A quick update to the Locky saga. Today I received what we call a BlankSlate email. These have a completely empty body and subject with just an attachment. Currently these are delivering Locky ransomware.
These come from Spoofed email addresses, that is the name and email address in the from field is not sending the emails. They come via one of the botnets using compromised servers and email accounts. This one definitely does not come from any Australian Government email address, they have simply spoofed that sender.
Apart from the problematic JS file, the payload has a genuine code signing digital signature issued by Comodo code signing service. I haven’t previously seen Locky using digital signatures. This was immediately reported to firstname.lastname@example.org who should very quickly revoke the certificate, so it fails authentication and will be more easily detected.
Generally speaking a digitally signed file is treated as good by antivirus companies, until fully examined, so is much more likely to pass antivirus or network filters.
4555246685593.zip : Extracts to: 28141.zip which in turn extracts to -6dt874p53077.js Current Virus total detections: Payload Security | Joesandbox | Downloads from http://gonesalejk.info/admin.php?a=1 ( VirusTotal) ( Payload Security)
Neither of the online sandboxes actually showed the download url in the web reports. I had great difficulty decoding/deobfuscating the .js file. I did find the download url via examining the pcap from Joesandbox.
One of the emails looks like:
Date: Fri 13/10/2017 04:55
Completely empty / Blank
Screenshot of signed file :All the alleged senders, amounts, reference numbers, Bank codes, companies, names of employees, employee positions, email addresses and phone numbers mentioned in the emails are all random. Some of these companies will exist and some won’t. Don’t try to respond by phone or email, all you will do is end up with an innocent person or company who have had their details spoofed and picked at random from a long list that the bad guys have previously found. The bad guys choose companies, Government departments and organisations with subjects that are designed to entice you or alarm you into blindly opening the attachment or clicking the link in the email to see what is happening.
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.
Previous campaigns over the last few weeks have delivered numerous different download sites and malware versions. There are frequently 5 or 6 and even up to 150 download locations on some days, sometimes delivering the exactly same malware from all locations and sometimes slightly different malware versions. Locky does update at frequent intervals during the day, sometimes as quickly as every hour, so you might get a different version of these nasty Ransomware.
This is another one of the files that unless you have “show known file extensions enabled“, can easily be mistaken for a genuine DOC / PDF / JPG or other common file instead of the .EXE / .JS file it really is, so making it much more likely for you to accidentally open it and be infected.
Be very careful with email attachments. All of these emails use Social engineering tricks to persuade you to open the attachments that come with the email. Whether it is a message saying “look at this picture of me I took last night” and it appears to come from a friend or is more targeted at somebody who regularly is likely to receive PDF attachments or Word .doc attachments or any other common file that you use every day.
The basic rule is NEVER open any attachment to an email, unless you are expecting it. Now that is very easy to say but quite hard to put into practice, because we all get emails with files attached to them. Our friends and family love to send us pictures of them doing silly things, or even cute pictures of the children or pets.
Never just blindly click on the file in your email program. Always save the file to your downloads folder, so you can check it first. Many malicious files that are attached to emails will have a faked extension. That is the 3 letters at the end of the file name. Unfortunately windows by default hides the file extensions so you need to Set your folder options to “show known file types. Then when you unzip the zip file that is supposed to contain the pictures of “Sally’s dog catching a ball” or a report in word document format that work has supposedly sent you to finish working on at the weekend, or an invoice or order confirmation from some company, you can easily see if it is a picture or document & not a malicious program.
If you see .JS or .EXE or .COM or .PIF or .SCR or .HTA .vbs, .wsf , .jse .jar at the end of the file name DO NOT click on it or try to open it, it will infect you.
While the malicious program is inside the zip file, it cannot harm you or automatically run. When it is just sitting unzipped in your downloads folder it won’t infect you, provided you don’t click it to run it. Just delete the zip and any extracted file and everything will be OK. You can always run a scan with your antivirus to be sure. There are some zip files that can be configured by the bad guys to automatically run the malware file when you double click the zip to extract the file. If you right click any suspicious zip file received, and select extract here or extract to folder ( after saving the zip to a folder on the computer) that risk is virtually eliminated. Never attempt to open a zip directly from your email, that is a guaranteed way to get infected. The best way is to just delete the unexpected zip and not risk any infection.