After a short break for about 1 week, we are seeing Trickbot hitting the UK again this morning with its usual massive malspam campaign. This example is an email containing the subject of “Company tax credits ” pretending to come from HMRC but actually coming from “Lynn.B@hmrctax.co.uk” which is a look-a-like, typo-squatted or other domain that can easily be misidentified, mistaken or confused with the genuine site, with a malicious Excel spreadsheet 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 <Lynn.B@hmrctax.co.uk>
Date: Wed 19/09/2018 12:07
Subject: Company tax credits
HM Revenue & Customs
We need to check some details about your tax credits. We are working to ensure that people get the right amount of tax credits. We think that your payments might be wrong.
Please check your company report and send us all the information we ask for by 24 Sep 2018. If we don’t hear from you by this date we will suspend all or part of your tax credits payments.
In order to complete our check we also need your completed tax credits renewal. You will soon receive your tax credits renewal pack. Please complete this and send it to us as soon as possible, if you do not renew it by 24 Sep 2018, we will stop your tax credits. You can renew online at www.gov.uk/renewtaxcredits .
Its really important that you don’t ignore this letter. What we’re trying to do is to make sure you don’t end up being paid too much tax credits, resulting in a debt which you’ll have to repay later.
Mrs Lynn Brandon
CCBC/Mcol Correspondence Section
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 is only newly registered domain 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, that are hosted on & sending emails from 4 different servers.. Some days however we do see dozens or even hundreds of fake domains.
Today’s example of the spoofed domain is, as usual, registered via Godaddy as registrar. Because of new GDPR rules we cannot easily find the registrants name or any further details. The criminals have also wasted their money or the money on a stolen credit card used to register this domain. They have registered it for 5 years instead of the usual default 2 years for a UK domain. I am not aware of Godaddy or any other registrar having a special offer or sale on registering UK domains for an extended period.
- hmrctax.co.uk hosted on & sending emails via 126.96.36.199| 188.8.131.52 |184.108.40.206| 220.127.116.11|
This malware doc file downloads from http://dev.peachybelts.co.uk/lin.kens which is a renamed .exe file VirusTotal | Gtag Ser 0919
The alternate Download location is http://scullmaster.com/lin.kens
The folder for the files & configs is: C:\Users\[User]\AppData\Roaming\mssert
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.
Email from: Lynn.B@hmrctax.co.uk