How to eliminate PseudoManuscrypt malware

Also Known As: PseudoManuscrypt spyware
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What kind of malware is PseudoManuscrypt?

PseudoManuscrypt is the name of the malware that spies on victims. It is similar to another malware called Manuscrypt. We have discovered PseudoManuscrypt while checking installers for pirated software (one of the examples is a fake pirated installer for SolarWinds - a network monitoring software).

PseudoManuscrypt malware

PseudoManuscrypt in detail

While analyzing PseudoManuscrypt, we noticed that it can log keystrokes (record keyboard input), take screenshots and record screen videos, access microphone, steal clipboard and VPN connection data, and operating system event logs. Another thing we have discovered is that threat actors behind PseudoManuscrypt have targeted industrial and government organizations.

Threat Summary:
Name PseudoManuscrypt spyware
Threat Type Spyware
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKD.46455533), ESET-NOD32 (Multiple Detections), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Agentb.krec), Microsoft (Ransom:Win32/STOP), Full List (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 Malicious installers for pirated software
Damage Stolen passwords, banking information and other sensitive data, monetary loss, identity theft.
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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Malware of this type in general

Typically, malware like PseudoManuscrypt is used to steal as much sensitive information (such as credit card details, login credentials) as possible. Cybercriminals use it to steal identities, banking and other accounts, and for other purposes. More examples of malware with similar capabilities are FlawedGrace, Bloody Stealer, SHurk Steal.

How did PseudoManuscrypt infiltrate my computer?

As our team has found out, one of the malicious installers used to distribute PseudoManuscrypt is a fake pirated installer for SolarWinds. Although, there can be other fake installers distributing this malware too. It is important to mention that it is against the law to use pirated software.

Examples of other channels used by cybercriminals as tools to distribute malware are malicious emails, untrustworthy sources for downloading files/programs, Trojans, fake updaters (and installers). As a rule, computers get infected when users execute malware by themselves.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Use official websites and direct links as sources for downloading files and software. Other sources can be used to distribute malware. Remember that opening attachments and website links in irrelevant emails sent from suspicious or unknown addresses can cause computer infections. Thus, carefully examine emails before opening their contents.

Always use official tools (or functions) provided by official software developers to update and activate any installed software (and the operating system). 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 PseudoManuscrypt malware, should I format my storage device to get rid of it?

You do not need to format the storage device to remove PseudoManuscrypt malware from the infected operating system. It can be done by following the instructions provided above.

What are the biggest issues that malware can cause?

It depends on the type of malware (its capabilities). Usually, having a computer infected with malware leads to identity theft, financial losses, decreased computer performance, data loss, further infections.

What is the purpose of a malware?

Most cybercriminals have one goal - to generate revenue. In this particular case, it seems that their goal is to obtain sensitive information that they could use to steal online accounts, identities and use them to make fraudulent transactions, purchases, to spread PseudoManuscrypt further, and similar purposes.

How did a malware infiltrate my computer?

In most cases, malware is distributed using various phishing and other social engineering techniques (such as deceptive emails, fake system warning messages, etc.), drive-by downloads, Peer-to-Peer networks. It is known that PseudoManuscrypt is distributed using mainly fake installers for cracked/pirated software.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from malware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware infections. Computers infected with high-end malware should be scanned fully (using a full scan). Otherwise, antivirus software may not detect malware that hides deep in the infected 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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