Trojan-PWS

Classification

Malware

Trojan-PWS

W32

Trojan-PWS, Trojan.pws, pws

Summary

This type of trojan steals passwords and other sensitive information. It may also secretly install other harmful programs.

Removal

Automatic action

Based on the settings of your F-Secure security product, it will either move the file to the quarantine where it cannot spread or cause harm, or remove it.

Further actions

  • Various trojans may compromise your data or account security by harvesting authentication details (logins and passwords, credit card numbers, etc.). It is therefore very important to change all authentication details after disinfection, to protect against further misuse.
  • If your credit card number has been stolen or your bank account information has been compromised, we recommend that you contact your credit card company or bank for further assistance.
  • Data theft may be legally classified as serious abuse in your jurisdiction; you may wish to contact the local cybercrime authorities for investigation. In this case, do not perform any disinfection actions on your computer before it is inspected by the authorities.

Suspect a file is incorrectly detected (a False Positive)?

A False Positive is when a file is incorrectly detected as harmful, usually because its code or behavior resembles known harmful programs. A False Positive will usually be fixed in a subsequent database update without any action needed on your part. If you wish, you may also:

  • Check for the latest database updates

    First check if your F-Secure security program is using the latest detection database updates, then try scanning the file again.

  • Submit a sample

    After checking, if you still believe the file is incorrectly detected, you can submit a sample of it for re-analysis.

    NOTE If the file was moved to quarantine, you need to collect the file from quarantine before you can submit it.

  • Exclude a file from further scanning

    If you are certain that the file is safe and want to continue using it, you can exclude it from further scanning by the F-Secure security product.

    Note You need administrative rights to change the settings.

Find out more

Knowledge Base

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User Guide

See the user guide for your product on the Help Center.

Contact Support

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Submit a sample

Submit a file or URL for further analysis.

Technical Details

A Trojan-PWS is very similar to a Trojan-Spy, but is geared mainly towards stealing account log-in details, including passwords (the PWS stands for password stealer). In addition, some Trojan-PWSs may also include spying and data-stealing routines.

Installation

Attackers often distribute trojan-PWSes as part of the payload of another harmful program, such as a trojan-dropper, which silently drops and installs the trojan-spy on a device.

They may also be distributed as disguised files attached to emails. In these cases, the attackers rely on social engineering to trick users into opening the attached files, which then silently installs the trojan-PWSes.

Some trojans (particularly on the Android platform) are actually copies of legitimate apps that have been repackaged or trojanized to include harmful components. These are often distributed using the same (or very similar) names and designs as popular programs, to increase the chances that users will mistake the trojan for the legitimate app and install it instead.

Impact

To perform its password-stealing routine, a Trojan-PWS will usually drop a keylogging component. Such components stays active in Windows memory and starts keylogging (recording keystrokes) when a user is asked to input a log-in ID and a password.

Stolen log-ins and passwords can allow an attacker to read a user's email on public and corporate mail servers, as well as giving access to more sensitive material, such as online banking accounts.

Note

As of March 2010, the former naming convention 'Trojan-PSW' has been updated to 'Trojan-PWS' to make identification easier for users and to ensure naming practices are in line with current industry standards.