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Mirai virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Malware

Mirai malware causes massive DDoS attacks worldwide

Mirai malware keeps attacks in 2018

Questions about Mirai virus

Mirai botnet or Mirai malware is a piece of malware[1] which has been most actively attacking Internet users worldwide in 2016. The malware rendered famous websites, including GitHub, Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Airbnb and many others inaccessible by initiating massive DDoS attacks.

Name Mirai
Type Malware
Symptoms Causes massive DDoS attacks, outage of popular websites, disables the Internet for thousands of people
Distribution Exploits IoT vulneravilities
First detected In 2016. Suspended in 2016 as well. The source code leaked allowed hackers to release altered Mirai malware versions
Versions known Clickfraud, OMG, Okiru
Removal Use a professional anti-virus tool. Our recommendation is Reimage

In 2017, USA officials unsealed court document indicating the names of the three men responsible for the Mirai botnet development and massive DDoS attacks. Paras Jha, Josiah White, and Dalton Norman were indicted by Alaska court on multiple charges. All of them acknowledged the participation in the attacks and were plagued guilty. Each of them was imposed for up to five years imprisonment and a fine of at least $250,000.[2]

Mirai botnet and Mirai malware are the terms that are used interchangeably and can be. The core difference is that the system should initially be infected with Mirai malware to be connected to Mirai botnet later.

Mirai botnet refers to a “bot” of networked devices running Linux that are joint together and controlled remotely by a group of hackers. The interconnected devices are further scanned for IP address of Internet of things (IoT) devices. The scan allows the malware to identify the vulnerabilities in IoT devices (routers, cameras, DVRs, and other Internet of Things) by applying a table of 60 common factory default usernames and passwords.

Once the botnet detects vulnerable devices, they are infected with Mirai malware. Infected machines are initially hard to recognize as they keep working in a quite usual manner despite some periods of slowdowns or random crashes.
However, the Mirai is a severe IoT malware that can be used for launching DDoS attacks massively and causing real havoc on the Internet infrastructure worldwide.

Attacks against famous companies attract attention to Mirai botnet 

Mirai virus[3] got into the spotlight again after disrupting the Internet connection for German telecommunication company, Deutsche Telecom, users[4]. While the virus occasionally appeared here and there since then, daily Internet users might not have worried about its threatening presence. However, the attack against Deutsche Telecom has been a serious warning for the entire virtual community.

After updating its source code, hackers employed the malware for disabling the Internet connection for about million users of Deutsche Telecom customers. Specialists suspect that the cyber criminals did not plan to shut down the connection but merely steal vital information from the affected devices. However, as the server was overloaded with malware signals, the campaign did not work out as expected.

Luckily, only 5% of all clientele might have suffered from the cyber attack. Zyxel routers happen to be one of the most vulnerable devices[5]. Though virus researchers expect the malware to slow down in the following days, signs of related DDoS attacks have been traced to Africa. What is more, the origin of September attacks on Japan’s defense and SDF (Self Defense Forces) and Korea’s military cyber systems are questioned as well. Such Internet disrupting cyber assaults were not the only ones recently. Last month, several US telecommunications companies experienced a similar attack.

The origin of the Mirai 

The very malware is supposedly originated from Japan as the title means “future” in Japanese[6]. What is more, is an author is expected to be a user under the pseudonym “Anna-senpai”[7]. The very name originated from Japanese anime culture. Though daggers are pointed to Japanese hackers, these attacks are most likely the wrongdoings of foreign cyber criminals.

However, international racketeers have joined this ominous business as the latter version of Mirai (Linux.Gafgyt.B) might have come from Brazil. Brazilian hackers have been the primary suspects for launching banking trojans. The original version of Mirai malware targets mainly IoT technologies and Linux systems. By exploiting vulnerable IoT devices, the virus turns them into a virus-distributing botnet. Mirai network has been used for delivering massive DDoS (distributed-denial-of-services) attacks as well. 

