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Do not open malware-spreading fake Coca Cola RFP emails

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

"Coca Cola" email virus removal guide

What is the "Coca Cola" scam email?

"Coca Cola email virus" refers to a spam campaign proliferating the GuLoader malware. The term "spam campaign" define a mass-scale operation during which thousands of scam emails are sent. The letters distributed through this campaign are disguised as RFPs (Request for proposal) from Coca Cola. It must be emphasized that these emails are in no way associated with The Coca-Cola Company. The scam letters have infectious files attached to them, which contain GuLoader malware. This malicious program is designed to infect systems with additional malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.).

Coca Cola malware-spreading email spam campaign

The "Coca Cola email virus" scam letters are presented as non-binding RFPs. Request for proposal (RFP) is a document requesting submission of a proposition concerning procurement of product, commodity, service, or other assets - issued to potential suppliers by an interested entity. The deceptive emails stress that the RFP is not to be taken as binding. The letters are supposedly geared towards gathering information about services/supplies available within estimated price ranges. Recipients are given deadlines to review and submit their offers. However, the attachments do not contain the information that is stated in the scam emails. Instead, opening the files triggers the download/installation of GuLoader.

As mentioned in the introduction, GuLoader can infect devices with a wide variety of malware. It has been observed infecting systems with various RATs (Remote Access Trojans) and stealer-type malware. RATs operate by stealthily enabling remote access and control over the infected machine. These trojans can have especially varied abilities; they may have control over the device's hardware, software, content stored and accessed through the infected computer. Common functionalities of RATs include (but are not limited to): extracting system/user information, downloading stored content (e.g., files), taking screenshots, recording/streaming video and audio via webcams and microphones, infiltrating/executing malicious files (i.e., causing chain infections), recording keystrokes (keylogging), and so on.

The primary purpose of stealer malicious programs is obtaining confidential/private data from browsers and other applications. Data of interest include: browsing/ search engine histories, Internet cookies, personally identifiable information (e.g., names, surnames, addresses, etc.), account log-in credentials (e.g., IDs, usernames, and passwords). However, it is possible that GuLoader can download/install other types of malware. Ransomware operates by encrypting data and/or locking the device's screen - in order to demand payment for decryption/ access recovery. Cryptominers use system resources (possibly to the point of causing permanent damage) to mine cryptocurrency. To summarize, by trusting the "Coca Cola email virus" scam letters, users can experience system infections, data/device damage, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. If it is suspected that GuLoader (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name GuLoader virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails are presented as RFPs (Request for proposal) from Coca Cola
Attachment(s) EXTERNAL RFP - PAN India Epoxy PU - 2021.exe
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.36292976), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Injector.EOKN), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win64.Agent.qwhwav), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Casdet!rfn), 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 GuLoader
Rogue Process Name StatusClear (process name may vary)
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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"Enel Email Virus", "METZA Email Virus", "Cobra Industrial Machines", and "Payment Schedule" are some examples of other malware-spreading spam campaigns. The scam emails are usually disguised as "official", "important", "urgent", "priority", and similar. These letters are not used exclusively to proliferate malicious software. They are also employed to facilitate phishing and various other scams. Due to spam mail's relative prevalence, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How did "Coca Cola email virus" infect my computer?

Spam campaigns infect systems via virulent files distributed through them. The emails have infectious files attached to them and/or contain download links of such files. These files can be in a variety of formats, e.g., executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so forth. When malicious files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - malware download/installation is jumpstarted. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. In Microsoft Office versions released before 2010 - macros are executed the moment a document is opened. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macro commands. Instead, users are asked to enable macros (i.e., enable editing/content) and are informed of the potential risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened - especially any attachments or links found in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Aside from spam campaigns, malware is spread 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 updaters. Therefore, it is important to only use official/verified download sources and active/update software with tools provided by legitimate developers. It is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. This software is to be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats. If you've already opened "Coca Cola email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Coca Cola email virus" letter:

Subject: RE: EXTERNAL RFP - PAN India Epoxy / PU - 2021

 

Dear -

 

It is our pleasure to invite you to participate in our RFP process for this Service .RFP documents are enclosed for your reference.

 

This RFP is being sought strictly for the purpose of gaining  information of services and supplies available with an estimate of their corresponding costs and should not be construed as intent, commitment, or promise to acquire services, supplies, or solution offered.

 

Post this RFP we will have detailed presentation with shortlisted service providers through Video Conference.

 

Request you go  through the attached details & embedded file for necessary inputs/Offer.

 

We welcome you to accept our invitation & respond submissively to this RFP by or before 5PM on 10th Febuary 2021.

 

RFP Release Date 03.02.2021

 

Question/Enquiry Submission Deadline 04.04.2021

 

Proposal Submission Deadline 10.02.2021  by 5 PM

 

Performance Period

 

One Year from the date of Contract
 
Best Regards

 

Amit Saini

 

Procurement – Business Shared Service

 

cid:image001.png@01D563D6.68E050A0

 

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited

 

Brigade Magnum | B-Wing | 7th , 8th & 9th Floor

 

Bellary Road | Kodigehalli Gate | Amruthahalli | Bangalore – 560092.

 

(080 39607200 | ) Extn: 7209 | (+91 7389939651

 

* asaini@coca-cola.in | Web- www.hccb.in

 

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE This message is intended for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is confidential, privileged and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any printing, copying, dissemination, distribution, disclosure or forwarding of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please contact the sender immediately and delete it from your system. Thank You.

Appearance of the "Coca Cola" scam email (GIF):

Coca Cola spam email appearance (GIF)

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "Coca Cola email virus" spam campaign ("EXTERNAL RFP - PAN India Epoxy PU - 2021.exe"):

Detections of the malicious attachment spread via Coca Cola email spam campaign

Screenshot of the malicious executable's process on Windows Task Manager ("StatusClear"):

Process of the malicious executable distributed via Coca Cola email spam campaign

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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
GuLoader virus 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 GuLoader virus on your mobile device.
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