An email with the subject of New Secure Message Royal Bank of Scotland pretending to come from Royal Bank of Scotland but actually coming from a whole range of look-a-like domains with a malicious word doc attachment is today’s latest spoof of a well-known company, bank or public authority delivering Trickbot banking Trojan
They are using email addresses and subjects that will scare, persuade or entice you to read the email and open the attachment.
Remember many email clients, especially on a mobile phone or tablet, only show the Name in the From: and not the bit in <domain.com >. That is why these scams and phishes work so well.
Royal Bank of Scotland has not been hacked or had their email or other servers compromised. They are not sending the emails to you. They are just innocent victims in exactly the same way as every recipient of these emails.
What has happened is that the criminals sending these have registered various domains that look like genuine Company, Bank, Government or message sending services. Normally there are between 2 and 4 newly registered domains that imitate Companies House, HMRC, another Government department, a Bank or a message sending service that can easily be confused with the genuine organisation in some way. Some days however we do see dozens or even hundreds of fake domains.
Today’s example of the spoofed domains are all using the free .ml domains that are administered and run by freenom.com.
I am seeing domains ranging from royalbank1.ml to royalbank199.ml all being hosted on different IP numbers & ranges all appearing to be compromised ISP IP numbers from major ISPs in UK, Europe & USA. In previous phishing and malware scams by this criminal gang they used a range of domain numbers between 1 and 600 over several days, so there could be a lot more to come.
The email looks like:
From: RBS bankline secure email <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu 07/09/2017 11:55
Subject: New Secure Message Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland Online
You have received a secure message.
Please download and view Microsoft Word attachment
The secure message expires on
If you have concerns about the validity of this message, please contact the sender directly. For questions please contact the RBS bankline Secure Email Help Desk at 0131 521 2231.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Online Customer Servic
This malware file downloads from http://vkiiski.net/kas14.png ( currently giving a suspended page message)
An alternative currently live download location is http://dupuis-informatique.ch/kas14.png which of course is not an image file but a renamed .exe file that gets renamed to qoybzp2.exE’ ( VirusTotal)
This email attachment contains a genuine word doc with a macro script that when run will infect you.
The word doc looks like:
All modern versions of word and other office programs, that is 2010, 2013, 2016 and 365, should open all Microsoft office documents that is Word docs, Excel spreadsheet files and PowerPoint etc that are downloaded from the web or received in an email automatically in “protected view” that stops any embedded malware or macros from being displayed and running. Make sure protected view is set in all office programs to protect you and your company from these sorts of attacks and do not over ride it to edit the document. If the protected mode bar appears when opening the document DO NOT follow the advice they give to enable macros or enable editing to see the content. The document will have a warning message, but you will be safe.
Be aware that there are a lot of other dodgy word docs spreading that WILL infect you with no action from you, if you are still using an out dated or vulnerable version of word. This is a good reason to update your office programs to a recent version and stop using office 2003 and 2007. Many of us have continued to use older versions of word and other office programs, because they are convenient, have the functions and settings we are used to and have never seen a need to update to the latest super-duper version.
The risks in using older version are now seriously outweighing the convenience, benefits and cost of keeping an old version going.[amazon_link asins=’B01NCOV3GC,B072R63CH7,B00DRP537A,B01EZU2GZW,B00JLPEL2I,B01EZU2RLA’ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’myonlinesecurity-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’6b07b5e0-8bb8-11e7-b516-fbffc7761b18′]
Please read our How to protect yourselves page for simple, sensible advice on how to avoid being infected by this sort of socially engineered malware. Also please read our post about word macro malware and how to avoid being infected by them
I strongly urge you to update your office software to the latest version and stop putting yourself at risk, using old out of date software.