Avoid installation of Adwind through U.S. Department of Treasury email

Also Known As: Adwind virus
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

"U.S. Department of Treasury Email Virus" removal guide

What is "U.S. Department of Treasury Email Virus"?

It is not uncommon that cyber criminals attempt to trick users into infecting their computers with malware through spam campaigns. They do that by sending emails that are disguised as important, official, and contain some malicious attachment. Their main goal is to trick recipients into opening a malicious file that is designed to install some malware. This particular spam campaign is used to distribute a malicious program called Adwind.

U.S. Department of Treasury Email Virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

This email is disguised as a letter from US Department of Treasury regarding a certain amount of money that supposedly was transferred to a recipient's bank account. It claims that there is no indication that the money were actually transferred and encourages to check some details that supposedly are provided in the attached file. As mentioned in the introduction, the file ("CONTRACT PAYMENT.zip") attached to this email is used to distribute malware. This archive file contains .jar file which, if executed, installs Adwind. Adwind (also known as AlienSpy, Frutas, JSocket, Sockrat, Unrecom, jRAT) is an information stealer. This malware is capable of accessing (stealing) saved passwords, microphone, webcam and logging keystrokes. Typically, cyber criminals use programs like Adwind with a purpose to steal login credentials, credit card details and/or some other sensitive information that could be misused to steal accounts, identities, make fraudulent purchases, transactions and/or generate revenue in other ways. Users who get tricked into installing Adwind may become victims of identity theft, lose access to personal accounts, suffer monetary loss, experience serious problems related to online privacy, browsing safety, and other issues. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not to take such emails seriously and leave files (and/or website links) attached to them unopened.

Threat Summary:
Name Adwind virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax This email is disguised as a letter from US Department of Treasury
Attachment(s) CONTRACT PAYMENT.zip
Detection Names (malicious .jar file) ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Java/TrojanDownloader.Agent.NRG), Ikarus (Win32.Outbreak), Kaspersky (UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic), ZoneAlarm by Check Point (UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic), 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 Adwind
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)

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Some more examples of spam campaigns that are used to distribute various malware are "Chorus Union Email Virus", "U.S. Small Business Administration" and "Secret Love". Cyber criminals who send such emails seek to trick recipients into installing ransomware, Remote Administration Trojans (RATs) or Trojans of other type, etc. One way or another, their main purpose to extract data that could be misused to generate revenue.

How did "U.S. Department of Treasury Email Virus" infect my computer?

In this case computers can be infected only when users extract a malicious .jar file from the "CONTRACT PAYMENT.zip" archive file (its name may vary) and execute it. It is a common practice to spread malware this way. Some more examples of files that cyber criminals attach to their emails are Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, executable files (like .exe), JavaScript files. It is worthwhile to mention that malicious MS Office documents that are opened with newer MS Office versions (later than MS Office 2010) cannot infect computers/install malware without getting a permission to enable editing/content (macros commands). Although, if a malicious document is opened with an older than MS 2010 version, then it infects system automatically.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is strongly recommended not to open attachments (and website links) in irrelevant emails that were received from unknown, suspicious addresses. It is worthwhile to mention that such emails are disguise as important, official. Software and files should be downloaded from official websites and through direct links. Peer-to-Peer networks, unofficial pages, third party downloaders, installers, free file hosting pages and other similar channels can be and often are used as tools to distribute unwanted, often malicious software. Installed programs and operating system must be updated and activated with tools and/or implemented functions that are provided by official developers. No third party activation, updating tool is trustworthy. Besides, it is not legal to activate licensed software with unofficial ('cracking') tools. One more way to keep computers safe is to regularly scan them with a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus software and keep that software always up to date. If you've already opened "U.S. Department of Treasury Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "U.S. Department of Treasury Email Virus" email letter:

Subject: U.S. Dept. OF TREASURY/PAYMENT

 

Sir,

 

CONTRACT PAYMENT REF. ATTACHEDM

 

We wish to bring to your knowledge that in the course of our file
verification exercise as directed by the Secretary of Treasury,
we come across a payment file in your name. This file has all the
payment approval documents, especially from the United Nations
Payment Agency as well as other relevant agencies including US
agencies.

 

However, there is no indication that the said approved fund was
finally paid to you as the beneficiary, or did you at any point
changed ownership or receiving bank account of the approved fund?
If not claimed  till May 30th, the , U.S. DEPT. OF TREASURY
anticipated that the funds be distributed as Emergency Relief
Fund to support  the uncertainty caused by the crisis of COVID-19
globaly. It is anticipated that your funds will be distributed in
early June.

 

Then there will be no indication that you receive this payment in
the near future if you fail to respond to this mail and update
this office urgently because others with similar situation are
been processed for transfer of their funds.

 

Faithfully

 

Mr. Wilson Chalker
U.S. DEPT. OF TREASURY

Malicious attachment's distributed via "U.S. Department of Treasury Email Virus" spam campaign detection names in Virustotal:

us department of treasury email virus attachment 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:
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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
Adwind virus QR code
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