Clickfraud botnet allowed crooks to generate revenue artificially

Within a year since 2016 to 2017, the group of three American programmers managed to infect more than 100,000 computing devices and connected them to a bot, later named as Clickfraud.

The infamous Clickfraud bot[8] allowed crooks to generate revenue by scamming online ad networks and simulating clicks. After the attacks were unraveled, John Cronan,  an assistant attorney general, stated: 

The Mirai and Clickfraud botnet schemes are powerful reminders that as we continue on a path of a more interconnected world, we must guard against the threats posed by cybercriminals that can quickly weaponize technological developments to cause vast and varied types of harm.

 The scheme earned Jha and his team nearly 100 bitcoin, which was worth then approximately $180,000. Currently, the earning would exceed $7.5 million

Mirai source code leaked after the massive DDoS attack

Jha, the developer of Mirai malware's source code, has released it publicly a week after the massive DDoS attack was being held. It has been first published in the English-language hacking community called Hackforums. Disguised under the nickname “Anna-senpai,” the Jhas told community members:

When I first go in the DDoS industry, I wasn’t planning on staying in it long,” Anna-senpai wrote. “I made my money, there are lots of eyes looking at IOT now, so it’s time to GTFO [link added]. So today, I have an amazing release for you. With Mirai, I usually pull max 380k bots from telnet alone. However, after the Kreb [sic] DDoS, ISPs been slowly shutting down and cleaning up their act. Today, the max pull is about 300k bots and dropping.

Once the Mirai botnet source code has been unraveled, cybercriminals started exploiting it for multiple DDoS attacks against Internet infrastructure and websites.

Currently, there altered versions of Mirai have been spotted on the Internet. Mirai Okiru Botnet[9] is one of the examples. Experts spotted it at the beginning of 2018 by MalwareMustDie team. It targets ARC-based embedded devices running Linux operating system.

In February, FortiGuard Labs research team found another botnet dubbed OMG, which has been found selling credential access to the proxies for profit. According to experts,[10] OMG report uses the original Mirai module that kills processes, scan for vulnerabilities, use brute-force login attacks, and eventually cause DDoS attacks. However, it renders two random ports to set up 3proxy.

Thus, despite the fact that the initiators of the Mirai botnet have been arrested and jailed last year, the released source code allows crooks to keep distributing the malware worldwide.

 Mirai botnet source code leaked

Malware distribution explained

Since the malware exploits the vulnerabilities in the specific devices, manual tracking Mirai botnet might be a futile task. If you are about to purchase IoT device, look up its manual and identify its manufactured company. After obtaining the device, change the default password into a long code containing marks, characters, and numbers. You might also set an elaborate encryption technique to your Wi-FI or wired Internet network. Modifying security settings is a useful prevention method as well. Turn off Telnet login and employ SSH. Check your IoT manufacturer for latest updates.

Terminating Mirai malware

Though Mirai virus mainly attacks IoT devices, it is destructive to think that Windows OS or Mac OS owners users are safe from this cyber misfortune. Since the developers got determined to surprise the world with unseen hijack techniques, arming with reliable protection is of primary importance. In the case of mentioned operating systems, you can remove Mirai by using Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes.

Keep in mind that the utilities have to be updated for them to work properly. In order to terminate Mirai hijack, disconnect from the internet and enter Safe Mode with networking. Further instructions will explain in detail how to do that. They will also come in handy if you cannot complete Mirai removal.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Mirai virus, follow these steps:

Remove Mirai using Safe Mode with Networking

If you suspect that Mirai worm or similar threat has invaded your device, you might enter Safe Mode and scan your system with an anti-spyware tool.

  • 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 Mirai

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

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

Remove Mirai using System Restore

  • 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 Mirai. 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 and make sure that Mirai removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

If your files are encrypted by Mirai, 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 Mirai and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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