Avoid malware infections proliferated via fake Findomestic emails

Also Known As: Findomestic spam
Damage level: Severe

What is the fake "Findomestic" email?

"Findomestic Email Virus" refers to a spam campaign proliferating Ursnif trojan-type malware. The term "spam campaign" defines a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive/scam emails are sent.

This spam campaign targets Italian users and is disguised as a notification concerning recipients' debts, supposedly from Findomestic, which is a legitimate consumer credit institution.

Note that these messages are in no way associated with the Findomestic banking company and none of the information provided in them is genuine. The purpose of these scam emails is to trick recipients into opening the file attached to them, thereby initiating the infection process of Ursnif. This Trojan stealthily infiltrates systems and extracts information stored in and accessed through them.

Findomestic malware-spreading email spam campaign

According to a rough translation, the fake "Findomestic" emails (subject/title, "saldo disponibile 966", which might vary) inform recipients of their current credit balance. Allegedly, they are in significant debt and this is a concerning development. Recipients are instructed to review the attached document, which is stated to contain the relevant payment details. Additionally, the scam messages inform users that the sum must be paid within five days.

As mentioned, these "Findomestic" emails are scams, intended to infect recipients devices with the Ursnif Trojan. The malware's download/installation process is triggered by the attachments being opened (specifically, by execution of its malicious macro commands).

The main purpose of this malicious program is data theft. It targets system and user/private information, browsing data, and this also malware has keylogging capabilities. To elaborate on the latter, it can record key strokes. This functionality is typically used to obtain log-in credentials (i.e. IDs, usernames and passwords) of email, social networking/media, communication platform, data storage and transferring, e-commerce (online store), digital wallet and banking accounts.

Ursnif's features are not limited to information theft. It can also restart/reboot the compromised device, take screenshots, and so on. Furthermore, this Trojan can infiltrate (upload) and execute files, and hence can potentially be used to infect the system with additional malware (e.g. ransomware, cryptominers, etc.).

To summarize, by trusting the fake "Findomestic" messages, users might experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial loss and identity theft. If it is suspected or known that the Ursnif Trojan (or other malware) has already infected the system, use anti-virus software to eliminate it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Findomestic spam
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails notify recipients of their debt
Attachment(s) saldo_scaduto_4299402.doc
Detection Names GData (Macro.Trojan-Downloader.Agent.MU), TACHYON (Suspicious/WOX.Downloader.Gen), McAfee-GW-Edition (BehavesLike.Downloader.dc), F-Secure (Heuristic.HEUR/Macro.Downloader.MRKB.Gen), Tencent (Heur.MSWord.Downloader.d), 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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"Request For Payment", "MSC Email Virus" and "FedEx Freight" are some examples of other spam campaigns that proliferate malware. The deceptive messages are usually disguised as "official", "important", "urgent", "priority", and similar. These emails can spread a wide variety of malicious programs, which can cause likewise varied and serious problems.

Note that spam campaigns are not used exclusively to distribute malware. They are also used for phishing and other scams. Regardless of what scam messages claim or how they operate, their purpose is identical: to generate revenue for the scammers/cyber criminals behind them.

Due to the relative prevalence of spam mail, you are strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How did "Findomestic Email Virus" infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware infections are commonly spread through malspam campaigns, untrusted file/software download sources, fake (third party) software updating tools, Trojans and unofficial software activation tools.

Using malspam, criminals send emails that have a malicious file attached, or include a website link designed to download a malicious file. Their main goal is to trick recipients into executing the file, which then infects the computer with malware. Cyber criminals usually attach a Microsoft Office document, archive file (ZIP, RAR), PDF document, executable file (.exe) or JavaScript file, and wait until recipients open it.

Note that malicious MS Office documents can install malware only when users enable editing/content (macros commands). If the documents are opened with MS Office versions prior to 2010, however, the documents install malicious software automatically, since these older versions do not include "Protected View" mode.

Examples of untrusted file and software download sources are Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients), free file hosting websites, freeware download sites, and unofficial web pages. These are used to distribute malicious files by disguising them as legitimate and regular. When users download and open (execute) the files, however, they inadvertently install malware.

Fake software updating tools cause damage by installing malware rather than updates/fixes for installed software, or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Trojans are malicious programs that can cause chain infections by installing other software of this kind. Note that malware can only be distributed in this way if Trojans are already installed on computers.

Unofficial activation ('cracking') tools are illegal programs that supposedly activate licensed software free of charge and bypass activation, however, they often install other malicious programs instead.

How to avoid installation of malware

To avoid malware spread via spam mail, you are strongly advised against opening suspicious or irrelevant emails, especially those with any attachments or links present within them.

Additionally, use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Malicious programs also proliferate through untrusted download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal software activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updaters.

Therefore, only download from official/verified sources and activate and update software with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers.

To ensure device integrity and user privacy, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. Furthermore, use these programs to run regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats.

If you have already opened "Findomestic Email Virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Findomestic" scam email message:

Subject: saldo disponibile 966

Gentile Cliente, vi segnaliamo che,
in base ad un controllo relativo alla Vostra situazione
contabile svolta in data odierna, risulta un
saldo scaduto a nostro credito della cifra di
Euro 5.780 .
La Vostra situazione debitoria riguarda il
prestito riportato nel prospetto allegato,
recante anche gli estremi per effettuare il pagamento .
Restiamo pertanto in attesa del Vostro pagamento
della somma a noi dovuta, entro e non oltre 5 giorni dalla data di oggi,
mediante bonifico del totale scaduto presso iban indicato in allegato.

Malicious attachment distributed via "Findomestic" spam campaign ("saldo_scaduto_4299402.doc"):

Malicious attachment distributed through Findomestic spam campaign

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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.

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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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