Sage Invoice Email SPAM

Also Known As: Sage Invoice spam
Damage level: Severe

What is Sage Invoice?

Discovered by My Online Security, "Sage Invoice" is an email spam campaign used to proliferate a trojan-type virus called TrickBot. Deceptive emails contain a message stating that a type of payment is pending. The email also contains an attachment, a malicious MS Office document. Once opened, this file stealthily downloads and installs the aforementioned trojan.

Sage Invoice malware

As mentioned above, the email states that a type of payment has not been submitted and encourages users to open the attached invoice (an MS Office document) for "detailed information". Be aware, however, that this is a scam - cyber criminals attempt to trick users into opening a file that downloads and installs malware.

Research shows that cyber criminals continually register various email addresses and web domains that contain names of legitimate companies or government departments. Once registered, these emails/domains are used to proliferate malware - users are much more likely to open email attachments and visit URLs that look familiar.

Note that "Sage Invoice" proliferates a high-risk trojan called TrickBot. This malware gathers various web logins/passwords by hijacking Internet browsers and recording data. Collected information can be misused to generate revenue (online transfers/purchases, identity theft, etc.) Therefore, the presence of a trojan such as TrickBot might lead to significant financial loss and serious privacy issues.

Furthermore, "Sage Invoice" is extremely good at removing its tracks. Detecting this malware manually is virtually impossible. Fortunately, most legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suites are capable of detecting and eliminating TrickBot. Therefore, if you have already opened a "Sage Invoice" spam attachment, we strongly advise you to scan your system and remove all threats.

Threat Summary:
Name Sage Invoice spam
Threat Type Trojan, Password stealing virus, Banking malware, Spyware
Symptoms Trojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate victim's computer and remain silent 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 banking information, passwords, identity theft, 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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TrickBot is virtually identical to Adwind, Pony, FormBook, and dozens of other trojan-type viruses. As with Sage Invoice, most are also distributed using spam campaigns. In addition, they are designed to record information. Some also spread other viruses, such as ransomware. In this way, trojans such as TrickBot pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did Sage Invoice infect my computer?

The "Sage Invoice" spam campaign distributes a malicious MS Word ("invoice.doc") by presenting it as an invoice that must be paid. After opening this document, users are immediately asked to enable macro commands, otherwise the content will not be displayed properly.

Once macros are enabled, the attachment immediately executes commands that stealthily download and install TrickBot. Be aware, however, that this will only work if victims open the attachment using MS Word. If the file is opened using another application, the malware will not be decrypted.

Furthermore, it targets the Windows Operating System only - users of other platforms (Linux, MacOS, and so on) are safe.

How to avoid installation of malware?

The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet. Think twice before opening email attachments. If the file seems irrelevant or has been received from a suspicious/unrecognizable email address - do not open it and delete the email immediately.

In addition, more recent versions (2010 and above) of MS Office open newly downloaded files in "Protected View" mode. This prevents malicious attachments from downloading and installing malware. Therefore, using old versions is risky.

Some trojans are also distributed using fake software updaters and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" (stealth installation of third party applications together with regular software). Installed applications must be kept up-to-date, however, this should be achieved using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only.

In addition, carefully analyze each window of the download/installation processes and opt-out of all additionally-included programs (if there are any). Download programs from official sources only (using direct download links), rather than using third party downloaders/installers.

Developers monetize these tools by proliferating rogue apps and should never be used. Having a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running is also paramount. If you have already opened a "Sage Invoice" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Sage Invoice" email message:

Hi there,
Payment not received.
Kind Regards,
Dorothy Fraser

Malicious attachment distributed via "Sage Invoice" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Sage Invoice spam campaign

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

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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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