The Trickbot gang have returned to the tried & trusted method of attaching malicious RTF word docs to the email instead of creating fake sites spoofing the entity to download the files. This example is an email containing the subject of “Accelerated payment notice ” pretending to come from HM Revenue & Customs 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
This version is probably using Threadkit which is an office doc exploit builder using the Microsoft Equation Editor Exploits CVE-2017-11882 and CVE-2017-8570 and other office exploits instead of Macros. I understand that one of the exploits being used possibly uses an exploit in Adobe flash that when run crashes word and allows the shell code. I am informed that even if you are fully updated in Microsoft Office but flash player is outdated, this exploit still runs and will infect you. I am not 100% certain if protected view in Microsoft Office stops this but I believe it does. This is one reason to add additional security and make sure you set RTF files to display only and not allow editing of RTF files at all. That will stop this and any other currently known exploit from running.
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
From: HM Revenue & Customs <email@example.com>
Date: Fri 11/05/2018 12:06
Subject: Accelerated payment notice
Accelerated payment notice
Date 11 May 2018
Our ref #19060418
This accelerated payment notice is for Income Tax (PAYE) and relates to the scheme shown in the attached document.
For the tax year ended May 7 2015
Amount due in respect of this notice:
About this notice
Where this notice refers to ‘you’ as the business that must pay Income Tax and/or National Insurance contributions to HMRC using the PAYE system.
It is possible that this E-mail has been received by you in error. If so, please note that it may contain confidential information, and we ask that you notify the author by replying to it, then delete it immediately, and take no further action as a result of receiving it. Although we take care by ensuring that any files attached to E-mails sent from our office have been checked with up-to-date virus detection software, you should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be caused by software viruses.
All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
HMRC / HM Revenue & Customs 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 example of the spoofed domain is registered via Godaddy as registrar using fake registrants details
- hmrc-email-gov.uk sending emails via 188.8.131.52 | 184.108.40.206 |220.127.116.11 | 18.104.22.168 free.example.com Meppel Drenthe NL AS21100 ITL Company |
This malware doc file downloads from http://basedow-bilder.de/gando.bin which is renamed .exe file ( VirusTotal) Gtag ser 0511
The alternate Download location is http://chimachinenow.com/gando.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.