"Delayed payment confirmation caused by COVID-19" removal guide
What is "Delayed payment confirmation caused by COVID-19"?
There is a has been a huge increase in malicious email scams during the current pandemic, most of which are coronavirus-themed. The cyber criminals behind them usually attempt to deceive visitors into transferring money, providing sensitive information, or installing malware. This particular scam is sent to trick recipients into opening a malicious document, which then downloads a malicious file designed to install GuLoader.
This email is disguised as a message regarding a payment, which was apparently delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipients are encouraged to check the payment details that are provided in the attached document ("Payment_SWIFT.doc"). The file attached to this email is a malicious MS Office document, which, if allowed to enable macros commands (editing), downloads an executable file designed to infect the computer with GuLoader. GuLoader is malware employed to distribute various Remote Access Trojans (RATs) and stealers. In most cases, RATs are used to download and install programs, manage files, read data from the keyboard (logging keystrokes), and hijack webcams and microphone. Typically, cyber criminals use these programs to infect computers with additional malware like ransomware, or access information, which could be used to generate revenue. For example, credit card details, credentials (passwords, logins) of accounts, and other sensitive details. The data might be used to steal accounts and identities, make fraudulent purchases and transactions, etc. Usually, information stealers target banking-related details, passwords, logins, data saved onto the clipboard, and other information of this kind. In this way, people are tricked into installing GuLoader and might have their computers infected with other malware, become victims of identity theft, suffer monetary loss, experience problems relating to online privacy, and other serious issues. Therefore, you are strongly advised to ignore this and other similar emails (keep files attached to them or presented website links unopened).
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.|
|Hoax||This email disguised as a message regarding a delayed payment confirmation.|
|Detection Names (malicious executable downloaded by the malicious attachment)||Avast (FileRepMalware), BitDefenderTheta (Gen:NN.ZevbaF.34106.nm0@aK7Vz8hi), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Injector.ELOQ), Kaspersky (Backdoor.Win32.Androm.tzfh), 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.
Some more examples of spam campaigns used to distribute malware are "HSBC Bank Covid-19 Update Email Virus", "COVID-19 Part Time Employment Email Virus" and "COVID 19 HELP DESK Email Virus". Typically, these emails contain a malicious attachment or link designed to download a malicious file that, when opened, installs malicious software. Note that such emails are often disguised as important, official. Examples of malware that is distributed via spam campaigns are Agent Tesla, Tefosteal, TrickBot and PsiXBot.
How did "Delayed payment confirmation caused by COVID-19" infect my computer?
How to avoid installation of malware
Software and files should not be downloaded through third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), freeware download pages, unofficial sites or other channels of this kind. The same applies to installation through third party installers. These channels can distribute malware. Software should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. Attachments and website links in irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened. Installed software should be updated and activated (if necessary) with tools that are provided by official software developers. Avoid third party tools. Furthermore, it is illegal to use 'cracking' to activate any licensed software. Scan your computer for threats regularly using reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you have already opened "Delayed payment confirmation caused by COVID-19" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "Delayed payment confirmation caused by the COVID-19" email message:
Subject: Delayed payment confirmation caused by COVID-19
I trust you are good!
About the payment for the last order,find attached payment confirmation document for your review.
We sincerely apologize for this delay as it was caused due to the current situation in our country caused by COVID-19.
Please kindly let us know once your receive the same amount in your bank.
Thank you for your understanding.
Malicious executable downloaded through a malicious document 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. 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 "Delayed payment confirmation caused by COVID-19"?
- 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 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.