How to avoid infecting computers via emails like "Concept Design Drawings"
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What is "Concept Design Drawings"?
While examining this email, our malware researchers found that it contains a malicious attachment. Threat actors behind it are pretending to be a company based in Dubai. Their goal is to trick recipients into executing the FormBook malware designed to steal sensitive information.
"Concept Design Drawings" malspam campaign in detail
This email is disguised as a letter from a general manager of the company named Al NISR Roads and Building Contracting L.L.C. regarding a request for a quotation. It claims that the file attached to it contains conceptual design drawings. Also, this email includes mobile, telephone, and fax numbers, a physical address, and a website address to give it legitimacy.
The file attached to this email is named "Etihad Hangar Concet Design Drawings - H6D20221114.7z" (its name may vary). It is an archive file containing an executable file designed to infect computers with FormBook. As we mentioned in the introduction, FormBook is an information-stealing malware with additional features.
FormBook can log keystrokes (record keyboard input), capture screenshots, and steal clipboard data and passwords (and other login information). Also, it can receive commands from a C2 server to clear browser cookies, download and execute files, restart and shut down a computer, download and unpack ZIP files, and a couple of other tasks.
Typically, threat actors use malware like FormBook to steal sensitive information and plant other malware computers. Depending on the extracted information, crooks can use it to steal identities, online accounts, money, etc. Planted malware can be designed to encrypt files, mine cryptocurrency, and more.
|Name||Concept Design Drawings malspam campaign|
|Threat Type||Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.|
|Hoax||Email contains a request for quotation|
|Attachment(s)||Etihad Hangar Concet Design Drawings - H6D20221114.7z (its name may vary)|
|Detection Names (Malicious Executable)||Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKD.63632501), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Formbook.AK), Kaspersky (HEUR:Backdoor.MSIL.Androm.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.AQD), 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.
Emails of this type in general
Emails used to deliver malware contain malicious files or links. As a rule, cybercriminals behind them pretend to be real people or legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities. There are many examples of malspam campaigns. Some of them are "Invoices Copies Are Not Clear Email Virus", "TEXTIMA Export Email Virus", and "CTM Arrangment Email Virus".
How did "Concept Design Drawings" infect my computer?
This email has an archive file ("Etihad Hangar Concet Design Drawings - H6D20221114.7z") attached to it. A computer becomes infected with FormBook after unpacking an executable file from that archive file and executing it.
How to avoid installation of malware?
Do not trust suspicious (e.g., irrelevant) emails received from unknown addresses containing links or files. Opening email contents can lead to computer infections. Thus, emails should always be examined before clicking or opening their contents.
Download software from reliable sources such as official websites and platforms. Avoid using P2P networks, freeware download pages, free file hosting pages, third-party downloaders, etc., to download programs or files. Do not trust ads on questionable websites. Keep the operating system and installed programs updated.
If you've already opened "Concept Design Drawings" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Appearance of the "Concept Design Drawings" email (GIF):
Text presented in the "Concept Design Drawings" email letter:
Subject: Urgent Request for Quotation - Supply and installation
Please find the attached Concept Design Drawings Proposal
Let me know if you have any clarifications or questions
Orwa Alward Zaidan
M: +971 (0) 50 565 5919
Al NISR Roads and Building Contracting L.L.C
T: +971 (0)4 335 7095
F: +971 (0)4 335 7096
P.O. Box 99257, Dubai, UAE
Q please consider our environment before printing this email
Detection names on VirusTotal for the malicious executable that infects computers with FormBook:
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 Concept Design Drawings malspam campaign?
- 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?
The same email was sent to all recipients. Scam emails, emails used to distribute malware, and other emails of this kind 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. Opening it is harmless. However, executing a file within that archive file infects a computer with FormBook.
I have read the email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, it is safe to open emails even when they contain malicious links or files.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?
Yes, Combo Cleaner removes malware. It can detect almost all known malware. Computers infected with high-end malware must be scanned using a full scan option. Typically, malware of this kind hides deep in the operating system.
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