Christmas Greetings Email Virus

Also Known As: Christmas Greetings spam
Damage level: Severe

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

"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" .

Threat Summary:
Name Christmas Greetings 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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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:

Malicious attachment distributed through Christmas Greetings Email Virus spam campaign

Screenshot of a malicious Emotet process "lzVX3aeBYsA.exe (32-bit)" in Task Manager:

christmas greetings email virus lzVX3aeBYsA.exe malicious process in Task Manager

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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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.

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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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