How to avoid installation of FormBook via email sent by cybercriminals?

Also Known As: FormBook malware
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Medium

What is Vecchia Brianza Chocolab email virus?

Malspam is used to trick recipients into downloading and opening a malicious file designed to infect a computer with malicious software. Their emails contain a malicious attachment or download link for a malicious file.

In most cases, cybercriminals pretend to be legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities and disguise their emails as urgent letters regarding some invoice, shipment delivery, purchase order, etc.

This email is disguised as a letter from the company called Vecchia Brianza Chocolab. Cybercriminals use it as a channel to deliver FormBook malware.

Vecchia Brianza Chocolab email virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

Chocolab Vecchia Brianza is the name of a chocolate factory based in Italy. Cybercriminals use its name to trick recipients into opening a malicious attachment. They claim that the file attached to this email is an invoice and it needs to be reviewed and paid immediately.

As mentioned in the introduction paragraph, cybercriminals behind this email seek to trick recipients into opening a file designed install Formbook. This malicious software can log keystrokes (record keyboard input/pressed keys), take screenshots, collect clipboard data.

Also, it can gather saved login credentials (usernames, email addresses, passwords), and other sensitive information. As a rule, cybercriminals use such features to steal personal accounts (e.g., social media, email, banking accounts) and use them to deliver malware, steal identities, make fraudulent transactions, purchases, send spam, spread various scams, and so on.

Additionally, they could sell stolen accounts (or the whole data) to third parties (other cybercriminals) on the darknet. In conclusion, the file attached to this email can lead to problems like monetary loss, stolen accounts, identity theft, and other issues related to finances, online privacy, browsing safety. Therefore, this email has to be ignored (the file attached to it should not be opened).

Threat Summary:
Name FormBook malware
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Email has an important invoice attached to it
Attachment(s) ZIP (.zip) file containing malicious executable (.exe) file
Detection Names Avast (FileRepMetagen [Malware]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Jacard.221474), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Injector.EPHK), Kaspersky (HEUR:Backdoor.Win32.Remcos.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:Script/Phonzy.B!ml), 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 FormBook
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)

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To summarize, malspam campaigns are used by cybercriminals as channels to deliver malicious programs.

More examples of malspam campaigns that are or were used to trick recipients into installing one or another malicious software on their computers are "Palladium Email Virus", "Agos Email Virus", and "Spring Marine Management S.A. Email Virus".

What most of them have in common is that they pretend to be letters from well-known or at least legitimate existing companies or other entities.

How did Vecchia Brianza Chocolab email virus infect my computer?

Recipients infect their computers via emails when they open malicious files (attachments or files downloaded via links in emails). In most cases, recipients fall for such emails because cybercriminals disguise them as important, official, urgent letters.

A couple of examples of files that can be used to deliver malware via email are Microsoft Office, PDF documents, ZIP, RAR or other archive files, EXE and other executable files, JavaScript files. It is important to mention that malicious documents opened with Microsoft Office 2010 or later versions ask users for permission to enable macros commands (editing, content).

Those documents cannot install malware without permission to run malicious macros. However, it does not apply to malicious documents opened with older MS Office versions - those versions do not have the "Protected View" mode and install malware without needing additional interference.

This particular email has a ZIP file attached to it. That archive contains a malicious executable (.exe) file. It installs malware if users execute it.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is strongly recommended not to open files (or website links) in irrelevant emails, especially if such emails are received from some unknown, suspicious addresses. It is worthwhile to mention that cybercriminals disguise their emails as important, official.

Software (and files) should be downloaded from official, trustworthy websites and through direct links. Other sources that are mentioned in the previous paragraph can often be used to distribute malware.

Installed programs must be updated and activated properly - it should be done using tools or functions that their official developers provide. Also, it is not legal to activate licensed programs with unofficial tools.

And finally, computers should be regularly scanned for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software, installed security suite should always be up to date. If you've already opened "Vecchia Brianza Chocolab email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Vecchia Brianza Chocolab email virus" email letter:

Subject: Nuovo ordine, molto urgente


Allegato è un nuovo ordine,
inviare fattura proforma per il pagamento,

Responsabile acquisti,
Silvia Meneghini,
Chocolab Vecchia Brianza,
Indirizzo: Via XXV Aprile, 1, 20845 Sovico MB, Italia
Numero di telefono: +390395972879
E-mail: info@chocolabvb.com

Vecchia Brianza CHOCOLAB

Screenshot of different detection engines having detected file deliver via this email as malicious:

vecchia brianza chocolab email virus virustotal detections

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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