How to avoid TrickBot installation via Talkline Communications malspam?

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

Talkline Communications email virus removal guide

What is Talkline Communications email virus?

Cyber criminals behind malspam campaigns attempt to trick recipients into executing a malicious file designed to install malicious software. They either attach that file to an email, or send a website link designed to download that file (or open a download page for it). Typically, such emails are disguised as official, important, sent from some legitimate company. In this case they send emails disguised as letters from Talkline Communications, their main goal is to deceive users into opening a malicious document that can be downloaded through the included website link and designed to install TrickBot.

Talkline Communications Email Virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

This malspam campaign is disguised as a letter regarding a shipment delivery problem stating that a courier was unable to deliver a parcel. Cyber criminals behind it attempt to deceive recipients into believing that they can resolve this problem by checking a delivery label which can be done by clicking the provided website link. That link is designed to download a malicious Microsoft Office document which is designed to install TrickBot, a piece of malware classified as Trojan. This malicious program is designed to hijack web browsers and collect sensitive information such as login credentials (usernames, email addresses, passwords). It sends collected data to a remote server controlled by cyber criminals. Collected information can be misused to steal identities, personal accounts (e.g., email, social media, file hosting accounts, cryptocurrency wallets, and other accounts), and misuse them to make fraudulent purchases, transactions, trick other users into installing TrickBot or other malware, or for other malicious purposes. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to ignore this email and more importantly, not to open the malicious document which is distributed through this malspam campaign.

Threat Summary:
Name TrickBot trojan
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Email letters are disguised as emails from Talkline Communications
Attachment(s) Malicious Microsoft Office document
Detection Names Ad-Aware (Trojan.GenericKD.34417588), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.34417588), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Generik.NWEELCU), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSOffice.Alien.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 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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To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

More examples of malspam campaigns are "Nico International Email Virus", "Mundinter Email Virus" and "Swedish Energy Agency Email Virus". What most malspam campaigns have in common is that they look like official emails sent by legitimate companies and being sent with a purpose to proliferate some malicious software. Although, none of those companies (organizations, or other entities) have anything do to with such emails. Examples of malicious programs that cyber criminals distribute this way are Agent Tesla, HawkEye, LokiBot, NanoCore.

How did "Talkline Communications Email Virus" infect my computer?

In this case TrickBot can be installed on computers only by recipients who would click (open) the website link in this email, open the downloaded Microsoft Office document and enable macros commands (editing/content) in it. It is worthwhile to mention that malicious documents opened with an older version of Microsoft Office (any version that was released before year MS Office 2010) install malware automatically. Never versions include the "Protected View" mode which prevents malicious documents from installing malware once they are opened. Some examples of other types of files that cyber criminals attach to their emails with a purpose to distribute malware are PDF documents, executable files (like .exe), JavaScript files, archive files like ZIP, RAR.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Website links and/or attachments in irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened. It is important to be sure that a received email is not sent by cyber criminals/with a purpose to spread malware. Files and programs should be downloaded only from official pages and through direct download links. Third party downloaders, installers, unofficial pages, Peer-to-Peer networks and other similar download channels, sources can be used as tools to spread malicious programs. Installed software (including operating system) must be updated and/or activated with implemented functions and/or tools that are designed by its developers. Third party, unofficial tools tend to be designed by cyber criminals/to install malware. Another issue with unofficial activation ('cracking') tools is that it is not legal to use them to bypass activation of any licensed software. One more way to keep operating systems safe is to have a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite installed on them, and use those suites regularly. If you have already opened the attachment in the Talkline Communications malspam campaign, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the Talkline Communications malspam:

Subject: , Shipment delivery problem #00000112525

 

Dear
 
Your parcel has arrived at Sunday, August 23, 2020. Courier was unable to deliver the parcel to you.
 
Use button below , or use this link: hxxps://shimicenter.org/clientlabel/memberlabel.php?user=-
 

Delivery Label is attached to this email.

Talkline Communications | P.O. 20108, Park West Station, New York, NY 10025
Unsubscribe aaronsendrovits@gmail.com

 

Update Profile | About our service provider

 

Sent by zev@talklinecommunications.com powered by

 
Try email marketing for free today!

Malicious attachment distributed via Talkline Communications malspam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Talkline Communications 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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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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