How to get rid of the Ades infostealer?

Also Known As: Ades information stealer
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is Ades?

Information stealer is a type of malware that can be designed to record keystrokes, take screenshots, and gather other data in order to send it to the attackers. Malware of this type can be design to run quietly in the background so that victims would not suspect infection.

Ades is a stealer written in C# multi-paradigm programming language, it uses Telegram as its command & control (C2) platform. Ades is for sale on hacker forums, it costs 4000 RUB or can be subscribed for 400 RUB per month.

Ades malware

Research shows that Ades stealer is capable of taking screenshots on the infected machines. Therefore, cybercriminals can use this malware to take screenshots of everything victims do with infected computers. It is common that the attackers use taken screenshots to blackmail their victims.

Also, Ades cam steal Telegram, Discord, Steam and Minecraft session data. In other words, it can collect login credentials and other information from the aforementioned services. That information could be used to steal accounts and use them for malicious purposes (e.g., make fraudulent purchases, access sensitive messages, sell stolen accounts on darkweb).

Furthermore, Ades can collect user information such as IP address, city, country, and so on, browsing cookies, obtain files (and change their extensions), blacklist specified IP addresses. Additionally, cybercriminals behind Ades can change its process name and icon to disguise it as legitimate process.

In conclusion, this stealer targets Telegram, Discord, Steam and Minecraft users to steal their accounts. Although, cybercriminals may be capable of accessing other personal data (e.g., credit card details, login credentials for other accounts) as well. Either way, victims of the Ades stealer should remove it from the operating system immediately and change their passwords too.

Threat Summary:
Name Ades information stealer
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Ursu.807641), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Spy.Agent.CTF), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Coins.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/FormBook.CD!MTB), Full List (VirusTotal)
Price 400 RUB per month or lifetime subscription for 4000 RUB
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.
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More examples of information stealers are Sn0wsLogger, Alfonso, and Hunter. In most cases malware of this type is used to steal login credentials for email, banking, social media and other accounts, and obtain other sensitive information such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, credit car details, and so on.

Although, different stealers may have different features and be capable of accessing other data.

How did Ades infiltrate my computer?

In most cases, cyber criminals use emails that contain malicious attachments or links, unreliable sources for downloading files, programs, Trojans, fake software updating tools, or unofficial activation ('cracking') tools to distribute malware. Computers get infected via email when recipients open a malicious attachment or a file that they have downloaded via a website link.

Usually, malspam/phishing emails are used to trick recipients into opening malicious MS Office documents, PDF documents, archive files like ZIP, RAR, JavaScript files, or executable files (like .exe).

Examples of other channels that can be used to distribute malware are pages that offer freeware, free file hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule, various third-party downloaders. In order to trick users into opening downloaded malicious files cybercriminals disguise them as regular files that supposed to install some software without any harm.

A Trojan is a type of malware that cyber criminals disguise as legitimate software too. It can be designed to open backdoors for other software of this kind (e.g. ransomware). Simply said, it can be used to cause chain infections. However, only after users have installed it on their computers.

Fake software updaters are supposed to update or fix software. However, what they actually do is install some malware instead, or infect computers by exploiting bugs, flaws of outdated software that is installed on them. One more popular way to trick users into installing ransomware is by using software 'cracking' tools or installers for pirated software.

It is common that cybercriminals inject malicious code into them. Therefore, users who use 'cracking' tools or attempt to install pirated software unknowingly infect their computers with malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Links and attachments in irrelevant emails should not be trusted, especially if they are received from unknown, suspicious senders. It is advisable to leave attached files or links in such emails unopened, recipients who open them often install malware on their computers.

Software should be downloaded from official websites and via direct download links. None of the other sources for downloading files or programs that are mentioned above can be trusted. Furthermore, it is important to keep installed programs and operating systems up to date and it has to be done using implemented functions (or tools) that the official software developers provide.

Third-party tools should never be used to update or activate any software. It is common for them to be malicious. Moreover, it is not legal to activate software with 'cracking' tools, or use pirated/hacked programs. A computer should be scanned for viruses regularly.

It should be achieved using a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software. 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.

Ades for sale on hacker forum (GIF):

ades stealer for sale on hacker forums

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:
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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 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.

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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.

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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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