How to remove the EliteStealer malware from your operating system?

Also Known As: EliteStealer virus
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is EliteStealer?

EliteStealer is a piece of malicious software designed to extract and exfiltrate information and content from infected systems. This malware targets a variety of different data, thereby increasing the range of potential risks it poses.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended to eliminate EliteStealer malware immediately upon detection.

EliteStealer malware detections on VirusTotal

As mentioned in the introduction, EliteStealer aims to steal information. It attempts to extract data from browsers and other installed applications.

From browsers, this malicious program can obtain saved log-in credentials (i.e., IDs, usernames, and passwords), Internet cookies, information relating to browsing activity (URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed), and so on.

Other targeted apps include cryptocurrency wallets (cryptowallets), email clients, VPN software, and messengers (e.g., Discord). Other EliteStealer's functionalities are download of files stored on the infected device, and taking screenshots.

To elaborate on how such malware can be used, then should particularly sensitive/compromising content be found on the system - it can be used for ransom purposes. In other words, the cyber criminals can threaten to publicize the material and/or sell it to the victims' competitors - unless they pay a ransom.

Various platform and service log-in credentials are targeted as they serve as gateways to the corresponding accounts.

Via finance-related platforms/services (e.g., banking, online money transferring, digital wallet, cryptowallet, e-commerce, and similar accounts), cyber criminals can make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

Communication accounts (e.g., emails, social media, social networking, messengers, etc.) can be used to ask friends/contacts for loans - under the guise of the genuine owner. Alternatively, these platforms may be used to proliferate malware - through sharing of malicious files/links.

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

Threat Summary:
Name EliteStealer virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Zusy.366252), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Generik.NHDEMSQ), Kaspersky (Trojan-PSW.Win32.Coins.abay), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Ymacco.AAA7), 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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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AdesSn0wsLoggerAlfonso, and Hunter are some examples of information-stealing malicious programs. Malware can have a broad range of heinous functionalities, and these functions can be in different combinations.

Popular abilities include (but are not limited to): file exfiltration, information extraction from the infected system and/or installed applications, enablement of remote access and control over the compromised device, data encryption and/or access restriction for ransom purposes (ransomware), download/installation of additional malware, use of system resources to mine cryptocurrency (cryptominers), etc.

Regardless of how malicious software operates, its sole goal is to generate revenue at victims' expense.

How did EliteStealer 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, etc.) due to being presented as or bundled with ordinary software/media.

Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and fake updaters are prime examples of malware-spreading content. "Cracks" can infect systems instead of activating licensed products.

Fake updaters cause infections by abusing weaknesses of outdated programs and/or by installing malicious software rather than the promised updates.

Spam campaigns are also commonly employed to proliferate malware. This term defines a mass-scale operation during which thousands of scam emails are sent. The letters contain download links of infectious files, and/or the files are simply attached to the emails.

Virulent files can be in different formats, e.g., archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, and so forth. When the files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection process/chain (i.e., malware download/installation) is triggered.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is important to only use official and verified download channels. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers.

To avoid infecting the system via spam mail, it is advised against opening suspect and irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links found in them. To ensure device integrity and user safety, it is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and updated.

Furthermore, this software has to be used to perform regular system scans and remove detected/potential threats. 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.

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.

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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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