Security

What Is Beta Bot?

By Sydney Butler / February 2, 2021

Beta Bot is the name of a, particularly nasty and dangerous trojan malware package. It's so scary that even the FBI felt like they needed to put out a warning about it. Beta Bot is almost like the digital version of an immunodeficiency virus. It stops your security software from working, making your system vulnerable to an extreme degree.

What Is a Trojan?

Beta Bot is a type of "trojan," but what does that mean? Trojans are one of the main types of malware. They are named after the Trojan Horse story - the giant wooden horse-shaped structure filled with enemy soldiers, let into the city of Troy because they thought it was a gift.

Computer trojans, in a similar vein, look like legitimate software packages. Once the user runs them, however, they infect the system and execute their payloads.

The payload itself can be anything, really. Some trojans are fairly benign, but most either work to damage your computer in some way, or they steal your information to be sold on the Dark Web or used directly to rob you.

Some Beta Bot History

Beta Bot was first spotted all the way back in 2012. It started its life as a banking trojan that made use of an exploit found in the Microsoft Equation editor. That exploit has since been patched, but Beta Bot continues to evolve.

Malware authors have taken the original concept of theis malware and keep refining it. More functions and sophisticated features are added with each new variant and version.

What Makes It Special?

At this point, you might be asking "so what?". There are, after all, an endless number of computer trojans. So why is Beta Bot worth writing a dedicated article about? What sets Beta Bot apart is how it defends itself against the security software installed on the computer it infects.

Most malware these days are written with a measure of self-defense built-in. For example, metamorphic and polymorphic viruses protect themselves from detection by an antivirus program by changing their code signatures.

Beta Bot, on the other hand, goes completely nuclear. It completely disables antivirus and anti-malware software. It prevents updates and scans and even stops you from visiting security websites where you could get some advice on how it can be removed.

Malware researchers looking at the Beta Bot code have found an extensive list of files related to antivirus software, which Beta Bot targets immediately to render your computer's "immune system" useless. At this point, it can deliver its payload without resistance.

What Does Beta Bot Do?

Beta Bot's main function is to steal information. Usually, the information it's looking for is login credentials. Preferably those to your bank account. However, there's nothing stopping hackers from using Beta Bot to deliver other types of payload.

Since Beta Bot doesn't really do anything overt, it can be hard to know that you've been infected at all. Of course, you may notice that your antivirus software isn't working anymore, but even then, it can take a while. After all, most people don't notice the absence of their antivirus because a well-designed antivirus package stays out of sight.

While the theft of your information is certainly a very bad thing, Beta Bot is even more dangerous because it opens your system up to infection by other malware since they will no longer be detected or blocked either. By the time you realize anything is wrong, your computer might be a digital petri dish.

What the Beta Bot Attack Looks Like

Like other trojans, Beta Bot infects a computer by tricking the user into running a malicious executable file. For example, you might receive an email or a message through something like Skype to watch a funny video. When you click the link, you'll be asked to install a video player needed to see the content. The "video player" is actually the trojan.

Once your computer is infected, Beta Bot gets to work. You'll see a Windows UAC (User Account Control) window pop up asking you to allow "Windows Command Processor" to run. However, both the UAC popup and the Command Processor are fake.

If you click the button as requested and give Beta Bot the permissions it needs, it will deliver its payload. In this case, that probably means it will monitor your computer for login credentials and send them to the malware author as soon as it has them.

Avoiding and Removing Beta Bot

Avoiding a Beta Bot infection is pretty much the same as avoiding any other trojan malware. You should never, ever run executable software you've downloaded from a source you can't trust. Even when it comes from a trusted source, you should always scan such files before running them.

In addition, you should know what the software is and have a good reason for running it. At the very least, you should run the software in a virtual machine sandbox to make sure that it really does what it says.

With Beta Bot, it's also critical that your antivirus software is up to date. Exploits used by new versions of the trojan are sure to be patched quickly. This is one of the reasons Beta Bot blocks antivirus updates in the first place.

If your system is already infected, it can be tough to remove the malware. It may be easiest simply to remove the infected drives and then format them safely using another computer like a Mac. Alternatively, you can use another computer to download a portable antivirus package to a USB drive and run it on the infected machine. Booting from a live OS and formatting or scanning the infected drive is another option. Don't underestimate how much of a pain it is to remove Beta Bot, so do your best to avoid infection in the first place.



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