Avoid malware infections spread via the "Coronavirus Face Mask" email

Also Known As: Agent Tesla virus
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

"Coronavirus Face Mask" email virus removal guide

What is the "Coronavirus Face Mask" email?

"Coronavirus Face Mask" is a scam email designed to proliferate Agent Tesla malware. The message uses the coronavirus pandemic to further its scheme. The email claims that recipients can order disposable face masks and forehead thermometers, however, rather than providing information concerning these products, the attached file contains the Agent Tesla RAT (Remote Access Trojan). This is a high-risk piece of malicious software that compromises device integrity and can lead to many serious issues.

Coronavirus Face Mask Email Virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

The email is supposedly from the Fujian Joy Solar Technology Corporation representatives. The message states that due to the coronavirus, they have begun manufacturing two new products: disposable face masks and forehead thermometers. Mass production has begun, yet demand exceeds supply. Therefore, if interested, the email urges recipients to make an order without delay. The attached file allegedly contains product details. In fact, the archived file contains the executable of Agent Tesla RAT. This malware allows cyber criminals remote access and control over the infected device. RATs can be employed in various ways, and Agent Tesla is primarily used to steal information. One of its capabilities is keylogging, via which any and all typed information can be stolen. This endangers the integrity of all accounts such as emails, social networking, social media, e-commerce (i.e. online store), financial, etc. They can be misused to ask users' contacts/friends for loans and/or to spread malicious programs, make online purchases and so on. To summarize, Agent Tesla can lead to significant financial loss, serious issues and identity theft. Therefore, if it is suspected or known that Agent Tesla, or other malware, has already infected the system, you are strongly advised to use anti-virus software to remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Agent Tesla virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Email claims recipients can order face masks and thermometers.
Attachment(s) Face Mask Quotation.rar containing Face Mask Quotation.exe
Detection Names BitDefenderTheta (Gen:NN.ZemsilF.34100.xm0@aSRiJPk), DrWeb (Trojan.Inject3.36400), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Kryptik.VBW), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Agensla.gen), 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 Agent Tesla
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.
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Large scale operations, during which thousands of deceptive/scam emails are sent, are called "spam campaigns". "UNICEF", "COVID-19 Insurance Plan From CIGNA", "Your friend’s account was compromised" are some examples of spam campaigns designed to spread malicious software. The emails are usually presented as "official", "important", "priority" and "urgent", and they may also be disguised as mail from legitimate organizations, institutions, corporations, services, etc. The only purpose of these message is to generate revenue for the scammers/cyber criminals behind them. Malware (e.g. Trojans, ransomware, etc.) proliferation is just one way to achieve this. Malicious programs that have been observed being spread using spam campaigns include Raccoon StealerNetWireHancitorEmotet and many others.

How did "Coronavirus Face Mask Email Virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected through the files attached to deceptive/scam emails or the content can be spread using download links in the messages. The malicious files can be in various formats such as archive (RAR, ZIP, etc.) and executable (.exe, .run, etc.) files, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc. Executing, running or otherwise opening these files triggers the infection process. I.e., download/installation of malware. For example, Microsoft Office docs begin the infections process after macro commands are enabled. When opened, MS documents request editing to be enabled. If this is done, download/installation of malicious software starts. Note that this process only begins automatically upon opening dangerous documents in Microsoft Office programs released prior to 2010.

How to avoid installation of malware

Do not open suspicious or irrelevant emails, especially those received from unknown or suspicious senders (addresses). Any attachments or links found in dubious mail must not be opened, as this can result in high-risk infection. Additionally, you are advised to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. The newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents malicious macros from infecting the system once the document is opened. Spam campaigns are just one malware proliferation method. It also spreads via illegal activation ("cracking") tools, fake updaters and untrusted download channels. Therefore, activate and update programs with tools/functions provided by genuine developers only. All downloads should be performed from official and verified sources. To ensure device and user safety, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up to date. Use this software to perform regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats. If you have already opened "Coronavirus Face Mask Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Coronavirus Face Mask" email message:

Dear sir,

This is Bella Huang from Fujian Joy Solar Technology Corporation.

Currently, the Coronavirus has spread all over the world.
In order to fight against the epidemic, our company has developed  and established two production lines for disposable face mask and  forehead thermometer.

Now we have started mass production but demand exceeds supply so kindly contact us if interested.

Attached are the item FYR.


Thanks and best regards,

Bella Huang

Fujian Joy Solar Technology Corporation
Taihua Road, Licheng Hi-Tech Industrial Zone, Quanzhou, Fujian, China.
P :(86)-595-68236093   M: (86)-18965871681
E: sales5@jeeyepe.net   W: www.jeeyeepe.net

Screenshot of detections on VirusTotal of the malicious attachment distributed via the "Coronavirus Face Mask" spam campaign ("Face Mask Quotation.rar" containing "Face Mask Quotation.exe"):

Coronavirus Face Mask email attachment detection on VirusTotal (Face Mask Quotation.exe in Face Mask Quotation.rar)

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:
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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 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:

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 Malwarebytes 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
Agent Tesla virus QR code
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