Al Hafez Trading Company Email Virus

Also Known As: Al Hafez Trading Company spam
Damage level: Severe

What is "Al Hafez Trading Company Email Virus"?

THe "Al Hafez Trading Company Email Virus" scam is used by cyber criminals to spread the NanoCore remote access trojan (RAT).

They send emails that contain a malicious Microsoft Office document and hope that people will open it. If opened, the document causes download and installation of the RAT. Having this software installed might cause serious problems and, therefore, we strongly recommend that you ignore emails relating to this scam.

Al Hafez Trading Company Email Virus

Scammers present this email as a message from Al Hafez Trading, an existing pharmaceutical company based in Kuwait. In fact, this company has nothing to do with this email. Typically, cyber criminals disguise their scams as official messages using the names of legitimate companies.

This email states that a payment is being processed and recipients are asked to confirm invoice and bank details by checking the attached Excel file. This is the malicious document that downloads the NanoCore RAT. Note, however, that this cannot be done without first opening the file.

Furthermore, once opened, this document will demand permission to enable macros commands (to disable "Protected View"). If permission is not granted, this file will not be able to cause any damage. NanoCore is a high-risk trojan that allows distributors to remotely control the infected system.

It could be used to steal personal details such as passwords and logins of various accounts, or to download and install unwanted, malicious software such as ransomware.

If a computer is infected with NanoCore, victims might experience problems such as data/financial loss, diminished system performance, and it might also lead to privacy browsing safety issues, etc. If you suspect that this trojan is installed on your computer, remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Al Hafez Trading Company spam
Threat Type Trojan, Password-stealing virus, Banking malware, Spyware
Hoax Cyber criminals claim to be representatives of Al Hafez Trading Company and encourage users to open the attached invoice, which is actually a malicious Microsoft Office document that infects the system.
Attachment(s) ORDER-235262672882.xlsx
Detection Names (ORDER-235262672882.xlsx) Avira (EXP/CVE-2017-11882.Gen), BitDefender (Exploit.CVE-2017-11882.Gen), ESET-NOD32 (probably a variant of Win32/Exploit.CVE-2017-11882.C), Kaspersky (HEUR:Exploit.MSOffice.Generic), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Trojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate the victim's computer and remain silent, and thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.
Payload NanoCore RAT.
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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There are many spam campaigns of this type. Some examples are "Maersk Email Virus", "Confirm Bank Account Email Virus", and "Paychex Email Virus".

Generally, they are used to proliferate high-risk computer infections such as Adwind, TrickBot, FormBook, LokiBot, and many others. In most cases, having computers infected with such malware causes serious problems. Therefore, do not trust dubious emails or open files attached to them.

How did "Al Hafez Trading Company Email Virus" infect my computer?

NanoCore infects computers when people open an MS Excel file and allow it to enable macros commands (disable "Protected View" mode).

This is the only way for this file to cause download and installation of this particular malicious program. Other cyber criminals might try to achieve using files such as PDF documents, JavaScript files, executable files (.exe), ZIP, RAR, or others. Despite this, to infect computers, the files must first be opened.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not download or open/execute files that are attached to irrelevant emails or received from suspicious, untrustworthy, or unknown email addresses. Emails sent by scammers/cyber criminals can usually be identified, since they are irrelevant, and yet, presented as legitimate and official.

Furthermore, avoid downloading software using third party downloaders, unofficial pages, torrent clients, eMule, or other Peer-to-Peer networks. The safest way to download software is using official websites. Keep installed software up-to-date, however, use implemented, official tools that are provided by software developers, and not third party/fake tools.

Bear in mind that is illegal to activate installed software using 'cracking' tools, which can be used by cyber criminals to proliferate high-risk computer infections.

Use reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software and keep it enabled. If you have already opened "Al Hafez Trading Company Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Al Hafez Trading Company Email Virus" email message:

Dear sir, We are processing the payment of your last Invoice, kindly confirm your invoice and bank details are correct as attached to proceed with the payment and please find attached our new purchase Order.
Awaiting your responds.
Al Hafez Trading Company limited.

Malicious attachment distributed via "Al Hafez Trading Company Email Virus" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Al Hafez Trading Company 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.

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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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