Avoid infecting your device via fake "Hydro Group Purchase Order" emails

Also Known As: "Hydro Group Purchase Order" malspam
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What kind of email is "Hydro Group Purchase Order"?

After inspecting the "Hydro Group Purchase Order" email, we determined that it is malspam – spam proliferating malware. The fake letter is presented as a purchase order from Hydro Group, and it must be emphasized that this legitimate company is in no way associated with this spam. The file attached to this scam email is intended to infect recipients' devices with malware.

Hydro Group Purchase Order malspam

"Hydro Group Purchase Order" email virus overview

The email fake with the subject "[Project:MS200-6 Enquiry] RFQ - Hydrobond/MS200-6/100//SO23-0383 // OSSPO23-1480HY-2" (may vary) is presented as an inquiry from Hydro Group. The letter states that its attachment contains details of a purchase order. Additionally, the supposed sender expresses interest in expanding their business alongside the recipient.

As previously mentioned, this email is spam, and the attached file is designed to infect systems with malware. The file is a Microsoft Excel document, and it relies on malicious macro commands to infect devices. Hence, when we opened this file, we learned that it contained deceptive instructions intended to trick users into enabling macros.

The document stated that it is "protected" and can only be accessed when the user enables editing/content (i.e., macro commands). However, by following these instructions – victims will trigger the malware download/installation process. Various malicious programs are spread using virulent Microsoft Office documents.

"Trojan" is an umbrella term for malware with a variety of functionalities, e.g., loaders/backdoors that download/install additional malicious programs or components, RATs (Remote Access Trojans) that enable access/control over machines, stealers that extract data from systems and installed apps, clippers that replace clipboard (copy/paste buffer) contents, and so on.

Spyware is also proliferated in this manner; this malware operates by recording data such as audio/video, keystrokes (keylogging), desktop view, etc. Another popular malicious software is ransomware which encrypts files and/or locks the device's screen in order to demand payment for decryption/ access recovery.

Cryptominers can be distributed like this as well; these programs abuse system resources (potentially to the point of system failure or permanent hardware damage) to generate cryptocurrency.

In summary, by trusting an email like "Hydro Group Purchase Order" – users can experience system infections, data loss, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you believe that your device is already infected, we strongly advise performing a complete system scan using an anti-virus and eliminating all detected threats.

Threat Summary:
Name "Hydro Group Purchase Order" malspam
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Fake Claim Email attachment contains purchase order details.
Disguise Hydro Group
Attachment(s) OSSPO23-1480HY-2.xls (filename may vary)
Detection Names Avast (OLE:CVE-2017-11882-B [Expl]), Combo Cleaner (Exploit.MathType-Obfs.Gen), ESET-NOD32 (Probably A Variant Of Win32/Exploit.CVE), Kaspersky (EUR:Exploit.MSOffice.CVE-2018-0802), Microsoft (Exploit:O97M/CVE-2017-11882.TG!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 campaign examples

We have inspected thousands of spam emails; "DHL Statement Of Account", "Ziraat Bankasi email virus", "Company Contact", and "ATLANTIS TRANS LOGISTIK email virus" are merely some examples of ones used to distribute malware.

Deceptive mail can be variously disguised, including as messages from legitimate companies, corporations, service providers, organizations, institutions, authorities, and other entities. In addition to spreading malicious software, these emails are used to facilitate phishing and other scams.

Due to how widespread spam mail is – we highly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails proliferate malware by distributing malicious files as attachments or download links. These files can be documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

When a virulent file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands, while infectious OneNote files need users to click on embedded content.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly recommend being careful with incoming emails and other messages. The attachments and links present in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be malicious and cause infections. It is essential to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.

However, malware is not spread exclusively through spam mail. Therefore, we advise being vigilant when browsing since fake and dangerous online content usually appears ordinary and harmless.

Additionally, all downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy sources. It is just as important to activate and update software using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updaters may contain malware.

We must emphasize that having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date is paramount to device and user safety. Security programs must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected 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 "Hydro Group Purchase Order" spam email letter:

Subject: [Project:MS200-6 Enquiry] RFQ - Hydrobond/MS200-6/100//SO23-0383 // OSSPO23-1480HY-2

Hello dear,
I hope all is well on your side.  Please see attached new purchase order and specification for goods needed.

Let me know if any questions.

By the way, do you have any new part numbers available to us?  Please send me any details.  We would like to expand our business together.


Heather Andrade | Head of Sales (Board Member)  | Direct Line: +44 (0) 1224 254273
Tel : + 44 (0) 1224 825050 | Fax : + 44 (0) 1224 825142 | www.hydrogroup-uk.com

Hydro Group

Screenshot of the malicious attachment distributed through this spam campaign ("OSSPO23-1480HY-2.xls"):

Malicious attachment distributed through Hydro Group Purchase Order spam campaign (OSSPO23-1480HY-2.xls)

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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. This mail is distributed in massive campaigns – hence, thousands of users receive identical emails.

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

No, merely opening an email will not initiate any system infection chains. Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened.

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

Whether the system was compromised might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – the device was infected. However, document formats may need additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking on embedded files/links, etc.) to start downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating practically all known malware infections. It must be stressed that since high-end malicious programs typically hide deep within systems – 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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