How to remove GravityRAT malware?

Also Known As: GravityRAT spyware
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

GravityRAT virus removal guide

What is GravityRAT?

GravityRAT is a piece of malware which is classified as spyware: it allows cyber criminals to steal certain data from the infected devices. It is known that cyber criminals behind this malware target Windows, macOS and Android users. If there is a reason to believe that GravityRAT is installed on a computer or mobile phone, then it should be removed as soon as possible.

GravityRAT malware

Research shows that GravityRAT is capable of stealing devices data, email address, call and text logs and contact lists to the Command and Control server controlled by cyber criminals. Also, it is capable of searching for files with the following extensions and sending them to the C&C server as well: .jpg, .jpeg, .log, .png, .txt, .pdf, .xml, .doc, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, .docx, and .opus. It searches for such files both on the device memory and connected devices. It is known that GravityRAT is distributed via various applications, including WeShare, TrustX, Click2Chat and Bollywood, Sharify, MelodyMate, GoZap, StrongBox, TeraSpace, OrangeVault, CvStyler, SavitaBhabi, Travel Mate Pro. Cyber criminals attempt to trick users into installing these apps by sending their download links. It is worthwhile to mention that they also use digital signatures for some of the aforementioned apps to make them look more trustworthy, legitimate. If one of those apps is installed on the operating system, then it is very likely that device is infected with GravityRAT as well.

Threat Summary:
Name GravityRAT spyware
Threat Type Trojan, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.Agent.CYLU), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Spy.Agent.BNI), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Agent.gen), Full List (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (Mac version) Avira (no cloud) (OSX/SpyAgent.GravityRat.Q), F-Secure (Malware.OSX/SpyAgent.GravityRat.Q), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Spy.OSX.GravityRAT.gen), Fortinet (W32/OSX.GRAVITYRAT!tr), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) LSASS (its 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 Malicious apps, infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software 'cracks'.
Damage Stolen passwords, banking information, hijacked personal accounts, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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More examples of malicious programs that are designed to steal data that may be misused to generate revenue in one or another way are Covid, Zenon and MoistStealer. In most cases cyber criminals behind malware of this kind attempt to steal credit card details, login credentials (usernames, email addresses, passwords), and other sensitive information that could be misused to steal identities, accounts, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, and/or for other malicious purposes.

How did GravityRAT infiltrate my computer?

As mentioned in the second paragraph, GravityRAT is distributed through applications that are promoted via website links that cyber criminals send to users (e.g., via email, text messages, messaging apps, etc.). It is very likely that at least some of those apps are available for download on untrustworthy websites, various Peer-to-Peer networks, free file hosting sites. It is worthwhile to mention that there are other ways to distribute malware as well. Usually cyber criminals attempt to achieve it by using fake software updating tools, unofficial software activation tools and Trojans. In the first case systems get infected when instead updating, fixing any installed software fake, third party updating tools install malware. Also, they can infect systems by exploiting bugs, flaws of some outdated software. Software 'cracking' tools are illegal programs that supposed to help users to activate licensed software for free. Nevertheless, instead of activating it they often install malicious some software. Trojans are malicious programs that, when already installed, can install additional malware. In other words, there are certain Trojans that can cause chain infections.

How to avoid installation of malware?

All software (and files) should be downloaded from official, trustworthy websites. Peer-to-Peer networks (like eMule, torrent clients), unofficial pages, third party downloaders, free file hosting sites, freeware download pages, etc., should not be used. The same applies to third party installers. Files attached to irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened as well. It is common that such emails are designed to look legitimate, official, important but used to proliferate malicious software. Therefore, website links and attachments in emails should be opened only when there is not reason to believe that it is not safe. Furthermore, all installed programs must be updated (or activated, if necessary) with tools and/or functions that are provided by official software developers, and not some third party. unofficial tools. They can be designed to infect computers with malware, and it is not legal to use such tools to activate licensed software. Additionally, a computer should be regularly scanned with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software, that software should be always 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.

Malicious GravityRAT's process running in Task Manager as "LSASS" (the process name may vary):

gravityrat malware lsass malicious process

Update 5 November 2020 - Research shows that there are new GravityRAT versions targeting macOS users. Those versions collect information about the computer (like product name, board ID, model), download the payload (other malicious software) from a certain server, and add a scheduled task. You can find more details in Patrick Wardle's article posted on Objective-See's blog.

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.

QR Code
GravityRAT spyware QR code
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