What is Dllhost.exe malware?
While inspecting fake "cracked" software download websites, we discovered the Dllhost.exe malicious program. It masquerades as the legitimate Windows process - dllhost.exe (COM Surrogate), thereby attempting to avoid appearing suspicious on Task Manager.
Dllhost.exe malware overview
Following successful installation onto our test machine, we found that the Dllhost.exe malicious program is capable of force-opening websites. Software with this ability opens sites that promote questionable content (e.g., adult-dating, pornography, gambling, etc.), online scams (e.g., fake: errors, virus warnings, outdated software alerts, lotteries, reward programs, giveaways, etc.), phishing, harmful apps, and even malware.
However, malicious software can have a wide variety of functionalities, and it is commonly updated with additional ones. Hence, the full list of the Dllhost.exe program's capabilities might differ and change.
The most popular malware functions include: spying (e.g., keylogging, live-streaming/recording audio and video, etc.), exfiltrating files and data from systems and installed applications, encrypting data and/or locking the device's screen (ransomware), installing additional malicious programs, replacing clipboard data, abusing system resources to generate cryptocurrency (cryptominers), and so forth.
Additionally, the installation setup that infiltrated Dllhost.exe into our test system was bundled with other dubious software. Hence, users can also experience adware (advertisement displaying), browser hijacker (browser modifying and redirect causing), and various other infections.
To summarize, software like Dllhost.exe infiltrated into a device can cause system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. If you suspect that your system is infected with Dllhost.exe malware, we strongly advise using an anti-virus to remove it without delay.
|Threat Type||Malware, Unwanted redirects, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus|
|Detection Names (malicious installer)||Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Variant.Jaik.49613), ESET-NOD32 (Multiple Detections), Kaspersky (UDS:Backdoor.Win32.Manuscrypt.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/AgentTesla!ml), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Detection Names (Dllhost.exe)||Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKD.50272135), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/GenKryptik.FTZS), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Spy.Win32.Stealer.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/AgentTesla!ml), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Rogue Process Name||dllhost.exe|
|Symptoms||Unprompted redirects to suspicious and potentially malicious sites.|
|Distribution Methods||'Cracked' software installers, infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering.|
|Damage||Decreased computer performance, serious privacy issues, possible additional malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Malware can have different abilities that can be in varied combinations. This software can also be used for various purposes, ranging from personal vendettas to political/geopolitical attacks. However, regardless of how malware operates - its presence on a system endangers device integrity and user privacy. Therefore, all the threats present in a system must be eliminated immediately upon detection.
How did Dllhost.exe install on my computer?
As mentioned in the introduction, we obtained Dllhost.exe malware from a fake "cracked" software website. However, malware is spread using various questionable methods, and Dllhost.exe is unlikely to be an exception.
The most common malware distribution techniques include: drive-by (stealthy and deceptive) downloads, malicious attachments and links in spam emails and messages, online scams, illegal program activation tools ("cracks"), fake updates, P2P sharing networks (e.g., Torrent clients, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), freeware and third-party download websites, and so on.
How to avoid installation of malware?
We strongly recommend downloading only from official and verified channels. It is essential to activate and update software using functions/tools provided by genuine developers, since illegal activation ("cracking") tools and fake updates can contain malware.
We also advise against opening the attachments and links present in suspicious/irrelevant emails and messages - as that can result in a system infection.
It is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security programs must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected threats and issues. If your computer is already infected with Dllhost.exe, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this malware.
Screenshot of Dllhost.exe malware's installation setup:
Screenshot of Dllhost.exe malware's process on Windows Task Manager ("dllhost.exe" process name):
Screenshot of the fake "cracked" software download website used to promote Dllhost.exe 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:
- What is Dllhost.exe?
- STEP 1. Uninstall malicious Dllhost.exe application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove unwanted ads from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove unwanted ads from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove unwanted extensions from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Dllhost.exe malware removal:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window, look for any deceptive/questionable applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove adware from Internet browsers:
At time of research, Dllhost.exe malware did not install any browser plug-ins on Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox, however, it was bundled with adware. Therefore, you are advised to remove all potentially unwanted browser add-ons from your Internet browsers.
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the dllhost.exe virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with dllhost.exe virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the dllhost.exe virus, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
My computer is infected with Dllhost.exe malware, should I format my storage device to get rid of it?
No, Dllhost.exe malware can be removed without formatting.
What are the biggest issues that Dllhost.exe malware can cause?
The threats posed by a malicious program depend on its abilities and the cyber criminals' aims. Dllhost.exe is designed to force-open open untrustworthy, deceptive, and malicious websites - through which users can experience a wide variety of serious issues. In general, malware infections can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
What is the purpose of Dllhost.exe malware?
Typically, malware is used to generate revenue. However, other reasons include: cyber criminals' amusement, process disruption (e.g., websites, services, companies, institutions, etc.), personal grudges, and political/geopolitical attacks.
How did Dllhost.exe malware infiltrate my computer?
The Dllhost.exe malicious program has been observed being spread through fake "cracked" software download websites. Malware is also commonly proliferated through drive-by downloads, spam mail, untrustworthy download sources (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.), online scams, illegal program activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updates. Furthermore, some malicious programs can self-proliferate via local networks and removable storage devices (e.g., external hard drives, USB flash drives, etc.).
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from malware?
Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating nearly all known malware infections. It is noteworthy that sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within systems - therefore, running a complete system scan is crucial.