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Also known as: HAWKEYE, Predator Pain, Hawkeye Keylogger, iSpy

Category: Malware

Type: Trojan

Platform: Windows

Variants: Hawkeye Reborn v9, HawkEye Keylogger, HawkEye Crypter, HawkEye Reborn v8, HawkEye Nuke, HawkEye Net Seal, HawkEye SQLite

Damage potential: Stolen sensitive information (e.g., passwords and usernames), financial loss, privacy breaches, unauthorized access to systems, further malware distribution, identity theft, and financial fraud.


Hawkeye is an advanced remote access trojan and keylogger that targets Windows-based systems. Its main purpose is stealing sensitive information, including bank details and account credentials. Hawkeye uses various techniques to avoid detection, including polymorphic code and manipulating operating systems.

Possible symptoms

Even though Hawkeye tries its best to avoid detection, several possible symptoms may indicate an infection. The first one to watch out for is unusual system behavior, like freezes and crashes.

Other possible symptoms of a Hawkeye infection include:

  • Unusually high CPU or network usage.

  • New user accounts on your system or device.

  • Security alerts from your anti-malware software.

  • Suspicious pop-ups, advertisements, or redirects to sites.

  • Unexpectedly disabled security software.

  • Unusual processes running on your device.

  • New or modified existing files, especially in system directories.

  • Unexplained data loss or encryption.

Sources of the infection

Hawkeye can spread in several ways, with spam campaigns and malicious attachments being the most common. Here are some common ways Hawkeye may infect your device:

  • Drive-by downloads. Users may unknowingly download Hawkeye when they land on an unsafe website.

  • Malicious downloads. Hawkeye is sometimes bundled with pirated software, games, or files available for download.

  • Malvertising. Hawkeye may spread through malicious online advertisements. Malvertising can be difficult to spot because it often appears on legitimate websites alongside safe ads.

  • Infected removable media. Hawkeye can spread via infected USB drives, external hard drives, or other removable media.

  • Software vulnerabilities. Some versions of Hawkeye can exploit known vulnerabilities in software or operating systems.


Take your digital security into your own hands. Here’s how you can minimize the chances of a Hawkeye infection:

  • Use reliable antivirus software. Protect your devices with trustworthy antivirus and anti-malware tools.

  • Keep your software up to date. Hawkeye is known to target security vulnerabilities on devices. Install security updates regularly to protect yourself from the latest cyber threats.

  • Use a firewall. Enabling firewalls helps monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic, potentially blocking malicious connections.

  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). Multi-factor authentication can help protect your accounts even if someone has stolen your login details.

  • Be cautious with emails. Hawkeye may spread via phishing and spam emails. If you get an email urging you to do something or one that includes links, don’t interact with it.

  • Browse with caution. Hackers may create fake websites that look legitimate to spread Hawkeye and other trojans. Be mindful of the websites you visit and the information you share.

  • Use NordVPN’s Threat Protection. For a safer online experience, use Threat Protection — NordVPN’s advanced feature that blocks malicious sites, intrusive trackers, and annoying ads. Plus, it checks the files you download for malware.


Removing Hawkeye can be difficult because the trojan is designed to avoid detection by antivirus and anti-malware software. First, disconnect the computer from the network and boot it into safe mode. Then, use a reputable antivirus software to run a full security scan. If removing Hawkeye proves complicated, you may need to get help from an experienced IT professional. Once you’ve removed the malware from your device, make sure you change your compromised passwords and deactivate affected credit cards.

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