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Remove Andromeda Trojan (Virus Removal Guide) - Feb 2020 update

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Trojans

Andromeda is an evasive malware downlaoder which is capable of stealing information from the infected users

Andromeda virus
Andromeda Trojan is a family of malware and a botnet that is still prevalent to this day

Questions about Andromeda Trojan

Andromeda virus is a family of Trojans that was first introduced in 2011 and has been active ever since. With dozens of variants released, it serves the purpose of propagating other malicious software (backdoor[1] functionality) and stealing confidential information from the victim. Various criminal gangs behind Andromeda used different attack vectors over the years, including exploit kits,[2] infectious software cracks, spam email campaigns, and others.

Name Andromeda
Type Trojan, backdoor
Active since 2011
Related to Research showed that Andromeda shares multiple source code similarities with Zbot/Zeus
Distribution Malicious actors are known to use several distribution methods, including phishing campaigns, spam email attachments, illegal software downloads, and various exploit kits (Angler, Neutrino, Nuclear, etc,)
Encryption used Various parts of the payload and malware files use RC4 and custom encryption
Main process msiexec.exe
Functionality 
  • Opens a backdoor on the compromised system, allowing malware to install other malicious payloads
  • Steals sensitive information from the computer, such as login credentials or banking information
  • Installs other malware, for example, ransomware
  • Extracts various information from the machine, including IP address, timezone, keyboard language, etc.
  • Avoids AV analysis and detection with the help of various API functions
  • Imports various plugins and modules that help to control the computer, including TeamViewer, rootkit, Keyloagger, and others
Detection and termination  Andromeda and all its variants are particularly evasive, as the authors implement various obfuscation techniques. Nevertheless, most of the reputable security solutions should be able to detect the malicious payload and delete all the malicious files related to the infection (note that in some cases you might have to access Safe Mode – check the instructions on how to do that below) 
System fix Since the malware infects various Windows system files, it may corrupt the operation of the OS. To fix the damage done by the virus, scan your computer with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

Researchers from Avast[3] believe that the Andromeda Trojan family stems from ngrBot/DorkBot malware, although they also spotted multiple source code similarities with Zbot, otherwise known as Zeus, which is probably the most prolific malware ever created. Initially, it was used to steal banking credentials from Windows users, although many malicious parties abused the name later in online scam campaigns.

Andromeda is very sophisticated, which it comes to obfuscation and evasion techniques. It uses several uncommon API functions to avoid infecting environments that are used for malware analysis, such as sandboxes and other analysis tools. Distributors also put a lot of effort to prevent AV companies from establishing a malware profile:

Andromeda’s authors put a lot of effort into diversifying their portfolio of infection droppers and to disable, or at least complicate the sample submission and exchange between AV companies and their regular process used to scan and thoroughly analyze files. To achieve this, they update the custom packers daily and as a bonus, they bloat the binaries with more than 70 MB of garbage.

Besides, the virus uses executable compression[4] techniques (PE packers) to prevent Andromeda removal and detection by AV solutions. Nevertheless, the most up-to-date anti-malware tools like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes should be able to detect and eliminate the malicious files that were populated by the Andromeda virus.

Because malware performs various changes to the system and infects some system-related files (for example, modifies msiexec.exe and creates a new value, “Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\Run” in the registry), it may also destabilize the Windows, even after the malware is eliminated. Thus, to avoid the OS reinstallation, scan your computer with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego – it can repair the damage done and revert the damage done to system files.

Interestingly, malware is programmed to detect the language settings of the keyboard. If one of the following languages are identified, Andromeda Trojan will completely eliminate itself from the system:

  • Russian
  • Ukrainian
  • Belorussian
  • Kazakh

It is not uncommon for the attackers to exclude countries they are coming from to prevent the interest of local authorities.

