Job Application Email Virus

Also Known As: Job Application spam
Damage level: Severe

What is Job Applications Email Virus?

"Job Applications Email Virus" is a spam email campaign used to distribute the AZORult trojan and, in some cases, and Hermes 2.1 ransomware. Developers send thousands of fake job applications within malicious MS Word attachments that are presented as applicants' CVs. Once opened, however, the attachment stealthily downloads and installs malware.

Job Applications Email Virus malware

As mentioned above, the deceptive email essentially contains an introduction together with an expression of interest in a job. The message also contains an attached resume. This is a scam. The malicious MS Word document will infect the system. "Job Applications Email Virus" is a somewhat different from most other spam email campaigns.

In most cases, cyber criminals claim to be employees of various popular companies (e.g., PayPal, HSBC, etc.) or governmental institutions. This makes it much simpler to trick regular users into opening attachments. In this case, however, cyber criminals claim to be searching for a job in the hope of tricking companies and employers.

Regular users (who are not employers) will not be interested in resumes and will probably delete the email immediately, but this does not necessarily mean that there are no infections. Therefore, it is worth taking a closer look at the distributed malware. AZORult is a high-risk trojan that gathers various sensitive information.

It is designed mainly to target saved logins and passwords (and then attempt to gain access to victims' cryptocurrency wallets, email accounts, and FTP servers and XMPP clients), however, this trojan also gathers other sensitive data, such as Skype/Jabber history, cookies, browsing history, and so on.

Cyber criminals misuse recorded information to generate revenue. Therefore, having AZORult installed on your computer might lead to serious privacy issues and significant financial loss. Hermes 2.1 encrypts data using RSA-2048, a very complex asymmetric cryptography.

There are currently no tools capable of cracking this algorithm and restoring files compromised by Hermes 2.1 (the only solution is to restore everything from a backup).

Therefore, infiltration of this virus can lead to permanent data loss. If you have recently opened any suspicious email attachments, you should immediately scan the system with a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware software and eliminate all threats.

Threat Summary:
Name Job Application 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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There are dozens of trojans similar to AZORult including, for example, FormBook, Adwind, and TrickBot. As with AZORult, these viruses are typically distributed using spam campaigns and also gather sensitive information. In some cases, however, trojans proliferate other viruses (usually ransomware).

Hermes 2.1 shares many similarities with other ransomware-type viruses (such as CryptoConsole, Locky Imposter, TQV, etc.) As with Hermes 2.1, these ransomware infections also encrypt data and make ransom demands in exchange for decryption. In summary, trojans and ransomware pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did Job Applications Email Virus infect my computer?

As mentioned, Job Applications Email Virus distributes a malicious attachment, an MS Office document. After opening this file, users are encouraged to enable macro commands. Immediately after macros are enabled, the attachment executes commands that stealthily download and install AZORult or Hermes 2.1.

Be aware, however, that this malware distribution method has a major flaw. The malicious attachment is only able to download viruses if it is opened using the MS Word program. Therefore, opening the attachment using other apps will not result in system infection.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. Carefully analyze all received email attachments. Files that seem irrelevant or have been received from a suspicious/unrecognizable email address should never be opened. Have a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running.

In addition, 2010 and newer versions of MS Office open newly-downloaded documents in "Protected View" mode. This prevents malicious documents from downloading/installing malware and, therefore, using older versions of MS Office is not recommended.

The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. If you have already opened the "Job Applications Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Example of text presented in the "Job Applications Email Virus" email message:

Subject: Job Application
How's you day going?
My name is Dayna and I'm interested in a job.
I've attached a copy of my resume.
The password is 321
Looking forward to hearing back from you!

Malicious attachment distributed via "Job Applications Email Virus" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Job Applications Email Virus spam campaign

Another variant of campaign that distributes Nymaim trojan:

Nymaim trojan distributing email

Text presented in this email:

Good Evening,
My name is Antoinette and I'm interested in a position.
I've attached a copy of my resume.
The password is "1234"
Thank you!

Nymaim trojan's process in Windows Task Manager:

Nymaim trojan's process in Windows Task Manager

Another variant of "Job Application Email Virus" spam campaign (also proliferates Nymaim trojan):

Job Application Email Virus distributing Nymaim trojan

Text presented within this email:

My name is Mike Broman and I'm interested in a job.

I've attached a copy of my CV.
Please click here to download my resume.

The password is 1234
Best regards!

Mike Broman

Nymaim trojan's process ("WoRldcoin") in Windows Task Manager:

Nymaim trojan in Windows 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:
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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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