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How to remove the X-FILES stealer?

Also Known As: X-FILES information stealer
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

X-FILES stealer removal guide

What is X-FILES?

X-FILES is the name of an information stealer. It is known that cybercriminals are offering three subscription plans for their potential users. Those three plans are 50 RUB for seven days, 500 RUB for one month, 1500 RUB for a lifetime. X-FILES is advertised on hacker forums. It is written in C# programming language and can be controlled through Telegram (the seller host). Like most information stealers, X-FILES targets sensitive information (passwords, credit card details, and so on).

X-FILES malware

Research shows that X-FILES can steal information from 5 browsers, including Google Chrome, Chromium, Slimjet, Vivaldi, and Opera GX. It targets stored cookies, saved login credentials (usernames, email addresses, passwords), and credit card details. It also targets information such as ZIP code, Internet Protocol (IP) address, installed operating system version, system language. Additionally, this stealer can collect TXT (.txt) files stored on the Desktop. It means that cybercriminals can use the X-FILES stealer to hijack personal accounts, for example, email, social media accounts, and use them for malicious purposes. For instance, to make unauthorized purchases, transactions, deliver malware (and spread the X-FILES stealer further), send spam, scam emails, trick other users into making money transactions, and so on. Stolen credit card details could be used to make unauthorized purchases, transactions too. Also, cybercriminals behind X-FILES may sell collected sensitive information to third parties (other cybercriminals). It is important to mention that X-FILES runs in the Task Manager as "Svc_host". Svchost.exe (Service Host, or SvcHost) is a legitimate Windows process. However, it is common for malicious programs (including X-FILES) to use the same names to avoid antivirus detection.

Threat Summary:
Name X-FILES information stealer
Threat Type Password-stealing virus, banking malware, information stealer.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:MalwareX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Bulz.398877), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/PSW.Agent.RXF), Kaspersky (UDS:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Agent.a), Microsoft (PWS:MSIL/Browsstl.GA!MTB), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) Svc_host (its name may vary)
Symptoms Data stealers 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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In conclusion, X-FILES is used to steal banking, email, social media, and other accounts, credit card details, and text files stored on the Desktop. It is worthwhile to mention that there are stealers capable of logging keystrokes (recording keyboard input) - they record all the data victims enter with the keyboard connected to the infected machine. More examples of information stealers are CopperStealer, EliteStealer, and Alfonso. It is common that malware of this type runs silently in the background and can run unnoticed for an unestimated amount of time.

How did X-FILES infiltrate my computer?

One of the most common ways to deliver malware is to send emails with malicious attachments or website links in them. In both cases, cybercriminals attempt to trick recipients into opening a malicious file. If opened, it installs ransomware or another high-risk malware. Some examples of files that can be used to deliver malware this way are Microsoft Office or PDF documents, archive files like RAR, ZIP, executable files (like .exe), JavaScript files. Another way to distribute malicious software is to trick users into installing a Trojan. A certain Trojan can be designed to cause chain infections - to download and install its malicious payload. Unreliable software download sources such as untrustworthy, unofficial websites, freeware download, free file hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), third-party downloaders and other channels of this type can be used to distribute malware too. Cybercriminals use them to trick users into downloading malicious files by disguising them as legitimate, regular files. Users install malicious software when they execute those files.

Fake software updaters are tools that are designed to look like official, legitimate updaters. However, they install unwanted or even malicious programs. They do not install any updates, fixes. It is worthwhile to mention that these tools can infect computers by exploiting bugs, flaws of outdated software as well. Software 'cracking' tools are supposed to illegally bypass the activation of the licensed software or the operating systems. However, it is common that these tools have malicious code injected into them, are bundled with malicious software.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Irrelevant emails received from a suspicious, unknown addresses and containing some attachment or website link should not be trusted. It is common that email of this kind are sent by cybercriminals who attempt to distribute malware. Software should be downloaded from official web pages and via direct download links. Peer-to-Peer networks, third-party downloaders (and installers), unofficial pages, etc., should not be used - they often are used by cybercriminals as tools to proliferate malicious files, programs. Installed software must be updated or activated only with implemented functions or tools that official software developers provide. Users who use third-party activation tools (or updaters) tend infect their computers. Moreover, it is illegal to activate licensed software with third-party tools. Additionally, it is recommended to  scan the operating system for threats regularly and to it using a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Hacker forum used to sell the X-FILES stealer (GIF):

x-files stealer for sale on hacker forum

X-FILES running in Task Manager as "Svc_host" (its name may vary):

x-files stealer running as svc host in task manager

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
X-FILES information stealer QR code
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