DarkGate Malware is a complex threat that installs itself in a stealth way and proceeds with many malicious changes to the infected host. Depending on its configuration it may launch various additional threats, steal sensitive data and cause overall system stability problems. In case that you see this program running on your machine, you should remove it before it takes the chance to cause some serious security and privacy related issues.
|Short Description||The application will install itself silently and launch a Trojan horse infection.|
|Symptoms||Performance issues, Inability to run certain services or apps|
|Distribution Method||Email messages and infected payload files|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss DarkGate Malware.|
DarkGate Malware — Distribution
The DarkGate malware is a very sophisticated malware that combines the functionality of several different virus types. The attack campaigns primarily target Windows workstations and the attacks themselves are carefully planned to target specific regions or type of users. This shows that careful planning is made by the hacker collectives behind the ongoing attacks.
The security analysis reveals that there are two distinct infection methods behind the DarkGate malware. The common characteristic is that they both use the BitTorrent file-sharing network to spread infected files.
- Malware Content — One of the detected DarkGate malware attacks used files that were masked as Walkind Dead episodes and other spoofed content. When launched the tv series files will run a VBscript embedded in them to download and run the main malware engine.
- Email Phishing Messages — DarkGate malware strains have been found in email scam messages that use the most popular phishing tactics. Distinct campaigns that are confirmed to include the various courier delivery notification scams, a popular example is the one associated with the [wplinkpreview url=”https://sensorstechforum.com/dhl-phishing-scams-get-rid/”]DHL scam campaign.
After the DarkGate malware is downloaded onto the victim system it will unpack itself in a multi-stage fashion. This is done by a series of obfuscated scripts and files, this procedure is required in order to hide itself from operating system services and security software. The analysis of this behavior shows that it copies itself to system folders and may replace legitimate system data.
DarkGate Malware — Capabilities
During the unpack stages the DarkGate malware will initiate a stealth bypass function. This is done by scanning the system for the presence of anti-virus software or firewalls that can block the virus’s correct execution. Updated versions of it can scan for signatures and registry values as well, not only default installation folders. During the analysis we have detected that a distinct characteristic is the detection of virtual machines, recovery tools or sandbox environments that are used by analysts. If such hosts and engines are found running during the scan they will be disabled and the DarkGate malware may automatically delete itself to avoid detection. Another behavior pattern would be to relocate and rename the virus file so that it doesn’t get detected by the usual virus signature scans.
A list of the found anti-virus signatures identified in the captured samples is the following:
Avast, Kaspersky, AVG, NOD32, BitDefender, Avira, Norton, Trend Micro, ByteFence, Panda,
Search & Destroy, McAfee, Windows Defender, SUPER AntiSpyware, Comodo, Malware Bytes
When this has finished execution a Trojan instance will be run by setting a local client that establishes a secure connection to a hacker-controlled server. It allows the operators behind it to spy on the users, hijack their data and take over control at any given time. The modular framework has been found to call a keylogger component which will track all user actions (keyboard and mouse events) which will be recorded and sent to the hackers.
The analysis also shows that it runs a data collection component. The acquired samples generate a report of the installed hardware components from which a custom victim ID is made for each host. Other information that can be used for this purpose includes specific operating system variables and user-set settings. Future updates and modifications to the malware engine can include a identity theft module. It will search for strings that can directly expose the victims: their real name, phone number, email address, address and any stored username & password combinations. Most of these engines can access both the operating system, hard drive contents and third-party installed applications. A distinct tactic that is employed during this phase is that the servers use DNS records that appear as very similar to those used by Akamai and Amazon. This makes the malicious traffic difficult to identify during network analysis.
Before launching any further modules the DarkGate malware will initiate a scan which checks if the installed OS is 32 or 64-bit. It will run the built-in compatible version afterwards. To elevate its privileges it uses two distinct User Access Control (UAC) bypass techniques. Consequently it will gain administrative privileges and create many processes of its own making it even harder to detect and remove.
