IRS Email Virus

Also Known As: Emotet virus
Type: Other
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

"IRS Email Virus" removal guide

What is "IRS Email Virus"?

Scammers (cyber criminals) use the "IRS Email Virus" spam email campaign to spread Emotet, a high-risk computer infection. This is malicious software used to record personal data and even distribute other infections. Spam campaigns such as "IRS Email Virus" usually contain an infected attachment that, once opened, installs a virus (in this case, Emotet). This particular email is presented as an email from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

IRS Email Virus

Scammers behind "IRS Email Virus" claim to be IRS tax assistance service representatives. According to the email subject, the email relates to an 'IRS Wage and Income Transcript'. The email states that the transcript (presented in an attachment) contains information regarding changes to the tax system, supposedly allowing small businesses to grow and expand. Note that the IRS federal agency has nothing to do with this message and all provided contact details are fake or lifted from an official website. We strongly recommend that you ignore this email. Do not download or open the attached file (a malicious Microsoft Word document), which proliferates the Emotet virus that cyber criminals use to steal sensitive information (such as logins, passwords, browsing-related data, and so on). Having a computer infected with this virus might cause privacy, browsing safety issues, or even financial loss. Furthermore, this infection is categorized as a trojan, and can thus cause chain infections to open "backdoors" for other viruses.

Emotet is just one of many computer infections that are spread using spam campaigns such as "IRS Email Virus". Some examples of other viruses are Adwind, FormBook, TrickBot, LokiBot, and Hancitor. These viruses are developed by different cyber criminals and their behavior may also differ slightly, but all pose a direct threat to your privacy and computer safety. For these reasons, you should eliminate them immediately.

How did "IRS Email Virus" infect my computer?

The "IRS Email Virus" spam campaign is used to proliferate a malicious Microsoft Office Word document. Once this document is downloaded and opened, it asks users to enable macro commands. Once these are enabled, a malicious attachment executes commands that download and install the aforementioned Emotet virus. In other cases (depending on the attached file format), the file might need to be extracted, executed, etc. In any case, malicious attachments cannot cause infections without manual user actions.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infection by viruses proliferated via email attachments, do not download and open attachments (or web links) presented in emails that are received from unknown, suspicious, or irrelevant addresses. Have a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware suite installed, and keep it updated and enabled at all times. These tools can prevent installation of viruses, and subsequent harm to systems, by detecting and eliminating them early on. If you have already opened an "IRS Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

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

New tax law allows small businesses to expense more, expands bonus depreciation.

Internal Revenue Service
Tax Assistance Center

22 Fourth Street, 12th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

If you need assistance, please contact me at 1-864-236-4485

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

Malicious attachment distributed through IRS Email Virus spam campaign

Screenshot of another variant of "IRS Email Virus" spam campaign (also used to distribute Emotet):

another variant of IRS email virus spam campaign

Text presented in this email:

Subject: Tax Return Transcript

IR-2018-897, December 04, 2018 ó The Internal Revenue Service today announced the tax year 2019 annual inflation adjustments for more than 60 tax provisions,
including the tax rate schedules and other tax changes.

Tax Assistance Center
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

Should you have any questions, please contact me at 1-862-331-4821.

Screenshot of malicious attachment presented in this email:

Malicious attachment distributed through another variant of IRS Email Virus spam campaign

Another variant of "IRS Email Virus" spam campaign (also distributes Emotet):

IRS Email virus spam campaign letter

Text presented within this email:

Subject: Tax Return Transcript

2019 PTIN renewal period underway for tax professionals.

Tax Return Transcript.doc

Department of Treasure

22 Fourth Street, 12th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

If you have any questions you may call IRS Help desk toll free at 1-866-337-1061,
Monday through Friday, between the hours of 7.30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.ET.

Malicious file attached to this email:

IRS Email Virus malicious attachment

Instant automatic removal of Emotet virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Emotet virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter 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 Spyhunter.

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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 Spyhunter 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 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 Spyhunter for Windows.