There is an updated version of this malware delivery campaign 11 May 2018. Almost identical email but using firstname.lastname@example.org https://myonlinesecurity.co.uk/fake-hm-revenue-customs-accelerated-payment-notice-delivers-trickbot-via-equation-editor-exploits/
This example is an email containing the subject of “Accelerated payment notice ” pretending to come from HMRC but actually coming from a look-a-like or typo-squatted domain email@example.com or 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
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From: HM Revenue & Customs <email@example.com> or HM Revenue & Customs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri 06/04/2018 11:23
Subject: Accelerated payment notice
Accelerated payment notice
Date 06 April 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 April 5 2014
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 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 using privacy protection services.
- hmrc-email.co.uk hosted on & sending emails via 126.96.36.199| 188.8.131.52 |
- hmrc-notice.co.uk hosted on & sending emails via 184.108.40.206| 220.127.116.11 |
There is a change to the word doc today and instead of using the traditional macros it is using a variation of the DDE exploit with updating links. Either CVE-2017-8570 or CVE-2017-11882. I am more inclined to think it is 11882 but could even be using both as it using the Microsoft Equation Editor in this exploit to download the payload, but it also is asking to update links which I don’t normally see with 11182.
You can see screenshots of the word doc on Hybrid analysis or Anyrun
This malware doc file downloads from https://bouwgoed.nl/hakus.png which of course is not an image file but a renamed .exe file ( VirusTotal) Anyrun |
Unusually there only appears to be 1 download location for the Trickbot payload today
I am informed alternate download location is http://joecreek.com/hakus.png
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.