How to spot malspam campaigns like "Requested Documents"

Also Known As: Requested Documents malspam campaign
Damage level: Severe

What is "Requested Documents"?

Upon examination of this email, we have determined that it is a fraudulent message falsely purporting to be related to the requested documents. The intention behind this email is to deceive recipients into unknowingly executing malware via the attached PDF document. The specific malware being distributed through this malicious spam campaign is referred to as Qakbot.

Requested Documents malware-spreading email spam campaign

More about the "Requested Documents" malspam campaign

The email starts with a polite greeting, indicating that the sender has sent the requested documents. The recipient is instructed to open the attached PDF file to view the mentioned documents. Furthermore, the email also mentions a ten-minute call and urges the recipient to gather further details on the matter.

Within the attached PDF document, there is a button labeled "Download" that, when clicked, initiates the download of a JavaScript file intended to infect computers with Qakbot. Qakbot, also known as Quakbot or Qbot, is a banking trojan crafted to steal personal information. Furthermore, this malware can distribute other malicious software, such as the Black Basta ransomware.

Opening the malicious file used to distribute Quakbot can result in severe security breaches, financial losses, data losses, privacy violations, and significant disruptions to both personal and professional systems. Thus, it is strongly recommended to exercise caution when dealing with suspicious emails.

Threat Summary:
Name Requested Documents malspam campaign
Threat Type Trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware
Hoax Recipient has received requested documents
Attachment Scan_Doc_366.pdf (File name may vary)
Detection Names (Attachment) Google (Detected), Ikarus (Trojan.PDF.Doc), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.PDF.Agent.gen), McAfee (Artemis!31D0E075439E), TrendMicro (Trojan.PDF.ICEDID.YXDGJZ), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (JavaScript file Distributing Qakbot) ALYac (GT:JS.QBot.4.FC2359C8), Combo Cleaner (GT:JS.QBot.4.FC2359C8), ESET-NOD32 (JS/Agent.QVN), GData (GT:JS.QBot.4.FC2359C8), Microsoft (Trojan:Script/Wacatac.B!ml), 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.
Payload Qakbot
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)

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Similar campaigns in general

Malicious emails delivering malware commonly employ social engineering tactics, such as urgency or enticing offers, while impersonating trusted entities. They often contain suspicious attachments or links that serve as vectors for malware delivery. These emails may also exhibit poor grammar or spelling errors to target less cautious recipients.

Examples of emails used to deliver malware are "Your E-mail Will Be Closed Email Virus", "Hydro Group Purchase Order Email Virus", and "DHL Statement Of Account Email Virus".

How did "Requested Documents" email virus infect my computer?

Quakbot infects computers through a process that involves a PDF document containing a deceptive "Download" button. When the button is clicked, it downloads a malicious JavaScript file instead of downloading the expected document. Once executed, this file triggers the infection chain leading to the injection of Quakbot.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Install and regularly update reputable antivirus or anti-malware software to detect and block known threats. Be wary of unsolicited emails, especially those with attachments or links from unknown sources. Regularly update your software applications, including your operating system, web browsers, and plugins, to patch vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malware.

Be cautious when visiting websites, especially those of unknown or dubious credibility. Avoid clicking on pop-up ads, and be cautious when downloading files. Use official pages and verified stores to download software. If you have already opened the file in the "Requested Documents" email, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Requested Documents" email letter:

Subject: RE: Requested documents

Good Day,

I send the requested documents.

Your documents is now ready for download. Please click the attachment below to download and view it.

When will you be available for a ten-minute call? Please find out more information.

Have a nice day.

Malicious attachment distributed via "Requested Documents" spam campaign:

Malicious PDF document distributed through Requested Documents spam campaign

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?

Criminals send identical letters to numerous recipients, aiming for someone to be deceived by them. These spam emails lack personalization and are mass-distributed to a wide audience.

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

If you have opened the attached file and executed the file (JavaScript file) downloaded via the attached file, your computer is already infected with the Qakbot trojan. It is important to note that this trojan is capable of causing additional infections.

I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Merely opening an email does not pose any harm. However, interacting with malicious links or files can expose users to the risk of malware or other security threats.

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

Combo Cleaner can detect and eradicate nearly all known malware infections. However, it is important to note that sophisticated malware often conceals itself deeply within the system. As a result, performing a comprehensive system scan is imperative to ensure thorough detection and removal of such malware.

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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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