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TrickBot Trojan Latest Variant Resilient to Disable Windows Defender

TrickBot is a banking Trojan that has been around since 2016. The threat it poses is quite disastrous as it is designed to steal online banking and other credentials, cryptocurrency wallets, browser information.

The Trojan has a new variant that is currently circling the web, which again attempts to disable Windows Defender on affected systems as seen in previous versions. However, the latest variant of TrickBot has added new methods to ensure that the security program is disabled.

The new variant was discovered by MalwareHunterTeam and Vitali Kremez, and the security researchers succeeded in reverse-engineering its code.

Threat Summary

Name TrickBot also known as Trojan.TrickBot GA
Type Banking Trojan
Short Description The TrickBot Trojan has a new variant which attempts to disable Windows Defender on compromised systems.
Distribution Method The TrickBot banking Trojan is mostly distributed in malicious spam campaigns. It’s also known to leverage the EternalBlue exploit (MS17-010) as a distribution technique.
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TrickBot Trojan – Technical Details

Upon execution, TrickBot Trojan will start a loader to prepare the system by disabling Windows services and processes that belong to security programs. Then, the Trojan will elevate its privileges and will load its core component by injecting a DLL. This DLL downloads other modules deployed for credentials and information theft. It also contains the layer needed for communication with its command and control server.

In August 2018, a stealth code injection was introduced to TrickBot’s code. It will sleep the infection for 30 seconds. This is a technique that can evade signature scans used by security software such as anti-virus solutions, sandbox environments, and virtual machine hosts. Their real-time engines can be bypassed or entirely removed by the malicious code.

The actual decryption of the obfuscated Trickbot Trojan is run after the stealth protection code has complete. The 2018 version of the malware uses direct system calls which is similar to Flokibot, a variant of Zeus. This shows that the hackers behind the new Trickbot banking Trojan might have used several different code sources.

The latest variant of the banking Trojan has added the following methods to ensure that Windows Defender and Windows Defender and Microsoft Defender APT are disabled, as reported by Bleeping Computer. It should be noted that these methods are blocked by TamperProtection if it is enabled:

Add policies to SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection for the following:
DisableBehaviorMonitoring: Disables behavior monitoring in Windows Defender.
DisableOnAccessProtection: Disables scanning when you open a program or file.
DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable: Disabled process scanning.
Configures the following Windows Defender preferences via PowerShell:
-DisableRealtimeMonitoring: Disables real time scanning.
-DisableBehaviorMonitoring: Same as above, except as a Windows Defender preference.
-DisableBlockAtFirstSeen: Disables Defender’s Cloud Protection feature.
-DisableIOAVProtection: Disables scans of downloaded files and attachments.
-DisablePrivacyMode: Disables privacy mode so all users can see threat history.
-DisableIntrusionPreventionSystem: Disables network protection for known vulnerability exploits.
-DisableScriptScanning: Disables the scanning of scripts.
-SevereThreatDefaultAction: Set the value to 6, which turns off automatic remediation for severe threats.
-LowThreatDefaultAction: Set the value to 6, which turns off automatic remediation for low threats.
-ModerateThreatDefaultAction: Set the value to 6, which turns off automatic remediation for moderate threats.

When the Trojan detects security software on the compromised system, it is set to configure a debugger via the Image File Execution Options registry key. Through this action the debugger will launch prior to the program that is executed. In case the debugger is not found, the program will not be able to launch, the researchers explained.

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the project started. A professional with 10+ years of experience in creating engaging content. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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Preparation before removing TrickBot.

Before starting the actual removal process, we recommend that you do the following preparation steps.

  • Make sure you have these instructions always open and in front of your eyes.
  • Do a backup of all of your files, even if they could be damaged. You should back up your data with a cloud backup solution and insure your files against any type of loss, even from the most severe threats.
  • Be patient as this could take a while.
  • Scan for Malware
  • Fix Registries
  • Remove Virus Files

Step 1: Scan for TrickBot with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

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.

2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter 5 Scan Step 1

3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter 5 Scan Step 2

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.

SpyHunter 5 Scan Step 3

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

Step 2: Clean any registries, created by TrickBot on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by TrickBot there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
Remove Virus Trojan Step 6

2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
Remove Virus Trojan Step 7

3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Remove Virus Trojan Step 8 Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

Step 3: Find virus files created by TrickBot on your PC.

1.For Windows 8, 8.1 and 10.

For Newer Windows Operating Systems

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

Remove Virus Trojan Step 9

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.

Remove Virus Trojan Step 10

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:

file extension malicious

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

2.For Windows XP, Vista, and 7.

For Older Windows Operating Systems

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

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

Remove Virus Trojan

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.

Remove Virus Trojan Step 11

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.

TrickBot FAQ

What Does TrickBot Trojan Do?

The TrickBot Trojan is a malicious computer program designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.

It can be used to steal sensitive data, gain control over a system, or launch other malicious activities.

Can Trojans Steal Passwords?

Yes, Trojans, like TrickBot, can steal passwords. These malicious programs are designed to gain access to a user's computer, spy on victims and steal sensitive information such as banking details and passwords.

Can TrickBot Trojan Hide Itself?

Yes, it can. A Trojan can use various techniques to mask itself, including rootkits, encryption, and obfuscation, to hide from security scanners and evade detection.

Can a Trojan be Removed by Factory Reset?

Yes, a Trojan can be removed by factory resetting your device. This is because it will restore the device to its original state, eliminating any malicious software that may have been installed. Bear in mind, that there are more sophisticated Trojans, that leave backdoors and reinfect even after factory reset.

Can TrickBot Trojan Infect WiFi?

Yes, it is possible for a Trojan to infect WiFi networks. When a user connects to the infected network, the Trojan can spread to other connected devices and can access sensitive information on the network.

Can Trojans Be Deleted?

Yes, Trojans can be deleted. This is typically done by running a powerful anti-virus or anti-malware program that is designed to detect and remove malicious files. In some cases, manual deletion of the Trojan may also be necessary.

Can Trojans Steal Files?

Yes, Trojans can steal files if they are installed on a computer. This is done by allowing the malware author or user to gain access to the computer and then steal the files stored on it.

Which Anti-Malware Can Remove Trojans?

Anti-malware programs such as SpyHunter are capable of scanning for and removing Trojans from your computer. It is important to keep your anti-malware up to date and regularly scan your system for any malicious software.

Can Trojans Infect USB?

Yes, Trojans can infect USB devices. USB Trojans typically spread through malicious files downloaded from the internet or shared via email, allowing the hacker to gain access to a user's confidential data.

About the TrickBot Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this TrickBot how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific trojan problem.

How did we conduct the research on TrickBot?

Please note that our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware definitions, including the various types of trojans (backdoor, downloader, infostealer, ransom, etc.)

Furthermore, the research behind the TrickBot threat is backed with VirusTotal.

To better understand the threat posed by trojans, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.

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