How to remove the DarkIRC malware from your operating system?

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

DarkIRC virus removal guide

What is DarkIRC?

DarkIRC is a piece of malicious software that primarily operates as a stealer, keylogger, and botnet. In simple terms, this program can extract sensitive information from compromised devices and use them to disrupt/disable an online service (e.g., network, website, etc.). DarkIRC also has anti-detection and anti-sandbox abilities, which aid in obfuscating its presence on systems and complicates research. This malware is deemed to be highly dangerous, and as such, must be removed immediately upon detection.

DarkIRC malware detections on VirusTotal

DarkIRC malware depends on a serious vulnerability in the Oracle WebLogic Server. This weakness was addressed, and a patch fixing it was released. Despite the update's release, many servers remain unpatched.

DarkIRC can detect whether it is running on VBox, VirtualBox, VMware, QEMU, or Xen virtual machines. If it detects a virtual environment, it ceases its malicious operations. This malicious program has stealer functionalities. In other words, it can extract sensitive information from browsers and/or other applications. This malware explicitly targets the following browsers: Google Chrome, Opera, Chromium, 360Browser, Amigo, Atom, Brave-Browser, Chromodo, CocCoc Browser, Comodo Dragon, Epic Privacy Browser, K-Melon, Kometa, Maxthon3, Nichrome, Orbitum, Slimjet, Sputnik, Torch, Uran, Vivaldi, and (older versions of) Yandex. Information of interest includes: browsing activity (e.g., URLs visited, search queries typed, etc.), browser cookies, stored account/service log-in credentials (i.e., IDs, usernames, and passwords), saved credit card details, and other sensitive/ personally identifiable data.

Keylogging is another functionality aiding DarkIRC in information theft. This ability allows the malware to record keystrokes (i.e., typed data). Cyber criminals mainly use keylogging to obtain log-in credentials and similarly sensitive information. The malicious program can also create a botnet from infected machines, which may then be used to deploy DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks. The attacks are intended to disrupt or make an online service inaccessible/unresponsive for users - by overloading a system with countless requests. This piece of malicious software can upload files. If used in combination with file execution, it could potentially be used to cause chain infections (i.e., to infect the system with trojans, ransomware, and other malware). To summarize, DarkIRC infections can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. If it is suspected/known that DarkIRC (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to eliminate it without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name DarkIRC virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:MalwareX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (DeepScan:Generic.Malware.SFW!prn!g.BEB94C65), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Spy.Agent.CLA), Kaspersky (HEUR:Backdoor.MSIL.FreakyHax.gen), Microsoft (Backdoor:Win32/Bladabindi!ml), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) DarkIRC (process 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 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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BitCoin ClipperSn0wsLoggerXenon, and Snake are some examples of malicious programs with abilities akin to DarkIRC. Malware can have a broad range of heinous functions, and these functionalities can be in different combinations. Common features include (but are not limited to): data extraction from devices and installed applications, keylogging, audio/video recording via microphones and webcams, download/installation of additional malicious programs, remote access and controls over infected machines, data encryption and/or screen locking for ransom purposes (ransomware), botnet creation, use of system resources to mine cryptocurrency (cryptominers), and so on. Regardless of how malware operates, it is must be immediately removed to ensure device and user safety.

How did DarkIRC infiltrate my computer?

Malware is distributed using various techniques. Malicious programs can be unintentionally downloaded from dubious sources (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders), typically under the guise of or bundled with ordinary content. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and fake updates are prime examples of malware-proliferating content usually obtained from untrustworthy download channels. "Cracks" can infect systems instead of activating licensed products. Fake updaters cause infections by exploiting weaknesses of outdated programs and/or by installing malicious software rather than the promised updates.

Spam campaigns are also commonly used to spread malware. This term defines a mass-scale operation during which deceptive/scam emails are sent by the thousand. The letters have infectious files attached to and/or linked inside them. Virulent files can be in a variety of formats, such as: archives, executables, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc. When these files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection chain (i.e., malware download/installation) is initiated.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is recommended to only use official and verified download sources. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To avoid infecting the device via spam mail, it is advised against opening suspicious/irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links found in them. It is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. This software has to be used to perform regular system scans and 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.

Screenshot of DarkIRC malware's process on Windows Task Manager ("DarkIRC" process name):

DarkIRC malware process on Task Manager (DarkIRC process name)

Screenshot of DarkIRC malware being promoted (sold) online:

DarkIRC malware promoted online

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
DarkIRC virus QR code
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