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Avoid infecting your system via fake "Adobe Acrobat" emails

Also Known As: Adobe Acrobat spam
Damage level: Severe

What is "Adobe Acrobat email virus"?

"Adobe Acrobat email virus" refers to a malware-spreading spam campaign. The term "spam campaign" defines a mass-scale operation during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. The letters distributed through this campaign - claim to contain a review of the recipient's company.

It must be emphasized that these emails are fake. Therefore, when users attempt to view the fraudulent report, the malware infection process is triggered. The "Adobe Acrobat" scam letters aim to infect recipients' devices with the TrickBot trojan.

Adobe Acrobat malware-spreading email spam campaign

"Adobe Acrobat" scam email in detail

The fake "Adobe Acrobat" emails (subject/title "Feedback TIU65944"; may vary) ask recipients to review the attached report. This document supposedly contains feedback concerning the recipients' companies. When users click the image representing a button ("View Report"), it downloads a malicious PDF document. When the file is opened - TrickBot's download/installation is jumpstarted.

TrickBot malware functionalities

TrickBot is a sophisticated piece of malicious software. There are multiple variants of this trojan with different/additional functionalities. In general, this malware has data-stealing abilities, it can also operate as ransomware, and even cause chain infections.

To elaborate on these features, TrickBot can extract data from the system, browsers, and other installed apps (e.g., VPNs, mobile service provider products, email and FTP clients). Targeted information includes: browsing activity, log-in credentials (i.e., IDs, email addresses, usernames, and passwords) of various accounts and platforms, personally identifiable details, finance-related data (e.g., banking account details, credit card numbers, etc.), and so forth.

Certain versions of TrickBot can work as screen-locking ransomware, i.e., it can lock the device's screen and demand payment for access recovery. Furthermore, this trojan is capable of downloading/installing additional malware (e.g., ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, etc.).

In summary, by trusting the "Adobe Acrobat" scam emails, users can experience multiple system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. If it is suspected or known that TrickBot (or other malware) has already infected the device - an anti-virus must be used to eliminate it immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Adobe Acrobat spam
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails claim to contain feedback regarding the recipients' companies.
Detection Names Avast (FileRepMalware), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Variant.Zusy.398038), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/GenKryptik.FJDI), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Banker.Win32.Trickster.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/TrickBotCrypt.EM!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 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

"UAT Feedback", "The Best Price List", and "TOA Vietnam Co. Email Virus" are a few examples of malware-proliferating spam campaigns. The deceptive emails are typically presented as "urgent", "priority", and similar; they can even be disguised as letters from genuine organizations, authorities, companies, and other entities.

Aside from malicious software distribution, spam emails are also used to facilitate phishing and various other scams. Scammers and cyber criminals widely use spam mail. Therefore, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails and messages.

How did "Adobe Acrobat email virus" infect my computer?

Spam campaigns spread malware via infectious files distributed through them. These files are attached to the emails, or they contain download links of such content. Virulent files can be in various formats, e.g., PDF and Microsoft Office documents, archives, executables, JavaScript, etc. When the files are opened - the infection chain is initiated.

It is noteworthy that 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. Later versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros. Instead, users can manually enable editing/content (i.e., macro commands).

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the system via spam mail, it is expressly advised against opening suspicious and irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links found in them. Additionally, it is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

Malware is also spread through dubious download channels (e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal activation tools ("cracks"), and fake updates. Therefore, it is important to download only from official/verified sources. Software must always be activated/updated with tools provided by genuine developers.

It is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed and kept up-to-date. These programs must be used to run regular system scans and to remove threats. If you've already opened "Adobe Acrobat email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Adobe Acrobat" scam email letter:

Subject: Feedback TIU65944

 

Adobe Acrobat
Adobe

 

Please review attached report..
Feedback regarding your company


View Report

 

August 17 2021

 

Manage Your Account | Customer Support | Forums | Terms of Use | Report Abuse

 

Adobe, the Adobe logo, the Adobe PDF logo, and Acrobat are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

 

Adobe, 345 Park Ave., San Jose, CA 95110 USA

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "Adobe Acrobat" spam campaign:

Adobe Acrobat email virus attachment detections

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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.

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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