Posted: January 9, 2013

HeartBeat Description

HeartBeat is a backdoor Trojan or RAT (Remote Administration Tool) that attempts to grant control of your PC over to an external Command & Control server that's used to steal confidential information or harm the compromised computer. Since 2009, HeartBeat has been found to be a major threat to PCs in South Korea, particularly those of government organizations, although HeartBeat's functions also are capable of harming computers in other regions. Current indications are that HeartBeat uses spam e-mail and fake document files as delivery vehicles, and SpywareRemove.com malware researchers recommend that you avoid downloading files from such sources without taking appropriate anti-malware precautions. Since HeartBeat is a symptomless and high-level PC threat, deleting HeartBeat should be left to dedicated anti-malware products when it's possible.

HeartBeat: the Beating of that Hideous Heart Beneath that Innocent Text File

HeartBeat attacks usually begin with e-mail messages that include file attachments of a seemingly harmless nature – simple text files that are crafted to appear relevant to the target. However, although launching this file will display a real text document, it also installs HeartBeat, which includes numerous features that are designed to dismantle your ability to control your own computer.

Although HeartBeat can perform such attacks against most Windows PCs, SpywareRemove.com malware researchers consider the following targets to be especially at risk:

  • PCs that are in use by branches of the South Korean government.
  • PCs that are in use by South Korea's military forces.
  • PCs that are in use by scientific research institutions for South Korea.
  • PCs that are in use by South Korean media (newspaper, television, etc) companies.
  • PCs that are in use by other companies operating prominently or primarily in the South Korean region


Because most government-targeted Trojans also include other distribution capabilities, SpywareRemove.com malware experts suggest that you avoid sharing removable devices (USB drives, for example) with any PC that may be infected by HeartBeat. Likewise, you should avoid sharing network locations with other computers until HeartBeat has been removed. Traditional infection methods for either of these vectors could install HeartBeat as soon as the affected device or network-shared resource is accessed – without any symptoms or any deliberate file interaction on your part.

Clenching the Fist of Cyber Security Till Heartbeat's Engine of Anti-Security Stops

HeartBeat should be considered a high-level threat and includes all the functions that SpywareRemove.com malware analysts would expect from a backdoor Trojan. Attacks by HeartBeat may include deleting files, stealing information, installing other forms of malware, changing your PC's system settings or blocking security-related programs.

HeartBeat conceals some of its components by injecting them into normal system processes. SpywareRemove.com malware research team suggests that you use strong anti-malware software to delete HeartBeat as soon as possible after your PC's exposure. In spite of its age, HeartBeat appears to be receiving ongoing updates and should still be considered a danger to any PC, especially those in South Korea.

Use SpyHunter to Detect and Remove PC Threats

If you are concerned that malware or PC threats similar to HeartBeat 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.

Download SpyHunter's Malware Scanner

Note: SpyHunter's free version is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware tool to remove the malware threats. Learn more on SpyHunter. If you would like to uninstall SpyHunter for any reason, please follow these uninstall instructions. To learn more about our policies and practices, visit our EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.

Why can't I open any program including SpyHunter? You may have a malware file running in memory that kills any programs that you try to launch on your PC. Tip: Download SpyHunter from a clean computer, copy it to a USB thumb drive, DVD or CD, then install it on the infected PC and run SpyHunter's malware scanner.

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