IRS Online Email Virus

Also Known As: IRS Online verification virus
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

"IRS Online Email Virus" removal guide

What is "IRS Online Email Virus"?

"IRS Online Email Virus" is categorized as a spam email campaign that is used by cyber criminals to spread the Emotet high-risk virus. The cyber criminals responsible for this campaign send an email to many users that contains a malicious attachment. The main goal of "IRS Online Email Virus" is to trick people into opening the attachment, which then infects computers with a virus.

IRS Online Email Virus malware

Cyber criminals behind this campaign claim to be representatives of a federal agency, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Little other information regarding the email is provided, just that it contains a "Verification of Non-filling Letter.doc" document, which was supposedly sent by the 'Department of Treasure'. Cyber criminals often use spam campaigns and claim to be representatives of well-known companies (in this case, a federal agency). Using familiar company/organization names increases the probability of a successful scam and makes it easier for criminals to trick people into downloading and opening the malicious attachments (in this case, presented by the "IRS Online Email Virus" email). Note that the IRS agency has nothing to do with this scam and the attachment should never be opened. As mentioned above, this email attachment proliferates Emotet, a high-risk virus that records personal data and proliferates other viruses. This virus gathers information such as logins, passwords, and browsing activity. Having a computer infected with this virus might thus lead to privacy issues and financial loss. Furthermore, Emotet opens "backdoors" for other high-risk viruses, such as ransomware. In this way, Emotet causes chain infections.

Threat Summary:
NameIRS Online verification virus
Threat TypeTrojan, Password stealing virus, Banking malware, Spyware
SymptomsTrojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate victim's computer and remain silent thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.
Distribution methodsInfected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software cracks.
DamageStolen 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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Emotet is just one of many other trojan viruses. Other examples of similar viruses are FormBook, Adwind, TrickBot, and AZORult. These are designed to cause as much damage as possible and can lead to serious privacy (and other) issues. If any of these infections are present, we strongly recommend that you eliminate them immediately.

How did "IRS Online Email Virus" infect my computer?

Cyber criminals use many different spam campaigns. Some examples are "Pricewaterhouse Coopers", "Ernst & Young", and "BMO account report". All are very similar and are used to proliferate malicious attachments. The "IRS Online Email Virus" email contains a malicious Word (.doc) document that, once opened, requests permission to enable macros commands. Do not comply, since the attachment then downloads and installs the Emotet virus. If, however, the Word document is opened using a software other than Microsoft Office, the virus cannot proliferate. This malicious attachment targets Microsoft Windows Operating Systems only.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Be careful when browsing the web and think twice before opening any email attachment, especially if the attached file is irrelevant or the sender seems suspicious or not recognized. Having a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running is also important. Trustworthy anti-spyware/anti-virus software is usually capable of detecting and eliminating malicious files before they can do any harm. If you have already opened "IRS Online Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "IRS Online Email Virus" email message:

Subject: IRS Online
Certification of Non-filling Letter.doc
Department of Treasure
If you need assistance, please contact me at 1-866-591

Malicious attachment distributed via "IRS Online Email Virus" spam campaign:

IRS Online spam campaign malicious attachment

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 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 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 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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