Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium


"FIRST INTERNATIONAL BANK OF ISRAEL Email Scam" refers to a spam campaign - a large-scale operation during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. The letters distributed through this campaign are disguised as letters from the First International Bank of Israel.

It must be emphasized that these scam emails are in no way associated with the real Israel-based bank, nor is any information provided by them true. The spam letters invite recipients to participate in an unspecified project, which would involve them getting cut of an exorbitant sum of money.


The "FIRST INTERNATIONAL BANK OF ISRAEL" scam emails (subject/title "Re: message Project -200655"; may vary) apologize for the invasion of the recipient's privacy. The sender claims to be the "Chief Internal Auditor Banking Division with FIRST INTERNATIONAL BANK OF ISRAEL".

The letters state that there is a project worth over thirteen million USD, and invites recipients to participate in it and receive a share of the sum. For more information, the fake emails request recipients to respond to the letter. Typically, spam mail of this type operates as phishing scams. In other words, they target sensitive data, most commonly - personally identifiable and financial information.

To elaborate, users may be requested to provide their full names, addresses, emails, telephone numbers, banking account details, credit card numbers, and so forth. The gathered data can be monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals). Financial information (especially online bank log-in credentials - usernames/passwords) can be used by cyber criminals to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

Often, victims of these scams are requested to pay bogus fees (e.g., make payments for fake transactions). This can be employed as a means to directly generate revenue and/or as an alternative method of gathering financial data.

The latter can be achieved by requesting victims to use dubious payment gateways, which operate as phishing scams - by recording information entered into them. To summarize, by trusting the "FIRST INTERNATIONAL BANK OF ISRAEL" scam letters, users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails invite recipients to participate in a project worth 13 million USD
Disguise Scam emails are disguised as letters from the First International Bank of Israel
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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"Undelivered Mails", "BANCO BPM", "E-mail Blacklist", "New App(s) Have Access To Your Microsoft Account", and "I am a professional programmer who specializes in hacking" are some examples of scam emails. The letters sent through these mass-scale operations - are usually presented as "official", "urgent", "priority", and similar.

However, spam emails are not used just for phishing and other scams; they are also employed to proliferate malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, etc.). Due to how widespread spam mail is, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Systems are infected via virulent files distributed through spam campaigns. The scam emails can contain download links of such files, or they are simply attached to the letters.

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

For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. This process begins the moment a document is opened in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010.

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

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the device via spam mail, suspicious and irrelevant emails must not be opened - especially any attachments or links present in them. Aside from spam campaigns, malware is also spread through untrustworthy download channels (e.g., Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, unofficial and free file-hosting websites, etc.), illegal activation tools ("cracks"), and fake updates.

Therefore, all downloads must be performed from official and verified sources. Furthermore, software must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers.

It is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed and kept updated. These programs have to be used to run regular system scans and remove detected/potential threats.

If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "FIRST INTERNATIONAL BANK OF ISRAEL" scam email letter:

Subject: Re: message Project -200655


I am sorry to have invaded your privacy like this. I am Ms. Ramona Caswell; I am the Chief Internal Auditor Banking Division with FIRST INTERNATIONAL BANK OF ISRAEL LTD (FIBI), Tel Aviv branch, Israel. I have a project of $13,609,000.00USD that I would love to introduce and share with you. Kindly respond back to me and I will explain more to you.


Ms. Ramona Caswell
Chief Internal Auditor
Banking Division

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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.

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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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