Do not trust the fake download page for PayPal desktop app

Also Known As: RedLine Stealer
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

RedLine Stealer removal guide

What is PayPal Desktop App scam?

PayPal is the name of an American company operating a worldwide online payments system. It is common that cyber criminals exploit names of well known companies, products, services for malicious purposes. In this particular case they use a fake download website for PayPal desktop application to trick users into downloading an installer for malicious software. At the time of the research this website downloaded the installer for RedLine Stealer.

paypal desktop app fake download website

RedLine Stealer is a piece of malware that can be used by cyber criminals as a tool to steal sensitive information and infect operating systems with other malware. This malware is capable of gathering information such as logins, passwords, autofill data, cookies and credit card details from all Gecko-based and Chromium-based web browsers. Such information can be misused for various malicious purposes. For example, to steal personal accounts (email, social media, banking-related, and other accounts), make fraudulent purchases, transactions, and so on. Also, it can be used to install additional malware on computers, for example, ransomware-type programs, cryptocurrency miners, Trojans. Therefore, victims of RedLine Stealer attack could lose access to various accounts, become victims of identity theft, suffer data, monetary loss, encounter serious issues related to online privacy, browsing safety, etc. It is worthwhile to mention that this fake download website for PayPal desktop app could be used to trick users into installing not only RedLine Stealer but also other malicious programs.

Threat Summary:
Name RedLine Stealer
Disguise Download website for PayPal desktop application
Distributed Malware At the time of the research it was RedLine Stealer
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware
Detection Names (Spindrift.exe) Avast (Win32:MalwareX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Spider.1), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/TrojanDownloader.Agent.GTP), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Spy.MSIL.Stealer.vho), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Tiggre!rfn), Full List (VirusTotal)
Malicious Process Name(s) AddInProcess.exe (its name may vary)
Symptoms Information stealing malware is designed to stealthily infiltrate the victim's computer and remain silent, and thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.
Distribution methods Malicious websites, infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software 'cracks'.
Damage Stolen passwords and banking information, identity theft, the victim's computer added to a botnet.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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As mentioned in the first paragraph, it is not uncommon for cyber criminals to create websites that look like official pages of legitimate companies, organizations or other entities. Usually cyber criminals use them either to trick visitors into installing malicious software or providing sensitive information. It is important to know that none of the legitimate, official pages have anything to do with fake, deceptive sites. A couple of examples of other unofficial, malicious or untrustworthy pages that are designed to look like the official ones are "Among Us Free Items", "Game Booster". It is common that users do not visit such pages intentionally. Quite often they end up on such sites after clicking some deceptive ad, visiting some other untrustworthy page, or when they have some potentially unwanted application (PUA) that is designed to promote those sites installed on a browser and/or the operating system.

How did malware infiltrate my computer?

In this particular case cyber criminals distribute malware via fake download website for PayPal application. Although, there are other ways to distribute malware. For example, by using malspam emails, fake software updating tools, other unreliable software download sources, Trojans and unofficial software activation ('cracking) tools. Users infect computers with malware via malspam when they download and execute malicious files (attachments) that they have received via email. In most cases such emails contain malicious Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, archive files, executable files (.exe) and so on. It is worthwhile to mention that such emails can contain download links for malicious files as well. Fake software updating tools, if used, infect systems by exploiting bugs, flaws of some outdated software, or by installing malware instead of updates, fixes. As a rule, such updating tools are disguised as installers of updated for legitimate programs. Examples of other unreliable software download sources are Peer-to-Peer networks (eMule, torrent clients, etc.), free file hosting and freeware download websites and third party downloaders, etc. Users infect computers through them when they download and execute a malicious files. As a rule, cyber criminals disguise those files as legitimate, regular files. Trojans are malicious programs that can cause damage only when they are already installed in computers. Once users get into installing a certain Trojan, it can cause installation of additional malware. Unofficial activation tools are programs that are designed to illegally activate other, licensed programs. Although, quite often they do not activate any software and install some malicious one instead.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Files and website links ir irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened, cyber criminals often such emails with a purpose to deliver malware. Software (and files) should be downloaded from official, trustworthy websites. Other sources (examples are provided in the previous paragraph) should not be trusted. Installed programs have to be updated and activated (if it is necessary) with tools that are provided by their official developers. Unofficial, third party tools should never be used neither to activate or update any installed programs. Moreover, it is not legal to activate licensed programs with unofficial tools, neither it is legal to use installers for pirated programs. And finally, the operating system should be scanned for threats regularly, it should be done by using an up-to-date and reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

RedLine Stealer running in Task Manager as "AddInProcess.exe" (its name may vary):

paypal desktop app scam addinprocess.exe malicious process

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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How to remove malware manually?

Manual malware removal is a complicated task - usually it is best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs to do this automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using Malwarebytes for Windows. If you wish to remove malware manually, the first step is to identify the name of the malware that you are trying to remove. Here is an example of a suspicious program running on a user's computer:

malicious process running on user's computer sample

If you checked the list of programs running on your computer, for example, using task manager, and identified a program that looks suspicious, you should continue with these steps:

manual malware removal step 1Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:

screenshot of autoruns application

manual malware removal step 2Restart your computer into Safe Mode:

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":


manual malware removal step 3Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.

extract and run autoruns.exe

manual malware removal step 4In the Autoruns application, click "Options" at the top and uncheck "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure, click the "Refresh" icon.

Click 'Options' at the top and uncheck 'Hide Empty Locations' and 'Hide Windows Entries' options

manual malware removal step 5Check the list provided by the Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.

You should write down its full path and name. Note that some malware hides process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage, it is very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate the suspicious program you wish to remove, right click your mouse over its name and choose "Delete".

locate the malware file you want to remove

After removing the malware through the Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware will not run automatically on the next system startup), you should search for the malware name on your computer. Be sure to enable hidden files and folders before proceeding. If you find the filename of the malware, be sure to remove it.

searching for malware file on your computer

Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills. If you do not have these skills, leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it is best to prevent infection than try to remove malware later. To keep your computer safe, install the latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.

To be sure your computer is free of malware infections, we recommend scanning it with Malwarebytes for Windows.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
RedLine Stealer QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of RedLine Stealer on your mobile device.
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