How to remove BLISTER malware

Also Known As: BLISTER loader
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What kind of malware is BLISTER?

BLISTER is the name of malware that functions as a loader - malicious software that drops/executes another malware (injects its payload). It is known that threat actors behind BLISTER attacks use a valid code signing certificate to evade detection.

BLISTER malware

More details about BLISTER malware

BLISTER is being embedded in legitimate libraries. This malware can launch itself at system startup, evade analysis (avoid being inspected on operating systems mimicking end-user environments), and drop its payloads. It is known that threat actors have used CobaltStrike and BitRAT as payloads. However, the end goal of the attackers behind BLISTER remains unknown.

Threat Summary:
Name BLISTER loader
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), Combo Cleaner (Dropped:Trojan.GenericKD.47703214), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/GenCBL.BKV), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Agent.xaluzc), Microsoft (TrojanDropper:Win32/Tnega!MSR), Full List (VirusTotal)
Payload CobaltStrike, BitRAT, possibly other malware
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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For what purposes cybercriminals may use BLISTER malware?

BLISTER could be used as a tool to encrypt files, steal sensitive information, download files (and upload) files, add computers to botnets, and for other purposes. Either way, once detected, this malware should be eliminated immediately. More examples of loaders are DarkLoader, MosaicLoader, BazarLoader.

How did BLISTER infiltrate my computer?

Usually, computers get infected via emails, files downloaded from unreliable sources, fake software updaters, software cracking tools. Either way, it happens when users execute malware by themselves. Emails used to proliferate malicious software contain attachments or links. Files downloaded from/through such emails infect systems when users open them.

Examples of unreliable sources that cybercriminals use to trick users into downloading and opening malicious files are unofficial pages, Peer-to-Peer networks, third-party downloaders, free file hosting pages, freeware download pages.

Fake software updaters inject malware instead of updating software or exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software. Usually, they are disguised as legitimate tools/installers. Software cracking tools illegally activate legitimate (licensed) software. A big part of such tools contains hidden malware too.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Update (and activate) any installed software with tools provided by its developer. Do not trust irrelevant emails containing website links or files. Especially when such emails are sent from unknown addresses. There is a high chance that such emails will contain malicious files or links.

Download files and programs from official websites. Avoid using other sources for that. Also, scan the operating system for 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:

Malware process running in the Task Manager

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:

Autoruns application appearance

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.

Run Windows 7 or Windows XP in 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.

Run Windows 8 in 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.

Run Windows 10 in 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 archive and run Autoruns.exe application

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.

Refresh Autoruns application results

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".

Delete malware in Autoruns

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.

Search for malware and delete it

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

My computer is infected with BLISTER malware, should I format my storage device to get rid of it?

No, BLISTER can be removed without formatting. It can be achieved by following the steps described above.

What are the biggest issues that malware can cause?

It depends on the type of malware. Usually, cybercriminals use malware to steal identities, sensitive information, online accounts, money, encrypt files, distribute other malware, and other purposes.

What is the purpose of a malware?

Cybercriminals behind malware attacks usually have one goal - to generate revenue in one way or another. However, making money is not always the goal. Sometimes, threat actors use malicious software to target someone they know, interrupt certain processes, disturb a company, or even attack a country.

How did a malware infiltrate my computer?

A big part of malicious programs are distributed using emails, fake system notifications (and other social engineering techniques), drive-by downloads, unreliable sources for downloading files/programs (like P2P networks, unofficial pages, third-party downloaders), software cracking tools. It is worth mentioning that malware can spread through a local network, removable storage devices.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from malware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and remove almost all known malware infections. If a computer is infected with high-end malware, it should be scanned fully (using a full scan). Otherwise, antivirus solutions may not detect malware that hides deep in the system.

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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.

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