Avoid malware infections from "Request for quotation" email attachment

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

"Request for quotation" email virus removal guide

What is the "Request for quotation" email?

"Request for quotation" is the title of a scam email, designed to proliferate Agent Tesla Remote Access Tool (when used for malicious purpose - Remote Access Trojan). The emails supposedly concern an urgent order and recipients are asked to provide relevant specification of this potential purchase. However, upon opening the attached file initiates the infection process (i.e. download/installation) of Agent Tesla RAT.

Request for quotation malware-spreading email spam campaign

The deceptive "Request for Quotation - Urgent" emails (exact title may vary) address the recipients as "Sales Managers" and notify them that the senders have reviewed the available samples. The attached document supposedly contains the senders' order list. Recipients are informed that this is an urgent order, as the senders are allegedly very much in need of the unspecified goods. The letters request that recipients provide their competitive prices, MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity), shipping specifications - FOB (Free in Board / Freight on Board) and other information. The prices are to be listed in accordance to the technical specifications (located in the attached file). Additionally, recipients are told to quote the attached document and expiration date in the valuable technical offer. Furthermore, should the fake order be complete within 30 days, another will be made immediately. Recipients are urged to forward any questions, if further clarification is necessary. If the attached file is opened - the infection process/chain of Agent Tesla RAT is triggered. Remote Access Trojans are designed to allow remote access and control over an infected device. This type of malware can have a wide variety of functionalities, which enable likewise varied misuse. The primary purpose of the Agent Tesla trojan is stealing information. For this purpose it uses keylogging abilities (i.e. the malicious program can record key strokes). This is typically used to steal the usernames/passwords of various accounts, e.g. email, social media and networking, messengers, e-commerce, online money transfer, banking, and so on. In summary, trusting the "Request for quotation" emails can result in system infections, financial losses, severe privacy issues and identity theft. If it is known or suspected that Agent Tesla RAT (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to eliminate it without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Agent Tesla RAT
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Emails claim recipients have a potential order.
Attachment(s) scan11062020.doc (title may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Other:Malware-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.43325257), ESET-NOD32 (Probably A Variant Of Win32/Exploit.CV), Kaspersky (HEUR:Exploit.MSOffice.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
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 sent by the thousand, through large scale operations termed "spam campaigns". "National Bank of Greece Email Virus", "Black Lives Matter Email Virus", "Audit and Assurance Email Virus" are a couple examples of other malware-spreading spam campaigns. Such letters are usually presented as "official", "urgent", "important" and similar; they may even be disguised as mail form legitimate entities (e.g. institutions, companies, service providers, etc.). However, spam campaigns may have other goals, aside from proliferating malware. For example, phishing is a common use for this mail. Regardless of what these emails claim or their purpose, the end-goal is the same - to generate revenue to the scammers / cyber criminals behind them.

How did "Request for quotation Email Virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected via virulent files sent in spam campaigns. Infectious files can be attached to the emails (as is the case with the "Request for quotation" letters) or they may contain download links of malicious content. These files can be in various formats (e.g. Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archive and executable files, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process/chain (i.e. malware download/installation) is jumpstarted. To elaborate, Microsoft Office files infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. When an MS document is opened, users are requested to enable macros (i.e. to enable editing/content), once this is done - the infection process begins. However, it is started automatically upon a document's opening in Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially any attachments or links found in such mail - as that can lead to a high-risk system infection. Additionally, it is recommended to only use Microsoft Office version released after 2010. The newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents macro commands from being executed the moment a document is opened. Other popular malware distribution techniques include - untrustworthy download sources (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal activation tools ("cracks") and fake updaters. Therefore, it is advised to only use official/verified download channels, activate and update programs with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. It is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed. This software must be kept up-to-date, used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats/issues. If you've already opened "Request for quotation Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Request for quotation" email letter:

Subject: Request for Quotation - Urgent 6/2/2020

 

Dear Sales Manager,

 

We have gone through your samples from a partner and find enclosed our  Order List. Please do bear in mind that we are very much  in need of this order,quote your competitive prices, also let us know your MOQ, FOB.

 

Please be informed that our points regarding A/M inq are as follow:

 

1. Kindly provide your prices based on attached technical specification, (Your reasonable price along with technical data sheet)

2. Please mention " production date:2020 " in your valuable technical offer too.

3. Please mention " Expire Date " in your valuable technical offer too.

4. Delivery Time: URGENT DT.


If you can finish on or before 30 days, we will make  another order immediately
Thank you.
In case of any further clarifications, please do not hesitate to revert back to us.
Thank you in advance and we are looking forward to hearing from you fortwith.

 

Best Regards
Fatemeh Mahini
 Purchasing Manager
Sperlos Baspar Co.
Unit 302, Third floor,No.61, Raz building ,
Kashani St., Sadeghieh Sq ,
Tehran, Iran
Tel/Fax : 0098-21-44038920/44038955

Malicious attachment distributed via "Request for quotation" spam campaign ("scan11062020.doc") GIF:

Malicious attachment distributed through Request for quotation spam campaign (scan11062020.doc) GIF

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 RAT QR code
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