How to avoid installation of TrickBot via Black Lives Matter malspam?

Also Known As: TrickBot trojan
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

"Black Lives Matter Email virus" removal guide

What is "Black Lives Matter Email virus"?

Typically, cyber criminals behind malspam campaigns like this one attempt to trick recipients into opening a malicious file that is attached to the email or can be downloaded through the included website link. When executed, that file infects a computer with certain malware. This particular malspam campaign is used to distribute an information stealing Trojan called TrickBot.

Black Lives Matter Email virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

Cyber criminals behind this malspam campaign send emails asking to express an opinion about some Black Lives Matter campaign by voting through the attached file. The file attached to this email is a malicious Microsoft Office document. When opened, it asks for a permission to enable editing/enable content. If allowed, it runs macros commands that download and execute a malicious DLL file which is designed to install TrickBot. This malware is designed to steal sensitive information and is capable of spreading itself further (installing itself on other computers). It steals sensitive data by hijacking browsers and modifying opened websites. When victims enter login credentials on modified websites, then their credentials get sent to a remote server that is controlled cyber criminals. This feature allows cyber criminals to steal cryptocurrency wallets, PayPal, email, bank and other accounts that can be misused to make fraudulent purchases, transactions, infect other computers with malware, etc. Also, TrickBot is capable of stealing passwords, autofill data, history, cookies (and other browsing data) from WinSCP, Microsoft Outlook, Filezilla, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer. Some (newer) versions of this malware are capable of stealing PIN codes from users who use Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and Sprint services, and performing other tasks. Either way, this is quite a powerful Trojan which can be the reason behind monetary loss, identity theft, problems related to online privacy, browsing safety, and other serious issues. Therefore, malspam campaigns such as this one should never be trusted.

Threat Summary:
Name TrickBot trojan
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Cyber criminals disguise this malspam campaign as an email related to voting in Black Lives Matter campaing
Attachment(s) e-vote_form_3438.doc, e-vote_form_8748.doc (their names may vary)
Detection Names BitDefender (VB:Trojan.VBA.Agent.BFO), Emsisoft (VB:Trojan.VBA.Agent.BFO (B)), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSOffice.Shellex.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:O97M/Obfuse.JM!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.
Payload TrickBot
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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More examples of malspam campaigns (spam campaigns used to distribute malware) are "Credit Card Refund Email Virus", "AKHIL Healthcare Email Virus" and "SARS eFiling Email Virus". Typically, recipients infect computers when they download and execute the attached file, or a file of this kind that they have downloaded through the included website link. Some examples of other malware that could be distributed via email/spam campaigns are, Emotet, AsyncRAT, ZLoader and LokiBot.

How did "Black Lives Matter Email virus" infect my computer?

TrickBot gets installed on computers through this spam campaign when recipients open a malicious Microsoft Office document and allow it to run macros commands by enabling editing/content. Some examples of other files that cyber criminals often use to spread malware are malicious PDF documents, other MS documents (like Excel), executable files (like .exe), archive files (like RAR, ZIP), JavaScript files. Typically, such malicious files infect computers only if users open, execute them. It is worthwhile to mention that malicious documents opened with Microsoft Office versions that were released before year 2010 infect systems automatically, they do not ask for a permission to run macros commands. It is because those versions do not include the "Protected View" mode.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Installed programs must be updated and/or activated only through implemented tools and/or functions that are provided/designed by official software developers. Other (third party), unofficial tools should never be used - they often are designed to install malware. Also, it is not legal to activate licensed software with unofficial ('cracking) tools. Email contents should not be opened if there is any reason to believe that it may be unsafe. It mostly applies to irrelevant emails that contain attachments (and/or web links) and are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Furthermore, all software should be downloaded only from official 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 often are used as tools to distribute malware. And finally, it is recommended to regularly scan the operating system for threats and do it with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you've already opened "Black Lives Matter Email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Black Lives Matter Email virus" email letter:

Subject: Vote anonymous about "Black Lives Matter"

 

Leave a review confidentially about "Black Lives Matter"
Claim in attached file

Malicious attachment distributed via "Black Lives Matter Email virus" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Black Lives Matter Email virus spam campaign

Another example of malicious MS Office document distributed through this malspam campaign:

black lives matter email virus another example of malicious attachment

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
TrickBot trojan 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 TrickBot trojan on your mobile device.
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