How to remove ServHelper

ServHelper is a new backdoor with a downloader variant, which first appeared in November of 2018. Named by the Threat actor “Ta505,” ServHelper spreads through email campaigns using a quantity-over-quality approach that has proven to work, albeit less effectively than the Emotet strategies discussed here. ServHelper seems to be largely targeted toward businesses but could change to focus on individual’s in future campaigns.

How does ServHelper works

ServHelper is downloaded through Microsoft Word documents with macros. The documents often pretend to be invoices, though they may take other forms such as, but not limited to: greeting cards, complaints, or details from your bank. These documents attempt to convince the victim to enable macros in them by saying that the content cannot be viewed until macros are enabled. If the victim clicks the Enable Content button, the infected document runs code that downloads ServHelper to the computer. You can learn more about how to protect yourself here. An example is shown below:

 Infected enable Content doc

Another method employed by ServHelper is to distribute PDF files that claim you must follow the link provided to update your PDF viewer. These links instead reach out to a download server that infects anyone who visits. The end result is the same regardless of whether the victim gets the infection from a Word document or a PDF.

Once installed, ServHelper does one of two things.

  1. Establishes a remote-control session that allows the malicious actor to control the infected computer from anywhere. To accomplish this, the malware talks to a Command and Control server (C&C) where it takes it commands from. Some of the notable commands include: the ability to kill itself and remove traces of itself from the computer, the ability to copy user’s browser profiles, and the ability to execute a command shell. This allows the attackers to gain access to your PII as well as any passwords, usernames, bank account information, and more.
  2. Drops another piece of malware known as FlawedGrace. ServHelper recently removed some of its capabilities (in this version only) to instead focusing on dropping this malware. FlawedGrace acts as a remote-access Trojan providing similar functions to ServHelper.

Who is affected?

ServHelper largely targets businesses, so most of the emails are designed to look like emails you would see in your day-to-day business, such as invoices. Despite this active focus, it’s entirely possible for computers outside of a business to be infected and extorted, so protection is paramount.

Indicators of Compromise

ServHelper makes several changes that indicate whether a computer has been infected.

  1. The most noticeable one is the C:\Windows\ServHelper.dll that is dropped in the windows folder.
  2. Unusual scheduled startup tasks are always noteworthy and ServHelper uses them to start itself every time a victim’s computer is ran.
  3. C:\PROGRAM FILES\COMMON FILES\SYSTEM\WINRESET.EXE
  4. crl.verisign[.]com/pca3[.]crl
  5. hxxp://ocsp.verisign[.]com/MFEwTzBNMEswSTAJBgUrDgMCGgUABBQ%2FxkCfyHfJr7GQ6M658NRZ4SHo%2FAQUCPVR6Pv%2BPT1kNnxoz1t4qN%2B5xTcCECcNdVyfWsO322H1CZgocHg%3D
  6. hxxp://www.download.windowsupdate.com/msdownload/update/v3/static/trustedr/en/authrootstl[.]cab
  7. IP: 104.81.60.211
  8. IP: 104.81.60.51
  9. IP: 2.17.157.9

What you can do

If you or someone you know is infected with the ServHelper malware, download SUPERAntiSpyware Professional right now and get a 14-day free trial, no credit card required.  SUPERAntiSpyware is easy to install and will detect and remove ServHelper from any Windows computer.

If you are a Computer Technician, you may like to try our SUPERAntiSpyware Tech Edition solution, now free for the next 30 days. Use Tech02 as the Tech ID.  Click here: https://www.superantispyware.com/technician-download.html

How to Remove ServHelper

  1. Restart the infected computer in safe mode without networking.
  2. Search through the Indicators of infection listed above and investigate any files/folders you do not recognize. You can run the file through SUPERAntiSpyware or online through VirusTotal.com to confirm that it is malware.
  3. Delete files and folders that have been confirmed as malware.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 on all other machines in the network.
  5. Restore all infected computers to normal mode only after confirming the infection is removed.

How to remove Emotet

You may have heard of the Trojan Emotet before. Since first appearing back in 2014 stealing banking information, it has evolved into a multi-faceted threat that targets everyone. It uses social engineering through emails to attempt to convince the user to open a Microsoft Word document and run its malicious macros. Even more worrisome is that once Emotet has infected a target, it attempts to take over the victim’s Microsoft Outlook desktop application. If successful, Emotet goes through all sent emails and contacts and send out a new wave of spam emails. Only this time, the potential victims are receiving the message from a trusted email.

