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Avoid installation of "Ursnif via Mondiale della Sanita - Italia" malspam

Also Known As: Mondiale della Sanita - Italia spam
Damage level: Severe

What is the Mondiale della Sanita - Italia email virus?

Typically, malspam is used to distribute malicious software via email by sending emails with malicious files attached to them, or that contain website links designed to download the dangerous files. In any case, the main purpose of cyber criminals behind malspam is to trick recipients into installing malware onto their computers.

In this particular case, cyber criminals use email to proliferate Ursnif.

Mondiale della Sanita - Italia Email Virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

In most cases, emails of this kind are disguised as important, official messages from legitimate companies and organizations. This one is disguised as a message from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding necessary precautions against Coronavirus, which can supposedly be found in the attached document.

This malspam campaign has a malicious MS Excel document attached to it. The document proliferates rogue software classified as Ursnif. This malware is capable of collecting user-system information, saved logins/passwords, web browsing activity, and also logging keystrokes.

Cyber criminals can use it to steal login credentials for various personal accounts (e.g., email, social media, banking-related accounts), credit card details and various other, sensitive information, which could be misused to steal identities and accounts, make fraudulent transactions and purchases, and for other malicious purposes.

Note that, in this case, Ursnif is installed only if recipients would open the malicious attachment and enable macros commands (editing/content) within it. Therefore, files attached to these emails must remain unopened.

Threat Summary:
Name Mondiale della Sanita - Italia spam
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax This malspam is disguised as a message from the World Health Organization.
Attachment(s) documento3_356.xls (its name may vary).
Detection Names ALYac (Trojan.Downloader.XLS.gen), Fortinet (MSExcel/Agent.CBH!tr), K7AntiVirus (Trojan ( 005690e01 )), K7GW (Trojan ( 005690e01 )), 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 Ursnif
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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To summarize, cyber criminals use malspam with to deceive recipients into executing a malicious file, which then installs malware. Some examples of other malspam campaigns are "TNT EXPRESS", "FedEx Invoice Ready" and "PO Copy". Examples of other malicious programs that often are proliferated in this way are HawkEye, TrickBot, and Kryptik.

How did Mondiale della Sanita - Italia email virus infect my computer?

As mentioned, Ursnif is successfully installed only after execution of the malicious MS Excel file (document) which is attached to the email. Furthermore, the document cannot cause installation of malware without having macros commands enabled. Therefore, computers are safe as long as recipients leave the attachment unopened.

Note that malicious documents opened with any Microsoft Office suite that was released before MS Office 2010 infects computers automatically. This is because the older versions do not demand permission explicitly to enable content/editing (macros commands).

I.e., they do not include Protected View mode, which prevents malicious documents from installing malware automatically. More examples of files that cyber criminals send via email are malicious PDF documents, Microsoft Word documents, executable files (.exe), other archive files (ZIP, RAR), and JavaScript files.

How to avoid installation of malware

Installed programs must be activated and updated with tools or implemented functions that are provided by the official developers. No other third party, unofficial tools should be used. Note that it is illegal to activate licensed software with ‘cracking’ tools.

Files and programs should be downloaded from official websites and via direct download links. Avoid third party installers and the tools/sources mentioned above. Do not open website links or files in irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses.

These bogus emails are often disguised as official and important. Regularly, scan your computer with reputable, up-to-date antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you've already opened attachment in Mondiale della Sanita - Italia email, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the Mondiale della Sanita - Italia email message:

Subject: Organizzazione Mondiale della Sanita - Italia

 

Spett. Azienda

 

A causa del fatto che nella sua zona sono confermati casi di infezione da Coronavirus, l'Organizzazione Mondiale della Sanità ha messo a disposizione un documento che include tutte le prudenze necessarie contro l'infezione da Coronavirus. Le consigliamo perciò di leggere il documento allegato in questa mail.

 

Password : coronavirus

 

Cordiali Saluti,
Roberta Sirtari (Organizzazione Mondiale della Sanità - Italia)

Malicious attachment distributed via Mondiale della Sanita - Italia malspam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Mondiale della Sanita - Italia Email Virus spam campaign

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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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