Avoid infecting your system with malware through fake ABB emails

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

"ABB Email Virus" removal guide

What is "ABB Email Virus"?

"ABB Email Virus" refers to a spam campaign, designed to proliferate the AgentTesla Remote Access Trojan (RAT). The term "spam campaign" is used to define a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of scam emails are sent. The letters, distributed via "ABB Email Virus" spam campaign, are disguised as mail from the Malaysian branch of the ABB Group, multinational corporation primarily dealing in robotics, power, heavy electrical equipment and automation technology. It must be emphasized that these emails are in no way connected to the genuine ABB corporation.

ABB Email Virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

The scam emails, with the title/subject "ABB Request For Quote_SC0054852" (may vary), request recipients to provide a quote for the listed parts and services. The details of the supposed order are not written in the body of the letter, it is implied that the information is contained in the attached file. The only data concerning the fake order is that the needed quantity is specified as five and the color - as black. Additionally, the emails state that should the requested model be unavailable, recipients are asked to propose a similar one with specifications matching the original as closely as possible. Since these are scam emails - none of the information provided by them is true. However, if recipients are tricked into opening the attached malicious file - the infection process/chain of the AgentTesla RAT is initiated. Remote access trojans are designed to enable remote access and control over the infected device. Some can allow user-level control over the machine; including hardware, software and content stored in the system or accessed through it. RATs can have a wide variety of heinous functionalities, which can cause serious problems to the victims. The primary functionality of AgentTesla is data theft. To summarize, trusting the fake ABB emails can lead to system infections, financial losses, severe privacy issues and even identity theft. If it is known or suspected that the AgentTesla RAT (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Agent Tesla virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Emails are disguised as quotation requests from ABB.
Attachment(s) ABB RFQ SC0054852_PDF.exe
Detection Names Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.43586794), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Kryptik.XEY), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSIL.Inject.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.
Payload AgentTesla
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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"Deutsche Bank Email Virus", "Sincere Apologies For This Delay", "Google Pay Email Virus" and "Philippine Overseas Employment Administration" are some examples of malware-proliferating spam campaigns. This is a popular distribution technique for various types of malicious programs - trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, and so on. The deceptive emails are usually presented as "urgent", "important", "priority" and similar; they may even be disguised as mail from legitimate companies, organizations, institutions and other entities. However, scam letters are not used exclusively for distribution of malicious content. These emails are also used for phishing and other scams. Regardless of what deceptive mail claims or how it operates, the end-goal is always the same - to generate revenue for the scammers / cyber criminals behind them.

How did "ABB Email Virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected through virulent files, which are sent in spam campaigns. These files can be attached to the emails and/or the letters can contain download links of such files. Infectious files can be in various formats, e.g. executables (.exe, .run, etc.) archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so forth. When the files are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process is jumpstarted. In other words, when a malicious file is opened - download/installation of malware is triggered.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is strongly advised against opening suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially any attachments or links found in them - as that can result in a high-risk infection. Additionally, it is recommended to only use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010; these versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents infectious documents from executing malicious macro commands - the moment they are opened. Aside from spam campaigns, malware is also proliferated via untrustworthy download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal activation tools ("cracks") and fake updaters. Therefore, it is important to always download from official/verified sources and activate/update programs with functions provided by legitimate developers. To ensure device integrity and user safety, it is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. This software has to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats. If you've already opened "ABB Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the fake ABB email letter:

Subject: ABB Request For Quote_SC0054852

Dear Supplier,


I am Mohsen Ali from ABB Malaysia sourcing/buying team.


We have a requirement for the attached parts/services. I request you to kindly send a quote for the same.


Color: Black
Quantity: 5 Units


If the exact model is not available, propose a similar model without deferring much from the specs.


Let me know if you have any questions.


Best Regards!

Mohsen Ali
ABB malaysia


ABB Global Industries and Services Limited
Brigade Magnum, Kodigehalli Post, Yelahanka Hobli
Bangalore - 560 024, INDIA
Mobile- +91-8050809048

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment ("ABB RFQ SC0054852_PDF.exe"), distributed via "ABB Email Virus" spam campaign:

VirusTotal detections of the malicious executable within the attached archive, sent via ABB Email Virus spam campaign

Screenshot of the malicious executable's process on Windows Task Manager ("Parampaa"; process name may vary):

Process of the malicious executable, distributed via ABB 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
Agent Tesla virus QR code
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