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How to remove PasswordStealer malware

Also Known As: PasswordStealer malware
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is PasswordStealer Spyware?

Password stealers are malicious programs that people often install on their computers inadvertently. Once installed, they stealthily collect sensitive information. In most cases, they target details such as login credentials (usernames, passwords), credit card details, and other personal information.

They can also be designed to gather information regarding an infected system (connected users, network activity, installed antivirus and other software, etc.). Additionally, some of these malicious programs are capable of installing additional malware onto the computer and/or adding the computer to a botnet.

PasswordStealer malware

Password stealers are monetized by selling collected information to third parties (other cyber criminals). Gathered data is also monetized by using it to steal identities, make fraudulent purchases and transactions, steal personal accounts (e.g. shopping, email, social media accounts), and for other malicious purposes.

Note that stolen accounts are used to trick other users into installing a password stealer or other malware, making money transactions, etc. As mentioned, some password stealers are used to infect computers with additional malware and/or to add them to a botnet.

In this way, cyber criminals might infect computers with ransomware, Trojans, cryptocurrency miners or other malicious software. If added to a botnet, the computer can be used to participate in Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, send spam (including malspam), steal data, and for other malicious purposes.

Therefore, if a password stealer is installed on your computer, remove/uninstall it as soon as possible.

Threat Summary:
Name PasswordStealer malware
Threat Type Password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:TrojanX-gen [Trj]), BitDefenderTheta (Gen:NN.ZexaF.34658.SzWaaejs@db), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Packed.Themida.HMI), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Dropper.Win32.Scrop.vho), Malwarebytes (Spyware.PasswordStealer.Themida.Generic), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Wacatac.DA!ml), Full List (VirusTotal).
Malicious Process Name(s) SmartClock.exe (its name may vary).
Payload Additional malware.
Symptoms Trojans are 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 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 Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Some examples of other malicious programs that are designed to steal sensitive data are Jupyter, FickerStealer, SolarSys and Covid Stealer. In most cases, users who become victims of these malware attacks also become victims of identity theft, experience data and/or monetary loss and problems relating to online privacy, browsing safety and other serious issues.

Usually, password stealers run in the system background silently and, therefore, users may not be aware of their presence for an indeterminate amount of time.

How did PasswordStealer Spyware infiltrate my computer?

Malware (including ransomware) is usually distributed via malspam campaigns, unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools, Trojans, dubious file/software download sources, and fake software updating tools. When cyber criminals attempt to distribute malware via malspam campaigns, they send emails that contain malicious attachments or download links for malicious files.

Typically, they disguise their emails as official and important. If recipients open the attached file (or a file downloaded via a website link), they cause installation of malicious software. Cyber criminals commonly attach executable files (.exe), archive files such as RAR, ZIP, PDF documents, JavaScript files and Microsoft Office documents to their emails.

Software 'cracking' tools supposedly activate licensed software illegally (bypass activation), however, they often install malicious programs and do not activate any legitimate installed software.

Trojans are other rogue programs that can cause chain infections. I.e., when a Trojan is installed on the operating system, it can install additional malware. Free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, and third party downloaders are examples of other sources that are used to distribute malware.

Cyber criminals disguise malicious files as legitimate and regular. When users download and open them, they inadvertently infect their computers with malware. Fake software updating tools install malicious software rather than updates/fixes for installed programs, or they exploit bugs/flaws of outdated software that is installed on the operating system.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not trust irrelevant emails that have files attached (or contain website links) and are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Software should not be downloaded or installed through third party downloaders, installers, unofficial pages or other similar sources/tools. Use only official websites and direct links.

Installed software should never be updated or activated with third party, unofficial tools, since they can install malware. Furthermore, it is illegal to use third party tools to activate licensed software. The only legitimate way to update and activate software is to use tools and functions that are provided by the official developers.

Regularly scan your computer with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software - keep this software up to date.

If you believe that your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Malicious installer-spreading PasswordStealer Spyware (the same installer is also designed to spread Garbage Cleaner PUA):

passwordstealer spyware insatller

PasswordStealer running in Task Manager as "SmartClock.exe" (its name may vary):

passwordstealer spyware smartclock.exe malicious process in task manager

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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 autoruns.zip 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

My computer is infected with PasswordStealer spyware, should I format my storage device to get rid of it?

Malicious software like PasswordStealer can be removed without formatting. A step-by-step removal guide for malware is provided above.

What are the biggest issues that malware can cause?

Malware can cause data loss, identity theft, monetary loss, additional infections, decreased computer performance, and other issues. It depends on the type of malware (its capabilities).

What is the purpose of a PasswordStealer malware?

It is used to steal information (login credentials) that could be used to hijack various personal accounts (banking, social media, gaming, and other accounts). As a rule, cybercriminals use malware to generate revenue. The main difference is the way malware operates to help cybercriminals to achieve their goals.

How did a malware infiltrate my computer?

Threat actors attempt to proliferate malware using phishing and other social engineering techniques (for instance, malicious emails, fake virus alerts), drive-by downloads, Peer-to-Peer networks, and unofficial download pages for various software, software cracking tools. Some malicious programs can spread themselves via external hard drives, USB flash drives, and other storage devices, local networks.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from malware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating almost all known malware infections. A big part of malware hides deep in the operating system. Therefore, it cannot be detected without running a full system scan.

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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 pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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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.

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