Prevent installation of LokiBot through attachment in PETRONAS email

Also Known As: PETRONAS spam campaign
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

"PETRONAS Email Virus" removal guide

What is "PETRONAS Email Virus"?

PETRONAS is the name of a spam campaign that cyber criminals spread with a purpose to infect recipient's computer with LokiBot, a trojan-type malicious program. They send emails with attached archive file (RAR) that contains a malicious executable file. Cyber criminals behind PETRONAS spam campaign attempt to trick recipients into executing that file. If executed, it installs LokiBot, a program which is designed to steal various personal, sensitive information. We strongly recommend not to trust this email, it should be ignored and deleted.

PETRONAS Email Virus

This spam campaign is disguised as an email from PETRONAS, a Malaysian oil and gas company which has nothing to do with it. It is very common that cyber criminals behind such spam campaigns use names of legitimate companies and/or existing people. In this case recipients are encouraged to check (open) the attached file which supposed to be some purchase order (PO), and send an invoice. This spam campaign contains two attachments: one MS Office document and RAR archive file. The second file contains an executable file named "Admiresor.exe" which, if opened/executed, installs LokiBot. LokiBot is a malicious program which is designed to steal personal information by recording keystrokes (pressed keys) and gathering other sensitive details like credentials (passwords, logins, and so on). Basically, this malware is being used as a tool to steal various accounts that could be misused to generate revenue by making fraudulent purchases, transactions and performing other actions. Also, stolen accounts could be used to trick other people into sending money, infecting their systems with similar or other malware, etc. To sum up, LokiBot's victims are exposed at risk of identity theft, monetary loss, problems related to browsing safety, privacy, and other serious issues. Therefore, PETRONAS or other similar spam campaigns cannot be trusted and files attached to them should be left unopened.

Threat Summary:
Name PETRONAS spam campaign
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax This email is disguised as a letter regarding some purchase order worth of $230,000,000
Attachment(s) MS Office document (.doc) and archive file (RAR) which contains "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.
Payload LokiBot
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.
Removal

To eliminate PETRONAS spam campaign our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

More examples of similar spam campaigns are "WeTransfer Email Virus", "Coronavirus Email Virus" and "QuickBooks Email Virus". What all of them have in common is that cyber criminals send them with a purpose to infect computers with various high-risk malware. For example, Emotet, TrickBot, Adwind, or other malicious software. Either way, emails of this type should be always ignored. It is very important not to open files that are attached to them, or open files that get downloaded through included website links.

How did "PETRONAS Email Virus" infect my computer?

In this particular case computers get infected with LokiBot only if recipients execute the "Admiresor.exe" (or other executable file) that is in the attached RAR archive file. More examples of files that cyber criminals usually use to spread malware through emails are Microsoft Office, PDF documents, other archive files like ZIP, executable files (like .exe), and JavaScript files. Typically, malicious attachments install malware on the operating system only when recipients open them. When recipients open malicious MS Office documents, they usually ask for a permission to enable macros commands (editing). If allowed, then those documents install some malicious software. However, this applies to documents that are opened with MS Office 2010 and later, older versions do not include the Protected View mode (do not asks for a permission to enable editing) and infect systems automatically.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly recommend not to open a files (and/or website links) that are attached to irrelevant emails, especially if such emails are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. All files and software should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links Other sources, tools like Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial pages, third party downloaders (and installers), freeware download sites, and so on, can be and often are used to proliferate malicious software. Installed programs must be updated and activated only through implemented functions and/or tools that are provided by official developers. It is not legal to activate software through unofficial tools and it can lead to installation of some malware. Also, operating system should be regularly scanned with a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus suite and detected threats must be eliminated as soon as possible. If you've already opened "PETRONAS Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "PETRONAS Email Virus" email letter:

Subject: RE PETRONAS MALAYSIA PO # 02678 USD $ 230,000.00 PAYMENT
Dear Sir,

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.


Best regards,

White Nigga

PETRONAS SDN BHD
MALAYSIA

Malicious file ("Admiresor.exe") stored within the attachment distributed via "PETRONAS Email Virus" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through PETRONAS Email Virus spam campaign

Malicious "Admiresor.exe" process running in Task Manager:

admiresor.exe malicious process in task manager

Instant automatic removal of PETRONAS spam campaign: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of PETRONAS spam campaign. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

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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 Spyhunter 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:

malicious process running on user's computer sample

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:

manual malware removal step 1Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:

screenshot of autoruns application

manual malware removal step 2Restart 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.

Safe Mode with Networking

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.

Windows 8 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.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

 

manual malware removal step 3Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.

extract autoruns.zip and run autoruns.exe

manual malware removal step 4In 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.

Click 'Options' at the top and uncheck 'Hide Empty Locations' and 'Hide Windows Entries' options

manual malware removal step 5Check 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".

locate the malware file you want to remove

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.

searching for malware file on your computer

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 Spyhunter for Windows.

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.

QR Code
PETRONAS spam campaign QR code
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Platform: Windows

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