Guide to Remove Turla Trojan
Turla, also known as Snake or Uroboros, is a malicious Trojan that has been targeting systems of government and military’s interest since year 2008. Turla Trojan is suspected to be originated by hackers from Russia.
Turla Trojan Virus has infected innumerable systems in around 45 countries like Iran, Kazakhstan, USA, Russia and China, with France ranking on the top of the hit list. The targets of Turla Trojan Virus include government entities like Ministry of Trade and Commerce, Ministry of Foreign/External affairs, intelligence agencies, embassies and educational firms. The attackers are focused on gathering the information about a country’s economy by deploying phishing e-mails smartly in targeted systems.
Kaspersky, Symantec and The Laboratory of Cryptography & System Security conducted an analysis in Budapest, Hungary on the working methodology of Turla Trojan. The analysis revealed that the operators that drive Turla Trojan Attack are using highly sophisticated techniques. Turla Trojan is a collection of these sophisticated backdoors and malware that is led by the hackers.
Backdoor is a methodology of securing the system by obtaining its encrypted information in plain text. The attackers use Trojan.wibpot and Tavdig as a backdoor to collect the victim’s system information and to gain unauthorized access to system resources. The information may include IP address, browsing history and details of applications installed in the system.
They carry out this cyber espionage by sending phishing e-mails and watering hole-attacks to the potential victims. Watering holes include the websites that are frequently visited by the victim. These websites redirect the victims to Java or browser exploits (corrupted web pages) through which vital information (like login credentials, passwords) can be decrypted and used by the attackers!
Once a system is infected, the main module of pre-configured batch files is delivered which automatically triggers launch of commands for execution. Some of the actions that the attackers can launch/execute on an infected system are:
- Delete File: Imagine losing an important photograph without you deleting it! Hackers may delete any number & type of files from your computer!
- Get File: A serious threat to your privacy, your system traces can be picked by these attackers to retrieve your browsing interests and then spam your inbox by sending annoying e-mails related to your browsing.
- Run Shell Command: Imagine a single remote command by the hacker could crash your system at any time!
- Sleep: Imagine your system triggers to sleep mode in the midst of an important banking transaction
The cybercriminals use various strategies for malware distribution which include –
- Software Bundling: Software bundling is the process in which a malicious program is distributed with other free software, to get an unnoticed entry into your computer system. When a user installs a free application, the malicious programs gains a front door entry with the free application, the user has downloaded. Thus, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the installation screens while installing these free applications.
- Infected Storage Devices: Your system can also get infected by using removable media such as USB hard drives and jump drives without scanning them with an anti-virus.
- Spam Emails – Spamming is the most economic and common method used for the distribution of such malware. The targeted users get genuine looking emails which contain .doc, .txt, and other similar attachments. These attachments can be named as anything which can grab the user’s attention and triggers him/her to open the attachment. As soon as the user opens this attachment, the malware infects the user’s computer system.
- Malicious Websites or Malevolent Advertisements: The malicious websites are the ones which are created just for promoting the malware infections. Such websites include but are not limited to porn sites, torrent sites and other free downloading platforms. By visiting such websites, the adware infects the user’s computer without permission. Fake advertisements and updates like Flash player and windows updates which ask the user to update to the latest version are a few examples. When the users click on such links, their computer system gets infected. That is why, it is highly recommended to resist clicking on such links. Also avoid clicking on advertisements offering free stuff such as Win an iPhones, cars or free overseas trips etc.
Name: Turla Trojan
Browsers Affected: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer etc
Targeted Operating System: Windows, MAC, Android, Iphone
Symptoms: Appearance of annoying ads, popping up windows and changing desktops, Installer Bundles, deletion of files automatically, creation of new directory or folders, spam e-mails/messages that may redirect the user to another webpage and interrupt their browsing activity.
Steps to Remove Turla Trojan from the system:
STEP A: Reboot your system to safe mode with networking
To restart the system to Safe Mode with Networking, if already switched ON then follow the below steps:
Restore your system files and settings
STEP B: Remove the malicious file from System Configuration Settings
- Type “Msconfig” in search box / Run Box, select it and press Enter.
- Click on “Services” Tab and click on “Hide all Microsoft services”.
- Select Turla Trojan from the list of remaining services and disable it by removing the tick mark from the checkbox and click on Apply button.
- Click on the next tab – “Startup”.
- Find any blank or suspicious entry or the entry with Turla Trojan mentioned and remove the check mark.
- Click on Apply button and then click on OK.
- Click on the next tab – “Startup”.
- Take the mouse cursor to ‘Open task Manager‘ link and click on it. This opens the Task Manager window.
- Find any blank or suspicious entry or the entry with Turla Trojan mentioned and click on it.
- Then click on Disable button.
STEP C: Delete the suspicious file from the Registry key
- Type “Regedit” in search box / Run Box, select it and press Enter.
- An authorization dialog box will appear, then you just have to click “Yes”. (The dialog box appearance may vary depending on OS used. For Windows 10 the the dialog box looks like the first screenshot and for windows 7 it appears like the second screenshot)
- In the registry editor, take the backup of the current registry settings before making any changes in case you want to revert to old settings later. For this, Click on File option in the menu and select Export. Save the entry at a known location.
- From the Menu, Click Edit and Select Find.
- Enter Turla Trojan and click Ok in the search box.
- Select and delete suspicious entries.
Tips to prevent your computer system from getting infected –
- Keeping the Operating System Updated- In order to remain protected and avoid such infections, it is recommended to keep your Operating System updated by enabling the automatic update on your system. The systems with outdated or older versions of Operating System become an easy target for the attackers.
- Resist clicking on spam emails – One of the major techniques used for malware distribution is forwarding spam emails to the user. The system gets infected as soon as the user clicks on the attachment. These mails appear to be genuine, so be aware and resist falling for these tricks.
- Keep an eye on third party installations- It is quite important that you take due care while installing any third party applications for they are major source of such infections. Such malware programs come bundled with the free applications thereby requiring the user to remain cautious.
- Regular periodical backup- In order to keep your data and files safe, it is recommended to take regular back up of all your data and files either on an external drive or cloud.
- Use Anti-Virus Protection- We strongly recommend the use of antivirus protection/internet security in your PC like Sophos and Bull Guard so that it remains safe.
- Enable the Ad Blocker/Popup Blocker in your browser- Enabling the popup blocker/ ad blocker in your chosen browser will help you to stay protected from annoying adware.