Thanksgiving Email Virus

Also Known As: Thanksgiving greeting card virus
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

"Thanksgiving Email Virus" removal guide

What is "Thanksgiving Email Virus"?

There are many spam email campaigns (such as CitiBank Email Virus, IRS Online Email Virus, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, etc.). Scammers use them to trick people into opening attachments that spread viruses. In this case, the "Thanksgiving Email Virus" spam campaign is used to proliferate the Emotet trojan, a high-risk virus.

Thanksgiving Email Virus

Cyber criminals send this email to hundreds (or even thousands) of people. They present it as a Thanksgiving greeting message that includes a Thanksgiving Day eCard. There is no explanation for the eCard, however, it should be not opened, since it is a malicious attachment that will install the aforementioned Emotet trojan. Emotet is used to modify system settings and to use the computer to proliferate itself even further. This virus is categorized as high-risk. It can cause privacy issues, financial loss, and so on, by stealing personal data such as logins, passwords, browsing-related data, etc. Furthermore, these infections might cause other infections including, for example, ransomware-type viruses. Do not download or open the "Greeting-Card-2018.doc" attachment presented in the "Thanksgiving Email Virus" spam campaign. If, however, if you have already downloaded or opened it, immediately scan the system with a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite and eliminate all detected threats.

Threat Summary:
NameThanksgiving greeting card 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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As mentioned in our introduction, there are many spam campaigns that spread viruses. Some examples of other viruses are FormBook, Adwind, TrickBot, and AZORult. These are often used to gather sensitive information (which is later used to generate revenue) and proliferate other malware. The developers may be different, and the behavior of the infections might also differ slightly, but all pose a direct threat to your privacy and browsing safety. Therefore, you should eliminate these threats immediately.

How did "Thanksgiving Email Virus" infect my computer?

Typically, spam campaigns are used to proliferate infections through email attachments. "Thanksgiving Email Virus" is used to proliferate a virus using a malicious Microsoft Office Word document. Once opened, this document asks permission to enable macros commands. Enabling them allows the Emotet virus to be downloaded and installed. If, however, the attachment is opened using a product other than Microsoft Office, it will not be able to proliferate the virus. Emotet targets the Microsoft Windows Operating Systems only and, thus, users of other platforms are safe.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid computer infections that are proliferated through spam campaigns, do not download or open attachments presented in emails received from unknown/suspicious addresses. If the email seems irrelevant, do not download/open the attachment. Have a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware suite installed and enabled at all times. This software can detect viruses before they can do any harm. Note that newer versions (2010 and later) of MS Office are implemented with "Protected View" mode, which prevents malicious documents from automatically downloading malware. Therefore, using older versions of this software suite is not recommended and risky. If you have already opened "Thanksgiving Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Thanksgiving Email Virus" email message:


"Hope this season is filled with lots of happiness and joy, wealth, and prosperity. Mayor home be filled with love on this wonderful occasion. Happy Thanksgiving."

Thanksgiving Day eCard is attached.

"We have is much to be thankful for. One day a year hardly seems adequate..." - Anonymous

Malicious attachment distributed via "Thanksgiving Email Virus" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed using Thanksgiving email spam campaign

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 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 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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