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How to remove ObliqueRAT from the compromised machine?

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

ObliqueRAT virus removal guide

What is ObliqueRAT?

A Remote Access (Administration) Trojan or a RAT is a type of malware that allows cybercriminals to remotely access and control infected machines. Typically, RATs are used to distribute other malware (infect computers with other malicious software), spy on victims and collect sensitive information, and (or) perform DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks. ObliqueRAT is a RAT that has already been updated several times (there are at least five variants of the ObliqueRAT). It is known that the campaign distributing ObliqueRAT started in April 2020. It targets organizations in South Asia, and is still in progress.

ObliqueRAT malware

Research shows that the newest version of the ObliqueRAT can collect system information such as computer name, user account name, operating system version, inspect directories and files in them. It also can stop its execution on computers that have specific usernames (e.g., used by malware researchers) or when it detects certain processes (e.g., processes belonging to Virtual Machines/VM software) running on affected computers. It is known that ObliqueRAT can enumerate files in the drives on the infected machine and extract files with .csv, .doc, .docx, .pdf, .ppt., .pptx., .txt., .xls, .xlsx extensions from the removable drives. Furthermore, ObliqueRAT can access webcam and record videos, and capture the screen (take screenshots). It is common that cybercriminals use such material to blackmail victims or to extract sensitive information (like passwords, credit card details, social security numbers, etc.). Furthermore, ObliqueRAT has a functionality of a dropper - it can be used to install malware or other unwanted software on the target system. Also, it is capable of dropping and executing a file responsible for establishing persistence. Therefore, it can be assumed that ObliqueRAT is used mostly to extract files stored on the infected machines, record webcam input, and capture screen. Although, it it is very likely that in the future ObliqueRAT will have more functionality added to it.

Threat Summary:
Name ObliqueRAT virus
Threat Type Remote Access Trojan
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.45754215), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Agent.ACQR), Kaspersky (UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/CryptInject!MSR), Full List (VirusTotal)
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 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.
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There are many RATs that cybercriminals use to spy on their victims, steal their files, infect their computers with other malware, and perform other actions. Some examples are Elephant RAT, CinaRAT, Orcus RAT. In most cases, users of computers that have a RAT installed on them suffer monetary loss, lose access to personal accounts, files, become victims of identity theft, have their computers infected with other malware (e.g., ransomware), or encounter other serious issues. Therefore, users who suspect the presence of a RAT are strongly advised to remove it as soon as possible.

How did ObliqueRAT infiltrate my computer?

Research shows that ObliqueRAT is distributed through malicious Microsoft Office documents (screenshots of two of those documents can be found below). Those documents download BMP (bitmap) image file containing a ZIP file that contains ObliqueRAT (malicious documents extract the ZIP file and execute the extracted payload - ObliqueRAT). It is known that image files downloaded by malicious Microsoft Office documents are hosted on compromised websites. Usually, cybercriminals attempt to trick users into opening malicious documents by sending them via email. Their emails are disguised as important, urgent letters from legitimate organizations. They can contain not only Microsoft Office documents but also JavaScript files, ZIP, RAR and other archive files, PDF documents, EXE, and other executable files. It is important to mention that MS Office documents do not run macros commands unless users allow them to (unless they enable editing or content in a document). Although, it does not apply to malicious documents opened with MS Office released prior to 2010: older MS Office versions do not have the "Protected View" mode, which prevents malicious documents from installing malware automatically. Examples of other channels that cybercriminals use to distribute malware are unreliable sources for downloading software (like unofficial pages, third-party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks), fake updaters and installers, and 'cracking' tools.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Installed programs have to be updated and activated through/with tools or implemented functions their official developers provide. It is never save to use third-party, unofficial tools to update or activate any software. Very often they are bundled with malware. Another issue with the software activation with unofficial tools is that it is not legal, neither it is legal to use 'cracked' (pirated) software. Furthermore, email attachments and website links in irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious senders should not be opened/cannot be trusted. It is common for emails of this kind to be used as channels to deliver malware. Programs and files should be downloaded from official websites and through direct links only. Other sources, tools for downloading files or programs can be used to spread malicious programs. Usually, cybercriminals attempt to trick users into downloading malicious files via unreliable channels by disguising their files as regular. One important thing is to scan the operating system for malware and any other threats regularly. It should be done using a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software, and it should be done regularly. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Malicious document distributing ObliqueRAT:

obliquerat malware malicious document used to spread obliquerat 1

Another document distributing ObliqueRAT:

obliquerat malware malicious document used to spread obliquerat 2

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.

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
ObliqueRAT 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 ObliqueRAT virus on your mobile device.
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