Updated on: October 24, 2023
Short on time? Here’s how to remove the Zeus Virus
- 1. Scan Your PC. Run a full disk scan with a reputable antivirus — Norton is my favorite.
- 2. Remove the Zeus Virus. Once the scan is done, let your antivirus remove every instance of the Zeus virus from your PC.
- 3. Keep Your PC Safe. The best way to protect yourself against further infections is to use a high-quality internet security suite. Norton is the best one out there — its flawless malware detection, excellent real-time protection, and useful extra features make it an excellent value. All plans come with a generous 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.
The Zeus virus is a trojan that targets Windows computers. It most commonly spreads through phishing emails and drive-by downloads. The virus creates a backdoor into your system, allowing cybercriminals to steal your personal information, bank account details, passwords, and other sensitive data.
If you’ve been infected with the Zeus virus, you should use a secure antivirus scanner to remove it from your computer. I recommend Norton as the best tool for the job — you can get an affordable Norton plan for just $54.99 / year*, and all purchases come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Once you’ve removed all traces of the virus, you should change all of your passwords using a trustworthy password manager like 1Password.
Step 1. Identify the Zeus Virus With Your Antivirus
Once you have a secure antivirus installed on your computer, run a full disk scan. If you have any USB storage devices plugged into your computer, scan these too.
A full scan is necessary as it will check for all kinds of malware — including the Zeus virus — in every single file, folder, and storage device attached to your computer. Sometimes malware files multiply and hide in multiple locations, so a full disk scan ensures you catch everything. This scan will also be able to identify any other malware you might not know about that’s also infecting your system.
Important: A full disk scan can take a long time to finish, but you shouldn’t interrupt it. Additionally, you shouldn’t cancel the scan when you see the Zeus virus appear in the infected file list — until the scan has finished, you can’t be sure that there’s no other traces of this (or other) malware hidden somewhere on your device.
When you get to the scan results screen, you can proceed to step 2.
Step 2. Remove the Zeus Virus Infection and Delete Any Other Infected Files
Go to the list of infected files identified and quarantined by your antivirus software, and delete them all. If you recognize a file in your quarantine list that you know 100% is safe (a false positive) you can whitelist it, but be careful — there’s no way of knowing which of your files has been modified by hackers.
Once you’ve removed all the infected files, you need to restart your computer. This is because there’s still a chance you have traces of the malware running in your system memory. Once you’ve rebooted your PC, run a second full disk scan using your antivirus.
When the second full scan is complete, once again look over the infected file list and remove any compromised files. Then, restart and scan your PC again. Keep doing this until you can finish a scan without any malware appearing in the infected file list.
Once you have a clean scan result, you should change all of your passwords. The best way to do this is using a secure password manager — Dashlane is our top pick for 2023, and it has an excellent tool that allows you to automatically change lots of passwords with just one click. Changing your passwords is necessary because there’s a good chance hackers will have gained access to your login details through the Zeus virus. Changing your passwords will kick them out of any accounts they may have been able to access. You’re now ready to move on to step 3.
Step 3. Keep Your Device From Getting Re-Infected
You’ve already seen how dangerous malware infections can be and how easy it is for your PC to get infected. You should therefore take precautions to avoid getting infected again. Here are the easiest ways to keep your devices protected in 2023.
Keep Your Software, OS, and Drivers Up to Date
Make sure all of the apps, programs, and software on your PC is kept up to date — exploit attacks and malware frequently attack out-of-date software. Software updates include fixes and patches for vulnerabilities that have already been discovered. So if you don’t install the updates, this means your PC is still exposed to known vulnerabilities, making it easy for hackers to infect your device. Antivirus programs like TotalAV include a vulnerability scanner that can scan your entire computer for outdated software and automatically update it.
Also make sure that you always install Windows updates (including the optional updates). These updates frequently include bug fixes and security patches — Windows has an auto-update feature that you should enable.
You should also make sure that any application with an auto-update feature has this enabled. This allows apps to upgrade to the most recent version without needing your permission.
