Avoid malware infections from fake "Deutsche Bank" emails

Also Known As: HawkEye malware
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

"Deutsche Bank Email Virus" removal guide

What is "Deutsche Bank Email Virus"?

"Deutsche Bank Email Virus" is the name of a spam campaign, distributing fake Deutsche Bank emails. Deutsche Bank is a legitimate multinational investment bank and financial services company; the aforementioned letters are disguised as mail from this bank. The actual bank/company is in no way associated with these scam emails. The letters claim a large sum has been transferred into recipient's bank accounts. This spam campaign is designed to proliferate the HawkEye malware.

Fake Deutsche Bank malware-spreading email spam campaign

According to a rough translation, the fraudulent "Deutsche Bank" emails inform recipients that over thirty thousand euros have been transferred to their personal bank account. The attached files are supposedly the transaction confirmations. These letters are concluded with Deutsche Bank details, some of which are incorrect. When the attachments are opened - the infection chain/process of the HawkEye malicious program is triggered. In other words, upon being opened - download/installation of HawkEye is initiated. The primary purpose of malware is stealing data. It is classified as a keylogger, meaning that this program can record key strokes. This puts the privacy of any and all typed information at risk. Typically, keylogging is used to steal account log-in credentials (i.e. usernames and passwords). Additionally, HawkEye is capable of extracting and infiltrating sensitive information (e.g. log-in credentials, etc.) from certain browsers, email clients, messengers and various other applications. Through stolen communication accounts (e.g. emails, social media/networking, messengers, etc.) cyber criminals can ask contacts/friends for loans and/or spread malware (by sharing infectious files) - under the guise of the genuine owner. Accounts that directly deal with or store financial information (e.g. banking account or credit card details) - can be misused to make monetary transactions and/or to make online purchases. To summarize, trusting the "Deutsche Bank" scam emails can result in system infections, financial losses, severe privacy issues and identity theft. If it is suspected/known that the HawkEye malicious program (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be eliminated from the operating system.

Threat Summary:
Name HawkEye malware
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Emails are disguised as transaction confirmations.
Attachment(s) Rechnung.exe and Zahlung.zip, which contains Zahlung.exe
Detection Names Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKDZ.69084), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Kryptik.WOX), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.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 HawkEye
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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"Google Pay Email Virus", "Sincere Apologies For This Delay" and "Billtrust Email Virus" are a few examples of other malware-proliferating spam campaigns. The term "spam campaign" is used to define a large-scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive/scam emails are sent. This mail is usually disguised as "official", "important", "urgent", "priority" and similar. However, distribution of malicious content is not the only purpose of spam campaigns. They are also used for phishing and other scams. Regardless of what these emails claim, offer, request or demand, the end-goal is the same - to generate revenue for the scammers / cyber criminals behind them.

How did "Deutsche Bank Email Virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected via virulent files, which are spread through spam campaigns. The files are attached to the scam emails and/or the letters contain download links of such content. Malicious files can be in various formats, e.g. executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc. When these files are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process/chain is jumpstarted. For example, Microsoft Office files infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. In MS Office programs released before 2010 - malware download/installation is triggered the moment an infectious document is opened. The newer versions ask users to enable macros (i.e. to enable editing/content); therefore, infection is only initiated if the macro commands are manually enabled.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially any attachments or links present in them - as that can result in a high-risk infection. It is also recommended to only use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Proliferation through spam campaigns is not the only method used to spread malware. Other common distribution methods are via untrustworthy download sources (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal activation "cracking" tools and fake updaters. Therefore, it is important to use official/verified download channels, as well as activate and update programs with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To ensure device and user safety, it is crucial to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed. This software has to be kept updated, used to run regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats. If you've already opened "Deutsche Bank Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the fake "Deutsche Bank" email letter:

Guten Morgen.

 

Die Deutsche Bank AG hat 32.600,80 Euro auf Ihr persönliches Bankkonto überwiesen.

 

Anhang sind die Überweisungsbestätigungsdokumente.


Sie können uns unter Tel.: +49 2509 94 420 zur Bestätigung anrufen.

 

Vielen Dank und einen schönen Tag.

 

Norbert Houben

 

Deutsche Bank AG.

 

ÜBERTRAGUNGSABTEILUNG
Taunusalange 12, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, DEUTSCHLAND
Telefon: +49 7243 103-739, Fax: +49 7243 103-310, Mobiltelefon: +49 151 14664756
E-Mail: info@deutsche-bank.de, Web: hxxps://www.deutsche-bank.de/

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "Deutsche Bank" spam campaign ("Zahlung.exe"):

Deutsche Bank Email Virus malicious attachment (Zahlung.exe) detections on VirusTotal

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
HawkEye malware QR code
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