Avoid infecting your device via "OCEANIC PROJECTS" scam email

Also Known As: OCEANIC PROJECTS spam
Damage level: Severe

What is the "OCEANIC PROJECTS" scam email?

"OCEANIC PROJECTS email virus" refers to a malware-proliferating spam campaign. The term "spam campaign" defines a mass-scale operation during which deceptive/scam emails are sent by the thousand.

The letters distributed through this campaign claim that they have a purchase order attached to them. Additionally, the emails request recipients to send an invoice containing the necessary banking information.

It must be emphasized that all of the claims made by the "OCEANIC PROJECTS" scam letters - are false. When the file attached to these emails is opened - it triggers download installation of the Agent Tesla RAT (Remote Access Trojan).

OCEANIC PROJECTS malware-spreading email spam campaign

The "OCEANIC PROJECTS" scam letters (subject/title "Re: 回复:Purchase Order 12052021"; may vary) inform recipients that they have the purchase order attached to them. The emails then ask recipients to send the invoice with their bank account, so that the bank transfer could be made.

As mentioned in the introduction, none of the information provided by these letters is true. The sole aim of the "OCEANIC PROJECTS" emails is to infect recipients' systems with Agent Tesla.

Once the attachment ("Purchase Order_12052021.ace"; filename may vary) is opened - the malware's infection chain is initiated. Agent Tesla is classified as a Remote Access Trojan (RAT).

Malicious programs within this classification are designed to enable stealthy remote access and control over compromised machines. RATs can have a wide variety of heinous functionalities; hence, the threats posed by their infections are especially broad.

The primary functionality of Agent Tesla is stealing sensitive and private information. To elaborate on these features, this trojan has keylogging abilities (key-stroke recording), and it can extract data from various browsers, email clients, messengers, VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), FTPs (File Transfer Protocols), and download managers.

Information of interest includes: browsing activity, Internet cookies, IP addresses/ geolocations, Wi-Fi credentials, system data, account/platform/service log-in credentials (i.e., IDs, email addresses, usernames, passwords), personally identifiable details, and so forth.

To summarize, Agent Tesla infections can result in severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. If it is suspected/known that Agent Tesla RAT (or other malware) has already infected the device - an anti-virus must be used to remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails claim to contain a purchase order attached to them, and request recipients to provide their invoice.
Attachment(s) Purchase Order_12052021.ace (filename may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Win32:MalwareX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.36885350), ESET-NOD32 (MSIL/Spy.Agent.AES), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSIL.Crypt.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/AgentTesla!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 Agent Tesla
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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"WMS Technologies Email Virus", "Seojoong Logistics DMCC Email Virus", "Alibaba Email Virus", and "Vecchia Brianza Chocolab Email Virus" are some examples of malware-spreading spam campaigns. Deceptive emails are usually presented as "official", "urgent", "important", and similar; they may even be disguised as mail from legitimate institutions, organizations, companies, service providers, and other entities.

Aside from malware proliferation, these letters are also used to facilitate phishing and other scams. Therefore, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How did "OCEANIC PROJECTS email virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected via malicious files distributed through spam campaigns. These files can be attached to the emails, and/or the letters contain download links of such infectious content.

Virulent files can be in various formats, e.g., archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so on. When the files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection process (i.e., malware download/installation) is jumpstarted.

For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. When a document is opened in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010 - macros are executed immediately.

Later versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macro commands. Instead, users can manually enable editing/content (i.e., macros), and they are warned of the potential risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the device via spam mail, it is advised against opening suspicious and irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links present in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

Malware is also spread through dubious 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 must be activated and updated using functions/tools provided by genuine developers. It is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and updated.

Furthermore, this software has to be used to run regular system scans and remove detected threats and issues. If you've already opened "OCEANIC PROJECTS email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "OCEANIC PROJECTS" scam email letter:

Subject: Re: 回复:Purchase Order 12052021


Dear Sir/Madam,


Please find attached our stamped and signed Purchase Order 12052021.


Please send me your Proforma invoice with your bank account in order to make the bank transfer.


Thanks and best regards!

Best Regards


Roy Asghar


Business Development Manager




UAN: +92 (21) 111 786 675


Fax: +92-21-34324447


Mob: +92-3000721937


Email: saslam@pseb.org.pk


Website:  www.pseb.org.pk

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "OCEANIC PROJECTS" spam campaign ("Purchase Order_12052021.ace" filename):

OCEANIC PROJECTS email virus attachment detections (Purchase Order_12052021.ace filename)

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

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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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