Ignore the Office had a contact with a coronavirus infected people email

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

"Office had a contact with a coronavirus infected people" removal guide

What is "Office had a contact with a coronavirus infected people"?

Cyber criminals behind this malspam campaign attempt to trick a recipient into believing that his/her office has been exposed to the Coronavirus and reviewing (opening) the attached document. This email contains a malicious Microsoft Excel document which is designed to cause installation on TrickBot, a trojan-type malware.

Office had a contact with a Coronavirus infected people malware-spreading email spam campaign

Cyber criminals send an email claiming that recipient's office had a contact with people who are infected with the Coronavirus. The main purpose of this email is to deceive a recipient into opening a malicious MS Excel document ("application_coronavirus.xls") which supposed to contain a list of infected people and allowing it to enable content/editing. Although, this document is blank and contains hidden macros that are designed to install TrickBot. TrickBot is a Trojan which is designed to steal sensitive information by hijacking web browsers and modifying opened websites. When victims enter credentials (logins, passwords, etc.) on modified websites, then TrickBot sends them to cyber criminals behind it. Additionally, TrickBot can hijack applications such as WinSCP, Microsoft Outlook, Filezilla as well. It is capable of collecting saved passwords, autofill data and other sensitive information too. In most cases malware like TrickBot is used to steal email, social networking, banking accounts, cryptocurrency wallets, and other personal accounts that could be misused to make fraudulent purchases, transactions, spread malware further, trick other people into transferring money, etc. Additionally, some versions of the TrickBot are capable of locking victim's screen. Either way, it is strongly recommended not to open the file attached to this email and enable editing/content in it. This could cause problems like monetary, data loss, identity theft, issues related to online privacy, browsing safety, and/or other serious problems.

Threat Summary:
Name TrickBot trojan
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Cyber criminals send email claiming that recipient's office is exposed to Coronavirus
Attachment(s) application_coronavirus.xls (its name may vary)
Detection Names Ikarus (Trojan.Office.Doc), K7AntiVirus (Trojan ( 00568efb1 )), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Downloader.MSOffice.SLoad.gen), Microsoft (TrojanDownloader:O97M/EncDoc.HN!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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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Some more examples of malspam campaigns that were or still are used to trick recipients into installing malware are "SD BIOSENSOR Email Virus", "Request For Quotation Email Virus" and "Secure Parking Email Virus". Typically, such emails contain some malicious attachment or a website link that is designed to download a malicious file. As a rule, recipients infect their computers through emails only after executing a malicious file. A couple of examples of other malware that cyber criminals distribute via malspam campaigns are Kryptik, SDBBot, Gozi and NanoCore.

How did "Office had a contact with a coronavirus infected people" infect my computer?

TrickBot gets a permission to be installed only if recipients open the malicious Microsoft Excel document named application_coronavirus.xls (its name may vary) and enable editing/content in it. Although, if such document would be opened with the MS Office version that was released before year 2010, then it would install malware automatically. It is because those versions do not have the "Protected View" mode which prevents malicious documents from installing malware. More examples of files that cyber criminals attach to their emails are malicious PDF files, other MS Office documents, executable files like .exe, archive files (like ZIP, RAR), JavaScript files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Software, files should be downloaded only from official, trustworthy pages and via direct links. Other channels should not be trusted for that. Some unreliable download (and installation) sources, tools are unofficial pages, third party downloaders and installers, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), free file hosting pages. Furthermore, attachments and website links in irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious email addresses should not be opened. In most cases such emails are sent by cyber criminals who attempt to trick recipients into installing malware on their computers. Installed programs must be updated and/or activated only with tools that are designed by official software developers. Third party, unofficial activators and updaters often are designed to install malware. Also, it is not legal to use any unofficial activators 'cracking' tools to activate licensed software. An finally, it is recommended to regularly scan a computer with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software, such software should never be out of date. If you've already opened "Office had a contact with a coronavirus infected people" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Office had a contact with a coronavirus infected people" email letter:

Subject: Our coronavirus exposure

Greetings,

Our office not too long ago had a contact with a coronavirus infected people.
Please review Form that include Name list in the attachment.

Kindest Regards, Jaxon

Malicious attachment distributed via "Office had a contact with a coronavirus infected people" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Office had a contact with a coronavirus infected people spam campaign

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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Quick menu:

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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