What is "COVID-19 Solution Announced by WHO"?
Cyber criminals commonly attempt to spread malicious programs through files attached to their emails (spam campaigns). In summary, they send emails that are disguised as important, official and seek to deceive recipients into opening/executing the downloaded file.
In this case, cyber criminals send emails disguised as messages regarding a solution to control COVID-19 (coronavirus) with a malicious .img (image file) attached to them. In fact, the file contains an executable (.exe) designed to install a malware downloader called GuLoader. Therefore, ignore this email and do not open the contents.
The email states that the WHO (World Health Organization) has discovered a way to control the COVID-19 virus. A study has apparently identified antibodies for COVID-19, which could be used to inhibit the virus. Recipients are encouraged to read the full text in the attached document.
In fact, the attached file is not a document, but an .img (IMG) file named "covid-19.img" which contains a malicious executable file. If executed, this file installs GuLoader. This malware downloader is used to distribute Remote Access Trojans (RATs) and information stealers. Installed RATs allow cyber criminals to take control over infected computers and perform various actions.
For example, to log keystrokes, download and execute files, access webcams, microphones, capture screenshots, monitor computing activity, manage files, etc.
Typically, cyber criminals use RATs to steal credit card details, login credentials (passwords, logins) of various accounts that can be used to make fraudulent purchases, transactions and generate revenue in other ways. RATs are often used to spread other malware such as ransomware.
Furthermore, GuLoader can distribute various information stealers. Typically, these malicious programs access and record credit card details, passwords, logins, data saved on the clipboard, and other confidential information.
In summary, by executing a malicious file distributed through this spam campaign, recipients could suffer financial/data loss, become victims of identity theft, experience problems relating to online privacy, and other serious issues. Therefore, do not trust these or other, similar emails.
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.|
|Hoax||This spam campaign is disguised as a letter regarding a method to stop COVID-19 virus|
|Detection Names (milieuh.exe)||Avast (Win32:DropperX-gen [Drp]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.42863338), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Injector.ELDR), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Vebzenpak.jfy), 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 Combo Cleaner.
More examples of spam campaigns used to proliferate malicious programs are "Coronavirus Face Mask Email Virus", "UNICEF Email Virus" and "COVID-19 Insurance Plan From CIGNA Email Virus". Cyber criminals send these emails to deceive recipients into installing malware, which is then used to generate revenue in various ways.
How did "COVID-19 Solution Announced by WHO" infect my computer?
GuLoader is installed only if recipients open/execute a malicious executable (.exe) file, which must first be extracted from the covid-19.img attached to the email. Computers are safe as long as the attachment and its contents remain unopened.
How to avoid installation of malware
Installed software must be updated through implemented functions and tools provided by official developers. Licensed software that requires activation must be activated properly. It is illegal to activate this software with unofficial activation ('cracking') tools. Furthermore, these can install malware.
All files and programs should be downloaded from official, trustworthy websites, and via direct links. Other tools such as Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), third party downloaders, unofficial pages, etc., can distribute malicious programs. No software should be installed through third party installers.
Furthermore, do not open attachments and/or web links that are included in irrelevant emails, especially if these emails are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Keep computers safe by regularly scanning them for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite.
If you have already opened "COVID-19 Solution Announced by WHO" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "COVID-19 Solution Announced by WHO" email message:
Subject: Breaking!!! COVID-19 Solution Announced by WHO At Last As a total control method is discovered.
Hope This Mail Finds You,
As published in the World Health Organisation newsletter 3/19/2020 7:32:12 a.m..
A new collaborative study has identified and studied COVID-19 Virus antibodies
that could be used to design universal therapeutics that are effective against
many different COVID-19 Virus species. The findings were recently published
in Nature Microbiology.
These are based on natural activities and how heat has helped to inhibit the virus growth.
The COVID-19 Virus causes a severe illness with high mortality rates in humans.
Several strategies have been developed to treat COVID-19 Virus infection, including ZMapp,
which has been shown to be effective in non-human primates and has been used under
compassionate-treatment protocols in humans...
Please download the full text in the attached document...
Also share with all contacts to ensure rapid control of the epidermic.
Rue Haute, 177
+32 87 32 17 18
Malicious executable ("milieuh.exe") distributed via the "COVID-19 Solution Announced by WHO" spam campaign detected as a threat in VirusTotal:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer 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:
- What is "COVID-19 Solution Announced by WHO"?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of GuLoader malware.
- 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.