How to avoid installation of malware via Agos phishing email?

Also Known As: Agos malspam campaign
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Agos email virus removal guide

What is Agos email virus?

It is common that cybercriminals attempt to trick users into installing malware via attachments or website links in emails. Usually, they pretend to be legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities and state that a file attached to their email is some important document (e.g., invoice, purchase order). Their main purpose is to trick recipients into downloading and opening a malicious file designed to install malicious software. This email is disguised as a letter from Agos (a legitimate company) and used to distribute malware too. It is unknown which type of malware the attached file is designed to install. Although, most cybercriminals use email to deliver ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, or remote administration trojans (RATs).

Agos email virus malware-spreading email

This email is written in the Italian language, therefore, it seems that cybercriminals behind it target residents of Italy. It is disguised as a letter from Agos customer service. Agos is an Italian financial company operating in the consumer credit sector. Cybercriminals behind this email attempt to trick recipients into believing that the file attached to this email contains a financial summary and details regarding installment payments. The file attached to this email is a Microsoft Excel file designed to install malware. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, it is likely that cybercriminals behind this malspam campaign seek to trick recipients into installing ransomware, cryptocurrency miner, remote administration trojan or other malicious software.

Cybercriminals distribute ransomware with the purpose to force victims to pay for a decryption software, key. Malware of this type encrypts files so that victims could not access, use them unless encrypted files are decrypted with the right tool that only the attackers have. Cryptocurrency miners use GPU, CPU, or other hardware to mine Bitcoin, Ethereum, or another cryptocurrency. Cybercriminals try to trick users into installing those miners so they could generate revenue at their expense (without having to use their own hardware). Remote administration trojans allow cybercriminals to control infected computers remotely. Most RATs can be used to install other malware, manage files, access camera, microphone, log keystrokes (keyboard input), capture screenshots, run commands via Command Prompt, PowerShell, and perform other tasks.

Threat Summary:
Name Agos malspam campaign
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax File attached to email contains financial summary, details about installment payments
Attachment(s) dettag_2684.xlsb (its name may vary)
Detection Names (dettag_2684.xlsb) Alibaba (TrojanDownloader:VBA/MalDoc.ali1000101), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.45999135), ESET-NOD32 (DOC/Kryptik.Q), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Downloader.MSOffice.SLoad.gen), Microsoft (TrojanDownloader:O97M/EncDoc.FOY!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.
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.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available.

In conclusion, malware delivered via email can be used to blackmail victims, steal their identities, money, personal accounts, install more malware on their computers, and so on. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not to open files or links in emails like this one. More examples of malspam campaigns are "Walmart Email Virus", "Spring Marine Management S.A. Email Virus", and "SALAMA Email Virus". What most of these emails have in common is that they are disguised as important, urgent, and (or) official letters from legitimate companies or other entities.

How did malware infect my computer?

As previously mentioned, this email contains a malicious Microsoft Excel document. As a rule, malicious documents install malware when users open them and enable macros commands (editing/content). However, when such documents are opened with Microsoft Office versions released prior to the MS Office 2010, they infect computers right after they are opened. Older MS Office versions do not have the "Protected View" mode that prevents malicious documents from automatically installing malware. More examples of files that cybercriminals can use to deliver malicious software via email are Microsoft Word documents, PDF documents, EXE and other executable files, ZIP, RAR and other archive files, JavaScript files. As a rule, malware gets installed after execution of a malicious file.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Programs, files have to downloaded from legitimate, official web pages and via direct links. It is common that cybercriminals use other sources (e.g., Peer-to-Peer networks, unofficial websites, third-party downloaders, unofficial sites) to trick users into downloading and installing malware. The operating system and installed programs must be updated with implemented functions or tools that their official developers have designed/provide. Various unofficial activation ('cracking') tools and updaters tend to be designed to install malicious software. Another reason not to try to activate licensed programs with various third-party tools is that it is not legal. Attachments and website links in irrelevant emails received from suspicious, unknown addresses can be malicious files It is common that cybercriminals use such emails as channels to spread their malware. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to analyze emails before opening files or links in them. It is important to remember that most cybercriminals behind such emails pretend to be legitimate companies. Additionally, it is advisable to scan the operating system for threats regularly and to it with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you've already opened "Agos email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the Agos email:

Subject: Conferma protocollazione documento - 35558521

Servizio clienti Agos: Ravvedimento rata a 90 giorni
Entro il 01/05/2021 è possibile provvedere alla normalizzazione dell’omissione o dell’insufficienza del saldo della prima rata o della rata unica del prestito personale da lei richiesto non versata entro il 01/02/2021,
avvalendosi del ravvedimento operoso “a 90 giorni”, usufruendo della riduzione della sanzione ad 1/9 (1,67%).(art. 13 , comma 2, lettera a-bis, D.Lgs 471/1997).
Le ricordiamo che nel file allegato alla presente email potrà trovare il compendio relativo al suo finanziamento e la procedura necessaria per saldare la rata.
L'ufficio è a vostra disposizione per qualsiasi informazione o chiarimento.
Password: allegato21
Il responsabile del servizio clienti
Laura Zaccagnin

Malicious attachment distributed via Agos malspam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Agos 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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available.

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.

Click to post a comment

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Agos malspam campaign 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 Agos malspam campaign on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Windows malware infections today:

Download Combo Cleaner

Platform: Windows

Editors' Rating for Combo Cleaner:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available.