AdvisorsBot Trojan is a newly discovered hacking weapon which is being distributed against targets worldwide. Its modular engine allows the criminal operators to carry out complex infections utilizing a variety of modules. Our article looks at the typical samples and shows how users can remove active infections.
|Short Description||The AdvisorsBot Trojan is a utility malware that is designed to silently infiltrate computer systems, active infections will spy on the victim users.|
|Symptoms||The victims may not experience any apparent symptoms of infection.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages, Scripts and others.|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss AdvisorsBot Trojan.|
AdvisorsBot Trojan – Distribution Methods
The AdvisorsBot Trojan has been found in a recent attack campaign, the first instances of which were reported in May 2018. It appears that the ongoing infiltration attempts target primarily companies and businesses: restaurants, telecom providers and hotels. It appears that the hackers are using it as a weapon for global infiltration — reports of infected machines have been received from different parts of the world.
One of the most popular distribution methods for spreading the AdvisorsBot Trojan is the coordinated distribution of email messages. The hackers use several templates tht attempt to blackmail the victims into thinking that they are receiving messages from partners, customer or Internet services that they use. Interaction with them will lead to the malware infection. Examples of social engineering tactics include the following message types:
- Fake Customer Complaint — Hotel owners and staff can receive a fake message that appears to be coming from a guest claiming that they have been double charged for a room reservation or service. The emails feature a rich text document (.doc Word file format) containing further information about the incident.
- Restaurant Food Poisoning — Restaurant managers can receive messages claiming to have been sent by unhappy clients. The criminals pretend to have been clients of the target company and that they have been poisoned by the offered food. They state that they will file a lawsuit against the company and that the attached document presents an attorney’s case details or medical report from a doctor.
- Fake CV Submission — Telecom service providers can receive CV submissions for open positions. The attached files will include dangerous macros that upon activation will lead to the virus infections.
- Software Updates — The staff may receive fake messages that appear as being sent by the vendors that maintain software used in their business. The messages resemble a software update notification with a hyperlink or direct attachment to an executable file. Upon interaction with it the virus infection will be triggered.
These scenarios also depend on the creation of numerous fake download sites. They are used to blackmail the users into thinking that they have accessed a vendor download page or a popular portal where they can acquire documents or application installers.
A popular mechanism for spreading the AdvisorsBot Trojan is to embed the virus code into infected payloads. Two of the most popular types include the following:
- Documents — The macro-infected documents can be made into various types: rich text documents, presentations, databases and spreadsheets. Once they are opened by the victim users a notification prompt will appear asking them to enable the built-in macros. This will trigger the commands that will download the threat from a remote site and execute it on the local computer.
- Application Installers — The Trojan code can be embedded in setup files of popular software: system utilities, creativity suites and productivity applications. They are made by taking the legitimate installers from the official vendor download sites and bundling the Trojan payload.
Advanced infection campaigns can make use of browser hijackers as another delivery method. They represent malicious extensions that are described as useful additions to the web browsers and are most often found on the associated repositories. This is done via fake user reviews and developer credentials along with a detailed description of the promised enhancements. As soon as the plugins are installed the built-in commands will modify the settings by redirecting the users to a hacker-controlled site. Following this the next step would be to deploy the AdvisorsBot Trojan to the infected hosts.
AdvisorsBot Trojan – Detailed Description
The security analysis of the captured AdvisorsBot Trojan shows that it does feature a complex infection algorithm. While the earlier versions of the took advantage of payload infections via documents and the other common strategies, later versions shifted to a step-by-step pattern.
The macros, payloads and other infection methods execute a PowerShell script which downloads another set of scripts. The second dropper downloads the Trojan instance and runs the actual Trojan infection without writing any log files to the disk.
As soon as the threat is deployed a series of anti-spyware detection measures will be launched. This is done by scanning the local computer for signs of installed applications that can interfere with the virus infection: anti-virus software, virtual machine hosts or debug environments. Their real-time engines can be bypassed or entirely removed.
Other actions include the addition of extra instructions and system code instructions that can maek it harder to perform analysis on the captured samples. This means that even when placed under observation by a security researcher or system administrator it may be difficult to discover that there might be an active infection.
This step can be accompanied with a data harvesting module. it can harvest sensitive data that can be grouped into two main types:
- Personal Data — This information can be used to expose the identity of the users. This is done by programming the engine to harvest information such as their name, address, phone number, interests, location and account credentials.
- Campaign Optimization Metrics — The engine can retrieve information that can be used to optimize the ongoing attack campaigns. The bulk of the harvested used for this purpose includes a report of the installed hardware components and certain operating system values.
