"Christmas Greetings Email Virus" removal guide
What is "Christmas Greetings Email Virus"?
"Christmas Greetings Email Virus" is one of many spam email campaigns used by cyber criminals (scammers) who seek to trick recipients into opening the included attachment. This particular scam is used to distribute Emotet, a malicious program that steals data. You are strongly advised to ignore this and other similar scams.
"Christmas Greetings Email Virus" is one of several versions of holiday-themed scams used to proliferate the Emotet virus. This scam contains a message wishing recipients a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. It mentions an attached Greeting Card and no further explanation about its contents. In any case, it contains nothing relating to greetings. The "Christmas-greeting-card.doc" attachment is a Microsoft Word document that, once opened, asks for permission to enable macro commands. Enabling them gives permission for this malicious document to download and install the high-risk infection, Emotet. Note that there are several variants of "Christmas Greetings Email Virus" messages. Thus, the message and attachment name might slightly differ. In this case, the installed Emotet program can be found running in Task Manager under the name "lzVX3aeBYsA.exe" (either 32-bit or 64-bit). Its presence usually results in stolen passwords, logins, banking information, and browsing-related data. It can also cause privacy issues and financial loss. These stolen details could be used by cyber criminals to make money transfers or various purchases. Furthermore, Emotet is capable of opening "backdoors" for other computer infections (i.e. it is a trojan-type virus that causes chain infections). Therefore, do not open attachments presented in emails such as "Christmas Greetings Email Virus" .
|Name||Christmas greeting card virus|
|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 Malwarebytes.
Some examples of other similar spam campaigns are Christmas Day Bonus Gift Email Virus, A2 Trading Corp Email Virus, and Brexit Email Virus. All are designed to infect computers with high-risk viruses (malicious programs) such as Adwind, FormBook, TrickBot, etc. Typically, these malicious programs cause serious problems relating to finances, privacy, browsing safety, and other computer infections. If you suspect that there is similar (or identical) malicious software installed, remove it immediately.
How did "Christmas Greetings Email Virus" infect my computer?
The "Christmas Greetings Email Virus" email spam campaign infects computers through the attached Microsoft Word document (.doc file) called "Christmas-greeting-card.doc". Simply opening it does not do any harm, however, allowing it to enable macro commands does - the document gains permission to execute commands that install the aforementioned Emotet virus. In other cases, scammers attach PDF documents, archive files (such as ZIP, RAR), executable files (.exe), and so on. In many cases, cyber criminals present web links that also lead to other types of infected files.
How to avoid installation of malware?
Do not open attachments received in emails without carefully studying them first. Keep the attachment unopened if the email was received from an unknown, suspicious address, or if the email itself seems to irrelevant (its context does not concern you). Do not click (open) web links presented in such emails. The best way to avoid computer infections by malicious files presented in spam campaigns is to simply ignore and delete the emails. Also, have reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed. These programs can prevent infections from attacking the operating system and doing any damage. If you have already opened "Christmas Greetings Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "Christmas Greetings Email Virus" email message:
Subject: Christmas email greetings
You make the stars shine brighter and the winter days warmer just by being in my life. Merry Christmas to my favorite person in the world.
Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
Greeting Card is attached
A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. Garrison Keillor
Malicious attachment distributed via "Christmas Greetings Email Virus" spam campaign:
Screenshot of a malicious Emotet process "lzVX3aeBYsA.exe (32-bit)" in Task Manager:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "Christmas Greetings Email Virus"?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of Emotet malware.
- STEP 2. Check if your computer is clean.
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 Malwarebytes 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:
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:
Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:
Restart 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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.
In 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.
Check 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".
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.
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 Malwarebytes for Windows.