Fake Hmrc Submission Email Delivers Some Sort Of Malware

Office Macro Malware

I am having difficulty working out what is happening with this malware. The details about it were uploaded via our submissions system yesterday afternoon when I was out for a medical appointment. I don’t have a copy of the original email, only the body content which was pasted in to the message and the link it led to, with details of the alleged original sender. I think it is a banking trojan / Info-stealer

UPDATE: Being told it is Ursnif / Gozi banking trojan that is heavily geo-ip restricted

The email pretends to be from HMRC with a link in the email body.

They use email addresses and subjects that will entice a user to read the email and open the attachment. A very high proportion are being targeted at small and medium size businesses, with the hope of getting a better response than they do from consumers.

You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system

Following the link is where it all gets quite strange & I end up down a rabbit hole with lots of dead ends.

Link: http://list704.videogamescrapbook.com/437fccfe26b004a3   which gave me a zip file containing a vbs

Submission 034-AZ87502.zip : Extracts to:  Submission 034-AZ87502.vbs             Current Virus total detections:  Anyrun |

This VBS then downloads  https://contemplativepsych.com/data/result.xps which is a renamed .exe file that is digitally signed, that on my computer I see as revoked, but anyrun sees it as OK  VirusTotal | Anyrun |

Running this .exe file Anyrun tried to post to what must be a C2 address https://posakloska.com/index.htm which gives 404 but when you run under a normal IP, but when you try using Tor and a UK exit node you get  a strange looking site which all investigations tell me is a Google owned site.


This then downloads multiple small files which are combined together to make what appears to be a  genuine signed Google updater. VirusTotal  which also seems to drop 2 diff files  inside 7z ( zip files)

But running the same XPS file under W8.1 on Anyrun is giving me somewhat different results and appears to be sending lots of information to https://posakloska.com/index.htm

I am also seeing some connections to idealefunds.website which is a Russian website and that only appeared when I was playing around on Anyrun and trying a couple of banking sites which suggests to me that this is some sort of banking trojan info stealer.

The other big problem that is happening here is that everything is IP restricted and all the original links only work from a UK IP. That makes it very difficult to get any full chain and I had to run parts through Anyrun using Tor with a UK exit node. But it is highly likely that Tor nodes are being detected and we are consequently getting a fake download to throw off analysts.

I am hoping some of my Twitter contacts will be able to investigate further

This malware file downloads from

One of the  emails looks like:

From: Gateway Confirmation <mark.brown@videogamescrapbook.com>

Subject: Unsuccessful submission for Reference 034/AZ87502

Body content:

HM Revenue & Customs
Unsuccessful submission for Reference 034/AZ87502
The submission for reference 034/AZ87502 was successfully received but unfortunately failed HM Revenue & Customs data checks and could not be accepted.

Please use the link below to view your submission, correct it and send again.

Submission for reference 034/AZ87502

If you continue having problems, please contact the Online Services Helpdesk.

Telephone 0300 200 3700, Textphone 0300 200 3603 or email helpdesk@irefile.gov.uk

We are open:
Monday to Friday – 08.00 to 20.00
Saturday – 08.00 to 16.00
We are closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day


These malicious attachments normally have a password stealing component, with the aim of stealing your bank, PayPal or other financial details along with your email or FTP ( web space) log in credentials. Many of them are also designed to specifically steal your Facebook and other social network log in details. A very high proportion are Ransomware versions that encrypt your files and demand money ( about £350/$400) to recover the files.

  All the alleged senders, amounts, reference numbers, Bank codes, companies, names of employees, employee positions, email addresses and phone numbers mentioned in the emails are all random. Some of these companies will exist and some won’t.  Don’t try to respond by phone or email, all you will do is end up with an innocent person or company who have had their details spoofed and picked at random from a long list that the bad guys have previously found. The bad guys choose companies, Government departments and organisations  with subjects that are designed to entice you or alarm you into blindly opening the attachment or clicking the link in the email to see what is happening.  

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.


This is another one of the  files that unless you have “show known file extensions enabled“, can easily be mistaken for  a genuine  DOC / PDF / JPG or other common file instead of the .EXE / .JS file it really is, so making it much more likely for you to accidentally open it and be infected.

