How to avoid installation of Agent Tesla via fake DHL email notification?

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

DHL Failed Delivery Notification email virus removal guide

What is DHL Failed Delivery Notification email virus?

One of the popular ways that cyber criminals use to deliver malware is to send emails that contain some malicious attachment or a download link for malicious file. Usually such emails are disguised official, important letters from legitimate companies, organizations. The main purpose of these emails is to trick recipients into opening a malicious file that is designed to install malware. This particular email is disguised as a delivery notification from DHL, it has a malicious archive file attached to it that contains a installer for Agent Tesla.

DHL Failed Delivery Notification malspam email

This fake failed delivery notification says that DHL courier attempted to deliver a package/parcel at the specified time but could not do so because nobody was present at the shipping address. Also, it says that if the parcel is not scheduled for re-delivery or picked up within 72 hours, then it will be returned to the sender. The main purpose of this email is to trick recipients into extracting the attached GZ file (archive file) and executing the extracted malicious executable file that is designed to install a remote administration tool (RAT) called Agent Tesla.

When cyber criminals successfully trick users into installing a RAT like Agent Tesla, they usually use that software to steal sensitive information, for example, various login credentials (usernames, passwords), credit card details, to access personal files, or to install some other malware (e.g., ransomware) on the operating system. It is common that users who get tricked into installing a RAT become victims of identity theft, lose access to personal accounts (or files), suffer monetary loss, or encounter other serious issues.

Threat Summary:
Name Agent Tesla RAT
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax DHL courier could not deliver a parcel
Attachment(s) Malicious archive file (GZ file)
Detection Names (malicious executable) Avast (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKDZ.72492), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Kryptik.ZGV), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Agensla.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.AL!MTB), 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)

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More examples of malspam campaigns are "Bill Of Lading Email Virus", "Order Confirmation Email Virus" and "EniGaseLuce Email Virus". As mentioned in the first paragraph, most of the times those emails are disguised as official, important letters from legitimate companies, organizations or other entities and contain a malicious file or link. More malware examples that could be delivered via email are Dridex, Emotet and Ursnif.

How did DHL Failed Delivery Notification email virus infect my computer?

This particular email has a malicious archive file (GZ file) attached to it, that file contains a malicious executable (.exe) file which, if opened, installs Agent Tesla. It is worthwhile to mention that Agent Tesla is a legitimate remote administration tool, however, it is popular among cyber criminals who use such software for malicious purposes. More examples of files that could be used in malspam to deliver malware are Microsoft Office, PDF documents, other archive files like ZIP, RAR and JavaScript files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Attachments and website links in emails that are not relevant and sent form unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened - it is common that such emails are part of some malspam campaign. Installed programs have to be updated or activated properly: with tools and/or functions that are designed/provided by their official developers. Third party updating or activation tools tend to be malicious. Moreover, it is not legal to use such tools to activate licensed programs, or use pirated programs. Software and files should be downloaded from official pages (and via direct links). Unofficial pages, third party downloaders (and installers), Peer-to-Peer networks, etc., should not be used. A computer should be scanned for threats regularly, it is advisable to do it by using a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite. If you've already opened "DHL Failed Delivery Notification email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text in the email letter:

Subject: Failed DHL Delivery Notification

DHL Failed Delivery Notification

Dear Customer,
We attempted to deliver your item at 6:10 AM on january 13,2021. (Read enclosed file details)

The delivery attempt failed because nobody was present at the shipping address, so this notify has been automatically sent.

If the parcel is not scheduled for re-delivery or picked up within 72 hours, it will be returned to the sender.

Label Number: DHL733918664AA

Expected Delivery Date January 16,2021

Class: Package Services

Service(s): Delivery Confirmation

Status: eNotification sent

Read the enclosed file for details.

DHL Customer Service.

---------------------------------------------

Executable file in the attached GZ file detected as malicious by multiple engines on VirusTotal:

dhl failed delivery notification email virus executable file detected as malicious

Another variant of "DHL Failed Delivery Notification" spam email, also spreading Agent Tesla malware:

DHL Failed Delivery Notification spam email (2021-02-15)

Text presented within:

Subject: DHL - Pending delivery

 

Dear Customer,

We attempted to deliver your item at 6:30pm on 28th January, 2021. (Read enclosed file details)

The delivery attempt failed because nobody was present at the shipping address, so this notification has been automatically sent.

If the parcel is not scheduled for re-delivery or picked up within 72 hours, it will be returned to the sender.

Label Number: (Read enclosed file details)
Class: Package Services
Service(s): (Read enclosed file details)
Status: e-Notification sent

Read the enclosed file for details.

DHL Customer Service.

Another example of DHL delivery-themed spam email promoting a phishing website:

DHL-themed spam email promoting a phishing website (2021-02-23)

Text presented within:

Subject: Your order is on its way . 22/02/2021 12:08:12

 

On Demand Delivery
Hello,

The email informs you that you have a package awaiting collection
and that payment of $1.99 is required to collect.
hxxps://mydhl.express.dhl/DF788SDS847456

Accessibility 2021 @ DHI International . All rights reserved.

Thanks,

The DH-XPRESS team.
22/02/2021 12:08:12

Screenshot of the promoted phishing website (crmpair[.]com):

DHL-themed phishing website (2021-02-23 - crmpair.com)

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.

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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.

QR Code
Agent Tesla RAT 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 RAT on your mobile device.
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