Andromeda virus: presence and possible consequences

Andromeda virus is a dangerous Trojan horse, and it can be used for multiple malicious activities. As soon as the malware infiltrates the system, it starts controlling it, so you might notice that your computer is much slower than usual. Of course, Andromeda was not created only for that.

You should also know that this virus can easily infect your machine with additional malware, update it, disable it, remove it, and implement other malicious tasks on your computer. To perform all these tasks, Andromeda connects to its C&C server – all the communications are encrypted with the RC4 algorithm.[5]

Andromeda Trojan
Andromeda is a Trojan that infects system using various methods, including spam email attachments, exploit kits, software cracks, and other methods

The C&C server communication is performed in JSON format, and the following servers are used:

  • hxxp://disorderstatus.ru/order.php
  • hxxp://differentia.ru/diff.php

Both of these domains are connected to dozens of DNS servers that are located all over the world, including the U.S., Germany, the United Kingdom, etc. Anti-malware solutions detect the malicious domains as URL:Mal, so users with comprehensive online traffic protection software can prevent these communications.

Andromeda Trojan is also known to import various tracking modules and plugins into the system, including the well-known remote control tool TeamViewer. Nevertheless, victims would not be aware of its presence, as it is operated in the background. Besides the remote control, the virus also injects a rootkit,[6] keylogger, and other plugins that help malicious actors to achieve their goals.

In the meantime, users may suffer great losses due to Andromeda virus infection, including monetary loss, sensitive information compromise, and even identity theft/fraud. With the help of malware, hackers can establish a vast botnet, which helps them to harvest data on a mass scale. All the stolen information is typically sold on the Dark Web for large sums of money.

Therefore, remove Andromeda Trojan as soon as your security software flags it, as the consequences may be disastrous for you otherwise. If you had no anti-malware installed, the virus might run on your system for a prolonged time, and you will not know about its existence – this is another reason to keep a powerful security tool installed at all times.

Distribution routine and prevention measures

As previously mentioned, the Andromeda virus uses a variety of techniques to infect users around the world. Just as much other malware, the early campaigns include spam emails – this technique is still prevalent to this day, even though email providers implemented a variety of techniques to prevent such emails from reaching users. Despite that, threat actors always come up with new ways of presenting a phishing email to victims.

These emails include an attachment, typically of a .doc, .xls, .pdf, or .zip format, which, once opened, asks users to allow a macro function to run (i.e., “Enable Content” prompt). If granted, a PowerShell command will contact a remote server and download the malware payload. Thus, it is important not to allow macros to be run on ANY document that is clipped to a suspicious email.

Andromeda distribution
Andromeda forms a botnet and is operated worldwide

Other techniques used by the criminals include Angler, Neutrino, Nuclear, and other exploit kits, which and be rendered useless by those who use software that is patched by the latest security updates. The infection is triggered automatically as victims who use vulnerable software access a malicious or a hacked site – even a reputable site SourceForge (hosts open-source applications) was compromised by the attackers.

Also, stay away from torrent and warez sites that host illegal software installers and cracks/keygens – these are known to be infested with various types of malware, including ransomware like Djvu.

Andromeda virus removal steps

Andromeda virus is a sophisticated piece of malware, and threat actors behind use various techniques in order to increase its persistence and ensure that the malware stays on the system as long as possible. This is especially true if no anti-malware is not present on the machine, as it allows the infection to spread without interruptions. Once infected, the computer may remain in the state for weeks or even months, until security software is installed, and a prompt Andromeda removal can be performed.

In some cases, you might not be able to remove Andromeda Trojan immediately, as it may start tampering with your anti-malware software. In such a case, access Safe Mode with Networking, and perform a full system scan from there. To remediate the infected system files, perform a scan with a PC repair tool Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Andromeda Trojan, follow these steps:

Remove Andromeda Trojan using Safe Mode with Networking

If you are struggling to remove Andromeda Trojan in normal mode, access Safe Mode with Networking:

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove Andromeda Trojan

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete Andromeda Trojan removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Andromeda Trojan and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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