Don’t Download Suspicious Files
If you’ve been a victim of the Zeus virus, you were likely infected by downloading suspicious files. Downloading files from websites you don’t trust is always a bad idea and should be avoided at all times. Also, don’t click on links or attachments in emails from senders you don’t recognize. In fact, even if you recognize the sender, if it’s not a file you were expecting to receive, contact them and check if they intentionally sent you an attachment.
Finally, you should always have a trustworthy antivirus suite with real-time protection running. Real-time protection actively scans the sites you visit and files you try to open, and blocks malware before it can damage your computer. A quality antivirus like Norton can intercept and block malware like the Zeus virus with 100% effectiveness.
Secure Your Wireless Network and IoT Devices
Next, ensure you’ve secured your wireless network and internet of things (IoT) devices. When you set these up for the first time, you should be asked to create a password — which you should always do. If these devices and networks aren’t secured with a strong password, it means hackers can connect to them just as easily as you can.
To check if your wireless network is secured, take a look at your network connection list. A secure network will have “Secured” written underneath it. An unsecured network will say “Open” and have a warning indicator next to it.
You should never connect to unsecured networks at home. However, if you need to connect to an unsecured network in a coffee shop, hotel, or public location, you should install a VPN such as ExpressVPN, and activate it before connecting. VPNs hide your connection and stop hackers from tracking your data and reading your network activity.
If your home network is unsecured or has an easy-to-guess password, you should create a strong password for it using a password manager like Dashlane. Dashlane can generate strong unique passwords that are impossible for hackers to crack. If you’re not sure how to change or create your network’s password, check in your router’s instruction manual or go online and search for instructions on how to log into your router.
You can follow the same steps as above for your IoT devices, too. Look up the IoT device’s model number online, and find instructions on how to set up a password for it. Then use Dashlane or another password manager to create a secure password. This will prevent hackers from being able to steal your personal information or take over your home systems.
Download a Secure Antivirus Program
Always ensure you have a reliable antivirus program downloaded and active. Even if one is already installed on your system, it’s vital to keep it running for continuous protection.
Norton is an outstanding selection for top-notch antivirus protection. It provides a range of features to protect your computer and family against online threats. These include:
- Real-time protection. It actively prevents malware from compromising your computer.
- Secure VPN. Keeps you safe on public networks and at home by encrypting your browsing traffic.
- Cloud backup. Allows you to safely store your files on Norton’s cloud network.
- Parental controls. Allows you to protect your kids online through content filters and screen-time monitoring.
- Password manager. Generates and stores secure passwords using military-grade encryption.
- And more…
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Zeus virus real?
Yes, the Zeus virus is a genuine and serious threat. It attacks PCs via drive-by downloads and malicious emails, and steals personal information and passwords from victims.
If you suspect you’ve been infected with the Zeus virus, you should immediately run an antivirus scan on your computer using a quality antivirus software like Norton. The steps above will show you how to do this.
Where did the Zeus virus start?
The Zeus virus was first officially recognized in 2007, when hackers used it to steal data from the United States Department of Transportation. Two years later, the FBI reported that the Zeus virus had successfully infected devices of individuals worldwide. Due to how quickly it was able to spread, we recommend always having a decent antivirus to protect your device and remove malware like the Zeus virus before hackers are able to steal your data and invade your online accounts.
Can the Zeus virus infect Macs?
No, the Zeus virus can’t infect devices running macOS. The Zeus trojan is designed to infect Windows users only. However, Mac users can still be victims to other malware threats and online cyber-attacks, so installing a reliable antivirus on your Mac is just as crucial. Intego is an antivirus program designed specifically for Macs, and it’s our top pick for the best antivirus for Macs in 2023.
How to remove the Zeus virus from Windows 10?
You should use a secure antivirus suite, like Norton, to remove the Zeus virus — no matter which version of Windows you’re running.
If you’ve been infected by the Zeus virus, follow the above steps to remove it.