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Avoid infecting your device with malware via "SAM Trading Group" scam emails

Also Known As: Agent Tesla RAT
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is "SAM Trading Group" email virus?

"SAM Trading Group email virus" refers to a malware-spreading spam campaign. The scam emails are presented as payment-related messages.

However, it must be emphasized that all the information provided by these letters is false, and the legitimate entities mentioned in them - are not associated with this scam. The aim of this spam campaign is to infect recipients' systems with the Agent Tesla RAT (Remote Access Trojan).

SAM Trading Group malware-spreading email spam campaign

"SAM Trading Group" email overview

The "SAM Trading Group" scam emails contain a variety payment-related information, e.g., BIC codes (Bank Identifier Code), transaction reference numbers, payment dates and amounts, etc. The letters also include a lengthy confidentiality alert. The emails claim to have the payment bill attached to them. However, upon opening, this file triggers Agent Tesla's download/installation.

Agent Tesla malware functionalities

Agent Tesla is classified as a RAT. Malware of this type is designed to enable remote access and control over infected machines. In addition to these functionalities, this trojan also has keylogging abilities (i.e., it can record keystrokes). Furthermore, Agent Tesla can extract data from various browsers; email, messaging, VPN (Virtual Private Network) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) clients; download managers; and other installed applications.

Information of interest includes (but is not limited to): system/user data, browsing activity, online account log-in credentials, finance-related details (e.g., banking account and credit card numbers, etc.), personally identifiable information, and so on.

To summarize, by trusting the "SAM Trading Group" scam emails, users can experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Agent Tesla RAT
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax Scam emails claim to contain payment-related information.
Attachment(s) SWIFT MT760_PDF (2).IMG (filename may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Win32:MalwareX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKD.37770720), ESET-NOD32 (MSIL/Spy.Agent.AES), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Spy.MSIL.Noon.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.PDS!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 Agent Tesla
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

"ANSR Email Virus", "Order Loading Information", "INTERLINK Email Virus", "Erweka Email Virus", "Coronavirus Track And Trace Result", and "Baldur Email Virus" are some examples of spam campaigns designed to proliferate malware.

In addition to spreading malicious software, deceptive emails are also used for phishing and various other scams. Spam mail is relatively widespread; due to this - it is strongly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails and messages.

How did "SAM Trading Group email virus" infect my computer?

Systems are infected via virulent files distributed through spam campaigns. These files can be attached to the scam emails, or the letters can contain download links of such files. Infectious files can be in various formats, e.g., Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives, executables, JavaScript, etc. When they are opened - the infection chain is initiated.

For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. This process is triggered when a document is opened in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010. Later versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents this automatic process; instead, users can manually enable macros (i.e., editing/content). Note that virulent Microsoft Office documents often try to trick users into allowing macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the system via spam mail, it is advised against opening suspect and irrelevant emails. The sources of potential infections are the attachments and links found in these letters; hence, they must not be opened. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

Aside from spam emails, malware is also spread through dubious download channels (e.g., unofficial, freeware, and scam sites; Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), software "cracking" tools, and fake updates. Therefore, it is crucial to download only 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 "SAM Trading Group email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "SAM Trading Group" scam email letter:

Subject: Payment update发票

 

:B1:   Outgoing SWIFT II Header 1
       F01SEYBLKLXAXXX0000000000
:B2:   Receiver's BIC Code
       *********
:20:   Transaction Reference Number
       LCUOMS20000881
:21:   Related Reference
       BP0887202007341
:79:   Narrative
       REFER TO YOUR ABOVE ATTACHED BILL FOR USD 17,667.75
       DATED 11/10/21  .
       .
       WE CNFM PAYMENT OF USD 17,667.75 TO YOUR A/C AS
       PER YOUR COVERING INSTRUCTIONS VALUE 10/9/21  .
       .
       PLS QUOTE OUR REF IN ALL FUTURE CORRESPONDENCE.
       .
       RGDS
       IMPORTS DEPT

 

Yours Sincerely

 

Mona

 

SAM Trading Group

 

Commercial Expert

 

SAM Trading Group

 

Hong Kong

 

Tel +852 8192 6939

 

Website: www.Sam-Supply.com


Confidentiality note:  This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this e-mail in error please notify the sender immediately and delete this message from your computer without any further action. Any distribution or copying of this message or any files transmitted with it by an unauthorized recipient is strictly prohibited.

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "SAM Trading Group" spam campaign ("SWIFT MT760_PDF (2).IMG" filename):

Detections of the malicious attachment distributed through SAM Trading Group spam campaign (SWIFT MT760_PDF (2).IMG)

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

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:

Malware process running in the Task Manager

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:

Autoruns application appearance

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.

Run Windows 7 or Windows XP in 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.

Run Windows 8 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.

Run Windows 10 in 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 archive and run Autoruns.exe application

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.

Refresh Autoruns application results

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".

Delete malware in Autoruns

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.

Search for malware and delete 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?

Spam emails are not personal. They are distributed by the thousand in massive operations.

I have read the "SAM Trading Group" spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, merely opening a spam email will not jumpstart malware download/installation processes. System infections are triggered when the files attached to or linked inside the emails are opened.

I have downloaded and opened the file attached to the "SAM Trading Group" spam email, is my computer infected?

Whether a system infection was initiated - depends on the opened file's format. If it was an executable file - yes, your system is most likely infected. However, you may have avoided triggering such processes if it was a document (e.g., .pdf, .doc, etc.), as such files may require additional actions to start downloading/installing malware.

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 eliminated without formatting.

What are the biggest issues that malware can cause?

What threats a malicious program poses - depends on its functionalities and the cyber criminals' goals. Typically, malware infections can lead to diminished system performance or failure, hardware damage, permanent data loss, severe privacy issues, significant financial losses, and identity theft.

What is the purpose of malware?

In most cases, malware is proliferated for the sole goal of generating revenue for the cyber criminals. However, malicious software might be spread for personal reasons to attack the victim(s), to disrupt certain processes (e.g., website, service, company, or the operations of other entities), political or geopolitical motivations, amusement, etc.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating most known malware infections. Note that it is paramount to perform a full system scan, due to high-end malware commonly hiding deep within the system.

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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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