Remove GootKit Trojan Horse
THREAT REMOVAL

Remove GootKit Trojan Horse

GootKit Trojan imageWhat is GootKit? How to remove GootKit Trojan from your PC or Mac?

The GootKit Trojan is a dangerous malware threat which is designed mainly 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 GootKit 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 GootKit Trojan can download other threats, launch multiple dangerous modules and install a cryptocurrency miner which will run a sequence of performance-demanding tasks.

Threat Summary

NameGootKit Trojan
TypeMalware, Trojan, Miner
Short DescriptionA dangerous malware which can launch a miner and start a Trojan module.
SymptomsThe victims may notice performance issues and can get infected with other malware.
Distribution MethodCommon distribution tactics and direct web attacks.
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GootKit Trojan – Update October 2019

A new security reports gives further details over the features of the last few iterations of the GootKit Trojan. They have the ability to launch many dangerous components that can have a profound effect upon the computers. The specialists note that the ability to cause self-injection into running processes which can be both operating system related or installed by the users. This allows the virus to place itself in the virtual protected memory. This means that by doing so it will protect itself from security systems and can easily bypass or even remove them. What’s important about this is that these methods work against both anti-virus programs, but also firewalls, virtual machine hosts and debug environments. They are frequently used for performing advanced analysis of the malware. By providing this functionality active samples can be very hard to detect. The respective module works by searching for specific strings in the hardware report about the user by looking for parts that are related to the typical configuration options of popular hypervisors: VMWare, Xen and Parallels in particular.

The same checks are performed in the Windows Registry as well. When this engine has completed running the local Trojan client will be run. It will contact the remote server and setup a persistent connection allowing the criminals to take over control of the machine.

GootKit Trojan – Update September 2019

The Gootkit Trojan has been found to toarget a lot of networks located across Europe, including banks found in France, Switzerland and Austria. What’s particularly dangerous is that it can also be set against cryptocurrency services. However it has been found that two databases that are used by the hacking collective to have leaked. A security analysis of their structure and a content extraction has revealed further information about the stored information. The experts reveal that the criminal collective behind the threat is actively pulling data from three botnets totaling about 38,563 compromised hosts.

One of the databases has been found to contain a lot of sensitive information about the victim users including their bank card data. The sum of the harvested appears is expected to number at least 15,000 payment cards. Alongside the information about the assets the databases also includes a lot of details about the infected machines, including login credentials. Among the harvested information there is also a lot of strings that can be used to login onto online services. Among them there were found username and password combinations for the following:

  • Polish Ski shops
  • Envato Marketplaces
  • Cryptocurrency Exchanges
  • Bulgarian government agencies

The Gootkit Trojan has also been found to hijack web browsers data including cookies, history, bookmarks and etc. What’s particularly dangerous about is that it can also screenshot the users interaction and launch all kinds of other modules. What we know is that the engine will extract a detailed list of system data including the following:

  • Internal Network IP Address
  • External Network IP Address
  • Hostname
  • Domain Name
  • Processor Information
  • Memory Details
  • Installed Security Applications and Services
  • Web Browser Data
  • ISP Information
  • Operating System Information

GootKit Trojan – How Did I Get It

The GootKit Trojan is a dangerous banking malware which is being delivered using a variety of tactics. One of the popular ways is to use large-scale botnet campaigns and phishing tactics that incorporate its code as part of the intended virus infection. One of the main ones are the following:

  • Phishing Tactics — The hackers can attempt to scam the victims into creating bulk email messages and specially crafted websites. They are all hosted on similar sounding domain names attempting to manipulate the recipients into interacting with the shown contents. In many cases it is faked or stolen from the original sources, the headers of the messages can also be masked. A dangerous tactics is the inclusion of self-signed security certificates.
  • Malicious Payloads — The hackers can embed the necessary infection code in various kind of files. They can be either macro-infected documents or bundle installers. This covers a large part of the attack campaigns as this can include all popular file formats: presentations, databases, spreadsheets and text file. The other alternative which is covered by the hackers include the creation of malware setup files of popular applications. They can include the following: system utilities, creativity suites, office and productivity suites and etc.
  • Malware Infections — Previous malware can be used to make way for the GootKit Trojan samples. This can also be done by using automated toolkits that can enumerate networks for weaknesses. Any active exploits can lead to the GootKit Trojan delivery.
Related: MailChimp Abused to Deliver GootKit Banking Malware for 4 Months

GootKit Trojan – What Does It Do

As soon as the GootKit Trojan has infected a given host it will immediately start to execute its built-in sequence. The security analysis that has been made on the collected samples shows that the main infection engine will “unpack” itself and all associated modules. One of the default options is the installation as a persistent threat. In most cases this means that the virus engine will be started every time the computer is powered on. In some cases it can also disable access to the recovery boot options which makes recovery even more difficult.

The next module which is started is the anti-analysis function which will scan the memory and hard disk contents looking for active security software that can potentially block or remove the GootKit Trojan. All found apps will be bypassed or entirely deleted from the system. Examples of such include virtual machine hosts, anti-virus software, firewalls, intrusion detection systems and etc. As this is related to advanced system interaction the following actions can be caused:

  • Process Hookup — The GotKit Trojan can hookup to existing (running) processes that include both system and third-party ones. A consequence of this action will be that the virus will be able to hijack the user interaction, read the user input and output and monitor the activity of the applications.
  • Data Gathering — One of the main dangers associated with having the GootKit Trojan active on a given system is its ability to harvest information found in the memory and the files that can expose the identity of the victims or generate a report of the installed hardware parts.
  • System Changes — As a result of the GootKit Trojan installation its engine can be configured into editing out system configuration files, editing the user preferences or making edits to the Windows Registry values. This can result in serious issues when interacting with the computer, performance problems, loss of data and even unexpected errors.

One of the newer releases of the GootKit Trojan adds in a further module that will bypass Windows Defender by using a complex technique. First it will check if the service is running and if this checks as positive a Registry entries will be added that is related to a weakness in the system. It allows the whitelisting of services at boot-up. Using a malware dropper that has been specially made for this purpose the Windows Defender service will be shut down.

The GootKit Trojan is classified primarily as a banking Trojan which means that it will constantly monitor the user interactions looking for any user input in payment pages, online banking services and etc. It will automatically read this information and change it so that the funds will be transferred to a hacker-controlled bank account or cryptocurrency wallet. Additionally as a generic Trojan it will connect the infected host to a hacker-controlled server allowing the hackers to take over control of the host, steal their data and etc.

How to Remove GootKit Trojan

In order to fully remove GootKit 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 GootKit 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 GootKit files and programs related to it and will protect your computer against such intrusive apps and malware in the future.

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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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