eFax Email SPAM

Also Known As: Hancitor trojan
Type: Other
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

eFax virus removal guide

What is eFax?

"eFax" is a spam campaign used to proliferate a trojan-type virus called Hancitor. It is virtually identical to many other spam campaigns, such as Important Documents IRS, Sage Invoice, and Payslip SPAM. The deceptive "eFax" email contains a message stating that users have received a fax message. To view it, they must visit the link address provided, however, opening the link triggers download of a malicious MS Office document that infiltrates "eFax" into the system.

eFax malware

The email states that users have received a number of unread fax pages. To access them, they must visit a website and download an MS Office document (named "invoice_[random_number].doc") that supposedly contains the fax. This is a scam - cyber criminals attempt to trick unsuspecting users into downloading and opening malicious attachments. In addition, eFax is a legitimate company and has nothing to do with this spam campaign. Research shows that many cyber criminals claim to be legitimate companies or government departments to make their emails seem legitimate. Criminals continually register email addresses and web domains by including the names of companies/departments. As mentioned above, the "eFax" spam campaign is used to proliferate the Hancitor trojan. This virus opens backdoors for other malware (such as Pony) to infiltrate the system. Most of these viruses record sensitive information (logins/passwords, banking information, etc.) These 'chain infections' can lead to serious privacy issues and significant financial loss. In addition, Hancitor connects infected computers to a botnet. If you have already opened malicious attachments distributed using the "eFax" spam campaign, immediately scan the system with a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite and eliminate all detected threats.

There are many trojan-type viruses distributed using spam campaigns including, for example, TrickBot, Adwind, and FormBook. In most cases, these viruses gather personal information in various ways. Cyber criminals misuse private data to generate revenue (online purchases, money transfers, and so on). In addition, viruses such as Hancitor are used to proliferate other malware (in most cases, ransomware). Therefore, trojans pose a direct threat to your privacy and web browsing safety.

How did eFax infect my computer?

As mentioned above, "eFax" spam emails are used to distribute malicious MS Office attachments. After opening this file, 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 the Hancitor trojan. Note that the malware only targets the Windows Operating System and users of other platforms are safe. Furthermore, the malicious attachment cannot execute commands if it is not opened using MS Office. Therefore, if the file is opened using other apps capable of reading these formats, the malware will not be downloaded.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. Carefully analyze each received email attachment. If the file seems irrelevant or has been received from an unrecognizable email address, it should never be opened (these emails should be deleted immediately, without reading). Be cautious when downloading/installing/updating apps. Some trojans are distributed using fake software update tools and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" (stealth installation of third party apps together with regular programs). Keep installed applications up-to-date, however, this should be achieved using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only. Carefully analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. Software should be downloaded from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers are monetized using the "bundling" method, and thus should never be used. Having a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running is also paramount. Furthermore, newer versions (2010 and above) of MS Office open newly-downloaded documents in "Protected View" mode. This prevents malware download. Therefore, using old MS Office versions is risky - we strongly advise you to update them. If you have already opened an "eFax" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Reimage Repair Tool for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

A few variants of text presented in the "eFax" email letters:

Subject: eFax
You have an unread 4 page(s) fax.
Your fax can be viewed online, on our website, by visiting: hxxps://www.efax.com/
For additional assistance, please visit our help center at hxxps://www.efax.com/efax-help-center
Thank you for choosing eFax

------------------------------------------

Subject: efax
Fax Message[Caller-ID: 1-543-276-0865]
You have received a 1 page fax
*The reference number for this fax is at did-1400166434-31309133229-154.
Please download and view Microsoft Word attachment
Please visit www.eFax.com/en/efax/twa/page/help if you have any questions regarding this message or your service

Malicious attachment distributed via "eFax" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through eFax spam campaign

Instant automatic removal of Hancitor trojan: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Reimage Repair is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Hancitor trojan. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Reimage Repair By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Reimage Repair.

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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 Reimage Repair Tool 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 seems suspicious, you should continue with these steps:

manual malware removal step 1 Download 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 the "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 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 file 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 Reimage Repair Tool for Windows.