How to remove Domino malware from the infected system

Also Known As: Domino malware family
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What kind of malware is Domino?

Domino is a type of malware that has been utilized by cybercriminals as early as late February 2023 to disseminate either the Project Nemesis information stealer or Cobalt Strike. The perpetrators achieve their objectives through the use of a Domino backdoor and loader. The Domino campaign is propagated through various methods such as phishing.

Domino malware

More about Domino

The Domino backdoor functions by gathering basic system data, which is then sent to the C2. The C2 returns an AES-encrypted payload, which is usually the Domino loader. The loader, in turn, has an encrypted payload in its resources, which is decrypted using AES. The decrypted payload is a .NET info stealer that identifies itself as the Nemesis Project.

For domain-joined systems, the Domino backdoor is programmed to connect to a different C2 address, suggesting that a more sophisticated backdoor, such as Cobalt Strike, may be downloaded for higher-value targets instead of the Project Nemesis info stealer.

The Project Nemesis info stealer was introduced in December 2021 and was made available for purchase on several Dark Web forums. It is capable of harvesting data from various web browsers and applications, such as Steam, Telegram, Discord, crypto wallets, VPN providers, and more.

Threat Summary:
Name Domino malware family
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win64:Malware-gen), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Variant.Tedy.224671), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win64/Agent.CEU), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/HarmonyLoader!MTB), Full List (VirusTotal)
Payload Cobalt Strike, Project Nemesis, and possibly other malware
Symptoms Backdoor malware can 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', and other channels.
Damage Stolen passwords and banking information, identity theft, the victim's computer added to a botnet, additional infections, and other damage.
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, the Domino campaign is a malware family that leverages a backdoor and loader to achieve its objectives. By using the backdoor and loader, cybercriminals can gain unauthorized access to computer systems and steal sensitive information, such as login credentials, financial data, and personal information.

The stolen data can then be sold on the black market or used to carry out other cybercrimes, such as identity theft or fraud. Additionally, by using the campaign to distribute other types of malware, such as Cobalt Strike, cybercriminals can gain a foothold in targeted systems and use them as a launching point for further attacks or to spread the malware to other systems.

How did Domino infiltrate my computer?

The delivery of the Domino malware is known to be accomplished through phishing, where cybercriminals send out fraudulent emails that appear legitimate and contain a link or attachment that, when clicked, plants the malware on the victim's computer.

In addition to phishing, Domino malware may be distributed through other channels, such as social engineering or the exploitation of software vulnerabilities, P2P networks, pirated software, malicious ads, compromised sites, etc. The goal is to lure victim into downloading and running malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Ensure that security software is installed and up-to-date on all devices, including computers, mobile phones, and tablets. Avoid clicking suspicious links or downloading attachments from untrusted sources, especially emails or messages from unknown senders.

Regularly update operating systems and applications to ensure that known vulnerabilities are patched. Do not trust ads on dubious websites. 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 malware, should I format my storage device to get rid of it?

If your computer is infected with malware, formatting your storage device may be an effective way to remove it. However, this should be considered a last resort option, as formatting will erase all data on the device, including any files you may want to keep. Before taking this step, try running a reputable anti-malware program to see if it can remove the malware.

What are the biggest issues that malware can cause?

Malware can cause serious problems, such as data theft, system damage, ransomware attacks, botnets, and reputation damage. These issues can lead to financial losses, lost productivity, downtime, and damage to an individual or organization's reputation.

What is the purpose of a malware?

The purpose of malware is to carry out malicious activities on a computer system or network. It can include stealing sensitive information, damaging files and software, encrypting data and demanding payment for its release, creating a botnet, or carrying out other malicious activities. Malware is typically designed by cybercriminals to achieve a specific goal, such as financial gain or political motives.

How did a malware infiltrate my computer?

Malware can infiltrate a computer through email attachments, malicious websites, software vulnerabilities, social engineering tactics, and infected files downloaded from unreliable sources. Typically, cybercriminals aim to trick users into downloading and executing ransomware by themselves.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from malware?

Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and removing almost all known malware infections. Keep in mind that high-end malware usually hides deep in the system. For this reason, running a full system scan is a must.

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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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