Gh0st RAT

Posted: November 6, 2014
Threat Metric
Threat Level: 9/10
Infected PCs 1,834

Gh0st RAT Description

The Gh0st RAT is a Remote Access Trojan that can give the cybercrooks the ability to access and control your PC remotely. The Gh0st RAT is often active in campaigns targeting profitable or infrastructure-sensitive entities, ranging from government systems to the energy sector. Since this Trojan is a high-level threat that subverts the Windows components and employs several defenses against identification, malware analysts advise all users to protect their PCs by blocking and deleting the Gh0st RAT with advanced anti-malware tools urgently.

The Ghosts Who are Happy to Haunt PCs

The Gh0st RAT is one of the most widespread of Trojans granting both general backdoor capabilities and advanced control and spyware features to the hands of threat actors, with the usual result of an infection always being their near-complete authority over the PC. One attack using the Gh0st RAT was notable for targeting the computer systems of Tibet's Dalai Lama, while others focus on for-profit industries, multinational oil and gas corporations especially. Infection vectors such as custom-crafted e-mail spam and brute-forcing vulnerable networks allow the Gh0st RAT to spread and escalate into a security crisis for the victim.

The setup phase for the Gh0st RAT gathers system data for the remote attack's usage and uploads it to their Command & Control server. This network activity uses zlib-based encryption for securing itself, and different versions of the Gh0st RAT are known for using different 'magic header' tags, as well. As a result of these and other features, malware experts warn that network analysis software may be unable to detect or monitor the Gh0st RAT's C&C activities in full.

Some of the general features that malware experts find in the usual the Gh0st RAT payload, as well as those of other Remote Access Tools, include:

  • The Gh0st RAT uses a variety of data-capturing attacks for delivering confidential information to its threat actors. These features range from visual-based ones, such as screen captures, to recording keyboard data (AKA 'keylogging') and exploiting both mic and webcam access.
  • The cybercrooks also may use the Gh0st RAT for installing additional threats, with straightforward but powerful functions for downloading remote files and, then, running them without giving the local user any visible symptoms.
  • If the threat actor requires it, the Gh0st RAT also allows them to issue direct system commands that can take control of the keyboard or mouse, change system settings or modify files, including deleting them.

The PC Exorcism that Requires No Faith to Work

Besides using a proprietary protocol as part of securing its C&C communications, the Gh0st RAT also hijacks natural parts of Windows, like svchost.exe, for loading corrupted DLL files, and can conceal some of its modules as being non-unsafe formats like JPG pictures. These methods of obscuring its identity and protecting itself, coupled with the usual trait of RATs for avoiding any symptomatic behavior to alert the victim, can let the cybercrooks maintain access to a PC for extensive periods remotely.

The strategies that the cybercrook use for deploying the Gh0st RAT aren't the same in each attack. However, malware researchers most often find the Gh0st RAT, and similar threats, using e-mail as the preferred infection vector. The different messages, usually, have formatting to imitate a legitimate communication that's relevant to the target, such as local news, internal office communications or delivery notifications. However, most anti-malware products should intercept and delete the Trojan dropper, when they're active. Manually removing the Gh0st RAT without additional anti-malware support from appropriate products and cyber-security experts is not recommended.

Threat actors have no particularly compelling reasons to stop using the Gh0st RAT, but even if they do, it will be to switch to a better variant of the same type of Trojan. RATs are one of the top dangers for any entity with the funds or other resources to attract attention from experienced hackers, and the Gh0st RAT is a haunting that's best fought on a case-by-case basis.

Use SpyHunter to Detect and Remove PC Threats

If you are concerned that malware or PC threats similar to Gh0st RAT may have infected your computer, we recommend you start an in-depth system scan with SpyHunter. SpyHunter is an advanced malware protection and remediation application that offers subscribers a comprehensive method for protecting PCs from malware, in addition to providing one-on-one technical support service.

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