How to remove Ducky information stealer from the infected machine?

Also Known As: Ducky information stealer
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is Ducky?

Information stealers like Ducky are malicious programs that are designed to gather sensitive information from a system. In most cases, info stealers target data such as login credentials (like usernames, email addresses, passwords), credit car details (like card holder name, expiry date, CVV code), and other information from web browsers, instant messengers, email, VPN and other clients.

It is common that cybercriminals design information stealers to look like legitimate programs.

Ducky malware

It is common that cybercriminals use information stealers like Ducky to obtain login credentials, credit card details, social security numbers, autofill data, cookies, and other personal information that could be monetized. Usually, collected information is used to steal personal accounts (e.g., email, social media, banking), send spam, deliver malicious software, make unauthorized transactions, purchases, trick other people into making money transactions, steal identities, etc.

It is important to mention that many stealers can steal information from browsers such as Opera, Chrome, Firefox, VPN, FTP, email, gaming clients, messengers such as Telegram, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Skype, and so on. Quite often, information stealers gather data by logging keystrokes (recording keyboard input).

It is known that certain variants can take screenshots, collect system information (e.g., list of installed programs, computer name, running processes), steal files with specified extensions as well. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to uninstall information stealers like Ducky from infected machines as soon as possible.

Threat Summary:
Name Ducky information stealer
Threat Type Info stealer, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Bulz.33740), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Spy.Agent.CYF), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Spy.MSIL.Stealer.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/AgentTesla!ml), Full List (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Information 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, monetary loss.
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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In conclusion, data stolen by an information stealer can be used to transfer funds to cybercriminal accounts, order goods, pay for services, and, or sold on the dark web to other cybercriminals. Information stealers are commonly promoted (available for purchase) on hacker forums).

There are many different information stealers. Some examples are Panda Stealer, HackBoss Stealer, and Bloody Stealer.

How did Ducky infiltrate my computer?

In most cases, malicious programs are distributed via emails, fake software updaters, trojans, files available on questionable download sources, and 'cracking' tools (unofficial software activation tools). Emails used to deliver malware contain malicious attachments or links.

They are used to trick recipients into downloading and then opening malicious Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript files, ZIP, RAR and other archive files, PDF documents, executable files like EXE. Usually, malicious emails are disguised as legitimate, important.

Fake software updaters are designed to look like official installers too. Fake updaters are used to trick users into believing that they will fix or update installed software with them.

However, these tools never update or fix any software. On the contrary, they install malware like any other software or infect systems by exploiting bugs, flaws of outdated software.

Trojans are malicious programs often designed to install their payload (download and install other malware). Most trojans are distributed using methods described in these two paragraphs.

Files downloaded via third-party downloaders, free file hosting, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule, and so on), etc., can be designed to infect computers with malware too. Users install malware when they download and execute (open) those files. Software 'cracking' tools are illegal programs that are supposed to activate licensed software without having to pay for it.

Although these tools often do not even activate any legitimate software. It is common for them to be bundled with malware (to be designed to install malware).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Files and programs should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. It is highly advisable not to use other channels like third-party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial pages, etc.

They can be used to distribute malicious programs. Third-party installers can be malicious too.

Furthermore, attachments and links in irrelevant emails that are received from unknown senders should not be opened. It is common that links and files in emails of this kind are malicious.

It is important to mention that cybercriminals behind such emails pretend to be existing, legitimate companies, organizations. Installed software has to be updated or activated using tools or functions the official developers provide.

Most third-party updaters and activation tools are malicious. Also, it is not legal to activate legitimate software with unofficial activation ('cracking') tools.

Additionally, it is recommended to scan the operating system for malware or other threats regularly and do it using a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. 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 IT 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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