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Avoid infecting your system with malware via "Taxve Inc." scam emails

Also Known As: Dridex malware
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is "Taxve Inc. email virus"?

"Taxve Inc. email virus" refers to a malware-spreading spam campaign. This term describes a mass-scale operation during which thousands of scam emails are sent. The letters distributed through this campaign are presented as messages concerning an invoice that needs to be paid. It must be emphasized that these "Taxve Inc." emails are fake. The aim of this spam campaign is to infect recipients' devices with Dridex malware.

Taxve Inc. malware-spreading email spam campaign

"Taxve Inc." email in detail

The "Taxve Inc." scam emails (subject/title "Acct No. 70815844537: Your Invoice From Taxve is Ready 2021.25.08"; may vary) claim to have an invoice attached to them. The letters then list the following details - account and PO (Purchase Order) numbers and the amount that needs to be paid.

These emails then go on to recommend a way to save time and effort by simplifying importing invoice data into the recipients' accounting systems. Additionally, there is a note concerning Microsoft Office version compatibility. This ties into the message displayed on the infectious Microsoft Office Excel file that is attached to the "Taxve Inc" letters.

Virulent Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 require users to manually enable macros by clicking "enable editing/content". The attachment instructs users into doing this by claiming that the document cannot be displayed due to program compatibility issues. Hence, by following these instructions, users will inadvertently trigger Dridex malware's download/installation.

Dridex malware functionalities

The Dridex malicious program has many functionalities, such as anti-detection capabilities and malicious code injection. However, its primary purpose is data extraction - notably through the use of keylogging. The term "keylogging" refers to the function of recording keystrokes (i.e., typed information).

Typically, cyber criminals attempt to obtain victims' personally identifiable details, log-in credentials (i.e., IDs, emails addresses, usernames, and passwords) of various accounts and platforms, finance-related information (e.g., banking account and credit card numbers), and so forth.

To elaborate on how this data can be misused - it can be sold to third-parties and/or used to tailor personalized scams. Cyber criminals can also pretend to be the genuine owner of stolen social accounts (e.g., emails, social networking, social media, messengers, etc.) and ask the contacts/friends for loans or donations.

These platforms can be used to proliferate malware as well (by sharing malicious files or links). Finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

In summary, by trusting the "Taxve Inc" scam emails, users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. If it is suspected or known that Dridex (or other malware) has already infected the system - an anti-virus must be used to remove it without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Dridex malware
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails are disguised as invoice-related notifications.
Attachment(s) taxve_7464344_20210816_468308_958117.xlsm (filename may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Other:Malware-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKD.46810971), ESET-NOD32 (DOC/TrojanDropper.Agent.VM), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Script.Generic), Microsoft (Trojan:O97M/EncDoc.RKC!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 Dridex
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

"Adobe Acrobat Email Virus", "US$51,000.00 Had Been Transferred Into Your Account", and "Inbank Email Virus" are a few examples of malware-proliferating spam campaigns. Spam emails distribute a wide variety of malicious software, e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, and so on.

These letters can be presented as "official", "urgent", "priority", and similar. Aside from spreading malware, deceptive emails are also used for phishing and other scams. Due to the prevalence of spam mail, it is highly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails and messages.

How did "Taxve Inc. email virus" infect my computer?

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

When the files are opened - the infection chain is triggered. Microsoft Office documents specifically cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. This process begins the moment a document is opened in Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010.

Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros. Instead, users can manually enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content). However, certain virulent documents attempt to trick users into enabling macros under false pretenses.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially any attachments or links found in them. Additionally, it is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Older versions are inadvisable because opening malicious documents through them immediately triggers infection processes.

Malware is also spread via 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 advised to download from official/verified sources and use functions provided by legitimate developers to activate/update programs.

It is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus 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 "Taxve Inc. email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Taxve Inc." scam email letter:

Subject: Acct No. 70815844537: Your Invoice From Taxve is Ready 2021.25.08

Taxve Inc.
    

******** -,

 

Attached is your invoice from Taxve Inc.

 

Account Number : 2104306223

 

INVOICE NUMBER
5083035783

 

PO NUMBER
******** -

 

AMOUNT
$395.09

 

Want to save some time and effort? We now can provide your invoice information in an Easy Import file so you can import invoice information directly into your accounting system.

 

Please Note: We use the industry standard Excel format for storing and displaying bills. This makes it very easy to print or save your bill to your PC. If you're unable to view this attachment, please click here to get the latest version of the Microsoft Excel.
    

Sincerely, Clinton Frey
Taxve Inc.

Malicious attachment distributed via "Taxve Inc." spam campaign ("taxve_7464344_20210816_468308_958117.xlsm"):

Malicious attachment distributed through Taxve Inc. spam campaign (taxve_7464344_20210816_468308_958117.xlsm)

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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