They use email addresses and subjects that will entice a user to read the email and open the attachment. A very high proportion are being targeted at small and medium size businesses, with the hope of getting a better response than they do from consumers.
The Genuine BT in UK 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. Instead what has happened is that a criminal using details of a Chinese entity has registered a look-a-like or typo-squatted domain bt-international.com to perform these criminal actions. The domain bt-international.com was registered today 27 February 2018 via Eranet.com and is currently hosted on 184.108.40.206. OVH network. As you can see from the email headers this email was sent from 220.127.116.11 which is one of the multitude of IP addresses authorised to send this malspam, which passes email authentication checks.
The link in the email goes to http://www.creativzart.com/p_Triatoma_coadjacent.html which uses a meta refresh header to download the zip file from https://btcomunicacion.com/bill/BT_Business_bill.zip The domain btcomunicacion.com was also registered today by the same criminals as bt-international.com and hosted on 18.104.22.168 also on OVH network.
This malware file downloads from http://22.214.171.124/doc/research.pdf which is a renamed .exe file that the js file renames to jB_IfV0Z.exe and runs from the users temp folder. VirusTotal | Hybrid Analysis | Anyrun Beta |
One of the emails looks like:
From: BT Business <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue 27/02/2018 13:32
Subject: New BT Online bill
New BT Bill
Your bill amount is £301.11. This doesn’t include any amounts brought forward from any other bills.
We’ve put your latest BT bill online for you to view. See your bill here
We’ll take your payment from your account as usual by Direct Debit.
Reduce paper waste
You’re still getting paper bills by post. Why not go paper-free, and stop storing and shredding them once and for all?
When you log in to your account, you can also see your recent usage, call costs and bills.
Get more from our App
Did you know you can view and pay your bills and manage your orders via the BT Business app?
Need some help?
Go to www.bt.com/business/help.
Thanks for choosing BT.
Your BT Team
British Telecommunications plc Registered office: 81 Newgate Street London EC1A 7AJ.
Registered in England No. 1800000.
This email contains BT information, which may be privileged or confidential. It’s meant only for the individual(s) or entity named above. If you’re not the intended recipient, note that disclosing, copying, distributing or using this information is prohibited. If you’ve received this email in error, please let me know immediately on the email address above. Thank you. We monitor our email system, and may record your emails.
Email Headers: ( edited to replace original recipient’s details)
Received: from amavis-03.cmp.livemail.co.uk ([127.0.0.1]) by localhost
(amavis-03.cmp.livemail.co.uk [127.0.0.1]) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with
ESMTP for <email@example.com>; Tue, 27 Feb 2018 13:31:51 +0000
Received: from localhost (unknown [127.0.0.1]) by amavis-03.cmp.livemail.co.uk
(Postfix) with ESMTP id EBCEB1C0285 for <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
Tue, 27 Feb 2018 13:31:51 +0000 (UTC)
Received: from bt5.bt-international.com (bt5.bt-international.com
[126.96.36.199]) by mailserver.cmp.livemail.co.uk (Postfix) with ESMTP id
09964A088C for <email@example.com>; Tue, 27 Feb 2018 13:31:51
Received: from mailserver.cmp.livemail.co.uk (unknown [10.44.166.66]) by
amavis-03.cmp.livemail.co.uk (Postfix) with ESMTP id 1C4561C0313 for
<firstname.lastname@example.org>; Tue, 27 Feb 2018 13:31:51 +0000 (GMT)
Received: from amavis-03.cmp.livemail.co.uk (188.8.131.52) by
exch2-ht01.email2.local (10.44.216.66) with Microsoft SMTP Server id
14.3.382.0; Tue, 27 Feb 2018 13:31:52 +0000
From: “BT Business” <email@example.com>
Subject: New BT Online bill
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2018 13:31:51 -0000
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook 16.0
These malicious attachments normally have a password stealing component, with the aim of stealing your bank, PayPal or other financial details along with your email or FTP ( web space) log in credentials. Many of them are also designed to specifically steal your Facebook and other social network log in details. A very high proportion are Ransomware versions that encrypt your files and demand money ( about £350/$400) to recover the files.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.
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.