Removal instructions for the XSSLite stealer-type malware

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

What kind of malware is XSSLite?

XSSLite is an information stealer. It was developed as part of a monetary prize-driven competition held on a Russian hacker forum. There are several variants of this malware; the original version written in the C# programming language was made available for free by the developers, while another variant was created by rewriting the stealer in C++. XSSLite was later observed being disseminated through Chinese hacker forums.

XSSLite malware detections on VirusTotal

XSSLite malware overview

XSSLite is a well-obfuscated piece of malicious software that uses several anti-analysis and anti-detection mechanisms. For example, this stealer checks whether it is launched on a virtual machine by looking for infrastructures related to Hyper-V and VMware. It also boasts some anti-debugging features.

XSSLite uses the DLL side-loading technique to infiltrate machines. In other words, it utilizes the Windows DLL search order mechanism to leverage a legitimate program that executes the malicious payload. Following successful installation, the malicious program begins collecting relevant device data.

XSSLite can extract and exfiltrate data from Chromium-based browsers. Typically, stealers target browsing and search engine histories, Internet cookies, log-in credentials (usernames/passwords), personally identifiable details, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information.

According to XSSLite's promotional material, it can obtain data from all types of browser extensions. This could include plug-ins related to cloud storage, password management, 2FA/MFA (Two/Multi-Factor Authentication), cryptocurrency platforms, etc.

Furthermore, this malware can exfiltrate (download) victims' desktop files. The program also aims to steal cryptocurrency wallets. Additionally, the stealer has keylogging abilities, i.e., it can record keystrokes (keyboard input).

It is pertinent to mention that malware developers commonly improve upon their creations and methodologies; therefore, potential future iterations of XSSLite could have additional/different capabilities.

To summarize, the presence of software like XSSLite on devices can lead to serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name XSSLite malware
Threat Type Trojan, stealer, password-stealing virus, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Variant.Zusy.535004), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Spy.Agent.EUO), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Agent.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Znyonm), 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

SpockVietCredCareXehookSrry, and Elusive are merely some examples of stealers we have investigated recently. Programs of this kind can target specific details or a wide variety of information. What is more, data-stealing abilities are common for other types of malicious software as well.

However, regardless of how malware operates – its presence on a system threatens device integrity and user safety. Therefore, it is paramount to remove all threats immediately upon detection.

How did XSSLite infiltrate my computer?

In general, malware is the most commonly proliferated by relying on phishing and social engineering tactics. Malicious software is often disguised as or bundled with ordinary programs/media.

Virulent files come in various formats, e.g., executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth. Once a malicious file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain is jumpstarted.

Malware is predominantly distributed through drive-by (stealthy/deceptive) downloads, malicious attachments or links in spam (e.g., emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, social media posts, etc.), malvertising, online scams, untrustworthy download sources (e.g., freeware and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal software activation tools ("cracks"), and fake updates.

Some malicious programs can even self-spread via local networks and removable storage devices (e.g., external hard drives, USB flash drives, etc.).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Fraudulent and malicious online content typically appears legitimate and innocuous – therefore, we advise caution when browsing. We also recommend treating incoming emails and other messages with care. Attachments or links present in dubious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be virulent.

Furthermore, all downloads must be made from official and verified channels. Another recommendation is to activate and update programs by using genuine functions/tools, as those acquired from third-parties may contain malware.

We must emphasize that having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated is crucial to device/user safety. This software must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove threats and issues. 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.

Screenshot of XSSLite stealer's admin panel:

XSSLite malware admin panel

Screenshot of XSSLite stealer promoted on a hacker forum:

XSSLite malware promoted online

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

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

Malware removal rarely requires formatting.

What are the biggest issues that XSSLite malware can cause?

The threats posed by an infection depend on the malware's functionalities and the cyber criminals' modus operandi. XSSLite is a stealer that targets log-in credentials, finance-related data, cryptowallets, and other sensitive information. Infections of this kind can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

What is the purpose of XSSLite malware?

The most common goal behind malware attacks is profit. However, malicious programs can also be used to amuse the attackers, carry out personal grudges, disrupt processes (e.g., sites, services, companies, etc.), engage in hacktivism, and launch politically/geopolitically motivated attacks.

How did XSSLite malware infiltrate my computer?

Malware is mainly distributed via drive-by downloads, spam mail, dubious download channels (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks, etc.), online scams, malvertising, illegal software activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updates. Furthermore, some malicious programs can self-proliferate through local networks and removable storage devices.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from malware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to scan systems and eliminate all manner of threats. It can detect and remove most of the known malware infections. Keep in mind that since sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within systems – performing a full system scan is essential.

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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.

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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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