Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



‘GoldenSpy’ Malware Uninstaller Delivered to Victims Following Public Exposure

Within days after a report detailing the GoldenSpy malware operation targeting organizations doing business in China, an uninstaller was pushed to affected systems to completely remove the infection.

Within days after a report detailing the GoldenSpy malware operation targeting organizations doing business in China, an uninstaller was pushed to affected systems to completely remove the infection.

Last week, Trustwave published information detailing the manner in which a hidden backdoor had been delivered to organizations via Intelligent Tax, a piece of software from Aisino Corporation that is required by a Chinese bank.

Designed to provide attackers with unfettered access to the victim networks, with SYSTEM privileges, the GoldenSpy malware is believed to have been around since 2016, but it’s unclear how many organizations it might have compromised to date.

On June 28, just three days after Trustwave’s report went public, the Aisino Intelligent Tax product was observed silently pushing a new file onto infected systems, “AWX.exe.” This file was specifically designed to remove GoldenSpy and all traces of compromise, including registry entries and the malware’s files and folders, after which it would delete itself from the system.

The command used for deletion results in the Windows command-line interface being terminated upon the completion of the operation, and ensures that the deletion is performed without requiring permission or displaying a notification.

“In our testing, this GoldenSpy uninstaller will automatically download and execute, and effectively, will negate the direct threat of GoldenSpy in your environment, however, as the deployment of this uninstaller is delivered directly from the supposedly legitimate tax software, this has to leave users of Intelligent Tax concerned about what else could be downloaded and executed in a similar manner,” Trustwave notes.

Despite this new development, however, the security researchers are not convinced that the threat actor will slow down its activity, but rather consider it a “clear and present danger.” Thus, they advise organizations to remain vigilant and continue their threat hunting.

A second version of the GoldenSpy uninstaller was observed on June 29, only hours after the initial variant emerged. Identical to the first, the new iteration would obfuscate variables with Base64 encoding, likely in an attempt to evade detection.

Analysis of the uninstaller also revealed that it removes GoldenSpy following the exact malware removal steps that Trustwave included as recommendation in their report. This shows once again that the actor is fully aware of the attention it has received and wants to ensure it can hide its tracks to hinder further investigations.

Related: ‘GoldenSpy’ Malware Hidden In Chinese Tax Software

Related: Attacker Installs Backdoor, Blocks Others From Exploiting Citrix ADC Vulnerability

Related: China-Linked Threat Actor Using New Backdoor

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content


Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.


The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.


The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.


A new study by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) named a staggering figure as the true annual cost of...


CISA, NSA, and MS-ISAC issued an alert on the malicious use of RMM software to steal money from bank accounts.


Video games developer Riot Games says source code was stolen from its development environment in a ransomware attack

Application Security

PayPal is alerting roughly 35,000 individuals that their accounts have been targeted in a credential stuffing campaign.