How to Remove ZEUS/ZBOT

June 20, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Zbot, also known as Zeus, is a money-stealing bot that basically empties your bank account.

Built using the Zeus crimeware kit (that’s right, people; just like gamers have construction kits for adding background textures into new levels, criminals have crimeware kits for adding new elements of theft), Zbot has been responsible for the theft of at least $1 million since it first crawled onto the Internet in 2007.

In 2010 the threat intensified to the point where it was estimated by Trusteer to be sitting on 100,000 PCs in the UK alone; while initially seeming to be a threat that particularly targeted European users (and 19 Eastern European gangsters were later arrested) it seems that Zbot is also targeting North American users. Malware created by Zeus spreads by email and can log and steal credentials from online banking accounts, social networks and other login-based systems.

How to remove ZEUS/ZBOT

So, how do you tackle a threat such as this? Standard anti-virus software will not deal with Zbot. Instead, you need a dedicated fix, a removal tool such as that provided by Microsoft.

Microsoft recently revealed that Zbot has been found and removed 281,491 times from 274,873 computers, with the removal being facilitated by the Malicious Software Removal Tool.

The Malicious Software Removal Tool Explained

Available from, the Malicious Software Removal Tool allows users of Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 to check for malicious software (also known as malware) infections, and when any are found they are removed. The tool also displays a report of what actions were taken.

The Malicious Software Removal Tool is updated on the second Tuesday of each month, and can be used to remove prevalent malware such as Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom as well as Zbot/Zeus and recent additions Rorpian, Yimfoca and Nuqel.

By clicking the Skip the details and download the tool button, you will be taken to a download page where the 13 MB file can be saved to your computer. This is an executable, so when this has completed, double-click to run the file and a few moments later you should be able to choose between a quick, full or custom scan.

Alternatives to the Malicious Software Removal Tool

You don’t have to rely on this method of malware detection and removal, however. There are plenty of other tools available. However, Microsoft spend time making this particular tool ideal for removing specific threats and therefore should be considered if you feel that your PC is under attack or being misused.

One main alternative is the Microsoft Security Essentials tool, free to Windows users, and this is just a single example of security software that is suitable for removing bots and malware such as Zbot.    MalwareBytes’s Anti-Malware and SuperAntiSpyware are both excellent alternatives, but remember that Microsoft’s MSRT will give you a quick and effective removal.

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