This example is an email containing the subject of “You have received new messages from HMRC ” pretending to come from HMRC but actually coming from a look-a-like or typo-squatted domain “email@example.com ” 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.
A slight change to the delivery method today
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
Date: Fri 25/05/2018 12:44
Subject: You have received new messages from HMRC
You have new notifications relating to Tax Notices (P6/P6T).
Please download attached document and sign Tax Form. Please complete, sign and date the following form and fax a completed form to HMRC at your earliest convenience on 03000 543 889.
Please do not reply to this e-mail
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 example of the spoofed domain is registered via Godaddy as registrar. However due to new GDPR regulations we no longer have access to any registrants details so we don’t know if these criminals are using privacy protection or whether they are using false or stolen details.
- notifications-hmrcgov.uk hosted on and sending emails via 188.8.131.52 NL AS60778 NETBRELLA CORPORATION | 184.108.40.206 NL AS60781 LeaseWeb Netherlands B.V. | 220.127.116.11 | 18.104.22.168 |
There are also tracking pixels in the email going to https://4ovi80vs.emltrk.com/4ovi80vs?f&d=pmta8
FORMP16T.docx Current Virus total detections | Hybrid Analysis | Anyrun | This uses the embedded urls functions in documents rels to download a malicious rtf doc from http://cypruscars4u.com/logo.jpg I am not sure what renames the jpg back to rtf but it must be somewhere in the word doc VirusTotal| Anyrun|
The alternate Download location is http://responsivepixels.co.uk/logo.bin
The module & file location has changed yet again today to C:\Users\user name\AppData\Roaming\freenet\
This Trickbot version is sleeping for a lot longer than usual and appears to have some extra anti-sandbox protections stopping VM or Sandbox from fully analysing it. Update, it eventually gave something decent but the amount of time it is sleeping is problematic for analysis online.
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.