Remove DarkHydrus Trojan Infections

Remove DarkHydrus Trojan Infections

The DarkHydrus Trojan is a dangerous weapon used against computer users worldwide. It infects mainly via infected documents. Our article gives an overview of its behavior according to the collected samples and available reports, also it may be helpful in attempting to remove the virus.

Threat Summary

NameDarkHydrus Trojan
Short DescriptionThe DarkHydrus Trojan is a computer virus that is designed to silently infiltrate computer systems.
SymptomsThe victims may not experience any apparent symptoms of infection.
Distribution MethodSoftware Vulnerabilities, Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages, Scripts and others.
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DarkHydrus Trojan – Distribution Methods

The DarkHydrus Trojan is named after the criminal collective behind it. Its code is based on an older sample known as the RogueRobin Trojan. The detected attack campaign features several distinct versions of infected documents, specifically Excel documents with the .xlsm extension. When they are opened a Security Warning prompt will be shown asking the users to enable the built-in content. The analysis of the document shows that the acquired samples were made in December 2018 and January 2019. It is very possible that other formats are also used for the same purpose: databases, spreadsheets and text documents. As soon as the scripts are allowed to run they will trigger a PowerShell script that will lead to the |Trojan installation. Modifications to key system data will set it to automatically start when the computer is started.

While this campaign currently uses documents as the main payload delivery device there are other methods that can be considered by the hackers. Some of them include the following:

  • Infected Software Installers — A similar strategy is to embed the Trojan delivery code into setup files of popular applications that are frequently downloaded by end users. Example programs include system utilities, creativity suites, optimization tools and productivity apps. When the files are run the DarkHydrus Trojan will be deployed.
  • Email Phishing Messages — Traditional ransomware delivery is made by sending out messages that imitate legitimate notifications sent out via emails. They will often impersonate well-known companies, products and services by copying their body layout and text. As soon as the victims interact with any of the malicious elements or the file attachment the infection will be started.
  • Malicious Sites — To make infections more prevalent the hackers can model fake sites that impersonate legitimate landing pages, software vendor sites, download portals and etc. Whenever the victims interacts with any of the elements the DarkHydrus Trojan infection will be acquired — this can be when downloading a file or simply clicking on a script.
  • Browser Hijackers — They are browser-based plugins which are made by the hackers and are usually deployed on the respective repositories. This is done with fake developer credentials and user reviews. Their descriptions will include promises of performance enhancements or the addition of new functionality.

DarkHydrus Trojan – Detailed Description

As the DarkHydrus Trojan is based on the source code of an earlier threat many of its functionality wll be shared. During the virus installation the threat will be set to run every time the computer is powered on which makes it very hard to remove. The other command that is run as soon as the infection has taken place is the security bypass function. It will scan the infected machine’s memory and search for any installed virtual machine hosts, debug tools or sandbox environment which may be used by security specialists to analyze it. The engine will immediately shut itself down if it detects that such an application or service is running.

The Trojan will then set up a connection to a hacker-controlled server using regular expressions. Its interesting to note that this is done via DNS queries and custom queries. The distinctive characteristic of this particular malware is that it will build a subdomain for each individual infection. The code analysis reveals a list of the available commands:

  • ^kill — This will instruct the thread containing the Trojan to be killed
  • ^\$fileDownload — The given file is to be uploaded to the hacker-controlled server
  • ^\$importModule — Runs a PowerShell instance and adds it to the “modules” list
  • ^\$x_mode — Switches on an alternative “x_mode” mode which switches to an alternative command channel
  • ^\$ClearModules — Clears the previously run “modules” list
  • ^\$fileUpload — This command is used to setup a path to which a new file is to be uploaded.
  • ^testmode — This runs a test function which checks if a connection can be securely made to the hacker-controlled server
  • ^showconfig — This will generate the current configuration of the infection engine
  • ^changeConfig — This will trigger a configuration change which takes the sent input parameters and saves them on the local instance
  • ^slp — This wil setup the sleep and jitter values
  • ^exit — Exits the Trojan instance

The new variant of the DarkHydrus Trojan has been found to use Google Drive as the instrumental repository to deliver the hacker commands. This is done by uploading a file to the predefined hacker account and constantly checking for any changes on the document. Any entered command will be run according to the entered fields. All chnages to the uploaded document are regarded as jobs that will be run on the infected computers. Authentication to the service is done via special commands that are specific to the Google Drive scheme. Special access tokens are retrieved before access is given to the document.

