How to remove SpiceRAT from infected systems

Also Known As: SpiceRAT remote access trojan
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Medium

What kind of malware is SpiceRAT?

SpiceRAT is a remote access Trojan (RAT) delivered by cybercriminals via email. RATs are malicious programs designed to provide cybercriminals with remote access and control over a victim's computer. Typically, threat actors employ RATs to inject additional payloads, steal sensitive information, or use the infected system as part of a larger botnet.

SpiceRAT malware

More about SpiceRAT

It is known that SpiceRAT's main capabilities are downloading and running executable binaries and arbitrary commands. This means that cybercriminals are likely using SpiceRAT to deliver additional payloads. These payloads may include malware designed to steal sensitive information such as passwords or financial data.

They may also include ransomware designed to encrypt files and demand payment for decryption, keyloggers crafted to capture keystrokes (keyboard input), cryptocurrency miners employed to exploit system resources for mining activities, and other forms of malware.

With SpiceRAT, cybercriminals may drop malware enabling them to steal clipboard data, credit card details, ID card information, social security numbers, and other sensitive information. The dropped malware could also allow threat actors to extort money from victims by demanding ransom in exchange for data decryption.

Therefore, victims may face financial losses, fall prey to identity theft, have their personal accounts compromised, find their files encrypted and inaccessible, and encounter various other disruptive and damaging consequences. It is important to note that SpiceRAT may be employed for other activities.

Cybercriminals also use RATs to launch coordinated attacks on websites or networks, causing disruption or downtime, record screens, intercept communications, download files from the victim's computer (or manage them in other ways), and more.

It is also important to note that SpiceRAT ensures persistence on the victim's machine by establishing itself at multiple locations within the system. This strategy aims to maintain resilience against attempts to remove or disable the malware.

Threat Summary:
Name SpiceRAT remote access trojan
Threat Type Remote Administration Trojan (RAT)
Detection Names ALYac (Trojan.Agent.Wacatac), DrWeb (Trojan.Starter.8273), Fortinet (W32/PossibleThreat), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Agent.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Malgent!MSR), Full List (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Remote Access 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, additional infections, monetary loss.
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, SpiceRAT represents a significant threat due to its capability to deploy additional malware (and possibly to perform other malicious actions), maintain persistence across compromised systems, and evade detection. Organizations and individuals must employ robust cybersecurity measures to mitigate the risks posed by SpiceRAT and similar threats.

Example of other RATs are Csharp-Streamer, AllaSenha, and NiceRAT. It is worth noting that cybercriminal behind SpiceRAT are responsible for spreading another RAT known as SugarGh0st.

How did SpiceRAT infiltrate my computer?

Threat actors distribute SpiceRAT via email. The infection chains involve LNK or HTA files. The LNK-based infection chain starts with a malicious RAR file containing a Windows shortcut (LNK) and a hidden folder. This folder contains multiple components, including a decoy PDF document.

The HTA-based infection also starts with an archive file attached to an email. Inside the archive, a malicious HTA file executes a hidden Visual Basic script when opened by the victim. This script drops a downloader that downloads a ZIP file containing SpiceRAT.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Avoid opening email attachments or clicking on links from unknown or suspicious senders, especially when emails are unexpected or irrelevant. Obtain software and files only from official websites or reputable app stores. Avoid downloading from unofficial sites, peer-to-peer networks, third-party downloaders, etc.

Be cautious of pop-ups and ads on shady websites, and do not agree to receive notifications from pages of this kind. Regularly update your operating system, applications, and antivirus software.

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.

Decoy PDF file used in the distribution of SpiceRAT:

SpiceRAT malware decoy PDF

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

If your computer is infected with SpiceRAT malware, perform a thorough scan using a trusted antivirus program to identify and eliminate the malware. This approach should resolve the issue without requiring you to format your drive.

What are the biggest issues that malware can cause?

Different types of malware can have varying impacts. Cybercriminals can use malware to steal identities, cause financial losses or data breaches, encrypt files, inject additional payloads, and perform other malicious actions.

What is the purpose of SpiceRAT?

SpiceRAT is a remote access Trojan that enables threat actors to remotely access infected computers. It is known that SpiceRAT is used to deploy additional payloads (infect computers with other malware).

How did SpiceRAT infiltrate my computer?

SpiceRAT is distributed via email using LNK or HTA files. The LNK infection chain begins with a malicious RAR file containing a Windows shortcut (LNK) and a hidden folder, including a decoy PDF. In the HTA chain, a malicious HTA file in an email archive executes a hidden Visual Basic script, dropping a downloader that fetches a ZIP file containing SpiceRAT.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from malware?

Combo Cleaner can eliminate most known malware infections. Advanced malware may hide deep within the system. Therefore, conducting a comprehensive system scan is crucial to ensure detection and removal.

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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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