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Avoid infecting your device with malware via "Booking Offer" spam emails

Also Known As: Booking Offer malspam
Damage level: Severe

What is "Booking Offer" email virus?

Our inspection of the "Booking Offer" email revealed that it is spam designed to spread malware. This letter claims to contain the specifications for a room booking. When the attached file is opened, it triggers FormBook malware's infection chain.

Booking Offer email spam campaign

"Booking Offer" email virus overview

The email with the subject "Booking for 8 person's" (may vary) informs the recipient that the sender wishes to book a room for an eight-person family. The letter states that a file with the room specifications is attached to it. The recipient is asked to review the details to find a match in their facility and provide an offer with the available discounts.

As mentioned in the introduction, all of the information provided by these emails is false. This spam email aims to trick recipients into opening the file attached to them - thereby jumpstarting FormBook malware's download/installation process.

FormBook is an information-stealing malicious program. Amongst its many features are keylogging (keystroke recording), monitoring device activity, extracting data from the system and installed applications, downloading files, etc.

It is noteworthy that FormBook can also download/install additional malware onto compromised systems (e.g., ransomware, trojans, cryptocurrency miners, etc.).

To summarize, by trusting the "Booking Offer" scam email - users can experience multiple system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. If you suspect that your device is already infected, we strongly advise using an anti-virus to remove the threats without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Booking Offer malspam
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Fake Claim Recipients are requested to review the attached room specifications.
Attachment(s) Booking Specification.rar (filename may vary)
Detection Names Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKD.49214294), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Formbook.AA), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Agensla.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.ST!MTB), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Payload FormBook
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

"Mechatronics Industrial Equipment Email Virus", "Dynaseiki Industrial Supplies Email Virus", "CAETANO FORMULA Email Virus", and "The List Of The Problem Email Virus" are just some examples of the malware-proliferating emails that we have inspected recently.

Spam mail can use various scam models and disguises (e.g., presented as messages from legitimate companies, service providers, institutions, authorities, etc.). In addition to spreading malicious programs, these letters are also used for phishing and other scams.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails are used to proliferate malicious files. These letters can have the files attached to them or contain links leading to websites capable of stealthily downloading/installing malware and/or tricking users into doing so themselves.

Infectious files can be in various formats, e.g., archives, executables, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc. Once such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection chain is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We advise exercising caution with incoming mail. The attachments and links present in dubious/irrelevant emails and messages - must not be opened since that may result in a system infection. Additionally, it is important to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010, as they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros.

However, malware is not spread exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we recommend downloading only from official and verified channels. We also advise activating and updating programs with tools provided by legitimate developers since illegal activation tools ("cracks") and fake updaters may contain malware.

It is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats and issues. 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 "Booking Offer" spam email letter:

Subject: Booking for 8 person's


We are family of 8 person booking with your facility from 26-30 June, attached bellow is our sepcification on the room type, bed and person to rooms.
Kindly revert back to us with your offer and prices discount with regards to our attached specification.


Thanks,
Mr. Bruno Banjav.

Screenshot of VirusTotal detections of the malicious attachment distributed via "Booking Offer" spam campaign ("Booking Specification.rar"):

Booking Offer email virus attachment detections on VirusTotal (Booking Specification.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; thousands of users receive identical letters.

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

No, opening/reading a spam email will not trigger any system infection processes. Malware download/installation is jumpstarted when the attachments or links present in these letters are opened/clicked.

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

Whether an infection occurred might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely, yes - your system was infected. However, document formats (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.) may require additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to start downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating most of the known malware infections. It is noteworthy that high-end malicious software usually hides deep within systems - therefore, running a complete system scan is crucial.

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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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