A complex network of domains has been revealed which shows that much work has been implemented in order to create the Trojan and its infrastructure. Its code analysis reveals that it is capable of carrying out damage to the systems and hijack sensitive data. This is done via a special script that uses the gathered information to generate an unique machine ID. There are two categories of information that are usually considered:

  • Personal Information — The engine will search for strings that can directly expose the identity of the victim users. The Trojan can be instructed not only to search the memory, but also the contents of the hard disk, removable devices and available network shares. Data of interest includes their name, address, phone number, location data and any stored account credentials. The collected information can be used to carry out crimes such as identity theft and financial abuse.
  • Machine Information — The Trojan can generate a report of the installed hardware components and system settings. The extensive data is useful in order to determine what kind of computers are infected. The statistical information is useful when designing updates for the Trojan.

There are various uses for the Trojan which can be much more than the simple overtake of the infected computers. The use of the complex infrastructure and the complex security bypass steps taken in the beginning of the infection routine shows that the target victims are probably corporations or government agencies. It is very likely that any future versions may add in newer functionality and enhance the already enabled ones. The use of Google Drive infrastructure can make it harder for any network administrators to notice an infection as Trojan clients are expected to contact unusual hacker-controlled servers.

The data theft capability gives security analysts reasons to believe that this may be a weapon for sabotage purposes. The engine can collect a large amount of information across both categories of information, potentially accessing network drives as well. In the event where there is a coordinated attack against a given enterprise this could be a very powerful weapon.

The performed code analysis shows that the Trojan is capable of accessing and modifying a wide range of system data:

  • Windows Registry — Modifications to the Windows Registry can compromise both the values that are used by the operating system and any third-party apps. This can lead to serious performance issues and the inability to access some services or functions that are normally used by end users. Modifications to entries belonging to any third-party applications can lead to unexpected errors.
  • Boot Options — This is done in order to set the Trojan automatically start once the computer is powered on. Certain actions can disable access to the recovery boot menu and settings which makes it impossible to use most of the manual recovery guides.
  • System Data — The engine can be used to search and identity any backups, System restore points and other files that are used during recovery.

Given the fact that the DarkHydrus Trojan presents a complex threat that can be launched at enterprise and government agencies at any given time once the command is given any existing infections should be identified and removed as quickly as possible. Future updates can transform it into an even more powerful weapon.

Remove DarkHydrus Trojan Trojan

If your computer system got infected with the DarkHydrus Trojan Trojan, you should have a bit of experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this Trojan as quickly as possible before it can have the chance to spread further and infect other computers. You should remove the Trojan and follow the step-by-step instructions guide provided below.

Note! Your computer system may be affected by DarkHydrus Trojan and other threats.
Scan Your PC with SpyHunter
SpyHunter is a powerful malware removal tool designed to help users with in-depth system security analysis, detection and removal of DarkHydrus Trojan.
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter’s malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.

To remove DarkHydrus Trojan follow these steps:

1. Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove DarkHydrus Trojan files and objects

Boot Your PC Into Safe Mode

1. For Windows XP, Vista and 7. 2. For Windows 8, 8.1 and 10. Fix registry entries created by malware and PUPs on your PC.

For Windows XP, Vista and 7 systems:

1. Remove all CDs and DVDs, and then Restart your PC from the “Start” menu.
2. Select one of the two options provided below:

For PCs with a single operating system: Press “F8” repeatedly after the first boot screen shows up during the restart of your computer. In case the Windows logo appears on the screen, you have to repeat the same task again.


For PCs with multiple operating systems: Тhe arrow keys will help you select the operating system you prefer to start in Safe Mode. Press “F8” just as described for a single operating system.


