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Avoid infecting your system through fake "Palladium" emails

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

"Palladium email virus" removal guide

What is the "Palladium" scam email?

"Palladium email virus" is the name of a spam campaign designed to proliferate malicious software. The term "spam campaign" is used to define a mass-scale operation during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. The scam letters distributed through this campaign - are disguised as product inquires, supposedly from the "Palladium Group Co., Ltd". These emails have infectious files attached to them, which upon opening - initiate malware download/installation processes.

Palladium malware-spreading email spam campaign

The "Palladium" scam emails (subject/title "Palladium Group Co., Ltd - NEW INQUIRY"; may vary) request recipients to provide their product quotes in accordance with the listed specifications. The fake letters ask recipients to indicate their products' FOB (Free on Board) price per piece, minimum order quantity, availability, shipping information, and make a competitive and comprehensive offer. The "Palladium" emails state that recipients can also send their updated product catalog. The letters claim to contain the senders' product range, quality, and specifications in an attachment. Recipients are asked to review the attached file. Once this attachment is opened - it triggers the infection process. In other words, upon opening, the file begins downloading/installing malware.

Spam campaigns are employed to spread all manner of malicious programs. Malware can have a broad range of heinous abilities, which can be in different combinations. Trojan is an especially broad malware type. These malicious programs can have the following functionalities: downloading/installing additional malware, spying (i.e., recording key strokes, video/audio through integrated or connected cameras and microphones, etc.), exfiltrating content stored on infected systems, enabling remote access and control over the compromised devices (RATs - Remote Access Trojans), exfiltrating information from browsers and other installed applications (e.g., browsing activity, email addresses, usernames, passwords, credit card details, etc.), and so forth. Ransomware is designed to encrypt data and/or lock the device's screen - to demand payment for the decryption/ access recovery. Cryptominer malicious programs use system resources (potentially, to the point of system failure/ permanent hardware damage) - to mine cryptocurrency. To summarize, by trusting the "Palladium" scam emails, users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. If it is suspected/known that the system has already been infected with malware - an anti-virus must be used to remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Palladium malspam campaign
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails are presented as product inquiries.
Attachment(s) PRODUCTS LIST AND SPECIFICATIONS.exe (filename may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.46243292), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/PSW.Agent.OJQ), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSIL.Injuke.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.ARR!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.
Rogue Process Name Shop Manager (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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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"Walmart Email Virus", "Spring Marine Management S.A.", "SALAMA Email Virus", "Employee Retention Credit", and "Empros Lines Email Virus" are some examples of malware-spreading spam campaigns. Deceptive emails are not used exclusively to proliferate malicious programs. These letters are also used to facilitate phishing and other scams. The emails are typically disguised as "important", "urgent", "priority", and/or as mail from legitimate companies, corporations, organizations, institutions, authorities, and other entities. To avoid infecting the system via spam mail or getting scammed by it - caution must be exercised with incoming emails.

How did "Palladium email virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected via virulent files distributed through spam campaigns. The files can be attached to the emails, and/or the letters can contain download links of malicious content. Infectious files can be in various formats, e.g., archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, and so on. When the files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection process (i.e., malware download/installation) is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. This process begins the moment a document is opened - in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents automatic execution of macros. Instead, users can manually enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), and they are warned of the potential risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and irrelevant emails must not be opened - especially any attachments or links present in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Aside from spam campaigns, malware is also proliferated through untrustworthy download channels (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updates. Therefore, it is important to download only from official and verified sources. Additionally, all programs have to be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. To ensure device and user safety, it is crucial to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and updated. This software has to be used to perform regular system scans and remove detected threats and issues. If you've already opened "Palladium email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Palladium" scam email letter:

Subject: Palladium Group Co., Ltd - NEW INQUIRY

 

Dear Supplier,

 

My name is Katy Topping, our company Palladium Group Co., Ltd is interested in your product.

 

Please, kindly provide: FOB price per piece, Minimum order quantity.

 

Attached is our range of products, quality and specifications for your checking.

 

I would appreciate your early reply in advance, so that I can send it to my boss for approval.

 

You can also send your updated catalog too.

 

Kindly supply detailed information about it's availability, your best Competitive and Comprehensive offer.

 

Please, can you arrange shipments asap? Or how long will it take you to arrange shipments pls confirm at once.


Thanks and Best Regards


Katy Topping
Business Development manager

 

Palladium Group of company
19th Floor Ratu Plaza Office Tower,
Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Kav 9 Jakarta Pusat 10270
Indonesia
T +62 21 720 6616

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "Palladium" spam campaign ("PRODUCTS LIST AND SPECIFICATIONS.exe"):

 Palladium email virus attachment detections (PRODUCTS LIST AND SPECIFICATIONS.exe)

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

Palladium email virus process on Task Manager (Shop Manager - process name)

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.

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