Avoid infecting your device through "Payment Schedule" scam emails

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

"Payment Schedule" email virus removal guide

What is "Payment Schedule email virus"?

"Payment Schedule email virus" refers to a malware-spreading spam campaign. The term "spam campaign" defines a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive/scam emails are sent. The letters distributed through this campaign are presented as notifications concerning a payment schedule. The purpose of "Payment Schedule email virus" is to proliferate the LokiBot trojan.

Payment Schedule malware-spreading email spam campaign

The scam emails, title/subject "Payment Schedule", claim to have suggested payment dates attached to them. Recipients are asked to review the attachment. However, instead of containing the aforementioned schedule, the attached document ("USD_ Payment Schedule.xls"; filename may vary) is designed to initiate LokiBot's infection chain. In other words, upon opening (specifically, after malicious macro commands are enabled) - download/installation of the malicious program is triggered.

The LokiBot trojan targets Windows OSs (Operating Systems) and Android OSs. The primary functionality of this malware is stealing a variety of sensitive information. It can extract stored account log-in credentials (IDs, usernames, and passwords) from browsers and other applications. Another feature of LokiBot is keylogging. In other words, it can record key strokes; thereby endangering the privacy of typed information.

LokiBot's capabilities are more extensive on Android OSs. The trojan can imitate the interface of various applications (e.g. Outlook, Skype, WhatsApp, etc.), through which it can obtain users' log-in credentials. This malware can also operate like ransomware - lock the device's screen and demand payment for access restoration. LokiBot can self-proliferate through Android devices by sending virulent spam messages (e.g. SMSes, emails, etc.).

Cyber criminals may use stolen communication accounts (e.g. emails, messengers, social networking/media, etc.) to ask contacts for loans and/or to spread malware (by sharing infectious files) - under the guise of the genuine owner. Accounts that directly or indirectly deal with finances (e.g. banking, online money transferring, digital wallet, e-commerce, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or make online purchases. To summarize, by trusting "Payment Schedule email virus" letters - users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses and even identity theft. If it is suspected/known that the LokiBot trojan (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus program must be used to eliminate it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name LokiBot virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails are presented as payment notifications
Attachment(s) USD_ Payment Schedule.xls
Detection Names BitDefender (VB:Trojan.Valyria.3530), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of VBA/TrojanDownloader.Agent.OCM), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Downloader.Script.Generic), Microsoft (Trojan:Script/Wacatac.B!ml), 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 LokiBot
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.
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"Burofax Online", "Tienes Una Multa Pendiente", "Universal Medical Equipment", and "Advance Payment Received" are some examples of other malware-proliferating spam campaigns. The emails sent through these campaigns are usually presented as "official", "urgent", "important", "priority", and similar. However, deceptive letters are not employed just to spread malicious programs; they are also used for phishing and other scams. Due to spam mail's relative prevalence, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How did "Payment Schedule email virus" infect my computer?

Malware is distributed via infectious files that are spread through spam campaigns. The scam emails can contain download links of these files and/or the files can be simply attached to the letters. Malicious files can be in various formats (e.g. Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archive and executable files, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are opened - the infection process (i.e. malware download/installation) is initiated. 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. The newer versions have "Protected View" mode; hence, users are asked to enable macro commands (i.e. to enable editing/content).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially any attachments or links found in them - as they are sources of potential system infections. Additionally, it is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Aside from spam campaigns, malware is also proliferated through untrustworthy download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third party downloaders), illegal activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updaters. Therefore, it is advised to always download from official/verified sources, as well as activate and update programs with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To ensure device and user safety, it is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed. This software must be kept updated, used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats. If you've already opened "Payment Schedule email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Payment Schedule" scam email letter:

Subject: Payment schedule




Please find attached proposed payment dates for your reference.



Malicious attachment distributed via "Payment Schedule" spam campaign ("USD_ Payment Schedule.xls"):

Malicious attachment (USD_ Payment Schedule.xls) distributed through Payment Schedule spam campaign

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
LokiBot virus QR code
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