3. As the “Advanced Boot Options” screen appears, select the Safe Mode option you want using the arrow keys. As you make your selection, press “Enter“.

4. Log on to your computer using your administrator account


While your computer is in Safe Mode, the words “Safe Mode” will appear in all four corners of your screen.

Step 1: Open up the Start Menu.

Step 2: Click on the Power button (for Windows 8 it is the little arrow next to the “Shut Down” button) and whilst holding down “Shift” click on Restart.

Windows 8 Safe Mode Step 2 Shift Restart 2018

Step 3: After reboot, a blue menu with options will appear. From them you should choose Troubleshoot.

Windows 8 10 Safe Mode Boot Options Step 3 Choose an option 2018

Step 4: You will see the Troubleshoot menu. From this menu choose Advanced Options.

Windows 8 10 Safe Mode Boot Options Step 4 Troubleshoot 2018

Step 5: After the Advanced Options menu appears, click on Startup Settings.

Windows 8 10 Safe Mode Boot Options Step 5 Advanced 2018

Step 6: From the Startup Settings menu, click on Restart.

Windows 8 10 Safe Mode Boot Options Step 6 Startup Settings Restart 2018

Step 7: A menu will appear upon reboot. You can choose any of the three Safe Mode options by pressing its corresponding number and the machine will restart.

Windows 8 10 Safe Mode Boot Options Step 7 Safe Modes 2018

Some malicious scripts may modify the registry entries on your computer to change different settings. This is why cleaning your Windows Registry Database is recommended. Since the tutorial on how to do this is a bit long and tampering with registries could damage your computer if not done properly you should refer and follow our instructive article about fixing registry entries, especially if you are unexperienced in that area.

2. Find files created by DarkHydrus Trojan on your PC

Find files created by DarkHydrus Trojan

1. For Windows 8, 8.1 and 10. 2. For Windows XP, Vista, and 7.

For Newer Windows Operating Systems

Step 1:

On your keyboard press + R and write explorer.exe in the Run text box and then click on the Ok button.


Step 2:

Click on your PC from the quick access bar. This is usually an icon with a monitor and its name is either “My Computer”, “My PC” or “This PC” or whatever you have named it.


Step 3:

Navigate to the search box in the top-right of your PC’s screen and type “fileextension:” and after which type the file extension. If you are looking for malicious executables, an example may be “fileextension:exe”. After doing that, leave a space and type the file name you believe the malware has created. Here is how it may appear if your file has been found:

N.B. We recommend to wait for the green loading bar in the navination box to fill up in case the PC is looking for the file and hasn’t found it yet.

For Older Windows Operating Systems

In older Windows OS’s the conventional approach should be the effective one:

Step 1:

Click on the Start Menu icon (usually on your bottom-left) and then choose the Search preference.


Step 2:

After the search window appears, choose More Advanced Options from the search assistant box. Another way is by clicking on All Files and Folders.

search companion

Step 3:

After that type the name of the file you are looking for and click on the Search button. This might take some time after which results will appear. If you have found the malicious file, you may copy or open its location by right-clicking on it.

Now you should be able to discover any file on Windows as long as it is on your hard drive and is not concealed via special software.

Use SpyHunter to scan for malware and unwanted programs

3. Scan for malware and unwanted programs with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

Scan your PC and Remove DarkHydrus Trojan with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool and back up your data

1. Install SpyHunter to scan for DarkHydrus Trojan and remove them.2. Scan with SpyHunter, Detect and Remove DarkHydrus Trojan. Back up your data to secure it from malware in the future.
Step 1: Click on the “Download” button to proceed to SpyHunter’s download page.

It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.

Step 2: Guide yourself by the download instructions provided for each browser.

Step 3: After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.


Step 1: After the update process has finished, click on the ‘Malware/PC Scan’ tab. A new window will appear. Click on ‘Start Scan’.


Step 2: 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.


Step 3: If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Back up your data to secure it against attacks in the future

IMPORTANT! Before reading the Windows backup instructions, we highly recommend to back up your data with a cloud backup solution and insure your files against any type of loss, even from the most severe threats. We recommend you to read more about it and to download SOS Online Backup .


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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