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Do not trust the "Zoom Conference Invitation" malware-spreading emails

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

What is "Zoom Conference Invitation email virus"?

"Zoom Conference Invitation email virus" refers to a malware-proliferating spam campaign. The term "spam campaign" defines a large-scale operation during which deceptive/scam emails are sent by the thousand.

The letters distributed through this campaign are presented as invitations to join a conference on Zoom - videotelephony and online chat service platform. The aim of this spam mail is to trick recipients into opening an attachment that initiates TrickBot malware's download/installation.

Zoom Conference Invitation malware-spreading email spam campaign

"Zoom Conference Invitation" email in detail

There are several variants of the "Zoom Conference Invitation" scam emails. The researched versions had these subjects - "Zoom Invite 116378" and "Zoom Invite 4579881", yet there can be more variations. These letters greet recipients and request them to view the attachment. When these files are opened - the infection process is triggered.

TrickBot malware functionalities

There are many versions of TrickBot, and they possess different features. TrickBot's base functionalities are related to data theft. It is capable of extracting system/user information, stored files, databases from Windows Active Directory (AD), browsing-related data, log-in credentials (i.e., usernames and passwords), and so on.

Another functionality of this malicious program is modifying websites displayed on infected browsers. How this feature is used depends on the cyber criminals' goals. For example, it can be employed to gather log-in credentials or financial information (e.g., banking account details, credit card numbers, etc.).

Furthermore, this malicious software may be able to cause chain infections (i.e., download/install additional malware). In other words, it may install trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, or other malicious programs. Some variants of TrickBot can operate as screenlockers, i.e., lock the device's screen to demand payment for access recovery.

To summarize, by trusting the "Zoom Conference Invitation" scam emails, users can experience multiple system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. If it is suspected/known that TrickBot has already infected the device - an anti-virus must be used to remove it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name TrickBot virus
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails invite recipients to join a Zoom conference.
Attachment(s) Zoom_Conference_Invitation_1625.zip; Zoom_Conference_Invitation_4152.zip (filenames may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Script:SNH-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.46621081), DrWeb (Trojan.KillProc2.16312), ESET-NOD32 (PowerShell/TrojanDownloader.Agent.DV), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Downloader.Script.Agent.gen), 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 TrickBot
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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Spam campaigns in general

"Kaseya Email Virus", "ATLAS AL SHARQ TRADING Email Virus", "COSCO Shipping Email Virus", and "Olmetex Email Virus" are some examples of malware-spreading deceptive emails. Spam campaigns are not used just to distribute malicious software, they are also employed to facilitate phishing and other scams.

Spam emails are typically presented as "official", "urgent", "priority", "important", and similar. They may even be disguised as messages from legitimate companies, service providers, authorities, organizations, and other entities. Due to how widespread spam mail is, it is highly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How did "Zoom Conference Invitation email virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected via virulent files distributed through spam campaigns. These files can be attached to the emails, and/or the letters can contain download links of such content. Infectious files can be in various formats, e.g., archives, executables, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc.

When virulent files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection chain (i.e., malware download/installation) is jumpstarted. 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.

Later 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 potential risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Dubious/irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially any attachments or links found in them. However, malware is not distributed exclusively through spam mail; it is also proliferated via untrustworthy download channels (e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal activation tools ("cracks"), and fake updates.

Therefore, it is recommended to only download from official and verified sources. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers.

To protect device and user safety, it is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. This software has to be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats. If you've already opened "Zoom Conference Invitation email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Zoom Conference Invitation" scam email letter:

Subject: Zoom Invite 116378

 

Good Evening
Please find attached invitation.

Screenshot of another variant of the "Zoom Conference Invitation" scam email:

Zoom Conference Invitation scam email alternative variant

Text presented in this email:

Subject: Zoom Invite 4579881

 

Dear Valued Consumer,
Please find attached invitation.

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "Zoom Conference Invitation" spam campaign:

Zoom Conference Invitation email virus attachment detections on VirusTotal

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.

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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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