What is Citadel Malware? (How Does It Work, How to Remove)

What is Citadel Malware?

Citadel is a malware distribution and botnet management toolkit that makes it simple to create a ransomware and infect computers one by one using pay-per-install apps. Citadel was created to steal personal information from its victims, including banking and financial information.

  • Based on the Zeus source code, the Citadel Trojan creates a botnet that comprises of a large number of infected machines. On an exploited computer, the attacker can run harmful malware such as ransomware and scareware.

  • Citadel virus infects machines using a variety of methods. This danger is spread by cybercriminals using sophisticated tactics such as banking malware, ransomware attacks, and so on.

  • Hackers utilize a variety of approaches, including email spamming, web injects, false and pirated software updaters, and software bundles. Bundling is a process through which hackers make money through illicit means. As a result, downloading or installing programs or apps from bogus software is absolutely forbidden. Anti-malware software should be used to scan the devices on a regular basis.

Citadel is capable of stealing a large amount of data when used correctly using man-in-the-browser (MiTB) methods.

  • Bad actors can utilize the MiTB approach to inject vital information like PIN into an infected web page.

  • The tainted page appears so authentic to the targeted consumers that they believe they are handing over sensitive information such as their PIN to a respectable website.

  • Citadel's keylogging capabilities are superior, making password-related information breaches simple.

How Does Citadel Malware Work?

Citadel's fundamental method of operation begins with the installation of malware on the computer or other data-driven device being targeted. Typically, a drive-by-download assault is used to install the software. For this attack, a blackhole exploit kit is commonly utilized. It's a MaaS platform that may be found on the dark web.

The Blackhole kit installs a cyber-vulnerability in the browser when a user visits an infected website, allowing Citadel to install. Citadel takes control of the device after it has been successfully installed since it has access to the system's critical passwords.

When a user visits an infected website, Blackhole installs Citadel by exploiting a vulnerability in the user's web browser. Citadel might take over customers' Windows PCs and try to steal master passwords for third-party password managers, as well as limit access to anti-virus vendor websites. Citadel might potentially be used in more traditional assaults as well as targeted operations leveraging Microsoft zero-day vulnerabilities to infect businesses.

How to Remove Citadel Malware?

To keep the system secure, be very cautious while surfing the web and stay away from these harmful sources.

  • Users should not open strange emails from unfamiliar sources since they frequently include harmful files that, if clicked, might result in virus installation.

  • Avoid utilizing untrustworthy channels and only update or download software from authorized sources.

  • Never click unknown adverts or links that often surface on the Internet and may lead to malware infection.

  • The best solution is to avoid visiting websites that aren't secure and reliable. The majority of the time, this virus is spread through banking websites. If you can, look for the encryption details.

  • Second, in order to avoid botnet assaults, one must understand how to track botnets. It is not negotiable to have active anti-virus software installed on the utilized PC or computer. Conduct a system scan on a regular basis.

  • Wallarm is an excellent resource for custom security solutions. This solution can safeguard a wide range of web services and APIs, reducing the risk of Citadel attacks to a minimum.

If at all, your system gets infected by the Citadel malware, then you need to take the following steps to remove it or prevent it from spreading further −

Terminate Any Questionable Processes

First, turn your system into Networking Safe Mode. The Task Manager in Windows is a valuable tool that displays all the programs that are operating in the background. If a malware is causing a process to run, you must stop it −

  • To launch Windows Task Manager, use Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard.

  • Start the task manager.

  • Look over the Background processes section for anything unusual.

  • Right-click and select Open file location from the context menu.

  • Find the file you want to open and double-click it.

  • Return to the process and, from the context menu, choose End Task.

  • Delete the infected folder's contents.

Verify the Program's Startup

  • From the Windows Task Manager, navigate to the Startup tab.

  • Disable the suspicious software by right-clicking on it.

Remove Any Virus Files

Malware files can be located in a variety of locations on your computer. Here are some directions that may assist you in locating them −

  • In the Windows search box, type Disk Cleanup and hit Enter.

  • Cleaning up the hard drive-Choose the drive you'd want to clean

  • Select the following items from the Files to Delete list −

    • Downloads of Temporary Internet Files

    • Bin for Recycling

    • Temporary documents

Pick the System files that should be cleaned out. Delete any temporary files. Other harmful files may be buried in the directories listed below (search these entries in the Windows Search bar and press Enter) −

  • %AppData%

  • %LocalAppData%

  • %ProgramData%

  • %WinDir%

When you're done, restart the computer in regular mode.