How to avoid installation of NetWire through Wacker malspam campaign?

Also Known As: NetWire remote administration trojan
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

"Wacker Email Virus" removal guide

What is "Wacker Email Virus"?

Typically, malspam campaigns are disguised as email letters from legitimate, official companies, organizations and are sent with a purpose to trick recipients into installing one or another malicious program. This malspam campaign is disguised as a letter from Wacker Chemie AG, cyber criminals behind it attempt to trick recipients into installing a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) named NetWire. Wacker Chemie AG is a legitimate company which has nothing to do with this spam campaign.

Wacker Email Virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

This email is disguised as a letter regarding some customer enquiry, it claims that recipients can review it by opening the attached "WACKER - 000160847" (its name may be different in other variants of the this malspam campaign) Microsoft Excel document. When opened, this malicious document says that macros commands are disabled and can be enabled by clicking the "Enable Content" button. It is strongly recommended not to enable editing/content in documents that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses, are attached to irrelevant emails, etc. By enabling macros commands users allow malicious documents to install some malicious software. This particular document installs the aforementioned NetWire RAT. This RAT functions as a keystroke logger - it records keyboard input. It means that it can record everything that victims type with a keyboard, including login credentials, credit card details and other sensitive information. Obtained details could be misused to steal identities, various accounts, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, etc. Also, cyber criminals behind NetWire could sell recored data to third parties. Therefore, opening malicious document attached to this email might lead to monetary loss, problems related to online privacy, browsing safety, loss of access to personal accounts, identity theft and/or other serious issues.

Threat Summary:
Name NetWire remote administration trojan
Threat Type Remote Administration Trojan
Hoax This email is disguised as a letter from Wacker Chemie AG
Attachment(s) WACKER - 000160847.xls (its name may vary)
Detection Names AESET-NOD32 (VBA/TrojanDownloader.Agent.TNL), Fortinet (XF/Agent.34C4!tr), Ikarus (Trojan.Office.Doc), K7AntiVirus (Trojan ( 00568efb1 )), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Remote Access 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 NetWire
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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A couple examples of other malspam campaigns are "Office Had A Contact With A Coronavirus Infected People Email Virus", "SD BIOSENSOR Email Virus" and "Request For Quotation Email Virus". As a rule, cyber criminals behind them attempt to trick recipients into installing some high-risk malware that could help them to generate revenue in some way (or ways). Some examples of malicious programs that cyber criminals attempt to proliferate this way are Agent Tesla, TrickBot, Kryptik and Gozi.

How did "Wacker Email Virus" infect my computer?

NetWire can get installed on a computer through this malspam campaign only if recipients open the attached malicious MS Excel file and enable macros commands in it (editing/content). It is worthwhile to mention that malicious documents to not need to get a permission to enable macros commands it they are opened with Microsoft Office version that was released before year 2010. It is because those versions do not include the "Protected View" mode and install malware automatically. Examples of other files that cyber criminals attach to their emails are JavaScript files, executable files like .exe, other Microsoft Office documents (like Word), PDF documents, archive files like ZIP, RAR. However, none of those files can infect computer without being opened/executed.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Files and programs should be downloaded only from official pages and through direct links. Other channels, tools like Peer-to-Peer networks, unofficial sites, third party downloaders (and installers) can be and often are used to distribute malicious software, files. Installed programs must be updated and/or activated only with implemented functions and/or tools from their official developers. It is never safe to use third party updaters or activators. Also, it is not legal to use unofficial activators ('cracking' tools) to activate licensed programs. Attachments and links in irrelevant emails that are received form unknown, suspicious 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. One more way to keep a computer safe is to regularly scan it with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite and keep it up to date. If you've already opened "Wacker Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Wacker Email Virus" email letter:

Subject: WACKER - Customer Enquiry 000160847

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

 

In the attachment you will receive our customer enquiry 000160847 date 29.06.2020

 

Please send your official offer to Miss Michela Merlini at michela.merlini@wacker.com or by Fax :+49 511 61085 .


Best regards
Wacker Chemie AG
This communication and any files or attachments transmitted with it may contain information that is copyrighted or confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. It is intended solely for the use of the individual or the entity to which it is addressed.
If you are not intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, dissemination, or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.
If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender at once so that he may take the appropriate action and avoid troubling you further.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Malicious attachment distributed via "Wacker Email Virus" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Wacker Email Virus 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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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
NetWire remote administration trojan QR code
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