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Avoid infecting your system with malware via "Air Sea Land" scam email

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

"Air Sea Land email virus" removal guide

What is the "Air Sea Land" scam email?

"Air Sea Land email virus" refers to a malware-proliferating spam campaign. The term "spam campaign" describes a mass-scale operation during which deceptive/scam emails are sent by the thousand. The fake "Air Sea Land" letters supposedly concern order payments. This spam mail aims to spread malicious software. Therefore, when recipients open the files attached to these emails - malware download/installation is initiated.

Air Sea Land malware-spreading email spam campaign

The "Air Sea Land" scam emails inform recipients that their payment will be released after they confirm the attached payment details. However, instead of containing any sort of payment-related information, the attachment initiates the system infection process - upon opening.

Spam campaigns spread a wide variety of malicious programs. It is noteworthy that malware can have a broad range of heinous functions, which can be in different combinations. The abilities of malicious programs classified as trojans can be particularly varied. For example, trojans can cause chain infections (i.e., download/install additional malware), exfiltrate files and extract information from the system, enable remote access/control over devices (RATs - Remote Access Trojans), obtain data from browsers and other installed applications, record key-strokes (keylogging) and/or audio and video via microphones/cameras, and so on. Ransomware encrypts data and/or locks the device's screen - to make ransom demands for the decryption/ access recovery. Cryptocurrency miners are malicious programs that use system resources (potentially to the point of permanent hardware damage) to generate cryptocurrency. To summarize, by trusting the "Air Sea Land" scam letters, users can experience multiple system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. If it is suspected/known that malware has already infected the device - an anti-virus must be used to remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Air Sea Land Email Virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails claim to contain information relating to payments.
Attachment(s) SMK_RFQ.zip containing SMK_RFQ.exe (filenames may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Win32:MalwareX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.37013612), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Kryptik.ABFM), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSIL.Taskun.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/Tnega.BK!MTB), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name Storage Loader (process name may vary)
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.
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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"Contract Agreement Email Virus", "THUAN HIEP THANH Email Virus", "Pending Order Email Virus", and "Order Confirmation Email Virus" are some examples of spam campaigns that are designed to proliferate malicious software. The emails sent through these campaigns are usually presented as "urgent", "important", "priority", and/or disguised as messages from legitimate organizations, institutions, authorities, companies, service providers, or different entities. However, spam campaigns are not used just to spread malware, they are also employed to facilitate phishing and other scams. Due to how prevalent spam mail is, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How did "Air Sea Land email virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected via virulent files distributed through spam campaigns. The files can be attached to the emails, and/or the letters contain download links of infectious content. These files can be in various formats, e.g., Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth. When the files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection chain is jumpstarted. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. This process is initiated the moment a document is opened in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros. Instead, users can manually enable the macro commands (i.e., editing/content), and they are warned of the potential risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the system via spam mail, it is advised against opening suspicious and irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links found in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Aside from spam campaigns, malicious software is also distributed via untrustworthy download channels (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders), illegal activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updates. Therefore, it is important to only download from official and verified sources. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. To ensure device and user safety, it is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and updated. This software has to be used to run regular system scans and remove detected threats. If you've already opened "Air Sea Land email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Air Sea Land" scam email letter:

Subject: RE: RE: Payment SMK2021271 ********

 

Dear ********

 

A warm greetings!

 

Please be advised that your attached payment will be released as soon as you confirm the attched payment details.

 

Ren Hao
Best Regards.

 

Air Sea Land

 

QA Executive
Bade Int'l Vinhos General Ltd.,Co.
No. 2 & 4, Persiaran Perindustrian Pengkalan 15, Taman Perindustrian
Sri Pengkalan, Jalan Lahat 31500 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "Air Sea Land" spam campaign ("SMK_RFQ.exe" filename):

Air Sea Land emai virus attachment detections (SMK_RFQ.exe filename)

Screenshot of the malicious executable's process on Windows Task Manager ("Storage Loader" process name):

Air Sea Land email virus process on Task Manager (Storage Loader - process name)

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.

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