HMRC is once again the unfortunate victim in today’s Trickbot banking trojan campaign.This example is an email containing the subject of “HMRC Payment error” pretending to come from HMRC GOV.UK but actually coming from a look-a-like or typo-squatted domain “firstname.lastname@example.org” with a malicious word doc attachment is today’s latest spoof of a well-known company, bank or public authority delivering Trickbot banking Trojan
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
From: GOV.UK <email@example.com>
Date: Mon 11/06/2018 13:09
Subject: HMRC Payment error
HMRC Payment error
Your payment has been received by HMRC, but we encountered an error processing your payment. We require you to verify your transaction details and sign attached document for further processing.
Tax Corporation Tax
Tax reference 75812277127A00113A
Payment reference 7c004312-13fe-4a1f-9a34-54be9e9d1ca7
Amount paid £22,341.00
If you have an online tax account your payment will take 3 to 5 days to show in your account.
Why you got this email
We have encountered an error while processing your payment.
From HMRC Online Payments
If you’re unsure an email is from HMRC:
• Do not reply to it or click on any links
• Report the suspicious email to HMRC – to find out how, go to GOV.UK and search for ‘Avoid and report internet scams and phishing’
HMRC / Gov.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.
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, 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.
Today’s examples of the spoofed domains are, as usual, registered via Godaddy as registrar.
- email-gov.uk hosted on & sending emails via 22.214.171.124 Tempe Arizona US AS20454 SECURED SERVERS LLC | 126.96.36.199 Rotterdam Zuid-Holland NL AS49981 WorldStream B.V. |188.8.131.52 usa-tx.privax.com Houston Texas US AS51430 AltusHost B.V. | 184.108.40.206 LeaseWeb Netherlands B.V. LeaseWeb Netherlands B.V. |
This malware doc file downloads from http://onetimewonders.com/no.bin which is a renamed .exe file ( VirusTotal) Gtag Ser 0611
The alternate Download location is http://nepalhiking.com/no.bin
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.