Avoid infecting your device via fake "Crimson International" emails

Also Known As: "Crimson International" malspam
Damage level: Severe

What kind of email is "Crimson International"?

Our inspection of the "Crimson International" email revealed that it is fake. We determined that this letter is malspam. It attempts to deceive recipients into opening the attachment by presenting it as a document containing information concerning a potential order. This malicious file is designed to infect systems with the Agent Tesla RAT (Remote Access Trojan).

It must be emphasized that this spam mail is not associated with the actual Crimson International pharmaceutical company.

Crimson International malspam

"Crimson International" email virus overview

The spam email with the subject "Pharmaceutical order from crimson international" (may vary) claims to include an attached revised order from Crimson International. The letter requests that the recipient provide their best prices for it.

As mentioned in the introduction, this email is in no way associated with Crimson International – a pharmaceutical company based in Mumbai, India.

The attached Microsoft Excel file – "PHARMACEUTICAL NEW ORDER .xlam" (filename may vary) – triggers the download/installation of Agent Tesla once opened. This malware is a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that enables stealthy access/control over infected machines. Agent Tesla is a highly versatile piece of malicious software with various information-stealing capabilities.

In summary, by trusting an email like "Crimson International" – victims can experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you believe that your device is infected – immediately perform a full system scan with an anti-virus and remove all threats.

Threat Summary:
Name "Crimson International" malspam
Threat Type Malspam, trojan, Remote Access Trojan (RAT), password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Fake Claim Email attachment details an order from a pharmaceutical company.
Disguise Crimson International
Attachment(s) PHARMACEUTICAL NEW ORDER .xlam (filename may vary)
Detection Names (attachment) Avast (OLE:CVE-2017-11882-B [Expl]), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKD.68996913), ESET-NOD32 (Probably A Variant Of Win32/Exploit.CVE-), Kaspersky (UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic), Microsoft (Exploit:O97M/CVE-2017-11882!KZH), 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

"Updated Terms of Use", "Requested Documents", "Your E-mail Will Be Closed", "Order Trial", and "Hydro Group Purchase Order" are merely some examples of malspam that we have investigated.

Aside from malware distribution, spam mail is used to promote various scams (e.g., phishing, sextortion, callback, tech support, inheritance, lottery, etc.). While infamous for being riddled with errors, spam emails can be competently disguised as messages from legitimate companies, service providers, organizations, authorities, and other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails/messages can have malicious files attached to or linked inside them. These files can be documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth.

Infectious files jumpstart malware download/installation chains upon being opened. However, some formats may need additional interaction to trigger these processes. For example, Microsoft Office files require users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents need them to click embedded files or links.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is paramount to exercise caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages. We advise against opening attachments or links found in dubious mail since they can be malicious. Another recommendation is to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010, as their "Protected View" mode prevents automatic macro execution.

It must be stressed that malware is not proliferated exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we also advise being careful while browsing since fake and dangerous online content usually appears genuine and innocuous.

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 ("cracking") tools 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/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 "Crimson International" spam email letter:

Subject: Pharmaceutical order from crimson international

Dear Sir/Madam,



Please find below our revised pharmaceutical order from crimson international

Kindy send us your best prices with COA


Thanks & Regards,

Ms. Banushree. Adak

Mumbai – India

Tel: +91 22 2806 1959

Mobile: +91 9167860592

Email: sales1 @crimsonintl.com; www.crimsonintl.com

Skype: adakbanushree_1

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 sent in massive operations – therefore, thousands of users receive identical emails.

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

Merely reading an email will not initiate any malware download/installation processes. Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links 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 device was infected. However, you might have avoided it if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.). These formats might need additional actions to start downloading/installing malware (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to scan devices and eliminate threats. It is capable of detecting and removing most of the known malware infections. It must be stressed that running a complete system scan is crucial – since sophisticated malicious software usually hides 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.

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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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