Do not open Excel document in Pending Order email

Also Known As: Pending Order spam
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 Pending Order spam
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 IT 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:

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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