Avoid infecting your device via fake "Barclays Payment Advice" emails

Also Known As: "Barclays Payment Advice" malspam
Damage level: Severe

What kind of email is "Barclays Payment Advice"?

After examining the "Barclays Payment Advice" email, we determined that it is malspam – malicious spam mail designed to proliferate malware.

Disguised as a notification from Barclays plc – a British multinational universal bank, the email states that the recipient has been sent a payment. Details of the bogus transaction are in a document that can be downloaded by following the provided link. This file is intended to infect the recipient's system with malware.

Barclays Payment Advice malspam

"Barclays Payment Advice" email virus overview

The spam email with the subject "Barclays Plc Receipt of payment - Transaction reference number: GLV211510801 / ACH credits / Second Party Ref:[0200004190]" (may vary) greets the recipient as a "customer".

The letter informs that this "payment advice" has been issued at the request of another customer. The recipient's corporate bank account has supposedly been credited with a payment, the details of which require review and confirmation to the payor. The email is concluded with details of Barclays plc.

It must be stressed that all the information provided by this scam email is false, and this mail is in no way associated with the Barclays universal bank or any other legitimate entities.

The document detailing the nonexistent payment can be accessed by clicking the "DOWNLOAD HERE" link. After doing so, we were redirected to a legitimate file-sharing platform hosting a file titled "barclays payment advice.iso". This ISO file contains an executable which – upon opening – triggers the malware download/installation chain.

Threats associated with any infection depend on the malicious program's capabilities and the attackers' goals. Spam mail is used to distribute all types of malware, including but not limited to trojans, ransomware, and cryptominers.

Regardless of how malware operates – its presence on a system endangers device integrity and user safety. Generally, high-risk infections can lead to decreased system performance or failure, permanent data loss, severe privacy issues, hardware damage, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you suspect that your device has been infected – immediately perform a complete system scan using an anti-virus and remove all detected threats.

Threat Summary:
Name "Barclays Payment Advice" malspam
Threat Type Malspam, malicious spam mail, trojan, password-stealing virus, banking malware, spyware.
Fake Claim Recipient has been sent a payment to their corporate bank account.
Disguise Barclays plc
Promoted Malicious File(s) barclays payment advice.iso, CCv.exe (filenames may vary)
Detection Names (ISO) Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKDZ.103253), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/GenKryptik.GORZ), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Disco.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.AMAS!MTB), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (EXE) Avast (Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKDZ.103253), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/GenKryptik.GORZ), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-PSW.MSIL.Disco.gen), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.AMAS!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

"WebMail Server Manager", "Shipping Bills & Export Declaration Form", "ICLOUD Outlook Storage", and "C&K STEEL COMPANY" are just a couple examples of malspam that we have examined recently.

Spam campaigns are commonly utilized in malware distribution. However, this mail is also used to promote phishing and various other scams.

While spam emails are infamous for being riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, they may also be elaborately disguised as messages from legitimate corporations, companies, institutions, organizations, service providers, authorities, and other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails/messages can include malicious files as attachments or download links. Infectious files come in various formats, e.g., archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

Once a virulent file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain is initiated. However, some formats may require additional actions to jumpstart malware download/installation processes. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click embedded files or links.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is essential to exercise caution with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages – particularly since spam mail can wear competent disguises. We advise against opening attachments or links found in suspicious/irrelevant messages, as they can be malicious.

We recommend using post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since their "Protected View" mode prevents automatic macro command execution.

It must be mentioned that malware is not proliferated only through spam mail. Therefore, we also advise being careful while browsing since fraudulent and dangerous online content usually appears legitimate and innocuous.

Additionally, all downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy sources. Another recommendation is to activate and update programs using functions/tools provided by genuine developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters may contain malware.

We must emphasize the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. This software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove 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 "Barclays Payment Advice" spam email letter:

Subject: Barclays Plc Receipt of payment - Transaction reference number: GLV211510801 / ACH credits / Second Party Ref:[0200004190]

Dear Valued Customer,
This payment advice is issued at the request of our customer. Your corporate bank account ending in ***** has been credited with an inward payment
See the attached payment document for more details and update third party you've received payment.



Remittance Department?
Barclays Plc
Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
Email: customercare@barclays

Transaction reference number: GLV211510801

Screenshot of the promoted malicious file on a file-sharing website ("barclays payment advice.iso"):

Barclays Payment Advice spam campaign promoted file-sharing site hosting the malicious file (barclays payment advice.iso)

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 campaigns are massive operations – therefore, thousands of users receive identical emails. Regardless of whether these messages contain relevant details to the recipients – they are not personal.

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

Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened; merely reading an email is harmless.

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

Whether your system was compromised might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes. However, you might have avoided triggering an infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.). These formats may require additional actions to jumpstart malware download/installation chains (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 computers and remove threats. It is capable of eliminating practically all known malware infections. Keep in mind that since sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within systems – running a complete system scan is essential.

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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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