IceID Trojan – How to Remove It and Protect Your Network

IceID Trojan – How to Remove It and Protect Your Network

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This article has been created in order to explain what is the IcedID Trojan and how to remove this malware completely from your computer.

The IceID Trojan is an advanced banking Trojan that is being used in large-scale attacks across the world. It is being operated by two experienced criminal groups, one of which is responsible for TrickBot. Active infections modify the target victim targets in such a way that it is impossible to remove the strains with the ordinary manual instructions. Refer to our removal instructions for a detailed instruction on recovering your PC.

Threat Summary

NameIceID Trojan
TypeTrojan Horse Virus
Short DescriptionSilently infects the target machines and modifies key applications and system services.
SymptomsThe user may not experience any signs of infiltration.
Distribution MethodMalicious web links, Malicious Files, Malicious E-Mails
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by IceID Trojan


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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss IceID Trojan.

IcedID – How Does It Infect

The IceID Trojan is being distributed at computer users worldwide in targeted attacks. The security analysis reveals that the hacker-controlled campaigns are specifically customized in order to affect as many targets as possible. The first instances of the threat were spotted last year by security researchers when the first attacks happened.

The initial attacks make use of the Emotet payload downloader using bulk email messages that contain social engineering elements. As one of the primary strategies overall this has allowed the IceID to be bundled with other malicious threats. A distinct characteristic of the IceID Trojan attacks is that it appears that the current attack seem to be organized with the criminal collective behind TrickBot. The two groups are working together in order to infect as many hosts as possible. This is evident from the fact that the newer attacks seem to use shared infrastructure resources.

The email SPAM messages use advanced social engineering tactics to manipulate the users into thinking interacting with the IceID Trojan. A common tactic is the creation of counterfeit email messages that are customized with the legitimate text and graphics hijacked from real-world financial institutions or popular Internet services. The messages may be either personalized or contain no names and appear as being sent using an automated engine.

Email messages by themselves are also among the primary techniques for distributing infected payloads. There are two primary types:

  • Infected Documents — The criminals behind the IceID Trojan can embed virus code into documents such as rich text files, spreadsheets or presentations. Once they are opened by the victims a notification prompt will appear asking them to enable the built-in macros. When this is done the IceID Trojan infection will follow.
  • Software Installers — In a similar way the criminals can embed the dangerous scripts in popular applications. This is done by taking the legitimate installers from the official download sites and modifying them with the virus code. Popular examples are system utilities, creativity suites, productivity and office apps and etc.

Such payloads can also be found on hacker-controlled sites that pose as legitimate portals. They may use text and graphics (a classic form of social engineering) to attract potential users. In the last few years we have seen an increase in malware distribution through file sharing networks such as BitTorrent.

We expect to see other distribution tactics in future campaigns as an attempt to increase the infection ratio. Trojans can also attempt to infect target computers by exploiting vulnerabilities. This is done by using automated scripts and hacking platforms that are loaded with exploit code. They are launched in an automated manner and can impact many hosts at once.

The IceID Trojan has been found to include a sophisticated stealth protection engine. It scans the victim computer for signs of anti-virus software, virtual machine hosts and debug environments. When such are found the relevant real-time engines can be disabled or the application can be completely removed from the host system. Advanced banking Trojans can be configured into deleting themselves in order to evade detection.

IcedID — Behavior Analysis

The IceID Trojan has been found to include a sophisticated stealth protection engine. It scans the victim computer for signs of anti-virus software, virtual machine hosts and debug environments. When such are found the relevant real-time engines can be disabled or the application can be completely removed from the host system. Advanced banking Trojans can be configured into deleting themselves in order to evade detection.

Following the IceID Trojan installation the criminals can then launch a data harvesting module. The engine is programmed by the hackers in advance to search for specific strings. There are two primary categories:

  • Personal Data — Sensitive information about the victims and associated devices. In most cases the hijacked strings can be used to extract data that can directly expose the identity of the users. Example content includes their name, address, telephone number, location, interests, passwords and account credentials.
  • Campaign Metrics — The acquired data can also be used to optimize the attacks by creating a profile of the installed hardware components along with certain user-set values taken from the operating system.

Using code snippets taken from TrickBot the hackers behind the IceID Trojan is installed as a persistent threat. It will interact with the system in order to make it almost impossible to remove using manual methods. This is done by modifying the Windows Registry entries and certain operating system values. To make recovery more difficult the hackers disable the access to the boot recovery menu and other options. The IceID Trojan is made to execute every time the computer is booted and the victims have no way of evading this behavior.

The victim computers can have the associated Shadow Volume Copies of sensitive files removed. As a result the users will have to use a professional-grade data recovery software to recover the affected data. Our in-depth removal guide includes a product that is both easy to use and very effective in such cases.

As a banking Trojan it can hook both to the operating system services and the user-installed applications. The virus code is made compatible with the most popular web browsers as they are the most common tool to access the online banking services: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari and Microsoft Edge. The typical banking Trojan behavior is the following:

  1. IceID Trojan Infection — As soon as the virus file is loaded onto the target system the infection is started along with the complex behavior pattern.
  2. IceID Trojan Preparation — All preparatory actions are performed so that the main infection engine can inject itself to the target software.
  3. IceID Trojan Execution — The IceID Trojan starts to monitor the installed applications for signs of online banking use. When the victims enter their credentials to online banks they are automatically hijacked and sent to the hacker controllers.

To this date we have seen several different behavior types. The malicious code can directly harvest the account credentials, including any used two-factor authentication passcodes. Another strategy would be to manipulate the browsers into using other recipients addresses. This is done in a way that is practically invisible to the victims.

Once the online banking data has been harvested they are passed on to the hacker collective. The money is not directly transferred to the hackers but to rogue accounts that are specifically made using fake ID’s (money mules). The fraud accounts are usually made in the same financial institution and geographic location. This is a stealth action that doesn’t raise as many warning signs as international transactions.

Like other advanced banking bots it establishes a network connection with the hacker-controlled servers. It is used for various purposes, but the primary one is the information delivery of the harvested information and banking credentials. This connection is also used for deployment of additional threats. If configured properly its surveillance function can be enabled which allows the criminals to spy on the victims in real-time. They can also overtake control of the computers at any point during the Trojan’s activity. The infected hosts can be recruited into a large botnets that can in turn infect other networks. According to the released analysis the hackers use the XMPP protocol which is used by the Jabber messenger service. As a result it allows the hackers to download the recorded message, as well as receive real-time notifications when certain events have executed on the infected hosts. The security experts note that advanced Trojans also make use of advanced log parsers. They allow the hackers to execute smart algorithms that can extract additional information through behavior analysis.

The dangerous characteristic of active IceID Trojan infections is the fact that two experienced hacker collectives have joined forces. Active infections are very hard to remove as the IceID Trojan manipulates the victim system in a complex manner.

Remove IcedID Effectively from Windows

In order to fully get rid of this Trojan, we advise you to follow the removal instructions underneath this article. They are made so that they help you to isolate and then delete the IcedID Trojan either manually or automatically. If manual removal represents difficulty for you, experts always advise to perform the removal automatically by running an anti-malware scan via specific software on your PC. Such anti-malware program aims to make sure that the IcedID is fully gone and your Windows OS stays safe against any future malware infections.


Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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