This example is an email containing the subject of “A new document is available for download ” pretending to come from Dropbox but actually coming from a look-a-like domain firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to download a malicious word doc attachment is today’s latest spoof of a well-known company, bank, delivery service, file hosting service or public authority delivering Trickbot banking Trojan
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
From: Dropbox <email@example.com>
Date: Wed 21/03/2018 10:11
Subject: A new document is available for download
Your company administrator has uploaded a secure document for you or your company.
Your ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your unique download key: 6M4V74YEVMDHGR
This string of letters and numbers is a unique ID for the document you received.
To view or print the document please click here.
The document associated with this unique ID opens. You can now sign, download and save, print, and perform “More” actions on the document, depending on the permissions the sender has given you.
Please contact your administrator for more information.
– The Dropbox Team
Dropbox 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, file hosting or message sending services. Frequently there are between 2 and 4 newly registered domains that imitate Companies House, HMRC, another Government department, a Bank, a file hosting service 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. Unusually today, they are only using 1 domain to send emails and 1 download location for the malicious word docs but 2 Trickbot banking trojan download locations.
Today’s example of the spoofed domains are, as usual, registered via Godaddy as registrar using privacy protection services.
- dropboxsec.com hosted on and sending the emails via 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 dropboxsec.com DE AS202053 UpCloud Ltd
- dropboxsec.net hosted on 184.108.40.206 which looks like the Godaddy network itself. This site is hosting the actual malicious word doc.
The link in the email is to http://dropboxsec.net where you will see a page looking like this. You will get the doc file automatically offered to you and you don’t need to insert any code from the email. Pressing download also gives you the malicious word doc. The actual download location is https://dropboxsec.net/6M4V74YEVMDHGR.doc
This malware doc file downloads from http://techknowlogix.net/farestod.png which of course is not an image file but a renamed .exe file that gets renamed to flwudz_rh4.exe ( VirusTotal)
An alternative download location is http://pcstore.com.ve/farestod.png
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, macros and DDE “exploit /Feature” and embedded ole objects 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.
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.