Do no trust malware-spreading BBVA scam emails

Also Known As: Agent Tesla virus
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

"BBVA" email virus removal guide

What is the "BBVA" email?

"BBVA" is a deceptive email, designed to proliferate the Agent Tesla RAT (Remote Access Trojan). The text presented in these letters is in Spanish, hence the indented targets are Spanish-speaking users. The emails claim to contain information concerning due invoice payments. Instead the attached archived file has the malicious executable of Agent Tesla. RAT-type malware enables remote access and control over an infected system, thereby posing a serious threat to device and user safety.

BBVA malware-spreading email spam campaign

The emails with the subject "BBVA-Confirming Facturas Pagadas al Vencimiento" (titles may vary) state that they have information regarding due invoice payment enclosed within them. However, the attached archived file, named "Facturas Pagadas al Vencimiento.rar" - contains "xoRvDdUQHgkjftOkPt.exe"; when this file is opened - it initiates the infection process. In other words, download/installation of Agent Tesla begins. As mentioned in the introduction, Remote Access Trojans allow cyber criminals to remotely access and control the infected device. The primary purpose of Agent Tesla is stealing information. This endeavor is carried out through the malware's ability to record key strokes (keylogging). Said functionality is typically used by cyber criminals to steal log-in credentials (i.e. usernames and passwords) of various accounts. For example, to hijack email, messaging, social networking, social media, online data storage, e-commerce, online money transfer, banking and other accounts. Therefore, Agent Tesla infections can lead to financial losses, severe privacy issues and identity theft. It is expressly advised against trusting the "BBVA" scam emails. If it is suspected/known that Agent Tesla RAT has already infected the system, an anti-virus must be used to remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Agent Tesla virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Email claims to contain payment invoice
Attachment(s) Facturas Pagadas al Vencimiento.rar containing xoRvDdUQHgkjftOkPt.exe
Detection Names BitDefenderTheta (Gen:NN.ZemsilCO.34110.zm0@aKVPnHi), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/GenKryptik.EKVA), Fortinet (MSIL/GenKryptik.EKUI!tr), Kaspersky (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 Agent Tesla
Rogue Process Name ClassAssignment (process name may vary)
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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Deceptive/Scam emails are distributed by the thousand, during large scale operations called "spam campaigns". "Apex Enquiry", "Chorus Union", "Secret Love" and "WeTransfer" are a few examples of malware-proliferating spam campaigns. These emails are typically disguised as "official", "important", "urgent" or otherwise priority mail. However, these letters can have other purposes, such as phishing. Regardless, deceptive emails have the same end-goal - to generate revenue for the scammers / cyber criminals behind them.

How did "BBVA Email Virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected through virulent files attached to scam emails. Alternatively, they can contain download links of infectious files or ones leading to malicious websites. These files can be in various formats, e.g. archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc. Once they are opened - the infection process (i.e. download/installation of malware) is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. This process begins automatically upon the document being opened in MS Office versions released prior to 2010. However, in newer versions users are asked to enable macros (i.e. to enable editing/content). Therefore, only if users allow the macro commands to be enabled does the infection process begin.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is strongly advised against opening suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially any attachments or links present in them - as doing so can lead to a high-risk infection. Additionally, it is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. These versions possess the "Protected View" mode, which prevents infection processes from being started the very moment a malicious document is opened. Aside from spam campaigns, malware is also proliferated through untrustworthy download sources (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal activation ("cracking") tools and fake updates. Therefore, only official and verified download channels must be used. Furthermore, it is just as important to activate and update software with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To protect device and user safety, it is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed. These programs must be kept up-to-date, used to run regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats. If you've already opened "BBVA Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "BBVA" email letter:

Subject: BBVA-Confirming Facturas Pagadas al Vencimiento

 

BBVA
Muy Sres. Nuestros:

 

Nos complace adjuntarles información relativa a Facturas Pagadas al Vencimiento.
Reciban un cordial saludo.

 

Opera y consulta en:

 

912 96 70 70 bbva.es BBVA Apps Tu cajero
BBVA
Creando Oportunandes
AVISO LEGAL:

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachments of "BBVA" email:

BBVA email attachment detections on VirusTotal

Screenshot of the Agent Tesla remote access trojan's process on Windows Task Manager ("ClassAssignment"):

Agent Tesla malware process on windows task manager (ClassAssignment)

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
Agent Tesla virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Agent Tesla virus on your mobile device.
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