Threat Explorer

The Threat Explorer is a comprehensive resource consumers can turn to for daily, accurate, up-to-date information on the latest threats, risks and vulnerabilities.

SONAR.ProcessHijack

SONAR.ProcessHijack

Discovered:
March 19, 2010
Updated:
February 25, 2016
Systems Affected:
Windows
SONAR.ProcessHijack is a heuristic detection that is designed to detect new malware based on how it launches new processes. Malware will commonly launch and hijack trusted Windows processes like svchost.exe in order to perform malicious actions.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version October 02, 2014 revision 022
  • Latest Rapid Release version October 02, 2014 revision 022
  • Initial Daily Certified version May 01, 2010 revision 002
  • Latest Daily Certified version May 01, 2010 revision 002
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date March 24, 2010
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.
Symantec’s antivirus products contain an highly sensitive detection technology designed to detect entirely new malware threats without traditional signatures. This technology is aimed at detecting malicious software that has been intentionally mutated or morphed by attackers.

If one or more files on your computer have been classified as having a SONAR.ProcessHijack threat, this indicates that the files have suspicious characteristics and therefore might contain a new or unknown threat. However, given the sensitive nature of this detection technology, it may occasionally identify non-malicious, legitimate software programs that also share these behavioral characteristics. Therefore, it is recommended that users manually check all files detected as SONAR.ProcessHijack by Symantec antivirus products for potential misidentification, and submit any suspect files to Symantec Security Response for further analysis. For instructions on how to do this, read Submit Virus Samples .

In rare cases where a legitimate file has been misidentified and subsequently quarantined, your computer may behave abnormally or you may find that one or more applications no longer function as expected. In such rare situations, you should open the Quarantine in your Symantec antivirus product. From here, you may review the list of all files detected as SONAR.ProcessHijack and, if you identify a potential misidentification, restore the file from quarantine and allow it to run normally.

Recommendations

Symantec Security Response encourages all users and administrators to adhere to the following basic security "best practices":

  • Use a firewall to block all incoming connections from the Internet to services that should not be publicly available. By default, you should deny all incoming connections and only allow services you explicitly want to offer to the outside world.
  • Enforce a password policy. Complex passwords make it difficult to crack password files on compromised computers. This helps to prevent or limit damage when a computer is compromised.
  • Ensure that programs and users of the computer use the lowest level of privileges necessary to complete a task. When prompted for a root or UAC password, ensure that the program asking for administration-level access is a legitimate application.
  • Disable AutoPlay to prevent the automatic launching of executable files on network and removable drives, and disconnect the drives when not required. If write access is not required, enable read-only mode if the option is available.
  • Turn off file sharing if not needed. If file sharing is required, use ACLs and password protection to limit access. Disable anonymous access to shared folders. Grant access only to user accounts with strong passwords to folders that must be shared.
  • Turn off and remove unnecessary services. By default, many operating systems install auxiliary services that are not critical. These services are avenues of attack. If they are removed, threats have less avenues of attack.
  • If a threat exploits one or more network services, disable, or block access to, those services until a patch is applied.
  • Always keep your patch levels up-to-date, especially on computers that host public services and are accessible through the firewall, such as HTTP, FTP, mail, and DNS services.
  • Configure your email server to block or remove email that contains file attachments that are commonly used to spread threats, such as .vbs, .bat, .exe, .pif and .scr files.
  • Isolate compromised computers quickly to prevent threats from spreading further. Perform a forensic analysis and restore the computers using trusted media.
  • Train employees not to open attachments unless they are expecting them. Also, do not execute software that is downloaded from the Internet unless it has been scanned for viruses. Simply visiting a compromised Web site can cause infection if certain browser vulnerabilities are not patched.
  • If Bluetooth is not required for mobile devices, it should be turned off. If you require its use, ensure that the device's visibility is set to "Hidden" so that it cannot be scanned by other Bluetooth devices. If device pairing must be used, ensure that all devices are set to "Unauthorized", requiring authorization for each connection request. Do not accept applications that are unsigned or sent from unknown sources.
  • For further information on the terms used in this document, please refer to the Security Response glossary.
The following instructions pertain to all current and recent Symantec antivirus products, including the Symantec AntiVirus and Norton AntiVirus product lines.
  1. Disable System Restore (Windows Me/XP).
  2. Update the virus definitions.
  3. Run a full system scan.

For specific details on each of these steps, read the following instructions.

1. To disable System Restore (Windows Me/XP)
If you are running Windows Me or Windows XP, we recommend that you temporarily turn off System Restore. Windows Me/XP uses this feature, which is enabled by default, to restore the files on your computer in case they become damaged. If a virus, worm, or Trojan infects a computer, System Restore may back up the virus, worm, or Trojan on the computer.

Windows prevents outside programs, including antivirus programs, from modifying System Restore. Therefore, antivirus programs or tools cannot remove threats in the System Restore folder. As a result, System Restore has the potential of restoring an infected file on your computer, even after you have cleaned the infected files from all the other locations.

Also, a virus scan may detect a threat in the System Restore folder even though you have removed the threat.

For instructions on how to turn off System Restore, read your Windows documentation, or one of the following articles:

Note: When you are completely finished with the removal procedure and are satisfied that the threat has been removed, reenable System Restore by following the instructions in the aforementioned documents.

For additional information, and an alternative to disabling Windows Me System Restore, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article: Antivirus Tools Cannot Clean Infected Files in the _Restore Folder (Article ID: Q263455).

2. To update the virus definitions
Symantec Security Response fully tests all the virus definitions for quality assurance before they are posted to our servers. There are two ways to obtain the most recent virus definitions:
  • Running LiveUpdate, which is the easiest way to obtain virus definitions.
    If you use Norton AntiVirus 2006, Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.0, or newer products, LiveUpdate definitions are updated daily. These products include newer technology.

    If you use Norton AntiVirus 2005, Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 9.0, or earlier products, LiveUpdate definitions are updated weekly. The exception is major outbreaks, when definitions are updated more often.
  • Downloading the definitions using the Intelligent Updater: The Intelligent Updater virus definitions are posted daily. You should download the definitions from the Symantec Security Response Web site and manually install them.

The latest Intelligent Updater virus definitions can be obtained here: Intelligent Updater virus definitions . For detailed instructions read the document: How to update virus definition files using the Intelligent Updater .

3. To run a full system scan
  1. Start your Symantec antivirus program and make sure that it is configured to scan all the files.
    For Norton AntiVirus consumer products: Read the document: How to configure Norton AntiVirus to scan all files.

    For Symantec AntiVirus Enterprise products: Read the document: How to verify that a Symantec Corporate antivirus product is set to scan all files.
  2. Run a full system scan.
  3. If any files are detected, follow the instructions displayed by your antivirus program.
Important: If you are unable to start your Symantec antivirus product or the product reports that it cannot delete a detected file, you may need to stop the risk from running in order to remove it. To do this, run the scan in Safe mode. For instructions, read the document, How to start the computer in Safe Mode . Once you have restarted in Safe mode, run the scan again.


After the files are deleted, restart the computer in Normal mode.