"COVID-19 Part Time Employment Email Virus" removal guide
What is the "COVID-19 Part Time Employment Email Virus"?
There are many cases whereby cyber criminals attempt to take advantage of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by sending fraudulent emails. In this case, they spread an email with a file attached, which supposedly contains a list of employees who violated quarantine orders. Scammers encourage recipients to open the attached file and check if they are on the list. If they do this, however, the file will install Agent Tesla, a Remote Access Tool (RAT), which is used to steal sensitive information. Therefore, whoever receives this email is strongly advised to leave the contents unopened.
According to this email, the attached file is a document proving that some of the employees are engaging in part-time jobs outside the company and, by doing so, they violate quarantine orders. It is stated that all of those individuals are to be penalized by terminating their employment without any exceptions. Recipients are encouraged to check the attached file and see if their names are on the list of employees who violated the employment contract. The attached file is a malicious disc image (IMG) used to distribute the aforementioned RAT called Agent Tesla. This malicious software can log keystrokes, steal credentials from various browsers, messaging and email clients, VPN, FTP clients, system registry, capture screen, prevent victims from using Task Manager, Command Prompt and other operating system features. In most cases, cyber criminals attempt to trick people into installing malware such as Agent Tesla so that they can steal credit card details, various login credentials and other sensitive information, which is then misused to steal identities, make fraudulent purchases and transactions, spread malware and spam (scam emails), and so on. Users who are tricked into installing programs such as Agent Tesla can become victims of identity theft, experience serious online privacy issues, suffer monetary loss, lose access to personal accounts, etc. Therefore, you are strongly advised not to open website links and/or attachments that are included in emails such as this. Note that most cyber criminals disguise their emails as important, official messages sent from legitimate companies.
|Name||Agent Tesla RAT|
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.|
|Hoax||This email is disguised as a message regarding misconduct.|
|Attachment(s)||Document 13042020-245784672009856905957758598.img (its name may vary)|
|Detection Names||Arcabit (Trojan.Generic.D2019E47), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.33660487), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/GenKryptik.EIIN), Kaspersky (Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Agensla.pej), 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.
More examples of email scams used to distribute malware are "DHL Relief Email Virus", "COVID-19 Stimulus Email Virus" and "COVID-19 Pandemic Email Virus". Generally, these emails contain a website link that downloads a malicious file, or a malicious attachment. In any case, they are sent to trick recipients into executing (opening) a file that installs malicious software. FormBook, TrickBot, LokiBot and Adwind are some examples of programs that cyber criminals attempt to spread via email.
How did "COVID-19 Part Time Employment Email Virus" infect my computer?
How to avoid installation of malware
Installed programs must be updated and activated through implemented tools and/or functions that are designed by official developers. Other third party tools should never be used, as they can install malware. Furthermore, it is illegal to activate any licensed software with unofficial ('cracking) tools. Email contents should be opened only when it is safe to do so. Attachments and/or web links in irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious email addresses should never be opened. All software should be downloaded from official web pages and via direct links. Unofficial pages, third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule) and other channels of this kind can host malicious files. Finally, you are advised to regularly scan the operating system for threats using reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you have already opened "COVID-19 Part Time Employment Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "COVID-19 Part Time Employment Email Virus" email message:
Subject: Evidence Document Containing Staff Misconduct During This Period Of COVID-19 Pandemic 13-04-2020
Attached document dated 13th April 2020, has proved, confirmed and found that some of our staff in different departments, are engaging in part time employment outside our company during this period of corona virus COVID-19 pandemic. Recently the Public Authority of Man Power has identified some such individuals and they will be penalized immediately. We all should understand that this is not just a violation of the employment contract, but also will lead to our company's reputation being damaged as well.
Our management will not tolerate such offenses and any of the individual that his or her name has been found in the attached evidence document found to be engaged in part time employment shall be terminated from work with immediate effect. He/ she whose name appeared in the attached evidence document, shall not be entitled for any claims from the company including indemnity settlement.
We insist all staffs to adhere to the company policies and abide by the country's labor law without any exceptions. Engaging in part time activities is an offense, is prohibited to all company staffs and if found breached, will be dealt with strictly.
Malicious attachment detected as a threat by multiple antivirus engines:
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 "COVID-19 Part Time Employment Email Virus"?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of Agent Tesla 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 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.