The Adwind Trojan is a dangerous malware threat which is designed for Microsoft Windows computers. It can be acquired from various sources, every attack campaign can focus on one specific tactic. Usually virus infections like this one are made by interacting with an infected file — this can be either a macro-infected document or a hacker-made software installer. They are often made by taking the legitimate files from their official sources and modifying them with the necessary virus code. Other data can also be affected. All kinds of other data may be used as well — this includes malicious plugins for web browsers and etc. In other cases the hackers can use a direct attacks that will look for system vulnerabilities and weaknesses. If any are found then the Adwind Trojan will be installed.
This particular threat is known for being spread using a multitude of weaknesses. It is set against both end users and servers. After the infection has been made the Adwind Trojan can download other threats, launch multiple dangerous modules and install a cryptocurrency miner which will run a sequence of performance-demanding tasks.
|Type||Malware, Trojan, Miner|
|Short Description||A dangerous malware which can launch a miner and start a Trojan module.|
|Symptoms||The victims may notice performance issues and can get infected with other malware.|
|Distribution Method||Common distribution tactics and direct web attacks.|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by Adwind Trojan |
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Adwind Trojan.|
Adwind Trojan — Update October 2019
A new large-scale campaign has been spotted bearing the AdWind Trojan, the available information about it shows that the criminal group behind it are focusing on the US petroleum industry. The small batch of collected samples shows that the new version of the malware is sophisticated and is specifically made to infiltrate these networks.
It appears that it is coupled with other malware which are directed against the target networks. The virus files were hosted on a web server located in Australia that appears to be hacked or be loaned under with a fake identity. It appears that the hackers have attempted to hide the fact that malware is hosted there by randomly uploading image files in ready-made sequences. This aims to bypass intrusion detection system and other automated security solutions into discovering potentially dangerous activity.
The intrusion is done by clicking on malware scripts or running certain files. To facilitate this different tactics can be used by the hackers including the following:
- Social Engineering Techniques & Phishing Messages — The hackers can use the familiar techniques of sending out fake email messages and setting up associated websites that will coerce the visitors into downloading or running files or data.
- Payload Carriers — The criminals can embed the necessary code into files of all popular types which are commonly acquired from the Internet. The most common types are documents (containing dangerous macros) and application installers of popular applications.
- Direct Attacks — Direct attacks against the potentially vulnerable networks can lead to the virus installation.
- Social Network Profiles — The criminals can create special profiles or hack already existing ones in various social networks or company portals in order to deliver the necessary payload droppers.
This particular AdWind Trojan uses a several-stage sequence in order to deliver the final virus. The captured samples appear to be part of a JAR file (Java executable file) which when run will start the sequence. The first step is to copy down the main payload to a folder that belongs to the victim user and start it from there. The JAR file will be unloaded and decrypted by the system and then start the initial engine which will hookup to existing DLL files and then take over the system.
The next logical steps are to conduct changes in the Windows Registry which aim to create new strings that are special to the virus. This is done in order to set it up as as persistent threat which means that the AdWind Trojan will be run every time the computer is started. The payload delivery mechanism can also search the memory and hard disk contents for any installed security solutions. If such are found they will be removed, this is specially done for any deployed anti-virus or firewall engines.
The final AdWind Trojan will be extracted after this stage — as it is written in Java it is cross-platform and affects Windows, Linux and Mac. It will connect to a preset hacker-controlled server and additionally enable the hackers to conduct other actions as well. Commonly this is done to take over control of the systems, hijack data and deploy other threats. Among the distinct modules functionality there are also the following:
- Webcam Photo Capturing
- Scanning for Certain User Data and Their Manipulation
- Process Scanning
- Process Hookup
- System Status Monitoring
- Executing Malware Commands including Ransomware Engines
Adwind Trojan — Update August 2019
The Adwind Trojan as a dangerous threat has been found to abuse several domain names in order to deliver the threat. When the victims visit the site a payload file will be downloaded automatically to the hosts. It is a malicious PDF extension file which is actually an obfuscated JAR file. As soon as it is clicked the virus holders will start the associated Java execute. It will start the Trojan which will connect to a hacker-controlled server which will control take over control of the victims.
The new variant uses a technique for code injection which is used when the security bypass is called. This advanced technique will make sure that existing security services and applications will not be able to discover that an infection is active: firewalls, anti-virus engines, virtual machines and etc.
Adwind Trojan – How Did I Get It
The Adwind Trojan is a malware threat which is described as a classic Remote Access Trojan (RAT) — its main goal is to allow the hackers to establish a secure connection to a hacker-controlled server. This is done by deploying the threat to the intended victims. The Adwind Trojan is being spread to the intended victims by computer hackers when they have acquired the code of the malware from the developers. According to the security reports that the current wave is being released with a Malware-as-a-service (MaaS) — this means that the virus is loaned to the prospective hackers for a given fee.
The ongoing attacks are made against the utility industry among other targets and we suspect that a high-profile criminal collective is probably behind it. Several other groups are taking advantage of the virus by using it against home users and company networks.
Depending on the exact group and the chosen targets various distribution methods can be used. When viruses like the Adwind Trojan are concerned there are several main methods which are often considered:
- File Carriers — The criminals can embed the necessary macros and code of the Adwind Trojan in different data. This can include documents of all popular file types: spreadsheets, databases, text documents and presentations. As soon as they are opened a prompt will ask them to enable the built-in scripts. The quoted reason is the correct viewing of the file. As soon as this is done the Adwind Trojan will be placed.
- Application Installers — These are malicious bundle installers of popular software which are often acquired by end users. They can be of applications that are frequently downloaded and installed.
- Malware Browser Plugins — They are also called “hijackers” and are modeled to appear as safe extensions made for the most popular web browsers. They are often uploaded to the relevant repositories using fake user reviews and developer credentials.
All of these files can be easily spread onto file-sharing networks which are often used to distribute both pirate and legitimate data.
Adwind Trojan – What Does It Do
The Adwind Trojan will launch a series of dangerous actions as prescribed by its operators or according to local conditions. In almost all cases the dangerous sequence will begin with a security bypass function that will look for any applications and services that can effectively block the proper virus execution: anti-virus engines, virtual machine hosts, firewalls and etc.
The Adwind Trojan variants which are designed to be run against home users and certain corporate targets will lead to data harvesting, it can be done with two main categories in mind:
- Personal Information — This can include all kinds of data which can expose the identiy of the victim users: a person’s name, address, mobile phone number, passwords and stored account credentials.
- Machine Information — The malicious engine can be used to create a profile of the infected machines by looking out for specific data. The profile takes the values of the installed hardware parts. This data is used to generate an unique ID that will be used to identify each machine.
The dangerous behavior associated with the Adwind Trojan is that it is constructed to allow a deep surveillance of the victims. The possible actions include the recording of video and sound in real-time, as well as timed screenshots of the computer activity. Using the collected information the hackers can use all of the gathered data in order to coordinate crimes such as financial abuse and identity theft.
What we know is that the attack campaigns carrying this malware are conducted in specific attack campaigns. Some of the captured samples will activate the built-in Trojan component which will establish a secure and persistent connection to a hacker-specified server. This is done in orde to allow the operators to take over control of the victim hosts at any given time. Furthermore all hijacked data in the previous steps can be transmitted to them.
How to Remove Adwind Trojan
In order to fully remove Adwind 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 Adwind 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 Adwind files and programs related to it and will protect your computer against such intrusive apps and malware in the future.