How to remove the Chaes malware from your operating system?

Also Known As: Chaes virus
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Chaes virus removal guide

What is Chaes malware?

Chaes is the name of a malicious program. The primary functionality of this malware is information theft, primarily log-in credentials (i.e. usernames and passwords), credit card details and other sensitive financial information. At the time of research, Chaes was in the midst of an active campaign targeting a specific Latin American e-commerce platform. Therefore, it targeted the aforementioned data for said platform.

Chaes malware (fake installer) detections on VirusTotal

Chaes malware has anti-detection abilities, which complicates its discovery by anti-virus software. As mentioned in the introduction, its goal is exfiltration of data relating to a certain e-commerce (i.e. online store) platform, serving Latin American customers. Through an infected device, Chaes steals user information from the consumer accounts of the store's platform. The malicious program seeks to obtain a variety of vulnerable financial information (e.g. log-ins, passwords, credit card details, etc.). The stolen information can then be used by the criminals to operate the hijacked account and shop through it. Alternatively, the financial data can be used to make purchases on other online stores and/or to make fraudulent transactions. To summarize, Chaes infections can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses and even identity theft. Therefore, if it is suspected or known that Chaes (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus software must be used to remove it immediately. It is recommended to change the log-in credentials of potentially compromised accounts and contact the official support to ensure the account's security. Furthermore, users should notify their bank (which is associated with handling their transactions for the e-commerce platform) of the potential misuse of their financial information.

Threat Summary:
Name Chaes virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Other:Malware-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.44581930), McAfee (Artemis!9141092D3B06), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.VBS.SAgent.gen), 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)

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MekotioGuildmaZeus Sphinx and Lucifer are some examples of other malicious programs, targeting banking information. This type of malware can target financial data via compromising bank accounts or through ones that store it (e.g. online stores). However, malicious software can have a wide variety of heinous functionalities and their functions can be in different combinations. Popular features include (but are not limited to): keylogging (i.e. recording of key strokes), download/installation of additional malware, video/audio recording via integrated/connected hardware, data encryption and/or screen locking for ransom purposes (ransomware), exfiltration of content stored in the device, use of system resources to mine cryptocurrency (cryptominers), and so forth. Regardless of how malware operates, the end-goal is always the same - to generate revenue for the cyber criminals using it.

How did Chaes infiltrate my computer?

Malware is mainly proliferated via spam campaigns, trojans, illegal activation tools ("cracks"), fake updaters and dubious download channels. Spam campaigns are mass-scale operations, during which thousands of deceptive/scam emails are sent. Chaes has been observed being distributed using this technique. Scam emails are usually disguised as "official", "important", "urgent" and similar. They contain download links of infectious files and/or the files are simply attached to the letters. Virulent files can be in various formats (e.g. archives, executables, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are opened - the infection process is initiated. The researched scam emails, which spread Chaes, contain infectious Microsoft Office documents and/or fake software installers. Trojans are malicious programs with a broad range of functions that can include the ability to cause chain infections (i.e. download/install additional malware). Illegal activation ("cracking") tools can download/install malicious software, instead of activating licensed programs. Illegitimate updaters (update installers) cause infections by exploiting weaknesses of outdated programs and/or by installing malware, rather than the promised updates. Malicious programs can also be unintentionally downloaded from untrustworthy sources, e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspect and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially any attachments or links present in them - as that can result in a severe system infection. It is recommended to only use official and verified download channels. Additionally, it is important to activate and update programs with 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 crucial to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed. Furthermore, this software must be kept updated, used to run regular system scans and to remove detected 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.

Malicious attachment distributing Chaes malware:

Malicious attachment distributing Chaes malware

Fake installer proliferating Chaes malware:

Chaes malware distributing fake installer

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.

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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.

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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
Chaes virus 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 Chaes virus on your mobile device.
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