A campaign from Emotet over the Christmas season read like a friend sending a friendly season greeting.

Dear <name>,

You make the stars shine brighter and the winter days warmer just by being in my life. Merry Christmas to my favorite person in the world.

Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Greeting Card is attached

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. Garrison Keillor

While not limited to invoices or Christmas cards, these emails attempt to get the user to click the download link and then to open the document. In the email mentioned above the target may be fooled into thinking that the attached greeting card is legitimate.  The document actually contains a malicious macro, an embedded script. While macros were initially designed to help automate keystrokes and mouse movements, they were quickly abused by nefarious virus creators. The infection cannot run on its own as Microsoft has automatically disabled macros more than a decade ago to help stop these malicious scripts. Instead, Emotet uses a few techniques to get the user to re-enable macros. Examples can be seen below.



The picture urges the user to click the Enable Content button, implying that they cannot view the Word document until they do so. You may have already noticed that the bar itself says that macros have been disabled, and the Enable Content button will, in fact, allow them. The moment that Enable Content button is clicked, the macros will start, and in seconds you will be infected. Even worse, in most cases you will have no indication from this point forward that anything is wrong. In one test case we briefly had a command window appear:



This window lasted less than two seconds before disappearing. This attack vector is not unique to Emotet though. In fact, it has been used by a number of ransomware attacks in the past. If you ever see a document you didn’t expect to receive, you should always be extremely cautious with it and you should never enable macros without a very good reason.

How it works

Emotet is an evolving malware that has been known to primarily spread itself through email spam campaigns.  Emotet itself does not attempt to do much harm; instead, it opens the door for other malware who pay the doorman on the way in. It achieves this by using what is known as a Command and Control server (C&C): Emotet requests instructions from its C&C server, which  issues a new command. This command could be anything from “grab this malware sample and run it” to “tell me what passwords are stored in the user’s browser.” Emotet can receive updates and new capabilities in this way as well, showing that if Emotet has infected your computer or network, it should be removed as quickly as possible.

Emotet doesn’t stop at the first computer infected though. Once it’s on a network, it will attempt to get to all computers it’s connected to through a brute-force attack. Unless strong passwords are enforced on machines and all known vulnerabilities are patched, a single installation of Emotet can cause every computer in the network to become infected. Emotet is often updated with new exploits as they are found, meaning that while it may not be successful at first, it will keep trying until it finds something that does work.

Code

We won’t go into too much depth on the actual code itself, but a brief step-by-step walkthrough can be useful to get a better understanding on how this malware works.

1. In the Word document there is a VBA script that is obfuscated so that you cannot read it at a glance. All this code does is launch a command shell, which then launches PowerShell, a more powerful version of the Windows command shell.

2. Using PowerShell, the script attempts to download the core Emotet payload from a large variety of distribution websites.

3. The randomly named payload will then reach out to the main server and request a command. The command will change based on the campaign that is running —it could go grab new malware or it could attempt to use your own email address as a way to spread itself.

Who is affected

Many people assume that they will not be targets of malware campaigns. Emotet, though, targets everyone equally: it has the simple goal of getting on every machine it can and then getting paid to let other, more targeted malware come in behind it. If your email address has ever been sold, disclosed in a breach, or was on a friend’s email list when they got infected, then it’s possible you will receive a malicious email from them.

Indicators of infection

The main location for the executable is in C:\Users\<name>\AppData\Local\ and then whatever new name Emotet decides to use. One we have seen often is archivessymbol, but this will change. If you see something in this folder you don’t know about, it’s important to run a scan.

Versions of Emotet can also drop files onto your computer in C:\Users\Public or C:\Users\<username>:

These files generally have 5-6 randomly generated numbers in the file name, followed by .exe. These are not actually executable files, but HTML documents that are used to generate revenue for the Blackhat’s by simulating clicks on web advertisements.

What you can do


If you or someone you know is infected with the Emotet malware, download SUPERAntiSpyware Professional right now and get a 14-day free trial, no credit card required.  SUPERAntiSpyware is easy to install and will detect and remove Emotet from any Windows computer.

