How to remove the Snake keylogger from your operating system?

Also Known As: Snake malware
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is the Snake keylogger?

Snake is the name of a malicious program, which is classified as a keylogger. As the classification implies, the primary functionality of this malware is keylogging. Hence, Snake infections pose a threat to the privacy/safety of all and any typed information.

Snake malware detections on VirusTotal

Snake malware's main feature is keylogging. In other words, it records key strokes. However, this program has other functionalities as well. It can take screenshots and extract data stored in the clipboard (i.e. copy/paste buffer).

Furthermore, Snake can extract and exfiltrate stored information from certain browsers (e.g. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, 360, etc.) and email clients (e.g. Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook, Foxmail, etc.).

Malicious programs like Snake are typically used to steal account log-in credentials (i.e. IDs, usernames and passwords) and financial information (e.g. banking account and credit card details etc.). Communication/Messaging accounts (e.g. social media, social networking, messenger, etc.) are targeted by cyber criminals.

Through these platforms, they can ask contacts/friends for loans and/or proliferate malware (by sharing infectious files) - under the guise of the accounts' genuine owners. Furthermore, should any sensitive/compromising content be found on hijacked data storage accounts - it can be held for ransom, under threat of publication and/or sale to the victims' competitors.

Accounts that directly deal with finances and/or store financial information (e.g. e-commerce, online money transferring, digital wallet, banking, etc.) are of particular interest, as through them criminals can make fraudulent transactions and/or make online purchases.

To summarize, Snake infections can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses and identity theft. If it is known or suspected that the Snake keylogger (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to remove it without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Snake malware
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), BitDefenderTheta (Gen:NN.ZemsilF.34670.ym0@aq!9ljli), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Spy.Agent.AES), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Spy.MSIL.Stealer.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Meterpreter!ml), Full List Of Detections (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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404 Keylogger, Kutaki, Matiex, Hakops and Cheetah are some examples of other keyloggers. Malicious programs can have a wide variety of heinous functionalities and these functions can be in different combinations.

Common malware types / abilities include (but are not limited to): download/installation of additional malicious programs, data encryption and/or screen-locking for ransom purposes (ransomware), audio/video recording via integrated and/or connected microphones and webcams, enablement of remote access and control over an infected machine, use of system resources for cryptocurrency mining (cryptominers), and so on.

Regardless of how malware operates, it always poses a threat to device/user safety. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate all threats immediately upon detection.

How did Snake keylogger infiltrate my computer?

The Snake keylogger is offered for sale online with prices varying from 25 to 500 USD - depending on operation timeframe, support and range of functionality/customizability. Hence, how it is spread depends on the cyber criminals using it.

Popular malware proliferation methods are via backdoor/loader trojans, spam campaigns, illegal activation ("cracking") tools, fake updaters and dubious download sources. Some types of trojans are designed to cause chain infections (i.e. download/install additional malware).

The term "spam campaign" is used to define a large-scale operation, during which thousands of scam emails are sent. These letters are usually presented as "official", "urgent", "important", "priority" and similar; they may even mimic mail from legitimate organizations, institutions, companies, service providers and other entities.

The deceptive emails 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, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are opened - the infection chain is jumpstarted.

"Cracking" tools can download/install malware, instead of activating licensed programs. Fake updaters infect systems by exploiting flaws of outdated programs and/or by installing malicious software, rather than the promised updates.

Untrustworthy download channels, 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 should not be opened, especially any links or attachments found in them - as that can lead to a severe system infection. It is recommended to only download from official and verified sources. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers.

Illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third party updaters are advised against use, as they are often employed to proliferate malware. To protect device integrity and user privacy, it is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed. This software must be kept up-to-date, 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Appearance of the website used to promote Snake keylogger (GIF):

Snake keylogger promoting website GIF

An example of a spam email used to spread Snake keylogger:

Spam email spreading Snake keylogger

Text presented within:

Subject: RFQ-YEKHA-20-0151


Please quote us your best possible price for the attached RFQ.

Your offer must be submitted before the deadline mentioned below taking into consideration the following:-

You are requested to submit your quotation in a closed and sealed envelope to our office in Khamir .
- Please make sure that your quotation includes (quotation validity period, your ref. no., our ref. no, delivery time..etc)
- Quotation Deadline :

-Important Note:
- You are requested to submit your quotation in a closed and sealed by red wax envelope to our office in Khamir
- Don't send the quotation through the email & If the quotation is sent through the email then your quotation will be unfortunately excluded from the tender.

- Please indicate the delivery period in your quotation.

"We expect you to send us an acknowledgement of receipt of the enquiry and confirmation that you will quote / or regret.

Thanks & Best Regards,
Khaled Noman / Logistics Assistant
Oxfam GB / Yemen Program / Khamer Office
Mobile:+967 738756644

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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