Avoid infecting your system through fake "Salesforce" emails
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is "Salesforce Email Virus"?
"Salesforce" is the name of a spam email campaign designed to proliferate the Gozi Trojan. The term "spam campaign" refers to a large-scale operation, during which deceptive emails are sent by the thousand. The scam messages of this spam campaign are disguised as order confirmation notifications from the Salesforce company.
Salesforce.com, inc. is a cloud-based software company dealing in customer relationship management (CRM) services and sale of complementary enterprise applications (e.g. relating to customer service, marketing automation, analytics and software development). These fake emails are in no way associated to the genuine Salesforce company.
The scam "Salesforce" emails with the subject "salesforce.com Order Confirmation 77190/441 -AU" (titles can vary) provide no specific information. The messages state that the recipient's quote has been processed. It also lists the time of the order's activation.
Additionally, it contains the dates of the supposed contract beginning and end. The details of the fake order are allegedly provided in the attachment, however, once the attached Microsoft Excel document is opened and the macro commands are enabled (i.e. editing/content are enabled), the infection process/chain of malware is initiated.
This malicious file infects systems with the Gozi (also known as Ursnif, IFSB or Dreambot) Trojan. This piece of malicious software steals information.
Gozi can exfiltrate system and user information, extract saved log-in credentials (i.e. usernames and passwords) from certain browsers and applications), record key strokes (keylogging) - and these are just some of the main functionality of this malware.
To summarize, trusting the "Salesforce" deceptive emails can lead to system infections, financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. If it is suspected/known that the Gozi Trojan (or other malware) has already infected the system, use an anti-virus program to eliminate it immediately.
|Name||Salesforce email spam|
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.|
|Hoax||Emails are disguised as notifications concerning a confirmed order.|
|Detection Names||Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Script.Generic), McAfee (W97M/Downloader.cyl), K7AntiVirus (Trojan ( 005686ce1 )), Qihoo-360 (Macro.office.07defname.gen), 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.|
|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 Combo Cleaner.
"Adobe Email Virus", "Universidade De Lisboa", "Philippine Overseas Employment Administration", and "You Must Go To The Law Court" are some examples of other malware-spreading spam campaigns.
The deceptive emails are typically presented as "official", "important", "urgent" and similar, and they can even be disguised as mail from legitimate companies, institutions organizations, service providers and other entities. As well as proliferation of malicious programs, spam campaigns can have other purposes.
Scam emails are used for phishing and other scams. While this mail makes varied claims, offers, requests and demands, the purpose is identical: to generate revenue to the scammers/cyber criminals responsible.
How did "Salesforce Email Virus" infect my computer?
When they are executed, run or otherwise opened, the infection process/chain (i.e. malware download/installation) is triggered. For example, MS Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. In Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010, macros are executed when a document is opened.
Newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which asks users to enable macro commands (i.e. to enable editing/content) and, hence, they are not executed automatically. Therefore, the infection process is initiated in these later versions only if the macros are enabled manually (not recommended).
How to avoid installation of malware
You are strongly advised against opening suspicious or irrelevant emails, especially those with any attachments or links found in them, as this can result in high-risk infection. Additionally, you are advised to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Malware proliferation via spam campaigns is just one method of malicious content distribution.
Other popular methods include dubious download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal activation ("cracking") tools and fake updaters. Therefore, use official/verified download sources and activate and update programs with tools/functions provided by genuine developers.
To ensure device and user safety, it is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up to date. Furthermore, this software must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats.
If you have already opened "Salesforce Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "Salesforce" scam email message:
Subject: salesforce.com Order Confirmation 77190/441 -AU
Your Quote# Q-77190441 has been processed. Order# 77190/441 was activated on 7/12/2020 2:16 PM. Your Contract Start Date is 7/13/2020 and your Contract End Date is 6/20/2021.
Your order details attached below.
Thank you for your business.
Malicious attachment distributed via "Salesforce" spam campaign ("QO-77190441.xlsm"):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Salesforce email spam?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious emails:
Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.
Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.
After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.
Emails with Malicious Attachments
Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.
In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.
If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.
While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.
This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.
To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.
How to spot a malicious email?
While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:
- Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
- Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
- Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
- Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.
To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
Example of a spam email:
What to do if you fell for an email scam?
- If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
- If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
- If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
- If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
- Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.
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