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Avoid infecting your device with malware via fake "DHL Air Waybill" emails

Also Known As: DHL Air Waybill malspam campaign
Damage level: Severe

What kind of email is "DHL Air Waybill"?

Following our inspection of the "DHL Air Waybill" email, we determined that it is spam intended to infect the recipient's device with malware.

This scam email is disguised as a message from the DHL logistics company - regarding a shipment. The file attached to this letter is designed to infect systems with the Agent Tesla RAT (Remote Access Trojan).

DHL Air Waybill email malspam campaign

"DHL Air Waybill" email virus overview

The fake "DHL Air Waybill" email appears relatively genuine. It uses DHL's logo, and its structure is similar to legitimate mail of this kind.

This spam letter informs the recipient that their cargo has arrived and is now stored in a DHL Express transportation network warehouse. The email requests the recipient to sign the attached customs declaration documentation before sending it to their DHL agent.

Instead of containing the previously mentioned information, the attachment triggers the Agent Tesla RAT's download/installation. Trojans within this classification operate by enabling remote access/control over infected machines.

RATs are usually highly multi-functional, and Agent Tesla is not an exception. Its primary functionalities focus on data exfiltration. This malicious program is capable of keylogging (keystroke recording), taking screenshots, and extracting information from various browsers, email clients, messengers, VPNs, download managers, and FTP clients.

To summarize, by trusting these fake "DHL Air Waybill" emails, users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. If you suspect that your device has already been infected, we strongly advise using an anti-virus program to remove all threats immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name DHL Air Waybill malspam campaign
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Fake Claim A shipment has arrived and requires recipients to sign the attached customs documentation.
Disguise Email is disguised as a message from DHL.
Attachment(s) DHL Air Waybill.rar (filename may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (IL:Trojan.MSILZilla.1773), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Spy.AgentTesla.D), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Stealer.gen), Malwarebytes (Spyware.AgentTesla), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Payload Agent Tesla
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 campaign examples

Spam emails are commonly used to proliferate malware and run various scams (e.g., phishing, sextortion, fake lotteries, etc.). We have analyzed thousands of malware-proliferating emails; "ERGIFE Email Virus", "DHL Express - Called But Got No Answer", "STC Email Virus", and "ShenZhen A&E Email Virus" are just a few examples.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails cause infections via files attached to or linked inside them (i.e., malicious links leading to sites designed to infiltrate malware into systems or trick users into downloading/installing it).

Virulent files can be in various formats, e.g., archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so forth. When a malicious file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection chain is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly advise exercising caution with incoming mail. The attachments and links present in dubious/irrelevant emails and messages - must not be opened, as that may result in a system infection.

However, malware is not proliferated exclusively through spam mail. Therefore, we also recommend downloading only from official/verified sources and activating/updating programs with tools provided by legitimate developers.

We must emphasize the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. This software must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "DHL Air Waybill" spam email letter:

Subject: DHL Air Waybill Number: 2901395251


Dear Customer!


We thank you for your cooperation and inform you that your cargo has arrived at warehouse DHL Express's transportation network.


Please sign attached customs declaration of cargo documents attached and return to our agent.


Description:


Air Waybill Number 2901365211 (Physical weight: 1.05 kg ; Seats: 1 ).


The contact details of your important agent for customs declaration of cargo are listed below. To contact our employee, we ask you to use communication by e-mail. At the moment, this is the fastest and most reliable way to communicate with us. Most of our employees now work remotely.


With kind regards,


Valerie Herault International Chartering
DHL Express
Tel : 33 (0) 2 44 69 02 61,
Fax : 33 (0) 2 44 69 02 69
express.dhl.com
Email: compta@dhl.com

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "DHL Air Waybill" spam campaign ("DHL Air Waybill.rar"):

DHL Air Waybill attachment detections on VirusTotal (DHL Air Waybill.rar)

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?

Spam emails are not personal. Cyber criminals send them by the thousand - hoping that at least some of the recipients will fall for their schemes.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, merely opening a spam email will not trigger any malware download/installation processes. Infections are jumpstarted when the attachments or links present in this mail - are opened/clicked.

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

If the opened file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely - yes, your system was infected. However, you might have avoided an infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.). These formats may require additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to begin downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate practically all known malware infections. It must be stressed that running a complete system scam is crucial as sophisticated malicious programs tend to hide deep within systems.

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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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