The analysis of the AdvisorsBot Trojan shows that the fingerprint component can process the collected data and adapt the virus to the infected hosts.
AdvisorsBot Trojan – Trojan Operations
The main goal of the AdvisorsBot Trojan is to allow the hackers control of the infected computers. The most common way to achieve this is to create a secure connection to a hacker-controlled server. The encrypted connection will be maintained during the Trojan’s presence and allows the hackers to constantly spy on the victims, take over control of their machines and deploy additional threats.
The analysis shows that some of the noteworthy features found in this virus is its ability to automatically capture screenshots which are encoded using a special cipher and transferred to the operators. The other unique feature is the ability to hoop up to the installed Microsoft Outlook and retrieve all stored account credentials.
One of the possible uses of this Trojan is to perform social engineering scams with the aid of interactive elements and system manipulation. The most common scenario is to hook up to the web browsers and monitor for logins to sensitive Internet services — payment gateways, banking sites and etc. Whenever a user accesses a certain site the criminals can automatically redirect them to a fake login page automatically, in many cases they will not even notice the page change. Whenever the account credentials are entered they will be automatically sent to the controllers. In certain configurations this can be done in a more intrusive way by installing a keylogger component. It will automatically collect all entered keystrokes and mouse movement.
The Trojan code can also be programmed to carry out system modifications such as the following:
- Windows Registry Changes — The Trojan can be instructed into modifying the registry entries belonging to the system. If the ones related to service components components overall performance can greatly suffer. In addition if user-installed applications are affected then certain functions can stop working properly.
- System Data Deletion — To make recovery more difficult the virus code can delete the identified System Restore Data and Shadow Volume Copies. This means that the victims will have to resort to a professional restore solution. Refer to our instructions for more information.
- Miner Installation — Many newer viruses can install a cryptocurrency miner which will take advantage of the available system resources to perform complex calculations. In return of the reported results the hacker operators will receive funds in the form of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Monero.
The AdvisorsBot Trojan has been found to contain a modular engine which means that for each attack campaign the hackers can prepare different instructions. In the hands of experienced criminals this can be a really powerful weapon that can be used to both deploy other malicious payloads and to carry out different scam attacks.
Remove AdvisorsBot Trojan
If your computer system got infected with the AdvisorsBot Trojan, you should have a bit of experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this Trojan as quickly as possible before it can have the chance to spread further and infect other computers. You should remove the Trojan and follow the step-by-step instructions guide provided below.
- Guide 1: How to Remove AdvisorsBot Trojan from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of AdvisorsBot Trojan on Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove AdvisorsBot Trojan in Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase AdvisorsBot Trojan from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall AdvisorsBot Trojan from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove AdvisorsBot Trojan from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate AdvisorsBot Trojan from Internet Explorer.
- Guide 8: Disable AdvisorsBot Trojan Push Notifications in Your Browsers.
How to Remove AdvisorsBot Trojan from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove AdvisorsBot Trojan
Step 2: Uninstall AdvisorsBot Trojan and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by AdvisorsBot Trojan on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by AdvisorsBot Trojan there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of AdvisorsBot Trojan from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall AdvisorsBot Trojan and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove AdvisorsBot Trojan via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove AdvisorsBot Trojan files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as AdvisorsBot Trojan, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove AdvisorsBot Trojan from Google Chrome.
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase AdvisorsBot Trojan from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall AdvisorsBot Trojan from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove AdvisorsBot Trojan from Safari.
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the AdvisorsBot Trojan will be removed.
Eliminate AdvisorsBot Trojan from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.
Remove Push Notifications caused by AdvisorsBot Trojan from Your Browsers.
Turn Off Push Notifications from Google Chrome
To disable any Push Notices from Google Chrome browser, please follow the steps below:
Step 1: Go to Settings in Chrome.
Step 2: In Settings, select “Advanced Settings”:
Step 3: Click “Content Settings”:
Step 4: Open “Notifications”:
Step 5: Click the three dots and choose Block, Edit or Remove options:
Remove Push Notifications on Firefox
Step 1: Go to Firefox Options.
Step 2: Go to “Settings”, type “notifications” in the search bar and click "Settings":
Step 3: Click “Remove” on any site you wish notifications gone and click “Save Changes”
Stop Push Notifications on Opera
Step 1: In Opera, press ALT+P to go to Settings
Step 2: In Setting search, type “Content” to go to Content Settings.
Step 3: Open Notifications:
Step 4: Do the same as you did with Google Chrome (explained below):
Eliminate Push Notifications on Safari
Step 1: Open Safari Preferences.
Step 2: Choose the domain from where you like push pop-ups gone and change to "Deny" from "Allow".