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Remove FormBook virus (Removal Instructions) - updated May 2020

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Malware

FormBook is a from grabbing software that can take screenshots, log keystrokes, and analyze auto-fill to steal user's credentials

FormBook virus spreasd via malicious spam emails

FormBook is a data-stealing malware that belongs to the group of form grabbing trojans. Although its developer introduced it as a legitimate Internet monitoring application, it has been sold on hacking forums and distributed as an information-stealing trojan since 2016. Typically, is spreads via malicious spam emails. If a user is tricked into opening an obfuscated email attachment, the virus payload is dropped and executed on the system. The latest FormBook related malspam campaign has been revealed in Spring 2020 by Fortinet[1]. This time, crooks disguise under the World Health Organization (WHO) supposedly spreading information and recommendations related to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. During the lifetime, a malicious program caused most of the problems for users in the United States and South Korea.[2]

Name FormBook
Type Malware, keylogger, info-stealer
Release year 2016
Danger level High. Makes system changes and steals sensitive data
Distribution method Malicious spam emails attachments (PDF, XSL, DOC, ZIP, etc.)
Symptoms Sluggish computer performance, sudden system shutdowns, delivery of errors
Most affected countries The United States and South Korea
To uninstall FormBook, install SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and run a full system scan. Upon virus removal, run a scan with a powerful optimization utility to fix trojan damage. We recommend using Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego.

FormBook malware mostly targets businesses and organizations in aerospace, defense contraction, and manufacturing sectors. Hence, home computer users are not the main targets of malware.

The FormBook virus is known at least since 2016. A few years ago, creators of malware started advertising it in the dark web and hacking forums. The program was advertised as:

<…> advance internet activity logging software
coded in low level language ASM/C which means it does not require any dependency to work perfectly on all version of windows.
FormBook is designed with aim to give you extensive and powerful internet monitoring experience
with its ultimate stability alongside flexibility that is above the edge of all existing monitoring/spy tools.

Therefore, FormBook operates not only as a data-stealing virus but malware-as-a-service too. The price for its license starts with $29 per month and ends with $299 for “Pro” version.[3] Though, any evil-minded programmer can obtain a program and try to cause problems for computer users. Meanwhile, developers of original malware generate passive income.

As we have already mentioned, the virus spreads via malicious spam emails and enters the system when a user opens an infected file. Once inside, malware connects to Command and Control (C&C) and starts its malicious tasks.

First of all, it makes system changes and downloads all malicious components in order to perform the following operations:

  • keylogging;
  • taking screenshots,
  • stealing passwords saved in a web browser and email clients;
  • clipboard monitoring;
  • stealing forms information;
  • grabbing network requests.

The loss of sensitive information definitely has a negative impact on the company’s and people’s privacy and security. It’s unknown how and when aggregated might be used. However, it’s important to take security measures as soon as you learn about the cyber attack. It goes without saying that FormBook removal has to be your priority.

The complexity of the virus requires using reputable malware removal software to clean the device and fix its damage. We suggest victims remove FormBook with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. Additionally, after virus elimination, people must change their passwords and monitor possible suspicious activities on their accounts.

FormBook malware exampleFormBook is a data-stealing virus that is also available as malware-as-a-service.

Malicious email attachments spread data-stealing malware

Just like many similar malicious programs, FormBook spreads via malicious emails and gets into the system when a user opens an obfuscated file. This cyber threat was noticed spreading via archives that included a deadly exe file, such as:

  • ZIP;
  • RAR;
  • ACE;
  • ISOs.

However, malware payload was also noticed spreading via PDF with download links, and DOC and XLS files that contain malicious macro commands. The latter campaign was very active in 2017 and targeted computers in the U.S and South Korea.

The latest attack has been revealed in spring 2020. This time, attackers take advantage of the most escalated topic worldwide, which is a Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The email pretends to be from the well-known World Health Organization (WHO). It contains a malicious Coronavirus or MY-HEALTH.PDF file, which is highly obfuscated with FormBoom info-stealer trojan dropper and malicious entries. 

Once the attachment is opened, it drops a GuLoader malware downloader, which injects its payload into the legitimate Windows wininit.exe process and then unravels the second payload, which is the FormBook trojan.

FormBook trojan spamFormBook info-stealer trojan is currently distributed in the disguise of Coronavirus spam attachments

The main tip to avoid the infiltration of data-stealing malware is not to rush opening unknown email attachments. Indeed, phishing emails might be hard to identify, but you should look up for grammar mistakes, missing credentials, or suspicious email addresses.

The golden rule is – if you did not expect to receive such an email, it was not sent to you, and there’s no need to check what is hidden in the attachments. Cybersecurity specialists from[4] also suggest double-checking the information about the sender, company, or provided issue online before opening the attached files.

The correct way to eliminate FormBook malware

FormBook removal requires using professional and powerful security software. The malware downloads numerous malicious files and can affect the legit system process. Therefore, there’s no way to locate and delete these entries safely.

Tools like Malwarebytes or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner can remove FormBook from the affected computer. However, if you have some difficulties, please follow the instructions below. They will explain how to disable the virus and run security software.

We want to remind that you should not forget to change your email, social network, online banking, and other account passwords.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
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 FormBook virus, follow these steps:

Remove FormBook using Safe Mode with Networking

If you cannot run security software to eliminate FormBook, follow these steps to disable it and run security software:

  • 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 FormBook

    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 FormBook removal.

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

Remove FormBook using System Restore

This method might also help to activate security software which is needed for malware removal:

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt

    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 Command Prompt from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'

    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 Command Prompt in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
  • Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
    1. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    2. Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    3. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of FormBook. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
    4. Now click Yes to start system restore. Click 'Yes' and start system restore
    Once you restore your system to a previous date, download and scan your computer with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego and make sure that FormBook removal is performed successfully.

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

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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