How to avoid falling for emails like the Zoho phishing campaign

Also Known As: Zoho spam
Damage level: Severe

What is Zoho email virus?

Phishing emails attempt to trick recipients into infecting their computers with malware. They usually contain a malicious attachment or website link. Recipients install malware when they download and open the malicious attachment/file.

Most phishing emails claim to be official, important messages from legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities. In any case, it is never safe to open links or files in such emails. This particular malspam email is used to deliver ZLoader.

Zoho email virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

More about the Zoho email virus

In most cases, these emails are disguised as messages regarding an invoice, a request for payment details, a shipment, a coronavirus issue, and so on. Cyber criminals design them to appear as important, official emails from legitimate companies, however, this particular email does not contain any specific information - it contains a website link and states that it was sent by a person named Susan.

The website link in this email downloads a malicious Microsoft Excel named "info-16.xls" (its name may vary), which, if opened and allowed to enable macros (editing/content), installs ZLoader (also known as DELoader and Terdot) malware, a banking Trojan.

ZLoader logs keystrokes (records keyboard input) and steals online banking credentials. The information could be used to steal various personal accounts (such as email, social media, banking) and then use them to make fraudulent purchases and transactions, send phishing emails, steal identities, or sell them to other cyber criminals.

If you open the file downloaded via the website link in this email, you risk becoming a victim of identity theft, losing access to your accounts, suffering monetary loss, having serious problems with browsing safety, online privacy, and so on.

Threat Summary:
Name Zoho spam
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Some document needs to be signed
Attachment(s) Info-16.xls (its name may vary)
Detection Names Arcabit (Trojan.Generic.D2B936EC), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.45692652), ESET-NOD32 (DOC/Kryptik.AZ), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Script.Generic), Microsoft (TrojanDownloader:O97M/ZLoader.AJR!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 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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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Examples of similar campaigns

More examples of malspam campaigns used by cyber criminals to trick recipients into installing malicious software include "Coca Cola Email Virus", "Cobra Industrial Machines Email Virus" and "Advance Payment Received Email Virus".

Examples of malicious programs that cyber criminals proliferate using emails are GuLoader, Ursnif, Emotet, and Agent Tesla.

Today, attackers commonly send malspam emails with COVID-19 headlines or graphics to trick users into opening malicious documents (or clicking links).

How did "Zoho email virus" infect my computer?

The malicious MS Excel document downloaded by the link installs ZLoader only if the file is opened and given permission to enable editing/content (macro commands).

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.

Some examples of other files that can be attached to malspam emails are PDF documents, Microsoft Word documents, JavaScript files, archive files (RAR, ZIP), and executable files (.exe).

How to avoid installation of malware

You are advised to download files and programs from official websites and via direct download links. Other tools and sources such as third party downloaders and installers, unofficial pages, and Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., eMule, torrent clients) should not be used to download or install software.

Check all "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings (or available checkboxes) for offers to download and/or install unwanted apps. Do not click ads on dubious websites, since they can be designed to open bogus web pages or cause unwanted downloads and installations.

Remove any unwanted, suspicious extensions, plug-ins and add-ons installed on the browser, and software of this kind from the operating system.

If you have already opened the "Zoho email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Zoho email virus" email message:

Subject: Zoho Docs - Info-16.xls

Please sign this file

Info-16.xls - ******

Most sincerely,


If you think this is SPAM, please report to abuse@zoho.com.

Zoho Corporation 4141 Hacienda Drive Pleasanton, CA 94588, USA.

Malicious attachment distributed via "Zoho email virus" spam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Zoho malspam campaign

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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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Quick menu:

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

Criminals send identical emails to thousands of recipients, aiming for at least one person to fall victim. These spam emails lack personalization and are mass-distributed as part of fraudulent schemes.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by such email, what should I do?

If you have shared any account credentials, it is essential to change all passwords without delay. Moreover, if you have revealed additional sensitive information like credit card or ID details, it is important to notify the appropriate authorities to minimize any potential risks.

I have downloaded and opened a file presented in this email, is my computer infected?

The file used to deliver malware in this campaign is a malicious MS Excel document that infects computers upon enabling macros commands. Your computer is not infected if you have not enabled macros (enabled editing/content) in the opened document unless you used the MS Office version released before 2010 to open that file.

I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, merely opening an email poses no threat by itself. However, opening files and links within the email can result in system infections.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate nearly all known malware from computers. It is important to know that sophisticated malware often conceals itself deep within the system. Therefore, performing a comprehensive scan is essential to ensure thorough removal.

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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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