Avoid malware infections caused by "Advance Payment Received" emails

Also Known As: Zloader virus
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

"Advance Payment Received" email virus removal guide

What is the "Advance Payment Received" scam email?

"Advance Payment Received" is the name of an email spam campaign. This term refers to a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. The letters sent through this spam campaign are presented as notifications, concerning a purchased order. It must be emphasized that "Advance Payment Received" emails are fake and none of the information provided by them is true. The goal of these letters is to proliferate the Zloader malware.

Advance Payment Received malware-spreading email spam campaign

The emails with the subject/title "Advance Payment Received and Pre-processed" (may vary) inform recipients that their deposit payment has been received. So, the items, which recipients have supposedly ordered, will soon be scheduled for delivery. To create the impression of legitimacy, the letters are concluded with mentions of a genuine global conglomerate - Cox Enterprises, Inc. that deals in automotive service, communication and media industries. The file attached to these scam emails ("dep_det_3444608.docm"; filename may vary"), allegedly contains the fake order details. Neither are these letters associated with Cox Enterprises, Inc. nor do the attachments contain the promised information. Instead, upon opening - the infectious file initiates download/installation of the Zloader malicious program. Therefore, it is strongly advised against trusting the "Advance Payment Received" scam emails.

The main functionality of Zloader malware is infiltrating and executing files on infected devices. In other words, it can download/install additional malicious programs. At the time of research, Zloader infected systems with the Zeus banking trojan. This piece of malicious software is designed to steal information relating to banking/finances. Zeus does this by alternating certain content in banking and online-payment-related websites - in order to obtain users' account log-in credentials (i.e. IDs, usernames and passwords). Other features enabling Zeus malware's goal is taking screenshots and extracting information copied into the clipboard. In addition, this malicious program can likewise cause chain infections (e.g. download/install other trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.). In summary, by trusting "Advance Payment Received" emails, users can experience severe system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses and identity theft. If it is suspected/known that Zloader (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to eliminate it without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Zloader virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails are presented as notifications concerning a successfully paid order.
Attachment(s) dep_det_3444608.docm
Detection Names Fortinet (VBA/Agent.CBE1!tr.dldr), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.36202753), Tencent (Heur.Macro.Generic.j.13cde608), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Downloader.MSOffice.SLoad.gen), Microsoft (TrojanDownloader:O97M/ZLoader.VH!MSR), 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 Zloader
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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"BRT Email Virus", "DHL Failed Delivery Notification", "Bill Of Lading" and "Order Confirmation" are some examples of other malware-spreading spam campaigns. Emails distributed through these operations are usually presented as "official", "urgent", "priority", "important" and similar. However, scam letters are not used exclusively to proliferate malicious programs; they are also employed for phishing and other scams. Due to the relative prevalence of spam mail, it is advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How did "Advance Payment Received" email infect my computer?

Spam campaigns infect systems via virulent files sent through them. The files can be attached to the deceptive emails and/or the letters contain download links of such content. Infectious files can be in various formats (e.g. Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives, executables, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are opened - malware download/installation is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. In Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010 - macros are executed the moment a document is opened. In later versions, automatic execution is prevented by "Protected View" mode; instead, users are asked to enable macro commands (i.e. to enable editing/content). Hence, malware download/installation can only be jumpstarted after macros are enabled manually.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid malware spread through spam mail, it is expressly advised against opening dubious/irrelevant emails - especially, any attachments or links present in them. In addition, it is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Aside from spam campaigns, malicious programs are also distributed via untrustworthy download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal activation ("cracking") tools and fake updates. Therefore, it is important to always download from official/verified sources, as well as activate and update programs with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To ensure device integrity and user privacy, it is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. This software is to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected and potential threats. If you've already opened "Advance Payment Received email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Advance Payment Received" scam email letter:

Subject: Advance Payment Received and Pre-processed


Good afternoon!
We have received and checked the deposit payment you sent.
Soon your odered items will be scheduled for delivery.
Please Await the delivery info.
Thanks for the interest!


Cox Enterprises Inc
6205-A Peachtree Dunwoody Rd,
Atlanta, Georgia, 30328,
United States
Toll free: +1 (678) 645-1897x738

Malicious attachment distributed via "Advance Payment Received" spam campaign ("dep_det_3444608.docm"):

Malicious attachment distributed through Advance Payment Received spam campaign (dep_det_3444608.docm)

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.

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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
Zloader virus QR code
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