How to eliminate the Icarus stealer malware from your operating system

Also Known As: Icarus malware
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What kind of malware is Icarus?

Icarus is the name of a stealer-type malicious program. It is designed to extract a wide variety of vulnerable data from infected machines. The threats posed by malware of this kind can vary depending on the cyber criminals' goals and the sensitivity of the data stored on victims' devices.

Icarus malware detections on VirusTotal

Icarus malware overview

According to its promotional material, Icarus is a multifunctional piece of malicious software. This malware has anti-analysis functionalities, such as anti-debugging and anti-VM (Virtual Machine) abilities.

The stealer can download files from the infected system. It also targets account/platform log-in credentials (usernames/passwords); particularly those belonging to the Discord and Telegram messengers. Additionally, Icarus is capable of bypassing 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication).

This malicious program can perform various actions and use programs while the activity is hidden from the user. In this manner, Icarus can interact with the Command Prompt (cmd.exe), PowerShell, Control Panel, File Explorer, messaging software (Skype, Discord, and Telegram), email clients (Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Foxmail), etc.

Furthermore, this malware can cause chain infections (i.e., download/install additional malicious components and/or programs). Theoretically, programs with such abilities can be used to infect systems with any type of malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, clippers, etc.) - however, it is noteworthy that there can be certain limitations to what payloads can be injected.

It has to be mentioned that malware developers can update and improve upon their creations; hence, other possible variants of Icarus may have additional features.

To summarize, Icarus can cause multiple system infections, and it can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you suspect that your device is infected with Icarus (or other malware), we strongly recommend using an anti-virus to eliminate it without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Icarus malware
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKD.61742112), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Spy.Small.GI), Malwarebytes (Malware.AI.2282322223), McAfee (RDN/Generic PWS.y), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Wacatac.B!ml), Full List Of Detections (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 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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Stealer-type malware examples

We have analyzed countless malware samples; RecordBreaker, Erbium, and Lumma are just a few of our newest finds within the stealer category. These malicious programs can target a variety of data or specific information.

Generally, malware can have varied abilities in different combinations. However, regardless of how malicious software operates - its presence endangers device and user safety. Therefore, all threats must be removed immediately upon detection.

How did Icarus infiltrate my computer?

Malware is proliferated using phishing and social engineering techniques. Malicious programs are typically presented as or bundled with ordinary software/media.

Virulent files can be archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so forth. Once executed, run, or otherwise opened - such files trigger malware download/installation processes.

The most popular distribution methods include: drive-by (stealthy and deceptive) downloads, malicious attachments and links in spam emails/messages, online scams, dubious download channels (e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal program activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updates.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly recommend being vigilant with incoming mail. The attachments and links in spam emails/messages must not be opened since that can lead to a system infection.

Another recommendation is to download only from official and verified sources. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and fake updaters may contain malware.

It is essential to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove threats. 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.

Screenshots of Icarus stealer's promotional material:

icarus stealer malware promotion 1 icarus stealer malware promotion 2 icarus stealer malware promotion 3

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 Icarus malware, should I format my storage device to get rid of it?

No, Icarus' removal does not necessitate formatting.

What are the biggest issues that Icarus malware can cause?

The issues a malicious program can cause depend on its functionalities and the cyber criminals' aims. Icarus is a stealer - a type of malware capable of extracting a wide variety of sensitive data from infected devices. It is noteworthy that this program can download/install additional malicious components and/or malware. Therefore, the potential threats can be much broader. Generally, stealer-type malware infections can cause severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

What is the purpose of Icarus malware?

Typically, malware is used for profit. However, cyber criminals might also use it to amuse themselves, carry out personal grudges, disrupt processes (e.g., websites, services, companies, organizations, etc.), or even launch politically/geopolitically motivated attacks.

How did Icarus malware infiltrate my computer?

Malware is most commonly distributed via drive-by downloads, spam emails and messages, online scams, untrustworthy download sources (e.g., freeware and third-party websites, P2P sharing networks, etc.), illegal program activation tools ("cracks"), and fake updates. Furthermore, malicious programs may be capable of self-spreading through 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 can detect and eliminate most of the known malware infections. It has to be stressed that sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within systems - therefore, running a full system scan is paramount.

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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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