Do not click the link in Zoho phishing email

Also Known As: ZLoader malware
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Zoho email virus removal guide

What is Zoho email virus?

Phishing emails like this one aim to get the recipients to infect their computers with malware. They usually contain a malicious attachment or website link. Recipients install malware when they download and open a malicious attachment/file. It is important to mention that most phishing emails pretend to be official, important letters from legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities. Either way, 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

In most cases, such emails are disguised as letters regarding some invoice, request for payment details, shipment, coronavirus, and so on. In one way or another, cybercriminals design them to look like more or less important, official emails from legitimate companies. However, this particular email does not contain any specific information: it has a website link in it and says 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) that, if opened and allowed to enable macros (editing/content), installs the ZLoader (also known as DELoader and Terdot) malware, a banking Trojan. It is known that ZLoader is designed to log keystrokes (record keyboard input) and steal online banking credentials. Gathered information could be used to steal a variety of personal accounts (email, social media, banking) and then use those accounts to make fraudulent purchases, transactions, send phishing emails, steal identities, etc., or sell them to other cybercriminals. Therefore, users who would open the file downloaded via the website link in this email could become victims of identity theft, lose access to their accounts, suffer monetary loss, have serious problems with browsing safety, online privacy, and so on.

Threat Summary:
Name ZLoader malware
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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More examples of malspam campaigns that cybercriminals started with a purpose to trick recipients into installing malicious software on their computers are "Coca Cola Email Virus", "Cobra Industrial Machines Email Virus" and "Advance Payment Received Email Virus". Examples of malicious programs that cybercriminals proliferate using emails are GuLoader, Ursnif, Emotet, Agent Tesla. It is worthwhile to mention that nowadays, it is very common that attackers send malspam emails with COVID-19 headlines or graphics to trick users into opening malicious documents (or clicking on links).

How did "Zoho email virus" infect my computer?

The malicious MS Excel document that the website link in this email is designed to download installs ZLoader only if it is opened and given a permission to enable editing/content (macros commands). However, malicious documents that are opened with MS Office versions that were released prior to 2010 do not need a permission to enable macros commands so they could install malware on computers. Those versions do not have the "Protected View" mode that prevents malicious documents from installing malware after they are opened. A couple of examples of other files that can be attached to malspam emails are PDF documents, Microsoft Word documents, JavaScript files, archive files (like RAR, ZIP), executable files (like .exe).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not trust (open/click) attachments or links in irrelevant emails that are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be trusted. Update and activate installed programs using implemented functions or tools that are provided by its official developers. Do not ever use other (third party, unofficial) tools neither to update or activate any software: those tools can contain malware, and it is not legal to use 'cracking' tools to activate software, or use pirated/hacked software. Furthermore, do not download files, programs from untrustworthy, unofficial websites through third-party downloaders or other sources of this kind. The safest sources are official pages and direct download links. Scan the operating system for threats regularly, use a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite, and always keep it up to date. If you've already opened "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 letter:

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 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.

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
ZLoader malware 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 ZLoader malware on your mobile device.
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