The Valar Trojan which was first detected last year is currently being used in a widespread attack against Microsoft Exchange servers. The hacking group behind it are not yet known and the malware is targeting mainly against Germany and the USA. It is rated as an advanced threat which is delivered to the victim computers in a multi-stage way.
Valar Trojan Attacks Microsoft Exchange Servers
Valar Trojan is a sophisticated malware which is currently used as a weapon against Microsoft Exchange servers. The hackers which are behind the campaign are using it to target machines located in Germany and the USA. What is particularly dangerous is the fact that the threat is delivered in a complex infection strategy that uses a multi-stage installation mechanism. The actual malware is not new, the first samples of it were detected in a previous campaign in 2019. A new hacking group has taken the Trojan code and used it in their attack campaign.
The criminals are using a new strategy which employs macro-infected documents which are created in both English and German. These files are opened in Microsoft Word and include dangerous scripts. They are spread to the target end users depending on the phishing strategy. The most likely way is to send out email messages that may include personalized or generic greetings and link or attach these documents. When the recipients open them on their local computers a message will appear asking them to enable the built-in scripts. This will lead to the deployment of the Valar Trojan.
The initial installation is done by infecting the system by following a complex infection sequence. One of the first actions which will be run includes an extensive data gathering action which is designed to extract machine data and identity related information. One of the important assets which are hijacked is the geolocation data which will determine where the user is located. Additionally more data will be downloaded from the machines, this module will also take screenshots at regular intervals and also load other Trojans and malware. The documented examples include Ursnif which is a common advanced infection.
The updated version of the Valar Trojan includes other modules and plugins that extends the functionality of the main engine. The researchers note that Valar is considered an advanced risk as it can hide itself in the system and also modify the Windows Registry. This means that the virus will create values for itself or edit existing ones in order to safeguard itself from discovery or removal.
Malware of this category can be used to carry out actions such as the following:
- Information Gathering — The hijacked machine data and personal user information can be used for other crimes such as financial abuse and identity theft.
- Surveillance — The Trojan engine will allow the hackers to spy on the victims and take over control of the infected machines.
- Additional Virus Infections — The Valar Trojan can be used to install other types of viruses to the victim systems. Popular options include file encrypting ransomware which will lock user files and demand a decryption fee to be paid. An alternative is the installation of browser hijackers which are dangerous plugins made compatible with all popular web browsers. They will redirect the users to phishing pages, scams and hacker-controlled pages.
One of the main goals of the Trojan is to gain access to the installed Microsoft Exchange servers. This includes the stored credentials, sensitive contents and the domain certificate. The conducted analysis shows that the different versions of the Trojan shares its infrastructure. This means that the hackers have a large resource under their control. It is very possible that the hackers are of Russian origin as the deployed threats are presumed to be operating from Russia.
- Guide 1: How to Remove from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove
Step 2: Uninstall 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 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 there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall 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 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 malware from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove 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 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 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 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 will be removed.
Eliminate 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.