If you are a Computer Technician, you may like to try our SUPERAntiSpyware Tech Edition solution, now free for the next 30 days. Use Tech01 as the Tech ID.  Click here: https://www.superantispyware.com/technician-download.html

Emotet has also been known to exploit a vulnerability in Windows called EternalBlue. Microsoft has issued a patch for this, and applying this patch can help protect you from Emotet as well as other malware who utilize this exploit.

HOW TO REMOVE EMOTET

  1. Restart the infected computer in safe mode without networking
  2. Search through the Indicators of infection and investigate any files/folders you do not recognize. You can run the file through SUPERAntiSpyware or online through VirusTotal.com to confirm that it is malware.
  3. Delete files and folders that have been confirmed as malware.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 on all other machines in the network.
  5. Restore all infected computers to normal mode only after confirming the infection is removed.

It is time to leave Windows XP and Windows Vista behind

Frequently we here at SUPERAntiSpyware HQ still encounter users who use Windows XP and Windows Vista and we have one thing to say, its time to move on. Yes it may have served you well and change is hard but it is for the better. Windows XP extended support ended on April 8, 2014 and Windows Vista extended support ended on April 11, 2017. These operating systems are now declared end of life and unsupported by Microsoft and no longer receive regular updates.

As Microsoft has stated on their website: leave windows xp

 “An unsupported version of Windows will no longer receive software updates from Windows Update. These updates include security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal your personal information. Windows Update also installs the latest software updates to improve the reliability of Windows—such as new drivers for your hardware.”

On top of Microsoft no longer supporting Windows Vista and XP, many software vendors no longer support these operating system either. The current versions of the popular web browsers Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox no longer support these operating systems forcing many users to use outdated versions or extremely old versions of Internet Explorer which is rife with security flaws. Not good!

We recommend all users of these unsupported operating systems update to at least Windows 7, if not 8.1 and 10. This will ensure your data is more secure and less likely to be stolen or destroyed by hackers or malware infections.

Layerin’ Ain’t Just for Winter! Bolster Your Security With Layers of Protection

Virus infection

I thought Spyware and Viruses are the same thing?

A virus is malicious code that copies itself over and over in order to do damage to your computers data while Spyware is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of threats such as Trojans, Ransomware, Keyloggers, Cookies, Worms, etc that may do damage to your PC and/or privacy but do not have the intention of totally destroying your computers data and system unlike a virus.

So your telling me I need an Anti-Virus AND an Anti-Spyware?

Strictly speaking, SUPERAntiSpyware© is not designed to be Anti-Virus software. We target Spyware, a focus that allows us to respond quickly to the ever-growing groups of hostile software we address, with new definitions released multiple times a day, and concentrate on the technology that targets the most common threats in the wild. There are a lot of things that are often called viruses (many trojans, worms, and so on) that SUPERAntiSpyware© will remove, but it won’t remove true viruses such as boot-sector viruses.

Security With Layers of Protection

No one security tool can catch everything out there and protect you, which is why we recommend a layered approach. We recommend if you use an Anti-Virus, you supplement it with SUPERAntiSpyware© and if you only use SUPERAntiSpyware© alone, consider getting an Anti-Virus. SUPERAntiSpyware© has been designed to be compatible with popular Anti-Virus applications such as McAfee, Symantec(Norton), Kaspersky, Bitdefender, ESET NOD32, AVG, Avast, Panda, Avira, and so on.

 

Watch out for fake PayPal “unable to complete your recent transactions” phishing emails!

 

Phishing Emails Watch out for fake PayPal

We here at SUPERAntiSpyware have noticed a fairly recent clever email phishing campaign that claims to be PayPal. In the email the fake PayPal scam artists attempt to scare users into thinking that not only have their recent PayPal payments been declined, there is also unusual selling activities and they “will need some more information” about your recent sales in attempt to steal your information.

Example of the phishing email

Phishing Emails

We here at SUPERAntiSpyware recommend you simply delete this email, and do not click any links within the email, especially the fake blue “Check Your Accounts” button. If you have been scammed by this email, immediately change your PayPal account password and consider looking into changing your spam settings to avoid future spam emails such as these. Remember, if you do not recognize the sender address, do not open the email, and if you do open an email such as this always hover your mouse pointer over the emails links to see where they’re trying to take you, usually phishing emails links will point you to a website that has nothing to do with the company they’re posing as.

Update your firmware to avoid the KRACK WPA2 vulnerability!

