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Avoid infecting your system via "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE" scam emails

Also Known As: Formbook virus
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

"CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE email virus" removal guide

What is the "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE" scam email?

"CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE email virus" refers to a malware-spreading spam campaign. The term "spam campaign" describes a mass-scale operation during which thousands of scam emails are sent. Much as the name implies, the "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE" letters are presented as messages informing recipients of a shipment's arrival. The fake notice attached to the emails is designed to initiate the infection process of FormBook malware - upon its opening. This malicious program's primary functionalities are data extraction and download/installation of additional malware.

CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE malware-spreading email spam campaign

The scam emails with the subject/title "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE-MEDICOM AWB:098-88679080" (may vary) request recipients to review the cargo arrival notice attached to them. Additionally, they are asked to collect the DO (Delivery Order) from the office of the "RHS Freight Service Division" (disguise used by the scammers). It must be emphasized that the information provided by these deceptive letters is false, and when their attachment is opened - FormBook malicious program's download/installation is jumpstarted.

Formbook has a variety of heinous abilities and features. To elaborate on its information-stealing capabilities, it can extract data from the infected system, installed browsers and other applications. Targeted information includes (but is not limited to): browsing and search engine histories, Internet cookies, stored log-in credentials (i.e., IDs, email addresses, usernames, passwords), personally identifiable details, and so forth. This piece of malicious software can also take screenshots and record keystrokes (keylogging). Another notable functionality of Formbook is causing chain infections. In other words, it can download/install trojans, ransomware, or cryptocurrency miners. To summarize, by trusting the "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE" scam letters, users can experience multiple system infections, severe privacy issues, data loss, device damage, significant financial losses, and identity theft. If it is known/suspected that FormBook (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to eliminate it without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Formbook virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails claim to contain a cargo arrival notice attached to them.
Attachment(s) CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE-MEDICOM AWB.pdf.z containing CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE-MEDICOM AWB.exe (filenames may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.46332322), ESET-NOD32 (NSIS/Injector.AKU), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Spy.Win32.Noon.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Remcos.VAM!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 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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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"Your Address Is Invalid", "Bank Payment Copy", "Alibaba Email Virus", "NOTICE OF ACCOUNT CLOSURE FOR AUDIT", and "SGBM Email Virus" are some examples of spam campaigns aiming to proliferate malicious software. It is typical of spam mail to be disguised as "official", "urgent", "priority", or otherwise abuse the victim's emotions to trick them into opening attachments, clicking links, disclosing sensitive/personal information, making bogus payments, etc. These large-scale operations are not used exclusively to distribute malware, they are also employed to facilitate phishing and other scams. Spam mail is widely used by scammers and cyber criminals; therefore, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How did "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE email virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected via malicious files distributed through spam campaigns. These files can be attached to the scam emails, or the letters can contain download links of such 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 virulent files are opened - malware download/installation is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. This occurs the moment a document is opened in Microsoft Office versions released prior to 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 risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the device vis spam mail, it is advised not to open suspicious and irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links found in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. However, malware is also spread through untrustworthy download sources (e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal activation ("cracking") tools, and fraudulent updates. Therefore, it is crucial to use only official and verified download channels. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To ensure device and user safety, it is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed and kept updated. This software has to be used to perform regular system scans and remove detected threats and issues. If you've already opened "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE" scam email letter:

Subject: CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE-MEDICOM AWB:098-88679080

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Please find attached cargo arrival notice.

 

Kindle collect DO from our office

 

RHS Freight Service Division

 

RHS Building office No:601-6th floor

 

Mankhool Road Bur Dubai

 

Dubai UAE

 

Thanks & Best Regards

 

Azarudeen

 

Rais Hassan Saadi L.L.C

 

(RHS Freight Services Division)

 

Post Box No - 7, Dubai - UAE.

 

Tel: 00971 4 3273939  

 

Fax: 00971 4 3275353

 

Web: www.rhsfreightservices.com

Appearance of the "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE" scam email (GIF):

CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE email appearance (GIF)

Screenshot of VirusTotal decetions of the malicious attachment distributed via "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE" spam campaign ("CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE-MEDICOM AWB.exe"):

CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE email virus attachment detections (CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE-MEDICOM AWB.exe)

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.

QR Code
Formbook virus 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 Formbook virus on your mobile device.
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