Also known as: Neshuta, Virus.Win32.Neshta.a, Virus:Win32/Neshta.A, W32.Neshuta
Damage potential: Stolen information on the system’s hardware and software, scouting for further cyberattacks, data theft, privacy violations.
Neshta is a file infector virus believed to have originated in Belarus in the early 2000s. Neshta infects executable (.exe) files to collect information about the system and its users. Attacks involving Neshta typically target large organizations in the manufacturing, finance, consumer goods, and energy sectors.
The biggest sign of a Neshta infection is the presence of the “svchost.com” file on your system. Because “svchost.exe” is a legitimate system process, Neshta malware renames itself after installation to disguise its activities. You can find “svchost.com” in the Task Manager or in the “C:\Windows\” folder.
Other indicators of a Neshta infection include:
- You discover files named “directx.sys” and “tmp5023.tmp” on your system. These files are created by Neshta upon infection
- Your device frequently freezes or stutters.
- Your device’s fan seems to be constantly on, even when the device is idle.
- Your device periodically sends data to unknown remote servers (Neshta is uploading victim information to its handlers).
- You cannot access documents or files that previously worked fine.
Sources of the infection
Neshta targets “.exe” files on the system and writes malicious instructions into their code. The virus spreads when victims share these infected files with others. Neshta further modifies the Windows registry to start malicious processes each time the infected files are launched, preventing victims from killing it via the Task Manager.
Your device may also get infected with Neshta from:
Emails containing infected attachments (for example, spam or phishing emails).
Drive-by downloading (malicious scripts on compromised websites that force your device to automatically download malware when the page loads).
Peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing of infected files.
Infected external devices, such as hard drives or USB sticks.
The most effective protection against Neshta is forming good cybersecurity habits. Scanning newly downloaded or installed executable files with a reliable antivirus helps you prevent your system from being infected.
Other protective measures include:
Use email scanning tools to identify and automatically block messages with suspicious attachments.
Avoid potentially dangerous websites, like dark web pages or torrent repositories. These websites may attempt to install malware (including Neshta) on your device as soon as you open them.
Use NordVPN’s Threat Protection to scan programs and files for malware while they’re being downloaded. Threat Protection will also alert you if you’re about to enter a known infected website to prevent drive-by download attacks.
Antivirus software can help you detect and remove Neshta, although using this method may lead to the deletion of files that are critical to your operating system. In that case, you may have to reinstall your OS or restore the device to factory defaults.