Avoid infecting your operating system via "TNT EXPRESS" scam emails

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

"TNT EXPRESS" email virus removal guide

What is the "TNT EXPRESS" email virus?

"TNT EXPRESS" is a spam campaign, designed to spread the Agent Tesla RAT (Remote Access Trojan). The term "spam campaign" is used to define a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of scam emails are sent. The deceptive letters distributed through this spam campaign are disguised as mail from TNT Express - a legitimate international courier service company, subsidiary of the FedEx multinational delivery service giant. It must be emphasized that these fake "TNT EXPRESS" emails are in no way associated with the genuine TNT Express or FedEx. The purpose of this spam mail is to proliferate malware. Agent Tesla is a piece of malicious software that operates by enabling remote access and control over infected systems. RATs can have a wide variety of heinous abilities that can cause likewise varied issues.

TNT EXPRESS malware-spreading email spam campaign

The deceptive emails (subject/title "Consignment Notification: You Have A Package With Us"; may vary) sent through the "TNT EXPRESS" spam campaign, inform recipients that their goods have been booked and delivered by "TNT Express". Recipients are instructed to review and address the attached documents to finalize this process. Recipients are alerted that the this must be done within 15 days from the date of the shipment's arrival, else it will be deemed abandoned. The supposed consignment has already spent 8 days in-bond; hence, only 7 days are left until its status changes to "abandoned". Therefore, recipients must check the attached Waybill - a document issued by the carrier giving details and instructions relating to the shipment of a consignment of goods. The fake emails are allegedly signed by a "Clearance Support Agent". The scam letters are concluded with statements concerning the email's/attachment's confidentiality. However, instead of containing the Waybill, the attached file ("Shipping Document PP&BL Draft.r00"; may vary) - upon opening initiates the infected process/chain of Agent Tesla. As mentioned in the introduction, this RAT allows its users (i.e. cyber criminals) to stealthily access and control compromised devices. The main purpose of Agent Tesla is to steal information. Primarily, this trojan uses keylogging (i.e. recording of keystrokes) to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords of email, social networking, social media, messenger, data storage and transferring, e-commerce, online money transferring, digital wallet, cryptowallet, and banking accounts. To summarize, trusting the fake "TNT EXPRESS" emails can result in system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Agent Tesla RAT
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails claim recipients must address the attached Waybill to prevent their shipment from being considered as abandoned.
Disguise TNT Express
Attachment(s) Shipping Document PP&BL Draft.r00 (filename may vary)
Detection Names (Shipping Document PP&BL Draft.r00)
DrWeb (Trojan.PWS.Stealer.24943), BitDefenderTheta ( Gen:NN.ZelphiF.34254.RGW@aGIDeMki), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Injector.ENKC), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Kryptik.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 Agent Tesla
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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"FedEx Invoice Ready", "PO Copy", "Atlas Home Products", "Talkline Communications" and "Swedish Energy Agency" are some examples of other malware-spreading spam campaigns. This mail can have a wide variety of disguises. Scam emails are usually presented as "official", "important", "urgent", "priority" and similar; the letters may even be disguised as mail from legitimate companies, organizations, institutions, service providers and other entities. However, deceptive emails are not used just to proliferate malicious programs, they are also used for phishing and other scams. Regardless of what this mail claims, offers, requests or demands, the end-goal is always the same - to generate profit for the scammers / cyber criminals behind it. It is strongly advised to exercise caution with received emails.

How did "TNT EXPRESS Email Virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected via virulent files distributed through spam campaigns. These files can be attached to the emails and/or the letters can contain download links of such content. Infectious files can be in various formats, e.g. archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so on. When malicious files are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process/chain (i.e. malware download/installation) is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. In MS Office versions released before 2010 - this process is initiated the moment a document is opened. However, the newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents macros from being executed upon the document's opening. Instead, users are asked to enable macro commands (i.e. to enable editing/content). Hence, infection processes can only be jumpstarted if macros are enabled manually.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the system with malware distributed via spam mail, it is expressly advised against opening suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially any attachments or links present in them. Additionally, it is recommended to only use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. However, malicious programs are not exclusive distributed via spam campaigns. Malware is also proliferated through 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 only download from official/verified sources, activate and update programs with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To protect device integrity and user privacy, it is crucial to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed. This software must be kept updated, used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected threats and issues. If you've already opened "TNT EXPRESS Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "TNT EXPRESS" scam email letter:

Subject: Consignment Notification: You Have A Package With Us

 

Good day,

 

FYI

 

Your consignment have been booked via TNT EXPRESS is scheduled for delivery
A gentle follow up on requirement needed for us to start processing or your final instruction on this.

 

Appreciate your immediate response as shipment already 8 days in bond and 7 days left to file entry to avoid shipment abandonment

 

Note: Shipment not filled encrypt within 15 days from arrival date will be deemed as an abandoned shipment. Kindly view attached for Waybill information

 

Thank you
With best regards,

 

Airene
--

 

Airene Jovellanos, Clearance Support Agent, Operations

 

.....................

 

This message and any attachment are confidential and may be privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure.
If you are not the intended recipient, please telephone or email the sender and delete this message and any attachment from your system.
If you are not the intended recipient you must not copy this message or attachment or disclose the contents to any other person.
Please consider the environmental impact before printing this document and its attachment(s).
Print black and white and double-sided where possible.

Appearance of the "TNT EXPRESS" scam email (GIF):

TNT EXPRESS scam email appearance GIF

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "TNT EXPRESS" spam campaign ("Shipping Document PP&BL Draft.r00"):

TNT EXPRESS scam email malicious attachment VirusTotal detections (Shipping Document PP&BL Draft.r00)

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 RAT QR code
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