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Do not click the link in Zoho phishing emails

Also Known As: ZLoader malware
Type: Trojan
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

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 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 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,

Susan

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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Quick menu:

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.

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ZLoader malware QR code
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