Avoid infecting your device with malware via "SAM Trading Group" scam emails
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
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" 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.
|Name||SAM Trading Group spam|
|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.|
|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
"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?
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
:B2: Receiver's BIC Code
:20: Transaction Reference Number
:21: Related Reference
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.
SAM Trading Group
SAM Trading Group
Tel +852 8192 6939
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):
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 SAM Trading Group spam?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious 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.
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.
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:
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.
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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