KRACK

Security researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the WPA2 wireless protocol. The exploit is called KRACK, short for Key Reinstallation Attacks that can allow hackers to snoop on WiFi connections and inject data into WiFi streams to do things such as install malware and other rogue actions such as steal passwords, emails, and other data.

Microsoft issued an update during last week’s October patch release that fixes the problem on Windows OS, if you have not updated your Windows installation it is recommended you do so immediately. Microsoft has stated that even when the vulnerability is patched within Windows, router firmware and Wifi drivers installed or connected to Windows machines that have not been updated can still be affected. To fully protect yourself, Windows users should also install patched WiFi drivers and router firmware if available, in addition to the patch Microsoft released for Windows.

Watch out for fake Office 365 phishing emails!

that claims to be Microsoft attempting to inform users their Office account email storage space is almost full and to prevent incoming/Outgoing mail from getting bounced back, to click the supplied link to add an additional 10 gigs of free and mandatory storage. This of course is an obvious scam to phish your password as the link takes you to a fake Office 365 login screen.

Example of the spam. Beyond the obvious sketchy character of the email, hovering over the links within the email with your mouse pointer clearly shows it takes you to a different website and not a Microsoft website.

We here at SUPERAntiSpyware recommend you simply delete this email, and do not click any links within the email. If you have been scammed by this email, immediately change your Office 365 account password and consider looking into changing your spam settings to avoid future spam emails such as these. Remember, if you do not recognize the sender address, do not open the email, and also if you do open an email always hover your mouse pointer over the emails links to see where they’re trying to take you.

Watch out for fake “Microsoft account Verify your email address” spam!

Verify Your Email Address

We at SUPERAntiSpyware have noticed in uptick in spam that claims to be associated with verifying your email address to set up a Microsoft Account.

Fake Microsoft account verification email

We recommend you immediately delete this email, do not click the “Verify Your email address button” it will redirect you to a known phishing site to try to steal your account information. You can tell the button is fake by simply hovering your mouse over the button and taking a look at the URL, clearly non-Microsoft related.

Clicking this button does not verify your account, it brings you to a phishing website that will lure you into giving up your account information!

If you have been scammed by this email, immediately change your Microsoft account password and consider looking into changing your spam settings to avoid future spam emails such as these. Remember, if you do not recognize the sender address, do not open the email!

How to protect your PC from Petya/GoldenEye ransomware

Protect your PC from Petya/GoldenEye Ransomware

There are two ways this strain of ransomware is infecting large businesses, governments, and other entities around the world:

  • An attack via a vulnerable Windows Server Message Block (SMB) service which windows uses to share Files/Printers across networks.
  • The Microsoft PxExec tool with admin credentials from target computer.

These problems have been patched by Microsoft, but there are still users out there who have not downloaded the patches for their Windows Operating Systems so the ransomware keeps spreading.

Fight Back

To fight back and protect yourself from this global ransomware attack make sure you do the following:

1) You have Windows Automatic Updates turned on and you are up to date. If you don’t have auto update on, you can download the security update for your version of Windows HERE

2) Make sure your copy of SUPERAntiSpyware is the latest edition and is current with the latest definitions. If you own the Professional Edition, make sure Real-Time Protection is enabled.

3)Backing up your computer regularly and keeping a recent backup copy not connected to any PC. We recommend using Support.com Online Backup which we offer on our online shopping cart as an optional offer when purchasing SUPERAntiSpyware Professional.

What Are Cookies?

What Are Cookies and How do they work?

Cookies are files, typically text files which are stored on a user’s device. They are made to contain data specific to the user or website, and can be accessed either by a web server or the users device. Cookies cannot themselves harm your computer in any way. Cookie allow the web server to deliver a web page “suited” to the user, or the web page itself can contain a script which is reading the data in the cookie and so is able to carry information from one visit to the website to the next website.

Typically what this means is that cookies are used to remember logins and keep track of user settings on websites, this information might include the name of the site, particular products being viewed, pages visited, etc. Cookie can be used to track your movement on the Internet ONLY if a site is aware of the cookie and is designed to use the specific cookies. Because of their use in tracking online activity, many feel that this constitutes spyware. Most antispyware applications, including SUPERAntiSpyware, detect tracking cookie in one form or another.

Cookie are not blocked by SUPERAntiSpyware because they are required for most web functionality.  Cookie will come back every time you surf the web, and can be cleaned by running a Quick or Complete Scan.