Also known as: QuasarRAT, xRAT
Variants: Quasar RAT is an open-source project, so there are multiple customized variants of it that hackers tailor to their own specific needs.
Damage potential: unauthorized remote control over the infected system, keystroke recording, stealing personal information, accessing webcam and microphone, managing files and processes on the device, downloading and executing other programs and malware.
Quasar RAT is an open-source remote access trojan (RAT) that targets Windows devices. Cybercriminals use it to gain unauthorized remote control over infected computers, spy on the owners of those devices, steal their information, and execute additional malware. Quasar RAT was first identified around 2015. It quickly gained attention in the cybersecurity community because it was open source, which meant that anyone could modify or adapt it for their specific needs.
Because Quasar RAT is often used for surveillance, one of the main symptoms you may notice is unexpected behavior from your webcam or microphone. Other symptoms include:
- Reduced computer performance.
- Unusual network activity.
- Disabled or compromised security software.
- Unrecognized processes in the Task Manager.
- Unauthorized changes to system settings.
- Suspicious activity or new login attempts on your online accounts.
Sources of the infection
Quasar RAT is not distinguishable from most other malware in the way it ends up on your device. Here are the most common ways your computer can get infected with it:
- You fall for a phishing campaign and download and open malicious email attachments.
- You visit a malicious or compromised website, and Quasar RAT installs itself through a drive-by download.
- You download a software bundle and don’t check what’s in it before installing everything.
- You use an infected removable drive (USB, memory card, or external hard drive).
If you want to protect your Windows computer from Quasar RAT or any malware for that matter, use common sense and always be on the lookout for anything suspicious online. You can use security software that will have your back and help you avoid malware in case you slip up. Try NordVPN’s Threat Protection — it will scan your downloading files and delete them if malware is found. To keep you even safer online, Threat Protection will also block your access to known malicious websites so you can turn back before it’s too late.
Here are some more things you can do to keep Quasar RAT away:
- Update all your software and the operating system as soon as updates are ready.
- Download software and files only from official sources, like app stores and developers’ websites.
- Be careful with emails from unknown senders, especially those with attachments.
- Use a firewall to monitor inbound and outbound network traffic.
Quasar RAT removal
While it’s safest to just perform a full system wipe to be sure, realistically, many users won’t be able to do that because they don’t have their files backed up. But don’t despair! Here are a few things you can do to get rid of Quasar RAT:
Disconnect from the internet to stop the attacker’s access to your computer.
Boot Windows into safe mode to limit the trojan’s capabilities.
Use a reliable and updated antivirus to scan and remove the threat. Some security software may have specialized tools for RAT removal.
Manually inspect running processes in the Task Manager for any unfamiliar or suspicious activity and end them.
After removal, it’s crucial to change all your passwords because they may have been compromised — use a password manager to make it easier and quicker.
Regularly monitor the system and network activity to ensure that Quasar RAT has been entirely eradicated.