What is "INTERLINK email virus"?
"INTERLINK email virus" refers to a malware-distributing spam campaign. These spam emails request recipients to review the attached PO (Purchase Order). However, instead of containing the stated information, the attachment triggers Agent Tesla malware's download/installation - once opened.
"INTERLINK" scam email overview
The fake "INTERLINK" emails ask recipients to review the attached document immediately, since there was a delay due to supposedly undelivered letters from a different email. As mentioned in the introduction, these emails are scams, and when the attachment is opened - a system infection is initiated.
Agent Tesla malware functionalities
Agent Tesla is classified as a RAT (Remote Access Trojan). Malicious software within this classification operates by enabling remote access and control over infected machines. These trojans typically have a broad range of harmful functionalities.
Agent Tesla can perform various commands, yet its primary functionality is stealing data. This trojan can record keystrokes (keylogging) and exfiltrate data from certain browsers, download manners, as well as email, messaging, VPN, and FTP clients. Information of interest includes: personally identifiable details, online account usernames/passwords, finance data (e.g., banking account and credit card numbers), etc.
To summarize, Agent Tesla infections can result in severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. Therefore, it is strongly advised to use an anti-virus to remove the malware without delay.
|Name||Agent Tesla RAT|
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.|
|Hoax||Scam emails request recipients to review the attached PO document.|
|Attachment(s)||SMK_103.zip (filename may vary)|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKD.37505035), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Kryptik.ACQA), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Spy.MSIL.Noon.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.CQH!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.|
|Rogue Process Name||AppInForm (process name may vary)|
|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.
Spam campaigns in general
"Erweka Email Virus", "The Best Price List", "Baldur Email Virus", "Assurance Certificates", "Interhydro Email Virus", "Order Loading Information", "EniGaseLuce Email Virus", and "Taxve Inc. Email Virus" are some examples of malware-spreading spam campaigns.
The deceptive emails are typically disguised as "official", "urgent", "important", and similar. Distributing malicious software is not the sole use of spam letters, they are also used for phishing and other scams. Due to how widespread spam mail is, it is important to exercise caution with incoming emails and messages.
How did "INTERLINK email virus" infect my computer?
For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. This process occurs when a document is opened in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that stops this process; instead, users can manually enable editing/content (i.e., macro commands).
How to avoid installation of malware?
Suspicious and irrelevant emails should not be opened, especially any attachments or links found in them - as they may contain malware. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.
Aside from spam mail, 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 only download from official/verified sources and activate/update programs with tools provided by genuine developers.
It is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated. This software has to be used to run regular system scans and to remove threats. If you've already opened "INTERLINK email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "INTERLINK" scam email letter:
Subject: RE: RFQ SMK#9611-30082020 -
I have been sending messages with my other email with no response from you.
Please kindly confirm asap the attached PO can be quoted accordingly.
Waiting for your clarification.
Partnership to SUCCESS
SIEW WENG ENGINEERING PTE LTD
Tel : (852)2111-3144
Address: Suite 2211-2212A, 22/F.,
Prudential Tower, The Gateway,
Harbour City, No. 21 Canton Road,
Tsim Sha Tsui, China
Appearance of the "INTERLINK" scam email (GIF):
Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "INTERLINK" spam campaign:
Screenshot of the malicious process on Windows Task Manager ("AppInForm" 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:
- What is "INTERLINK email virus"?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of Agent Tesla malware.
- STEP 2. Check if your computer is clean.
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:
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:
Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:
Restart 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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.
In 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.
Check 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".
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why did I receive this email?
Cyber criminals distribute spam emails by the thousand. These letters aim is to trick recipients, they are not personal.
I have read the "INTERLINK" spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, if you have not opened the file attached to the "INTERLINK" spam email - your system was not infected
I have downloaded and opened the file attached to the "INTERLINK" spam email, is my computer infected?
If you have downloaded the archive attachment and opened the file contained within - then, yes, your system is most likely infected. Executable files infect systems the moment they are opened. Document format files (e.g., .pdf, .doc, etc.) may require additional actions to initiate malware download/installation.
My computer is infected with Agent Tesla malware, should I format my storage device to get rid of it?
No, Agent Tesla malware can be removed without formatting.
What are the biggest issues that malware can cause?
The issues caused by malware depend on its functionalities and the cyber criminals' modus operandi. In general, a system infection may result in multiple system infections, system failure, hardware damage, data loss, severe privacy issues, financial losses, identity theft, and other serious problems.
What is the purpose of malware?
Malicious software is usually used to generate revenue. Other possible reasons cyber criminals may have to proliferate malware include: amusement, personal motivations regarding the victim(s), specific process interruption (e.g., website, service, company, etc.), political or geopolitical attacks, etc.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware infections. Note that sophisticated malware tends to hide deep within the system; therefore, performing a full system scan is a must.