How to spot malicious emails like DHL Express Import Shipment On Hold

Also Known As: DHL Express Import Shipment On Hold malspam campaign
Damage level: Severe

What is "DHL Express Import Shipment On Hold" email virus?

We have examined this email and found that the cybercriminals behind it attempt to trick recipients into executing a malicious file extracted from the attached file. It is disguised as a letter from DHL (a legitimate logistics company) regarding shipping documents that require review.

DHL Express Import Shipment On Hold malicious email

More about the "DHL Express Import Shipment On Hold" campaign

Cybercriminals claim that DHL has an import shipment waiting to be cleared. They instruct recipients to provide the manufacturer's name, complete address, and intended shipment use. Also, threat actors claim that recipients have eight days to provide the "required" information. Their goal is to trick recipients into opening a file extracted from the attached archive file.

It is unknown what type of malware cybercriminals behind this campaign distribute at the moment. However, it is very likely that their goal is to trick recipients into infecting computers with some information stealer (for example, a keystroke logger) or ransomware.

Threat Summary:
Name DHL Express Import Shipment On Hold malspam campaign
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Hoax More information is required to receive the shipment carried by DHL
Attachment(s) AWB NOTICE - ORIGINAL SHIPPING DOCUMENTS.PDF.zip (its name may vary)
Detection Names (Malicious Executable)
Avast (Win32:DropperX-gen [Drp]), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKD.39456249), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/TrojanDownloader.Agent.LHM), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSIL.Bsymem.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.ALY!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.
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Malspam campaigns in general

Cybercriminals behind malicious emails pretend to be legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities. They include a malicious file or a website link in their emails. They succeed when recipients execute a malicious file downloaded from or through their email.

Examples of emails used to deliver malware are "STC Email Virus", "ShenZhen A&E Email Virus", "QUOTE YOUR BEST PRICE Email Virus".

How did "DHL Express Import Shipment On Hold" email virus infect my computer?

This email has an archive file named attachment "AWB NOTICE - ORIGINAL SHIPPING DOCUMENTS.PDF.zip" (its name may vary) attached to it containing a malicious file designed to infect computers with malware. It injects malware after executing it.

More examples of files used by cybercriminals to deliver malware via email are Microsoft Office, PDF documents, JavaScript files, and executables. Typically, these files are disguised as invoices, purchase orders, or other documents.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not click links or open attachments presented in suspicious (for example, irrelevant) emails sent from unknown addresses. Those links and files can be malicious. The sample applies to files downloaded from questionable sources. Files and programs should be downloaded from official pages, platforms.

Keep the operating system and installed software up to date. Use tools provided by the official developers to update and activate them. Third-party tools should never be used to activate or update any software.

If you've already opened "DHL Express Import Shipment On Hold email virus" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "DHL Express Import Shipment On Hold" email:



DHL Express currently has an import shipment on hold awaiting clearance information.  I have attached a protected copy of the commercial invoice for this shipment for your review.

In order to process the entry for clearance through the appropriate government agencies, we require the following information and documents:

Manufacturer full name and complete address
Intended use/ End use of the items in this shipment                                                                                     

Please be advised that DHL Express regulations  only permit us to hold this shipment for 8 days to avoid returning this to origin. Please have the required information provided to us by 26/03/2022 before 12:00pm EST to avoid return.                      

DHL will start charging bonded storage fees 3 calendar days after arrival. The fee is $31 a day.

Nathaniel Johnston

DHL Express

77 Comair Blvd

Erlanger, KY 41018



List of detection names for the malicious file used in this campaign:

DHL Express Import Shipment On Hold Email Virus malicious file detections list

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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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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

Typically, cybercriminals send the same email to all addresses in their database. These emails are not personal.

I have downloaded and opened a file attached to this email, is my computer infected?

The file attached to this email is an archive file. It cannot infect computers. However, files within that archive can. Thus, if you have executed the file extracted from the attached archive file, your computer is likely already infected.

I have read the email but didn't open the file in the attached archive file, is my computer infected?

No, opening an email by itself is completely harmless. Computers get infected only after executing malicious files. In certain cases, opened malicious files cannot infect computers until users perform additional steps (e.g., enable macros commands in MS Office documents).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and remove almost all known malware. If a computer is infected with high-end malware, it is required to scan it using a full scan. High-end malware can hide deep in the operating system, which means a quick system scan is not enough to detect it.

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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.

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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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