Qbot (QakBot)

Posted: December 23, 2023
from Cybersecurity Glossary
QakBot, W32/QakBot, Qbot VBS, QuakBot, Pinkslipbot
Stolen Usernames And Passwords, Data Theft, Unauthorized Access, Disruptions Of Network Operations, Botnet Formation, Ransomware Distribution, Identity Theft, And Financial Fraud
Risk Level:

Qbot is a sophisticated computer trojan that infiltrates devices, extracting sensitive information from Windows-based systems. Its targets encompass a wide range, from banking details to social security numbers. Additionally, Qbot has the capability to leverage infected machines to establish a botnet—a network of compromised computers.

Possible symptoms

  • Unusual network traffic patterns, particularly with communication to external servers.
  • Unexplained system slowdowns or increased resource usage.
  • Unexpected changes in system settings or configurations.
  • Anomalies in user account activities, such as unauthorized access attempts.
  • Presence of unfamiliar or malicious files on the system.
  • Unusual registry modifications related to system security settings.
  • Abnormal behavior in installed security software or intrusion detection systems.

Sources of the infection

  • Phishing emails and malicious attachments, often disguised as legitimate documents or software updates.
  • Drive-by downloads from compromised or malicious websites.
  • Exploitation of software vulnerabilities in the operating system or installed applications.
  • Compromised removable media, such as infected USB drives.
  • Propagation through an existing botnet or network of compromised machines.
  • Injection through malicious advertisements (malvertising) on legitimate websites.
  • Social engineering techniques to trick users into executing malicious actions.
  • Compromised software installers or updates, including those from unofficial sources.


Qbot, also known as QakBot, is a highly sophisticated Trojan with the primary objective of extracting sensitive information, including login credentials, from Windows-based systems. The damage potential of Qbot extends across a spectrum of malicious activities, ranging from stolen usernames and passwords to data theft, unauthorized access, disruptions of network operations, botnet formation, ransomware distribution, identity theft, and financial fraud.

Targets of Qbot include a diverse array of sensitive information, such as banking details and social security numbers. One of its notable capabilities is the ability to form a botnet, utilizing compromised machines to create a network of infiltrated computers.

The symptoms of a Qbot infection include unusual network traffic patterns, system slowdowns, unexpected changes in system settings, anomalies in user account activities, the presence of unfamiliar or malicious files, unusual registry modifications, and abnormal behavior in security software.

Qbot spreads through various channels, including phishing emails with malicious attachments, drive-by downloads from compromised websites, exploitation of software vulnerabilities, compromised removable media, propagation through existing botnets, malicious advertisements on legitimate websites (malvertising), social engineering techniques, and compromised software installers or updates from unofficial sources.

If you suspect your system is infected with Qbot, take immediate steps to isolate the infected machine, perform a full system scan with a Gridinsoft Anti-Malware, change all passwords (especially those related to financial and sensitive accounts), monitor accounts for unusual activity, and consider seeking assistance from a cybersecurity professional for a thorough cleanup.

To prevent Qbot infections, implement technical measures such as keeping operating systems and security software up to date, regularly performing security audits, enabling multi-factor authentication, using application whitelisting, and educating users about phishing tactics and social engineering techniques to reduce the likelihood of successful infections.

🤔 What to do?

If you suspect your system is infected with Qbot, take the following steps:

  1. Isolate the infected machine from the network to prevent further spread.
  2. Use a Gridinsoft Anti-Malware to perform a full system scan and remove the trojan.
  3. Change all passwords, especially those related to financial and sensitive accounts.
  4. Monitor your accounts and systems for any unusual activity.
  5. Consider seeking assistance from a cybersecurity professional to ensure a thorough cleanup.

🛡️ Prevention

To prevent Qbot infections, follow these technical measures:

  • Keep your operating system, antivirus, and other security software up to date with the latest patches and definitions.
  • Regularly perform security audits and vulnerability assessments on your network.
  • Implement strong password policies and enable multi-factor authentication.
  • Use application whitelisting to control which programs can run on your systems.
  • Educate users about phishing tactics and social engineering techniques to reduce the likelihood of successful infections.

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