What is "COVID-19 Pandemic Email Virus"?
The number of cases whereby scammers use spam campaigns to profit from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak is growing daily. In most cases, they send emails designed to appear as if they are from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), WHO (World Health Organization) offering medical advice or other information.
In this particular case, scammers proliferate an email asking recipients if the outbreak is going to affect a shipment delivery time, and then encouraging them to open an attached IMG file disguised as a purchase order. The file attached to this email is designed to install FormBook, a malicious program designed to steal personal, sensitive information.
At the time of research, this email had the malicious "New Order.img" IMG file attached, which installs the aforementioned information-stealer called Formbook. Cyber criminals can use this tool to log keystrokes, take screenshots, and access clipboard data, saved credentials (logins, passwords), and other sensitive details.
Typically, malicious programs such as Formbook are used to hijack various accounts, steal credit card details and misuse them to make fraudulent purchases and transactions, spread malware, send spam, steal identities and so on.
People who are tricked into installing Formbook, or similar malware, can suffer monetary loss, experience problems relating to online privacy, have their identities stolen, etc. Therefore, these emails can never be trusted and their contents should remain unopened.
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.|
|Hoax||This email is disguised as a message regarding a purchase order.|
|Detection Names (New Order.img)||AegisLab (Trojan.Multi.Generic.4!c), BitDefenderTheta (Gen:NN.ZemsilF.34106.Am0@aS@uhEo), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/GenKryptik.EHZX), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/NanoBot.D!MTB), 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 that cyber criminals send to trick recipients into infecting their computers with malware include "COVID-19 Relief", "COVID-19 Insurance Plan From CIGNA" and "Coronavirus Face Mask".
In most cases, they disguise their emails as important or official, and seek to deceive recipients into opening an attached file or a file downloaded through a presented link. Typically, these emails are used to spread malware that helps cyber criminals to generate revenue by collecting sensitive information.
How did "COVID-19 Pandemic Email Virus" infect my computer?
Note that that malicious MS Office documents can install malware only when users give them permission to enable editing/content (macros commands). If opened with Microsoft 2010 or older versions, however, the malicious documents install malware without asking any permissions (i.e., those versions do not include Protected View mode).
How to avoid installation of malware
Suspicious emails should be carefully studied. Do not open attachments or links in irrelevant emails, especially if the emails are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Installed software should be updated and activated only with implemented functions/tools that are designed by official developers.
Third party tools should never be used. Furthermore, it is illegal to activate software with unofficial ('cracking') tools and they can install malicious software. All files should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. The other tools or sources mentioned above should not be trusted, and can be used to proliferate malicious software.
All installed software must be activated properly. Scan the operating system for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite and keep the software up to date. If you have already opened "COVID-19 Pandemic Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in "COVID-19 Pandemic Email Virus" message:
Subject: New Order
Hope this email finds you in good health.
As the day passes, sadly more and more countries are impacted by the
COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has disrupted our lives and plans and
taken lots of lives away. How are things going on there in your place?
Is everything under control?
We got your contact from our agent. Please see the attached PO in
image files and let us know if shipment can be made within the
stipulated date. As we hope to see the end of these pandemics.
Hope we can hear from you soon.
Take care and stay safe
Audra Orion (M) Sdn. Bhd
No.24, Jln 4/152,
Tmn Perindustrian Bukit OUG,
58200, Kuala Lumpur.
Mobile : +6016-622 1559
website : hxxp://www.audraherbals.com.my
Screenshot of the "New Order.img" file detected as a threat on 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 Pandemic Email Virus"?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of FormBook 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.