RedDelta virus removal guide
What is RedDelta?
RedDelta is the name of threat activity group targeting the Vatican and Catholic Church-related and some non-governmental organizations. Research shows that the group uses various malware variants for their attacks, one of them is a modified variant of PlugX referred to as RedDelta PlugX. Other known malware variants used in RedDelta attacks are called Cobalt Strike and Poison Ivy.
PlugX is the name of a Remote Administration Trojan (RAT). In most cases cyber criminals use malware of this type to steal sensitive information, files and/or infect computers with some other malicious software (e.g., ransomware, other types of Trojans, cryptocurrency miners). Also, PlugX can be used to log keystrokes (record keyboard input), control connected hardware (e.g., webcam, microphone) and make changes in Windows Registry. Knowing the functionality of this RAT it may be used to steal login credentials (usernames, passwords, etc.), credit car details, access sensitive documents and/or other data. Such information, data could be misused to steal personal accounts, identities, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, and for other malicious purposes. Since RedDelta group uses modified variant of PlugX, their RAT may be capable of doing even more damage. As mentioned in the introduction, this group uses not only a modified variant of PlugX but also Poison Ivy and Cobalt Strike for their attacks. Poison Ivy is another RAT with similar capabilities, Cobalt Strike is a software designed to detect system penetration vulnerabilities, although, it can be used for malicious purposes such a keystroke logging and installation of malware. If any of the PlugX variants, Poison Ivy or Cobalt Strike is already installed on the operating system, then it should be removed as soon as possible.
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, spyware.|
|Detection Names||AVG (FileRepMalware), Comodo (TrojWare.Win32.UMal.gen@0), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win64/Agent.AFJ), Webroot (W32.Trojan.Gen), Full List (VirusTotal)|
|Malicious Process Name(s)||Flash Helper Service (its name may vary)|
|Payload||Modified PlugX variant, Cobalt Strike, Poison Ivy|
|Symptoms||Remote Administration 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||Deceptive software installers, 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.
More examples of malware that cyber criminals use for similar purposes are DuckRAT, LuxNET and T-RAT. As mentioned in the introduction, in most cases malware of this type is used to steal sensitive information and/or distribute other malicious software. It is common that victims are not aware that they have some RAT installed on the operating system until its too late (some damage is already done). Methods that cyber criminals use to trick users into installing various malware are described in the next paragraph.
How did RedDelta infiltrate my computer?
How to avoid installation of malware?
Installed software must be updated (or activated) only with tools or functions that are provided by its official developers. Third party, unofficial tools can be and often are designed to install malware. Also, it is not legal to use them activate licensed software. Files and programs should not be downloaded (or installed) via third party downloaders (or installers), Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), from unofficial pages, etc. The only truly safe way to do that is to use official websites and direct download links. Irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses and contain attachments and/or website links should be carefully analyzed. It is common that such emails are used to proliferate malware. Therefore, files and links in emails should be opened only when there is no reason to suspect that it may be not safe. Additionally, a computer should be regularly scanned with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and detected threats removed as soon as possible. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Fake Adobe Flash Player installer used to distribute PlugX modified by RedDelta:
RedDelta malware's process running in Task Manager as "Flash Helper Service":
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:
- What is RedDelta?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of RedDelta malware.
- STEP 2. Check if your computer is clean.
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:
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:
Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:
Restart 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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.
In 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.
Check 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".
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.
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.