Phishing attacks are another popular way to spread malware and steal sensitive data. There is a new type of phishing attack making the rounds that is difficult to spot. Read on to see how this malware spreads and what you can do about it.

Here’s the backstory

What is worse than one piece of malware creeping into your device? Three different pieces of malware at once. That should send a shiver down your spine, and unfortunately, that is what cybersecurity researchers at Fortinet detail in its latest report. The phishing campaign targets Windows-based computers and attempts to drop three different malware variants to steal your sensitive details. In the report, the AveMariaRAT, BitRAT and PandoraHVNC malware enters your computer through an infected Excel document. The “fileless” term refers to the email not having the malware file as an attachment but rather the running of a macro command when you open the Excel document. Attackers often use a fake payment notification for the bait. The most dangerous part about the email is that it automatically triggers the malware when you open the document and enable macros. The macro command fetches the three malware variants from the cybercriminal’s server, disguised as a legitimate PowerShell file, to bypass detection.

What you can do about it

The phishing attack is severe, but you drastically reduce your chances of infection if you keep your wits about you and take steps to protect yourself. Here are a few tips on how to do that:

Don’t click on links that you receive in unsolicited emails or text messages. They could be malicious and infect your device with malware.Never open Word or Excel files attached to unsolicited emails. If you open one of these documents and it says that you need to enable macros, close the file and delete it immediately.Keep your computer and mobile devices updated to the latest version. Operating system and application updates safeguard you against the latest threats, and it’s your first line of defense against malware.Use two-factor authentication and password managers for better security.Always have a trusted antivirus program updated and running on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan with TotalAV for only $19 at That’s over 85% off the regular price!

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