How to avoid installation of Agent Tesla via Tasco malspam?

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

Tasco email virus removal guide

What is Tasco email virus?

As a rule, malspam emails are disguised as official letters from legitimate companies and contain some malicious attachment or download link for a malicious file. Cyber criminals send such emails with a purpose to trick recipients into executing a malicious file that is designed to install some malware. In this particular case they attempt to trick recipients into downloading and executing a file that is designed to install a Remote Access Trojan called Agent Tesla.

Tasco email virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

This malspam email is disguised as a letter from TASCO/EXCEL corporation that supposedly contains shipping documents. It has the "FINAL SHIPPING DOCS.zip" (its name may vary) archive file attached to it. This archive file contains a malicious file named "FINAL SHIPPING DOCS.exe". If executed, it installs Agent Tesla. RATs are programs that allow attackers to access and control infected computers remotely. It is known that Agent Tesla is mainly used as a tool to log keystrokes - record keyboard input. Typically, cyber criminals use keystroke loggers to collect sensitive information such as credit card details and/or login credentials (email addresses, usernames, passwords) and then misuse those details to steal various accounts, identities, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, or for other malicious purposes. Therefore, links and/or files in emails like this one should never be opened.

Threat Summary:
Name Agent Tesla malware
Threat Type Remote Administration Trojan
Hoax Letter from TASCO/EXCEL Chemical Corporation containing some shipping documents
Attachment(s) FINAL SHIPPING DOCS.zip (its name may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Win32:MalwareX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKDZ.71377), ESET-NOD32 (MSIL/Spy.Agent.AES), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Stelega.gen), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Symptoms RATs 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.
▼ Download Malwarebytes
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

"Transcrop Bank Email Virus", "Print Works Email Virus", "DUNCAN ENGINEERING LIMITED ORDER Email Virus" are a couple of examples of other malspam emails. It is worthwhile to mention that such emails can be used to distribute not only RATs, but also ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, other types of Trojans, etc.

How did "Tasco email virus" infect my computer?

In this case recipients cause installation of Agent Tesla only if they download the attached file ("FINAL SHIPPING DOCS.zip") and execute its contents (the "FINAL SHIPPING DOCS.exe" executable file). Simply said, no damage can be done via malspam emails as long as recipients do not open a malicious file. Some more examples of files that cyber criminals use in their malspam campaigns are PDF documents, Microsoft Office documents (like Word, Excvel), other archive files (like ZIP), JavaScript files. It is worthwhile to mention that if malicious documents are opened with any Microsoft Office version that was released before year 2010 infect computers automatically. Never versions ask for a permission to enable content/editing (macros commands) and cannot infect computers without it. In other words, they include the Protected View mode which prevents malicious documents from causing installation of malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is advised to not to trust irrelevant emails that have download links or files attached to them, especially if such emails are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. In most cases such emails are used by cyber criminals as tools to trick recipients into installing malware on their computers. Software should not be downloaded (or installed( via third party downloaders (or installers), from unofficial sites, freeware download pages, via Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule, etc.). They should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct links. Furthermore, installed programs have to be updated with tools or implemented functions that are provided by their official developers. Other (unofficial, third party) tools should never be used neither to update or activate any software. Besides, it is not legal to use such tools to activate licensed software. Additionally, it is advised to scan the operating system for treats regularly and do that with a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus software. If you've already opened "Tasco email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the Tasco malspam email:

Subject: RE: FINAL SHIPPING DOCS. / BL 00567

Dear sir / Madam,

 

Kindly  find attached shipping docs if they are in other . the BL is showing different  arriving port. your urgent responds is highly needed ASAP.


Thanks Best Regards,


Howard Lai

TASCO/EXCEL Chemical Corporation

tel: 886 2 2741 5577

fax: 866 2 2741 3450

mobile: 886 (0)938009993

email: kc-lai@tascogroup.com.tw

hxxp://www.tasco.com.tw

Malicious attachment detected as a threat by Virustotal:

tasco email virus virustotal detections list

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Malwarebytes By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

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 malware 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 Agent Tesla malware on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Windows malware infections today:

▼ REMOVE IT NOW
Download Malwarebytes

Platform: Windows

Editors' Rating for Malwarebytes:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.