Infected hosts will be very difficult to restore as the engine will be remove system data such as Restore points.
Some of the data that is harvested includes the following:
locale, user name, computer name, window name,
time of last input, processor type, display adapter, RAM amount, OS type and version, user admin,
config.bin encrypted contents, epoch type, anti-virus type
How to Remove DarkGate Malware Infections
In order to remove DarkGate Malware and all its associated files from your PC you should complete all steps listed in the removal that follows. It presents both manual and automatic removal approaches that combined could help you to remove this undesired program in full. The automatic approach could properly locate all potentially harmful files so that you could access and remove them easily.
In case that you have further questions or need additional help, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact us via email.
- Guide 1: How to Remove DarkGate Malware from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of DarkGate Malware on Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove DarkGate Malware in Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase DarkGate Malware from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall DarkGate Malware from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove DarkGate Malware from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate DarkGate Malware from Internet Explorer.
- Guide 8: Disable DarkGate Malware Push Notifications in Your Browsers.
About the DarkGate Malware Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this DarkGate Malware how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific, adware-related problem, and restore your browser and computer system.
How did we conduct the research on DarkGate Malware?
Please note that our research is based on independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware, adware, and browser hijacker definitions.
Furthermore, the research behind the DarkGate Malware threat is backed with VirusTotal https://www.virustotal.com/gui/home/upload.
To better understand this online threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
1.Browser Redirect – What Is It?
2.Adware Is Malicious, and It Uses Advanced Techniques to Infect
3.The Thin Red Line Between Potentially Unwanted Programs and Malware
4.The Pay-Per-Install Affiliate Business – Making Millions out of Adware
5.Malicious Firefox Extensions Installed by 455,000 Users Blocked Updates
How to Remove DarkGate Malware from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove DarkGate Malware
Step 2: Uninstall DarkGate 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 DarkGate 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 DarkGate Malware there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Step 4: Scan for DarkGate Malware with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.
2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.
3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.
4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.
Video Removal Guide for DarkGate Malware (Windows).
Get rid of DarkGate Malware from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall DarkGate 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:
2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:
3.In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to DarkGate Malware:
4.Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.
5.In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to DarkGate Malware. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.
6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference.
Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to DarkGate Malware. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.
7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:
- 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 DarkGate 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:
1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:
2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:
3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as DarkGate Malware. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.
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 DarkGate Malware files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as DarkGate Malware, 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.
Video Removal Guide for DarkGate Malware (Mac)
Remove DarkGate 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 DarkGate 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 DarkGate 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 DarkGate 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 DarkGate Malware will be removed.
Eliminate DarkGate 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.
Remove Push Notifications caused by DarkGate Malware 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".
DarkGate Malware FAQ
What is DarkGate Malware?
The DarkGate Malware threat is adware or browser redirect virus. It may slow your computer down siginficantly and display advertisements. The main idea is for your information to likely get stolen or more ads to appear on your device.
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your computer to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your OS.
What are the symptoms of DarkGate Malware?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also unwanted apps in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your computer may become slow and has poor performance in general.
Symtpom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Task Manager.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts reccomend that you check your computer for viruses.
What types of Unwanted Programs are there?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently affect your Mac can be the following types:
- Rogue Antivirus programs.
- Browser hijackers.
- Fake optimizers.
What to do if I have a "virus" like DarkGate Malware?
Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most adware or unwanted program threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them from your browser and computer. One reccomended way to do that is by using a reputable malware removal software that can take care of the removal automatically for you. There are many anti-malware apps out there that you can choose from. SpyHunter is one of the reccomended anti-malware apps, that can scan your computer for free and detect any viruses, tracking cookies and unwanted adware apps and eliminate them quickly. This saves time when compared to doing the removal manually.
How to secure my passwords and other data from DarkGate Malware?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your e-mail passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activiites with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these reccomendations, your network and all devices will become significantly more secure against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
More tips you can find on our website, where you can also ask any questions and comment underneath the articles about your computer problems. We will try to respond as fast as possible.