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Remove Rustock (Removal Guide) - updated Jul 2018

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Backdoors

Rustock – a trojan horse that is responsible for one of the largest botnets that ever existed

 Rustock backdoor

Rustock is a stealthy backdoor[1] virus that creates users' computers into spam machines. It targeting Windows operating systems and was able to send out as much as 192 spam messages per device per minute, resulting in a staggering amount of infections worldwide – security experts predict that the number may vary from 150,000 to 2,400,000 machines worldwide. The malicious code used TLS[2] encryption in order to hide the presence of malware. The virus operated from 2006 and was finally taken down in 2011 by the what is known to be the Operation b107.

SUMMARY
Name Rustock
Type Backdoor trojan
Encryption used TLS
First spotted 2006
Shut down 2011
Distribution Malspam, malicious sites
Symptoms Rarely any; users may experience system crashes, slowdown of the PC operation, etc.
Detection and elimination Use Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or Malwarebytes

The backdoor trojan is an extremely stealthy threat which is capable of multiplying itself fast. As soon as Backdoor:Win32/Rustock virus enters the machine, it uses rootkit capabilities and hides its registry entries. Then it seeks the contact with a remote Command & Control server, operated by hackers. Although the parasite does not allow the intruder to control the infected PC, it converts the system to a hidden proxy used for certain malicious purposes.

Users who were infected usually had no idea about it. Thus, Rustock removal was out of the question (that is one of the main reasons why it was able to persist in machines for so long). In some cases, victims could experience the following symptoms:

  • High CPU usage
  • Program crashes
  • Slow internet speed
  • Overall sluggish performance of the PC

Because the symptoms, if any, were rather obscure, users usually blamed it on outdated hardware or slow internet, letting the Rustock botnet thrive. Nevertheless, machines that did not have security software installed were extremely vulnerable. Seeing how dangerous trojan horses are, and how difficult it is to detect them, we recommend users to install Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or Malwarebytes to keep their machines safe from viruses.

The malware was capable of sending 25,000 spam emails per hour from an infected machine. 40% of global spam traffic was connected to the Rustock botnet. Therefore, US authorities, Microsoft, and other reputable organizations collaborated on what was then called Operation b107 and took it down[3] in 2011. Hackers operated Ninety-six Command & Control servers at the time of the takedown.

The culprits behind the infamous botnet were never caught, although forensic experts pointed at Eastern Europe. Although highly unlikely, cybercriminals might still focus on DDoS or other similar attacks. Nevertheless, in case of the malware returns, users should remove Rustock backdoor using reputable security software.

Rustock virusRustock is a dangerous virus that was taken down by authorities in 2011

Malware distribution methods

Initial phishing emails sent by cybercrooks have most likely been done using spam bots. Although there are technologies available to prevent the malware to infiltrate computers (such as built-in scanner used by email providers, or security software installed on the user's PC), there is no fail-proof method. Nevertheless, it is possible to decrease the probability of such unfortunate events happening.

First of all, users should install security software – it is always the best practice to protect yourself from malware. Additionally, opening spam emails is never a good idea. The problem is that some phishing emails may look extremely believable, and many victims can fall for the trick. Thus, check for the “From” address, look for spelling/grammar mistakes, and if the email seems suspicious, DO NOT open any attachments (especially those which ask the macro function to be enabled for MS Office documents) or click on hyperlinks inside.

Way to remove dangerous Rustock malware

If are unlucky enough and got infected with the cyberthreat, there is a way to remove Rustock virus from your computer. Users should never rely on doing it manually, as it is almost impossible. Only well-trained IT professionals can execute such uneasy task. 

For regular users, however, security researchers[4] recommend using security software for Rustock removal. Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes is an excellent choice, although you can pick any other reputable anti-malware program. Just make sure that it is up to date, as the virus databases are updated continually.

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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 Rustock, follow these steps:

Remove Rustock using Safe Mode with Networking

If Rustock virus denies your security software, enter 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 Rustock

    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 Rustock removal.

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

Remove Rustock using System Restore

Eliminate the malware 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 Rustock. 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 Rustock removal is performed successfully.

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

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

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

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

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

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References

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