The OceanLotus malware is a newly discovered threat which is used mainly as a payload delivery device. This is a collection of several tools that are used together in a complex attack scenario. According to the released reports the group has invested in the development of the tools and the way the intrusions are organized.
The distribution of the threat is done by imitating the legitimate McAfee scanner files by injecting itself to a legitimate “On Demand Scanner” process. This means that the hackers will need to devise a way to deliver the necessary data. It is distributed in a package containing the hookup files and the payloads in a secure and encrypted form. The noteworthy feature is that steganography is used, a technique used to hide data within other data. As soon as the the initial intrusion is made a sequence of payload delivery which make use of benign-looking files which the process interacts with. Using decryption of the data a series of steps are done in order to provide the final payload. An interesting note is that one of the payloads inside the files is a mange image.
The second main payload has been found to have several versions, dropping files that have file names that may appear as legitimate applications and services. It will also launch a security bypass module which aims to identify and remove security software that can interfere with the proper malware delivery. The next step is to launch a modified version of the Remy backdoor. It will establish a secure connection to a predefined hacker-controlled server allowing the operators to take over control of the machines, steal user data and deploy other threats.
The associated DLL files are obfuscated in order to make it very difficult to detect that such an operation is being carried out. At least two different communications were observed during the intrusion attack. Various other threats can be loaded to the compromised machines such as the following:
- Ransomware — These are dangerous crypto viruses that aim to process sensitive user data according to a built-in list of target file type extensions. A preset extension can be added to the processed data.
- Trojans — Other Trojan threats can be deployed to the compromised machines. They allow the hackers to take over control of the systems and manipulate them into performing various tasks.
- Cryptocurrency Miners — They are scripts that are designed to retrieve and run a sequence of performance demanding mathematical tasks. Whenever one of them is completed cryptocurrency will be awarded to the operators.
Every infection can result in different behavior outcome as every machine can have different conditions.
|Type||Malware, Scam Hacking Program|
|Short Description||A dangerous malware which can be used to evoke a series of dangerous actions.|
|Symptoms||The victims may notice performance issues and can get infected with other malware.|
|Distribution Method||Mainly via download sites and file sharing networks.|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss OceanLotus Malware.|
OceanLotus Malware – Attack Campaign Details
The OceanLotus malware is focused on infecting target networks and being used in targeted attack campaign. This means that the criminal collective behind it have been used in campaigns against both corporate businesses and government agencies in Asia: Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines. What is known about these particular attacks is that they are orchestrated by a very experienced hacking group. One of the common infiltration techniques is to coordinate phishing strategies — the hackers will send out bulk messages that impersonate well-known services or companies and urge the recipients into interacting with the shown contents. In most cases the e-mails will link to or attach a document file that will have infected macros. When the file is opened in the relevant office program a prompt will appear asking the victims to enable the scripts. If this is done the infection will begin.
The other popular technique which is used by the criminals is the so-called “watering hole infiltration”. This is done by intruding onto often visited sites nd replacing legitimate content with script installation of the OceanLotus malware.
OceanLotus – How Did I Get It
The OceanLotus Malware can be spread using a variety of different tactics. There are many variants of it which are spread using various collectives. Our security research shows that there are many versions using the OceanLotus name and alternatives as well. This allows the criminal collectives to launch a multitude of attacks bearing different versions of the malware.
One of the main techniques is the coordination of phishing email messages which coerce the victims to interact with the included content. They are designed to appear as legitimate notifications sent from well-known services and companies. The OceanLotus Malware files can be either attached or inserted as text links.
Hacker-made sites that pose as legitimate download portals, search engines and software product pages will scam the users into downloading and running the application. They are generally hosted on domains that sound similar to popular sources and may include self-signed security certificates.
To increase the number of infected victims the criminals can also place the OceanLotus Malware in payload carriers such as macro-infected documents and malware application bundles. They are widely downloaded from the Internet by end users and may be found on file-sharing sites as well like BitTorrent.
Such infections can also be spread via browser hijackers which are dangerous web browser extensions that are usually uploaded to the repositories of the most popular browsers.
OceanLotus – What Does It Do
Such malware can execute many different tactics depending on the exact attack campaign. Most of them are used in order to serve as payload carriers for other threats. Popular options are the following:
- Trojan Clients — The made infections will create a persistent and secure connection to a hacker-controlled server which allows the hackers to take over control of the infected machines, steal their files and deploy other malware.
- Data Theft — The OceanLotus Malware may include an information harvesting ability which is capable of acquiring data that ca directly expose the identity of the victim users.
- Machine Identification — Many similar threats are programmed to extract the list of installed hardware components ,specific operating system environment values and user settings which are then processed by a special algorithm that will ouput an unique infection ID that is to be assigned to each different computer.
- Windows Registry Changes — The OceanLotus Malware can create entries for itself in the Windows Registry which can make its removal more difficult. If it edits existing values then serious performance issues can arise. Data loss and errors are a common side effect of this operation.
- Boot Menu Options Modification — Some OceanLotus Malware versions can modify the boot options in order to automatically start themselves when the computer is powered on. By disabling access to these options manual user removal guides can become worthless.
- Data Removal — The engine can be configured to locate and delete files such as system backups, restore files and shadow volume copies. This makes recovery much more difficult and in this case the use of a data recovery solution needs to be used.
Any future OceanLotus variants can include other malicious actions as per the hacker’s instructions.
How to Remove OceanLotus Malware
In order to fully remove OceanLotus Malware from your computer system, we recommend that you follow the removal instructions underneath this article. If the first two manual removal steps do not seem to work and you still see OceanLotus Malware or programs, related to it, we suggest what most security experts advise – to download and run a scan of your comptuer with a reputable anti-malware program. Downloading this software will not only save you some time, but will remove all of OceanLotus Malware files and programs related to it and will protect your computer against such intrusive apps and malware in the future.
- Guide 1: How to Remove OceanLotus Malware from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of OceanLotus Malware from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove OceanLotus Malware from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase OceanLotus Malware from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall OceanLotus Malware from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove OceanLotus Malware from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate OceanLotus Malware from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove OceanLotus Malware from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove OceanLotus Malware
Step 2: Uninstall OceanLotus Malware 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 OceanLotus Malware 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 OceanLotus Malware there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of OceanLotus Malware from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall OceanLotus Malware 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 OceanLotus Malware 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 OceanLotus Malware 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 OceanLotus Malware 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 OceanLotus Malware 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 OceanLotus Malware 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 OceanLotus Malware will be removed.
Eliminate OceanLotus Malware 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.