financial losses and even identity theft. If it is suspected or known that the Covid stealer (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to remove it without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Covid malware
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefenderTheta (AI:Packer.96A8F2121F), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Injector.CUWJ), DrWeb (Trojan.Siggen10.22087), Full List (VirusTotal)
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 Malwarebytes.
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AnubisBabaxStormKittyTaurus and XTMEM are some examples of other stealers. Malware can have a broad range of malicious functionalities and these features can be in varied combinations. Popular types include (but are not limited to): information stealers, loader/backdoor trojans (capable of causing chain infections), spyware, ransomware (capable of encrypting data and/or locking the screen for ransom purposes), cryptominers (capable of using system resources to mine cryptocurrency), keyloggers, and so on. Regardless of how malicious programs operate, the end-goal is always the same - to generate revenue for the cyber criminals using them.

How did Covid infiltrate my computer?

Malware is primarily proliferated via trojans, spam campaigns, illegal activation ("cracking") tools, illegitimate updaters and untrustworthy download sources. Trojans are malicious programs with a variety of functions that can include the ability to cause chain infections (i.e. download/install additional malware). The term "spam campaign" is used to define a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive/scam emails are sent. This mail contains download links of infectious files and/or the files are simply attached to the emails. Virulent files can be in various formats (e.g. archives, executables, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process/chain initiated. Rather than activate licensed products, "cracking" tools can download/install malware. Fake updaters infect systems by abusing flaws of outdated products and/or by installing malicious software, instead of the promised updates. Dubious download sources, e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders - can offer malware for downloading, disguised as or packed together with ordinary content.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially any links or attachments present in them - as that can lead to system infections. It is advised to only download from official and trustworthy sources. Additionally, all products must be activated and updated using tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. Since illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third party updaters are often employed to spread malware. To protect device integrity and user privacy, it is paramount to have a dependable 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 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 the administrative (control) website of the Covid stealer:

Covid stealer malware admin website

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Malwarebytes By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

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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.

QR Code
Covid malware QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Covid malware on your mobile device.
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