Do not open Excel document in Pending Order email

Also Known As: NanoCore virus
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is Pending Order email virus?

It is common that cybercriminals use emails to deliver malware by disguising them as official, important letters and attaching malicious files or including malicious links in them.

Their main purpose is to trick recipients into downloading and opening a malicious file designed to install malware. Cybercriminals behind this email pretend to be a company called CYMAX INTERNATIONAL LTD.. They use it to deliver NanoCore - a remote access trojan (RAT).

Pending Order email virus malware-spreading email spam campaign

This email is disguised as a letter from purchase/pricing specialist regarding a purchase order that can be found attached to it. It encourages to check the attached document Excel document, which is used to deliver NanoCore.

It is known that this remote access trojan is delivered mostly via email. Like most trojans of this type, NanoCore allows cybercriminals to remotely control the infected computers and use it as a tool to install other unwanted software, malware (e.g., ransomware, cryptocurrency miner), steal sensitive information (e.g., login credentials such as usernames, email addresses, passwords, credit card details, social security numbers, etc.).

The functionality of this RAT can be expanded, which means that cybercriminals can add features allowing them to perform more tasks. For example, to download and manage (rename, move, delete, etc.) files, access microphone and webcam, take screenshots, and so on.

It is common that users who unknowingly install a trojan like NanoCore eventually become victims of identity theft, lose access to personal accounts, files, suffer monetary loss, or encounter other problems. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not to open links or files in questionable emails, especially if they are not relevant.

Threat Summary:
Name NanoCore virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax File attached to the email is a purchase order
Attachment(s) Frank 10.xlsx (its name may vary)
Detection Names (Frank 10.xlsx)
Avast (OLE:CVE-2017-11882-B [Expl]), BitDefender (Exploit.CVE-2017-11882.Gen), ESET-NOD32 (Probably A Variant Of Win32/Exploit.CVE-2017-11882.C), Kaspersky (UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic), Microsoft (Exploit:O97M/CVE-2017-11882.IX!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 NanoCore
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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A couple of examples of other malspam campaigns used to deliver malware are "Accounts & Export Depart Email Virus", "OCEANIC PROJECTS Email Virus", and "CARGO ARRIVAL NOTICE Email Virus". What most of them have in common is that they contain a malicious file or link and look like official letters from legitimate companies.

Quite often, cybercriminals use real logos, addresses, names, etc., to give their emails legitimacy. NanoCore is not the only malware that cybercriminals distribute via emails. More examples are Agent Tesla, FormBook, and Qakbot.

How did Pending Order email virus infect my computer?

Typically, emails that cybercriminals use to trick recipients into installing malware on their computers contain malicious links or attachments. In this particular case, email contains a malicious Excel document named "Frank 10.xlsx" (its name may be different in other email variants).

This document does not install malware unless users enable editing (macros commands) in it. An important detail about malicious documents is that users who open them with Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010 install malware on their computers without having to enable macros commands manually.

Newer MS Office versions have the "Protected View" mode that prevents malicious documents from installing malware. More examples of files that cybercriminals can use to trick recipients into installing malware via emails are Microsoft Word documents, PDF documents, ZIP, RAR and other archive files, JavaScript files, executable files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Installed software has to be updated and activated with tools or functions that its official developers have created. Unofficial, third-party tools should never be used - they often are designed to install malware.

Also, it is not legal to use 'cracking' tools to activate licensed software. Files attached to emails (or links in emails) should not be opened if those emails are not relevant and sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. It is very common that emails of this kind are disguised as official, important, letters from legitimate companies, etc., and sent by cybercriminals who seek to deliver malware.

Programs (and files) should be downloaded from official, trustworthy websites. Files downloaded from unofficial pages, via Peer-to-Peer networks, third-party downloaders, etc., can be malicious.

Third-party installers can be malicious too. Additionally, it is recommended to scan computers for viruses and other threats regularly, and do it using a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you've already opened "Pending Order email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the Pending Order email letter:

Subject: Purchase Order SACOM_413128


Good day,

With reference to above subject kindly find the attached Purchase Order SACOM_413128

Please confirm.

Could you please update me the best possible ship date ?

Best regards,

Truong Cong Anh
Purchase / Pricing Specialist

REPRESENTATIVE office in Hanoi: Floor 4, 80 Chua Lang,
dong da District, ha noi CITY. Ha Noi
Tel: (024) 32298404      
Email: purchase01@sacomvalue.com.vn
Tax code: 0311748870

Malicious attachment distributed via Pending Order malspam campaign:

Malicious attachment distributed through Pending Order email 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:
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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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