Brexit Email Virus

Also Known As: Brexit spam
Damage level: Severe

What is "Brexit Email Virus"?

These email scams are often used to trick recipients into downloading and opening an attachment. In this case, users are encouraged to click a link that leads to a malicious file. Scammers/cyber criminals use "Brexit Email Virus" to distribute Ursnif, a trojan-type computer infection used to record personal/sensitive details.

If you have received this email, we strongly recommend that you ignore it and certainly do not click/open any links.

Brexit Email Virus

Scammers behind this scam present this email as relating to the Brexit voting forecasts, possible impact on the UK's currency, and so on.

Within the message, scammers encourage recipients to set up a personalized 'rate alert', which supposedly notifies users when the market reaches a chosen currency rate, and also allows them to follow the latest news relating to Brexit and receive recent market movements. The main goal of this scam is to trick people into clicking the "Latest Brexit Update" button.

This link then downloads a "Brexit_Barometer.exe" file from Google Docs. Once opened (executed), this file installs the aforementioned Ursnif trojan. This is a malicious program that cyber criminals employ to collect user-information such as keystrokes, logins and passwords, browsing-related data, system information, and other data.

Furthermore, these tools might enable criminals to gain access to personal online accounts such as banks, emails, social networks, etc., and to use stolen data to generate revenue.

It is also possible that cyber criminals will be able to take control of the operating system and perform various actions such as restarting the computer, taking screenshots, stealing or clearing cookies, downloading files such as executables and use them to install unwanted apps such as malware.

Generally, having a computer infected with these viruses can cause data loss, financial/privacy issues, browsing safety problems, and various other issues. If you have executed the "Brexit_Barometer.exe" file, a process called "Android ADB API" will be shown running in Windows Task Manager.

Android ADB is a legitimate command-line tool that enables communication with a specific device, however, Ursnif uses the name of a legitimate process to conceal its malicious purpose. Therefore, do not click the link provided in the "Brexit Email Virus", and more importantly, do not execute the "Brexit_Barometer.exe" executable file.

Threat Summary:
Name Brexit 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)

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Different spam email campaigns are used to proliferate different computer infections. For example, other scams of this type might be used to spread Adwind, FormBook, TrickBot, LokiBot, Emotet, or other threats.

Whatever the exact purpose of viruses proliferated through spam campaigns, most are capable of causing serious problems. Therefore, you should eliminate these threats immediately.

How did "Brexit Email Virus" infect my computer?

In this case, the Ursnif trojan-type virus infiltrates computers if users click the "Latest Brexit Update" link (button) that leads to an executable file placed in Google Docs. Once executed, the "Brexit_Barometer.exe" file installs the trojan. In other cases, the malicious file might be a Microsoft Office document, RAR (or other archive file), PDF document, executable, and so on.

For example, if the downloaded attachment is a Microsoft Office document, it will demand permission to enable macros commands. Once permission is given, it downloads and installs another virus. In any case, these infections cannot happen without manual user-intervention.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not to open attachments in emails without studying them first. Do not open any attachment if it is presented in an email received from an unknown or suspicious address or if the email itself seems irrelevant. The same applies to web links. The best option is to simply ignore and delete these emails.

Another way to keep your computer safe from various infections is to have reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed. These programs can prevent infections attacking the system. If you have already opened "Brexit Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

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

Subject: Brexit 2019

Introducing the Brexit Barometer
With the “meaningful vote” in the UK Parliament on Tuesday the 11th and the final EU summit on the 13th and 14th of December, you should be prepared for all possible outcomes given there is a strong possibility the vote will fail in the UK parliament.

Our looks at the potential impact we think Brexit could have on the pound. As Theresa May tours the country in the lead up to the “meaningful vote”, we can expect to see significant volatility in Sterling in the event of a ‘disorderly Brexit”.

Handling volatility in the market
We’ve outlined some ways you can stay up-to-date with the market so that you can transfer at a time that works best for you.
o Set up a personalised Rate Alert – be alerted the minute the market reaches your desired rate
o Keep an eye out for our regular Brexit updates so you can keep up with the latest announcements
o Sign up for our Market Watch so you can receive daily updates on market movements

Contact us
If you’d like to discuss your situation with us in more detail, please contact us and our team will be happy to help.

The details expressed in this transmission and accompanying documents are for information purposes only and are not intended as a solicitation for funds or a recommendation to trade. HiFX Europe Limited accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damages suffered through any act or omission taken as a result of reading or interpreting any of the above information. HiFX Europe Limited is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, registration 462444, for the provision of payment services. HiFX Europe Limited is also a registered MSB with HM Revenue & Customs. Registration number: 12131222. HiFX is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 3517451. Registered office: Maxis 1, Western Road, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 1RT.

Please note that by unsubscribing you will no longer receive marketing messages from HiFX. However to maintain your HiFX account you will receive service messages from time to time.

Screenshot of the "Brexit_Barometer.exe" file together with the Ursnif process ("Android ADB API") in Windows Task Manager:

Malicious attachment distributed through Brexit Email Virus spam campaign

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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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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