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Async RAT

Also known as: AsyncRAT

Category: Malware

Type: Backdoor, remote access tool, trojan

Platform: Windows

Variants: Async RAT is an open-source project, so malicious actors customize their own variants.

Damage potential: Data destruction, theft, and exfiltration, espionage and surveillance, installation of additional malware, system manipulation and control, further propagation and spreading to other devices, ransomware deployment, botnet formation, disruption of services.

Overview

Async RAT is an open-source remote administration tool that was weaponized by malicious actors. Many cybercriminals tailor it to target Windows computers. They use it to secretly take over devices, monitor user activity, steal confidential information, and install more malware. Async RAT became a point of interest for security professionals because of its open-source nature.

Possible symptoms

Because Async RAT is a highly customizable malware, the symptoms may vary case by case, but here are some things you can look out for:

  • Unauthorized activity from your webcam or microphone.
  • Slowed system performance.
  • Unknown outbound connections.
  • Antivirus and other security software is disabled.
  • Unrecognized processes running in the Task Manager.
  • System settings changed without authorization.

Sources of the infection

Async RAT gets on your devices the same way most malware does. Here are some common ways your Windows computer can get infected with it:

  • Phishing emails with malicious attachments or links.
  • Drive-by downloads from compromised or malicious websites.
  • Software bundles from unverified sources.
  • Infected external storage devices.
  • Malvertising.
  • Exploited software vulnerabilities.

Protection

There’s no special method to protect your Windows devices from Async RAT — use common sense, be careful online, and get security software to help you do it. Try NordVPN’s Threat Protection — it will block your access to malicious websites, stop malicious ads from loading, and scan your downloading files and delete them if malware is found.

Here are some more things you can do to avoid Async RAT:

  • Regularly update all your software and the operating system.
  • Don’t open suspicious emails from unknown senders, especially if they have attachments.
  • Don’t download software from third-party app stores and pirate websites.
  • Use a firewall to monitor the network traffic on your device.

Async RAT removal

If you can, the fastest, cheapest, safest, and most reliable way to get rid of Async RAT is to perform a full system wipe. But if you didn’t back up your files and don’t want to lose them, here are some things you can do to remove Async RAT:

  • Disconnect from the internet so the malicious actor is unable to access your device.
  • Boot Windows into safe mode to minimize the trojan's functionality.
  • Use an updated antivirus to scan your device and remove the threat.
  • Check the Task Manager — there shouldn’t be any unfamiliar or suspicious activity if your antivirus removed the malware correctly.
  • After removal, your online account might still be compromised, so it's crucial to change all your passwords.