Scranos virus is a dangerous rootkit that incorporates a variety of functions to get maximum profits for hackers
Scranos virus is a type of malware that also operates as a rootkit. Previously to publishing the report, the Bitdefender Cyber Threat Intelligence Lab discovered the threat about a year ago and was investigating it ever since. It was spotted attacking Chinese users exclusively, although hackers behind the malware now expanded the operation worldwide, as it was detected in India, France, Romania, Brazil, etc.
Scranos is a sophisticated modular virus that posses a variety of capabilities. It can steal login credentials, banking information, download and install secondary payload, receive commands from C&C server, extract browsing history and cookies from various browsers and also function as adware, generating ad profits. According to researchers, the cross-platform rootkit-enabled Scranos virus attacks users who are likely to download pirated software or its cracks on file-sharing websites, although other distribution methods are not excluded.
|Type||Rootkit, adware, spyware|
|Symptoms||Intrusive advertisements and redirects, slowdown of the computer, unknown files/programs added without permission, etc.|
|Risk factors||Money loss, malware infections, sensitive data exposure, identity theft|
|Most active||India, Brazil, Romania, France, Italy, Indonesia|
|Platforms||All Windows versions, including XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10|
|Estimated infection count||4,500|
|Distribution||Infected pirated software installers|
|Termination||Use reputable up-to-date anti-malware software|
|Recovery||To fix infected Windows system files, scan your PC with Reimage|
According to the report, Scranos virus has not reached the heights of Zacinlo adware campaigns, but the developers are continually improving the code, adding new modules and testing new functionalities on infected hosts. Despite being “work in progress,” Scranos rootkit is already dangerous as it currently is, and users should watch out for it.
The main danger of Scranos virus lies within its communication capabilities, as, as soon as it contacts the C2 server, it can receive additional commands from hackers and then download other modules to execute new actions. Besides, being a rootkit, Scranos virus removal might be a complicated procedure.
Each of the installed components is responsible for different functionalities, which include:
- Download and install secondary payloads;
- Steal cookies from Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, MS Edge, Opera, Baidu, and Yandex browsers;
- Install browser extensions;
- Steal users' payment information from Amazon, Facebook, and Airbnb;
- Actively interact with users' social media accounts – send malicious messages to friend lists, send friend requests;
- Steal gaming platform's Steam login details;
- Subscribe to certain YouTube channels, etc.
Without a doubt, Scranos malware capabilities are impressive, to say the least. Those infected might unknowingly spread the virus via social media, get all the important credentials stolen, lose money from bank accounts and even have their identity stolen.
To start the recovery, you need to remove Scranos rootkit from their machine first. To achieve that, you should install reputable anti-malware software and perform a full system scan while in Safe Mode with Networking – we explain how to do that below. However, you might need special software designed for rootkit removal. For a speedy recovery from the infection, use Reimage.
Scranos virus is a rootkit that infects the entire computer system, hence it is difficult to terminate. Nevertheless, removal might be possible in Safe Mode
Pirated software often incorporates malware payload
Possibly one of the most commonly used methods of malware distribution is via pirated or cracked software installers. And those who seek to gain access to otherwise paid applications often infect their devices with dangerous viruses, such as rootkits, ransomware, spyware, banking trojans, etc.
Users are strongly advised staying away from pirated software, especially the one host on torrent sites, as not only the executable can be malicious but also .torrent file itself. Additionally, file-sharing domains are usually poorly regulated, and the ad space can be bought by cybercriminals.
However, those who still willing to take the risk should keep in mind the following to keep the chance of infections to a minimum:
- Use anti-virus with real time scanning feature;
- Enable Firewall;
- Use ad-blocker;
- Never download cracks or keygens – these tools will most certainly be recognized as malware by AV engines simply because… it is a hacking tool. Thus, there is no way to check if the program is malicious or not;
- After downloading an executable, scan it with anti-virus software and Virus Total or similar online scanner;
- Keep your computer updated with latest security patches (together with the installed software).
Finally, to remove the risk completely, download and install applications from official sites and pay for it instead of pirating.
Scranos malware removal might be quite complicated
As we already mentioned, Scranos virus removal might be extremely difficult (if not impossible) due to its rootkit-enabled capabilities. These type of infections root themselves deep into the system and prevent anti-malware tools from terminating them. However, this functionality might sometimes be bypassed after entering Safe Mode with Networking.
Therefore, the first thing you want to do is enter the named mode. We also suggest trying several anti-virus engines, as some of them might be able to detect and remove Scranos malware. If AV software is not successful, we suggest you download and install a specific application called rootkit removal tool. One of such apps can be downloaded from Malwarebytes official site (beware that it is in Beta mode, so there are no guarantees that it will work).
Finally, if Scranos virus remains in your system with all the efforts to remove it, we would recommend reinstalling Windows system entirely. It is unknown whether or not the virus would infect portable devices, so transferring any files from the infected computer is not recommended. Yes, you might lose your files, but you should not keep the malware installed on your device, as it will keep stealing your sensitive data and spread malicious payload further over the internet.
Once you terminate malware in one way or another, you should immediately change all your passwords and employ two-factor authentication for all your most important accounts. Additionally, if you were successful in removing Scranos virus without reinstalling the operating system, experts advise reinstalling all your browsers.
To remove Scranos virus, follow these steps:
Remove Scranos using Safe Mode with Networking
Before you attempt Scranos removal, you should enter Safe Mode with Networking as follows:
Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Click Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
- Now select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
- Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Networking in Startup Settings window.
Step 2: Remove Scranos
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 Scranos 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 Scranos and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes