Does anybody have EXPERIENCE with Win32/RAMNIT.A ? I'm having a devil of a
time removing it. The only tool the detects it consistently is MS Security
Essentials, and MSSE keeps counting it and "disinfecting" it.
I'm not sure if it's a virus or a worm. MSSE says it's a virus, but I can't
figure out what's launching it.
I have eliminated one rootkit and subsequent scans show no more rootkits.
This thing has dropped startup payloads into the StartUp folder, into the Run
keys, into Prefetch, and it masquerades as everything from random 4-letter
clusters to names like "Microsoft Suite", etc.
It also captures the date when Windows was first installed, so I can't
reliably search for the thing via date, either.
Whenever MSSE detects a new round of infections (15, 78, all kinds of counts)
the infections are in everything from drivers to executables in all kinds of
At the moment I'm running the computer in safe mode with no Internet and MSSE
is not detecting any more Ramnit. I've scanned it 3 times. But as soon as I
go back into regular mode and get an Internet connection back up it'll start
Oh, and I've reset the Winsock stack twice just in case there's a little
wedgie in there. Still comes back.
Any help would be most appreciated. You can reach me directly by email. The
address is valid.
>A friend of mine that does virus removal as part of his business swears
I do this professionally as well. I asked *specifically* for comments from
people who have *experience* with this threat. I used MalwareBytes
Antimalware several times including the complete disk scan for 2 1/2 hours.
It did not detect anything.
Again, I'm interested in hearing only from people who have *experience* with
What is the fully qualified name and path to the file deemed infected with RAMNIT.A and
did you capture a copy of this malware ?
>What is the fully qualified name and path to the file deemed infected with
> RAMNIT.A and
>did you capture a copy of this malware ?
There are a bunch of folders named such things as FUEM and AVAX, with exes
under them with randomly generated 4 and 5 character letters. These are under
the user's temp folder. They do not occur when using the admin account.
Additionally, there is a folder under Program Files with the name Microsoft,
and the exe is called Desktoplayer.exe. This exe is launched via the same
registry entry that launches UserInit.
Reducing the string so that it launches only UserInit and removing the files
mentioned here under safe mode won't stop them from being re-created the next
time I boot into regular mode.
I removed MSSE and installed Avast instead because MSSE kept noting the
infections, dealt with them, and then more kept appearing seconds later.
Under Avast, a 2-hour scan revealed 4300 infected files. I couldn't move them
all to quarantine so I had to erase some. Unfortunately, this affected some
critical app files (not Windows OS files, though). So, Firefox crashes, IE
wants the Office install disk, Picassa hangs, etc.
Also, the Explorer search feature has the doggie but no text boxes for
searching, and menu items are missing.
Thus, it looks like the OS is hosed, so I'll have to reinstall. Only trouble
is that this customer has a boatload of Word docs, spreadsheets, jpgs, mp3s
and whatnot. I'm hoping that the docs and xls's aren't infected with malware
This problem was first talked about in January apparently at Trend, but I
don't see much else in reference to it until 3 days ago, and there are a bunch
of forums where people are getting this infection. So, it looks like we're
right at the cusp of a major outbreak.
It's annoying as hell. In over 8 years of doing malware repair this is in the
top 2 for awfulness.
I think the customer got the infection via maybe Limewire, a torrent or
the Bang Bros porn website (or maybe from a link to it) because the logs
indicate similar datestamps to the first date stamps on the malware.
Oh, and the first thing I did was manually roll back the registry using a CD
boot disk. There were about 3 dozen entries. I rolled it back about halfway
(about 15 restore points) earlier, which took it to July 13. So, the
infection must have been there prior to that. When I went back to manually
roll back further, I noticed that the malware had deleted every restore point
(snapshot) except the latest 3. I ran an undelete CD on it and couldn't find
where the other restore points went, so they were probably overwritten.
I'm going to bed.
No experience, but if I were in your shoes I'd start here:
I saw no answer to the 'Question' - but I did copy and paste the HJT log
into www.hijackthis.de - there were six questionable entries highlighted.
>No experience, but if I were in your shoes I'd start here:
Been there, done that. Thanks anyway. I'm reinstalling Windows and the
programs this afternoon. I hate to do that. Oh well.
The problem is that may not be the same based upon the !HTML suffix which infers HTML code
and possibly exploitation rather than the actual infection.
It's a shame he couldn't provide you with a sample. His description of
symptoms doesn't exactly match up with what this malware is/does. This
could be new malware worm dropping ramnit.a as it finds new systems.
>It's a shame he couldn't provide you with a sample. His description of
>symptoms doesn't exactly match up with what this malware is/does. This
>could be new malware worm dropping ramnit.a as it finds new systems.
What kind of sample? A sample of the malware? I'm loathe to provide that; I
don't want to be responsible for infecting any computers. I've already given
some filenames and directories.
But regardless of what names I provide, there is still something being
launched that I'm unaware of that is rebuilding the files I see. As
previously stated, I've removed the HD, scanned it for rootkits and malware
and reinstalled it and the stuff comes back.
Well, folks, thanks anyway. I'm just going to reinstall Windows, something I
seldom have to do. It's got me beat and I can't spend any more time on this
issue. I'm backed up in work again.
| "FromTheRafters" <err...@nomail.afraid.org> wrote:
Providing a sample of malware to http://www.uploadmalware.com/ will *NOT* cause more
computers to be infected.
On the contrary, people who have access to the files are experienced at handling malware.
The culmination of all submissions get distributed to the listed anti malware companies.
Therefore, sample submission to UploadMalware leads to greater recognition of submitted
I come here to learn, and there are some experts here. The OP
considers himself an expert and only wants
talk to experts. I would say his final approach of wiping and re-
installing the OS (which he didn't mention),
but first trying to save .docs, mp3 and other important files, is the
only solution. I learned that RAMNIT.A
is a PE infector, infects other known files, like IE. Here's some
info at sophos.com:
The OP knows the name of the malware, so he must have submitted a
As a "professional" you might try eradicating from a standalone bootable
linux CD or scanning via a linux system & use something like
Bitdefender, ClamAV, etc. Most trojans/worms of these types simply block
standard AV's so you end up going round in circles unless you eradicate
using a standalone/non-windows source.
I find it silly that you try restore points et al to clean the problem.
As you've already discovered, that doesn't work.
From Dave's first post...
"Does anybody have EXPERIENCE with Win32/RAMNIT.A ? I'm having a devil of a
time removing it. The only tool the detects it consistently is MS Security
Essentials, and MSSE keeps counting it and "disinfecting" it."
He didn't submit a sample somewhere, MSE scanned the system, detected it
(Win32/RAMNIT.A ), but MSE failed to full remove and clean the system of it. Dave also
indicated he tried Avast to no avail.
Yes, it's clear you have some nasty malware running. It looks like lots
of it goes undetected except the noted ramnit.a.
> But regardless of what names I provide, there is still something being
> launched that I'm unaware of that is rebuilding the files I see.
If I understood the sources I've read, this malware modifies executable
files with the effect of making them "droppers". It could be a new worm
has now adopted that function and you are seeing detections of the
modified files but not the program that's modifying them.
> previously stated, I've removed the HD, scanned it for rootkits and
> and reinstalled it and the stuff comes back.
> Well, folks, thanks anyway. I'm just going to reinstall Windows,
> something I
> seldom have to do. It's got me beat and I can't spend any more time
> on this
> issue. I'm backed up in work again.
You were probably doomed from the get-go to have to flatten and rebuild.
Too many unknowns.
READ & RUN ME FIRST. Malware Removal Guide
Haven't yet found the beastie this procedure wouldn't clean w/o
reformatting a drive.
If I have time, I go though with it. if It's more expedient to wipe
the drive I just harvest data, and reinstall the OS. But I prefer the
'thrill of the hunt' so to speak.
Well, have you tried PC Butts' Remove-it software?
Having cast my eye through this post, I think I would have given PrevX a go :-)...I think (seeing as Sophos is armed against it), I'd try Sophos CLS from Bart PE cd :-)
You may want to try turning off "system restore" in
"system properties". Then reboot. You may also want to make
"system volume information" accessible to your malware scanner.
Then do a scan of that folder. The default setting is "read
only" and "hidden" so if it can be scanned the malware won't be
removed. The malware can reboot that last restore point over and
over and reinfecting your system over and over. A Linux based
scanner can be a way around the permissions but it's probably
better to do the scans within Windows.
It seems the information I found on this worm is that it
probably hides in the "system volume information" folder that is
"read only" and "hidden" by default. The worm just keeps getting
reinstalled and can't be cleaned unless the permissions are
changed for that folder. The information on this site links to
instructions for cleaning RAMNIT.A.
This links to information on how to disable "system
restore" in order to remove the infection. It may be possible to
use some offline scanner like BitDefender to remove the worm but
it's better done in Windows.
>Haven't yet found the beastie this procedure wouldn't clean w/o
>reformatting a drive.
I didn't have to reformat; I reinstalled using the file overwrite method (the
one that doesn't destroy the registry) after running several rootkit removers
and being certain there were no rootkits.
Ramnit destroyed over 4000 executables (exe and dll), so it was inevitable
that I'd have to reinstall the OS. Project completed. The computer runs like
>If I have time, I go though with it. if It's more expedient to wipe
>the drive I just harvest data, and reinstall the OS. But I prefer the
>'thrill of the hunt' so to speak.
When one does this professionally it's not the thrill of the hunt but keeping
the client as happy as possible in the least amount of time. This means,
disturbing as little of their experience as possible -- keeping their
wallpaper and all their other user interface experiences as close as to what
they were before infection.
In over 8 years doing this fulltime I've only had to reformat maybe 4 times.
I've had to reinstall the OS about 10 times. But this one really caught me by
>> regards, Richard
Sorry, you are mis-interpreting the information.
Malware doesn't "hide" in the "system volume information" folder. That is where the
System Resore cache resides. What they are talking about is removing restore points such
that you won't re-infect the PC if you restore the PC from a restore point that had made
in an infected condition.
Howver, I have learned that ist is NOT a good idea to dump the System Restore cache while
cleaning a PC. It is better to have an infected, working, PC than to have a a PC that may
be unstable and you can't restore the PC to a stable but infected condition. Once the PC
is thouroughly cleaned and verified and is stable then you you can dump the System Restore
My point was to use the experts-exchange site to get help if the answers
already posted don't solve the problem. They are amazingly helpful with
providing assistance (for free) to people who follow the recommended
steps (such as running hijackthis and posting the logs etc.). I've
found the answer to solving several pesky virus/worm problems simply by
searching the experts-exchange site without having to post my own query,
but if I couldn't find the answer in the archives then I wouldn't
hesitate to post.
Some malware specifically uses the "system volume
information" folder to reinfect the computer. It will infect
multiple restore points even those that were there before the
particular worm was introduced. I've had some experience with these.
> Howver, I have learned that ist is NOT a good idea to dump the System Restore cache while
> cleaning a PC. It is better to have an infected, working, PC than to have a a PC that may
> be unstable and you can't restore the PC to a stable but infected condition. Once the PC
> is thouroughly cleaned and verified and is stable then you you can dump the System Restore
This is one reason us PROFESSIONALS do a complete drive
backup before we remove the infection in this way. That way if
something goes wrong, you can always go back to the beginning.
It's possible to allow writing to the folder in question.
I have cleaned a few computers in this way and I usually find
that the restore points are not worth saving. I've had
absolutely no systems lost due to cleaning out the system
restore points. Never lost one and never needed to use the
backup on these types of infections. I find it better to have a
professional do the malware removal than someone who risks
loosing everything because they're afraid to remove the restore
>>>> | rss
>>>> regards, Richard
"Some malware specifically uses the "system volume information" folder to reinfect the
Since you also stated "...us PROFESSIONALS...".
What is that malware spaecifically. You should know it or it should be in your notes.
I'd like to know what it is you are referring to.
Ant defined the !HTML suffix (and !INF) as being modified by the Ramnit.
> It seems the information I found on this worm is that it
> probably hides in the "system volume information" folder that is "read
> only" and "hidden" by default.
Funny, I was led to believe it used the recycle bin.
> The worm just keeps getting reinstalled and can't
> be cleaned unless the permissions are changed
> for that folder. The information on this site links to instructions
> for cleaning RAMNIT.A.
How is it, that a folder remains inaccesible to a scanner?
> This links to information on how to disable "system restore" in
> order to remove the infection. It may be possible to use some offline
> scanner like BitDefender to remove the worm but it's better done in
It is better to clean the malware off the computer, then purge the
system restore thingy. The malware can't act against you actively, when
it is not running. Use drive imaging software, system restore be-damned.
Seems sort of like the old DAM suffix - but instead of being damaged,
these files were modified to act as droppers. Not actual viral
infection, but perhaps infection in the furtherance of the worm. Another
write-up I saw mentioned infection of portable executable files, again
not with copies of itself like a virus, but rather to add dropper
So, I'm guessing it could be polymorphic in the way it infects PEs and
the symptoms David Kaye experienced was because some were being missed
by the current definitions supplied for the AV tools he used.
Either that, or there is something *new* about the one he had.
Maybe it is like the Virut in that it modified HTML files in a way that when viewed it
could cause you to download and re-infect the computer.