Remove GhostAdmin virus (Free Guide) - Tutorial

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Malware

GhostAdmin virus Removal Guide

What is GhostAdmin virus?

The dangers of GhostAdmin virus

The GhostAdmin virus is a recently discovered and extremely dangerous cyber threat that connects affected computer to the botnet[1], silently steals victims’ private information and keeps it on the remote server. Often, malware targets home computers only; however, this time hackers aimed at both – regular users and companies. On the affected computer the virus might enable remote desktop connections, download new files or programs, delete log files, track or mess up with browsing history, etc., but data theft stays the main goal for the GhostAdmin malware. However, the developers also gain full access to the targeted computer, so they can deliver payloads[2] and install other cyber threats as well. Generally, speaking after the attack, your machine becomes a zombie: you lose control over the PC and hackers can do whatever they want. However, victims should not give up and fight back their computers. GhostAdmin removal is difficult and complicated; however, it’s possible. Reputable malware removal programs, such as ReimageIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner will help to complete this task.

It seems that GhostAdmin virus is an updated version of CrimeScene – a botnet, which was active 3-4 years ago. Written in C# programming language, the malware on the affected computer creates a communication channel with its Command and Control server[3]. It uses a remote malicious IRC channel for communication, and all infected computers, or bots, receive and follow these commands. The functionality of backdoor.ghostadmin is based on the configuration file that includes FTP and email credentials. They are necessary for storing stolen information and informing criminals about succeeded or failed malware attacks. This evil cyber threat can lead to serious privacy-related issues, identity theft[4] or money loss. Malware hasn’t been spread actively yet; however, you can never be sure when a massive distribution campaign might start. In case of the attack, don’t forget that it’s crucial to remove GhostAdmin from the computer immediately. The earlier you take some action in virus elimination, the less damage it will cause you.

The Picture of GhostAdmin malware

According to the latest information, GhostAdmin malware might have targeted at least two businesses, and one of them possibly is a lottery company. The malware has already managed to steal hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive information, such as names, email and home address, dates of births, phone numbers, etc.

Methods of distribution and prevention tips

Developer distributes Ghost Admin malware as a binary executable file that is sent via malicious spam emails and software download websites. Spreading malware executables as email attachments are popular malware distribution method, and cyber criminals found out many techniques and strategies that trick users into opening the infected attachment. So, if you want to avoid GhostAdmin hijack, ransomware or other malware, you should never rush to open any attached document, especially if an email is marked as spam[5]. Before opening document, carefully investigate the message and sender’s address. Grammar, spelling or use of English mistakes and suspicious email address are the main signs that an email is infected. Moreover, you should not install new programs from unknown and unreliable sources because or file-sharing platforms. Hackers and malware creators love these places and know how to use them for their own good. At the moment, only few antivirus programs added GhostAdmin to their definitions lists. For this reason, you cannot only rely on your preferred security tool; you have to be cautious as well.

Instructions for GhostAdmin removal

First of all, it’s a serious cyber threat, and its elimination must be taken seriously. Do not think or try to remove GhostAdmin manually because you might harm your computer even more. Your computer is already a zombie, so you have to take effective and powerful methods to bring it back to life. That means you have to employ professional and powerful malware removal program, such as ReimageIntego, Malwarebytes, or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. However, the virus might prevent you from installing, updating or accessing security tools. Therefore, in order to start GhostAdmin removal, you will have to reboot your PC to the Safe Mode with Networking. Follow the instructions below.

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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.

Getting rid of GhostAdmin virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Reboot your computer to the Safe Mode with Networking to access security software and start automatic GhostAdmin removal.

Important! →
Manual removal guide might be too complicated for regular computer users. It requires advanced IT knowledge to be performed correctly (if vital system files are removed or damaged, it might result in full Windows compromise), and it also might take hours to complete. Therefore, we highly advise using the automatic method provided above instead.

Step 1. Access Safe Mode with Networking

Manual malware removal should be best performed in the Safe Mode environment. 

Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list. Windows 7/XP
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
    Settings
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
    Update and security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.
    Reboot
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options. Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings. Startup settings
  9. Press Restart.
  10. Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Enable safe mode

Step 2. Shut down suspicious processes

Windows Task Manager is a useful tool that shows all the processes running in the background. If malware is running a process, you need to shut it down:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details.
    Open task manager
  3. Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
  4. Right-click and select Open file location.
    Open file location
  5. Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
    End task
  6. Delete the contents of the malicious folder.

Step 3. Check program Startup

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
    Startup

Step 4. Delete virus files

Malware-related files can be found in various places within your computer. Here are instructions that could help you find them:

  1. Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
    Disk cleanup
  2. Select the drive you want to clean (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in).
  3. Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:

    Temporary Internet Files
    Downloads
    Recycle Bin
    Temporary files

  4. Pick Clean up system files.
    Delete temp files
  5. You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Remove GhostAdmin using System Restore

Follow these additional steps to get access to the malware removal tools.

  • 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 GhostAdmin. 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 ReimageIntego and make sure that GhostAdmin removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove GhostAdmin from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

If your files are encrypted by GhostAdmin, you can use several methods to restore them:

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

How to prevent from getting malware

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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References