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How to avoid TrickBot installation via Talkline Communications malspam

Also Known As: Talkline Communications spam
Damage level: Severe

What is Talkline Communications email virus?

Cyber criminals behind malspam campaigns attempt to trick recipients into executing a file designed to install malicious software. They attach the file to an email or send a website link designed to download it (or open a download page for the file). Typically, these emails are disguised as official and important, and sent from a legitimate company.

In this case, they send emails disguised as messages from Talkline Communications. Their main goal is to deceive users into opening a malicious document, which 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 message regarding a shipment delivery problem, stating that a courier was unable to deliver a parcel. Cyber criminals responsible attempt to deceive recipients into believing that they can resolve this problem by checking the delivery label by clicking the provided website link.

That link downloads a malicious Microsoft Office document, which installs TrickBot, a piece of malware classified as Trojan. This malicious program hijacks web browsers and collects sensitive information such as login credentials (usernames, email addresses, and 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 others), and misuse them to make fraudulent purchases and transactions, and trick other users into installing TrickBot or other malware, or for other malicious purposes.

Therefore, you are strongly advised to ignore this email and, more importantly, do not open the malicious document which is distributed through this malspam campaign.

Threat Summary:
Name Talkline Communications spam
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 Combo Cleaner.
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More examples of malspam campaigns are "Nico International Email Virus", "Mundinter Email Virus" and "Swedish Energy Agency Email Virus". Most malspam campaigns deliver emails that appear similar to official messages sent by legitimate companies - they are actually sent to proliferate malicious software.

None of the companies, organizations or other entities have anything do to with such emails. Examples of malicious programs that cyber criminals distribute in this way are Agent Tesla, HawkEye, LokiBot, and NanoCore.

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

In this case, TrickBot is installed on computers only when recipients click (open) the website link within the email and open the downloaded Microsoft Office document and enable macros commands (editing/content). Note that malicious documents opened with older versions of Microsoft Office released before 2010 install malware automatically.

Newer versions include "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 to distribute malware are PDF documents, executable files (.exe), JavaScript files, and archive files such as 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 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 and sources are used to spread malicious programs. Installed software (including operating systems) must be updated and activated with implemented functions/tools that are designed by official developers.

Third party, unofficial tools are often designed by cyber criminals to install malware. Note that unofficial activation ('cracking') tools are illegal when used to bypass activation of any licensed software. Keep operating systems safe by having a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite installed.

If you have already opened the attachment in the Talkline Communications malspam campaign, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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. Combo Cleaner 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:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing 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.

Email-virus icon 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.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

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:

Example of an email spam

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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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.

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