"PETRONAS Email Virus" removal guide
What is "PETRONAS Email Virus"?
PETRONAS is a spam campaign that cyber criminals spread to infect recipients' computers with LokiBot, a trojan-type malicious program. They send emails with attached archive files (RAR) that contain malicious executables. Cyber criminals behind the PETRONAS spam campaign attempt to trick people into executing the file, which then installs LokiBot. This program steals various personal, sensitive information. Therefore, do not to trust this email - ignore the message and delete it.
This spam campaign is disguised as an email from PETRONAS, a Malaysian oil and gas company, which has nothing to do with the message. Cyber criminals responsible for these spam campaigns use names of legitimate companies and/or existing people. In this case, recipients are encouraged to open and check the attached file (apparently a purchase order - PO) and send an invoice. This spam campaign contains two attachments: an MS Office document and an RAR archive file. The second file contains an executable file named "Admiresor.exe". If opened/executed, this file installs LokiBot, a malicious program that steals personal information by recording keystrokes (keys pressed) and gathering other sensitive details such as users' credentials (passwords, logins, and so on). In this way, the malware is used to steal various accounts that are misused to generate revenue by making fraudulent purchases and transactions, and performing other actions. Furthermore, stolen accounts could be used to trick other people into sending money, infecting their systems with similar (or other) malware, etc. In summary, LokiBot's victims are exposed to risk of identity theft, monetary loss, problems relating to browsing safety, privacy, and other serious issues. Therefore, PETRONAS or other similar spam campaigns cannot be trusted and files attached to them should remain unopened.
|Name||PETRONAS spam campaign|
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.|
|Hoax||This email is disguised as a message regarding a 'purchase order' worth $230,000,000.|
|Attachment(s)||MS Office document (.doc) and archive file (RAR), which contains the "Admiresor.exe" malicious file.|
|Detection Names (Admiresor.exe)||Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.33042516), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Injector.EKKD), Kaspersky (Backdoor.Win32.Androm.tsvk), 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.|
|Distribution methods||Infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software 'cracks'.|
|Damage||Stolen passwords and banking information, identity theft, the 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.
Other examples of similar spam campaigns include "WeTransfer Email Virus", "Coronavirus Email Virus" and "QuickBooks Email Virus". Cyber criminals send them to infect computers with various high-risk malware. For example, Emotet, TrickBot, Adwind, and other malicious software. Therefore, ignore these emails and do not open attached files or those downloaded through any included website links.
How did "PETRONAS Email Virus" infect my computer?
How to avoid installation of malware
Do not open files or website links that are attached to irrelevant emails, especially if the emails are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. All files and software should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. Other sources, tools such as Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial pages, third party downloaders (and installers), freeware download sites, and so on are used to proliferate malicious software. Installed programs must be updated and activated only through implemented functions or tools provided by official developers. It is illegal to activate software through unofficial tools, and this can lead to installation of malware. Also, operating systems should be regularly scanned with a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus suite - remove detected threats immediately. If you have already opened "PETRONAS Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "PETRONAS Email Virus" email message:
Subject: RE PETRONAS MALAYSIA PO # 02678 USD $ 230,000.00 PAYMENT
Please find attached PO with total amount of USD 230,000
When you will send us proforma invoice so we can arrange deposit ?
Your urgent response is highly appreciated.
PETRONAS SDN BHD
Malicious file ("Admiresor.exe") stored within the attachment distributed via "PETRONAS Email Virus" spam campaign:
Malicious "Admiresor.exe" process running in Task Manager:
Another example of PETRONAS spam email used to spread Agent Tesla RAT:
Text presented within:
Subject: Re: Re: SZSE20090010 -PO 6261
We require your order acknowledgement for the attached work to be completed including supply of materials for installation.
Unfortunately we are on a tight timeframe and need you to submit your AO.
Due to urgent requirement, I’m on behalf of MRCSB.
Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Procurement Melaka, Group Procurement Department
Project Delivery & Technology (PD&T) Division
PETROLIAM NASIONAL BERHAD (PETRONAS)
c/o Refining Company Sdn Bhd, Level 1, Workshop / Warehouse Building, Persiaran Penapisan, 76300
T: +(606) 352 2507 (DL), +(606) 352 2020 (GL) F: +(606) 352 2550
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 "PETRONAS Email Virus"?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of possible malware infections.
- 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 "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.