 Be very careful with email attachments. All of these emails use Social engineering tricks to persuade you to open the attachments that come with the email. Whether it is a message saying “look at this picture of me I took last night” and it appears to come from a friend or is more targeted at somebody who regularly is likely to receive PDF attachments or Word .doc attachments or any other common file that you use every day.

The basic rule is NEVER open any attachment to an email, unless you are expecting it. Now that is very easy to say but quite hard to put into practice, because we all get emails with files attached to them. Our friends and family  love to send us pictures of them doing silly things, or even cute pictures of the children or pets.

Never just blindly click on the file in your email program. Always save the file to your downloads folder, so you can check it first. Many malicious files that are attached to emails will have a faked extension. That is the 3 letters at the end of the file name. Unfortunately windows by default hides the file extensions so you need to Set your folder options to “show known file types. Then when you unzip the zip file that is supposed to contain the pictures of “Sally’s dog catching a ball” or a report in word document format that work has supposedly sent you to finish working on at the weekend, or an invoice or order confirmation from some company,  you can easily see if it is a picture or document & not a malicious program.

If you see JS or .EXE or .COM or .PIF or .SCR or .HTA .vbs, .wsf , .jse  .jar at the end of the file name DO NOT click on it or try to open it, it will infect you.

While the malicious program is inside the zip file, it cannot harm you or automatically run. When it is just sitting unzipped in your downloads folder it won’t infect you, provided you don’t click it to run it. Just delete the zip and any extracted file and everything will be OK. You can always run a scan with your antivirus to be sure. There are some zip files that can be configured by the bad guys to automatically run the malware file when you double click the zip to extract the file. If you right click any suspicious zip file received, and select extract here or extract to folder ( after saving the zip to a folder on the computer) that risk is virtually eliminated. Never attempt to open a zip directly from your email, that is a guaranteed way to get infected. The best way is to just delete the unexpected zip and not risk any infection.



Main object- “Submission 034-AZ87502.vbs”
sha256 a735fc777e724c310b096a5c495a79d59832b65c2ca532d020a29508462f850d
sha1 be5f9562920fa5f666b91d6b0ce59bb06774cd39
md5 50d4420310503a35b1ffe70a48febba4
DNS requests
domain contemplativepsych.com
HTTP/HTTPS requests
url https://contemplativepsych.com/data/result.xps

Main object- “result.xps”
sha256 12158687a8ccfe84dbcccc02e5dc67c48bdaa95230d26e27551de5a2d4dbbdfb
sha1 5de53c87a2e45c7d82c2855b1afda34cc8998020
md5 cf610ae92bf9fd7e3e77598a998a1ee0
Dropped executable file
sha256 C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Update\Download\{8A69D345-D564-463C-AFF1-A69D9E530F96}\73.0.3683.86\73.0.3683.86_73.0.3683.75_chrome_updater.exe 6388585ed67f7c04445b2388b32228c3672b2d59628677cb83205e65e4c7abc0
sha256 C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Temp\source2192_1739\Chrome-bin\73.0.3683.86\d3dcompiler_47.dll 4432bbd1a390874f3f0a503d45cc48d346abc3a8c0213c289f4b615bf0ee84f3
sha256 C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Temp\source2192_1739\Chrome-bin\73.0.3683.86\WidevineCdm\_platform_specific\win_x64\widevinecdm.dll 6be25e57589de9704ed81b4615230b77a11fe3c1674555d4fa6314e6f873bcae
sha256 C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Temp\source2192_1739\Chrome-bin\chrome_proxy.exe 4a32c6e11a48acab3a470b854296f869b8b5fe803bdd91ea58e1033c4fed605f
sha256 C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Temp\source2192_1739\Chrome-bin\chrome.exe fbabdb68ba095638602aeabf903599db281452040e2bbd3a1ba6491e23dae2ad
sha256 C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Temp\scoped_dir2192_4825\chrome.exe cd29e326784607c9c9706445f8bce7957baa92e77b677ec26866123ed8ffccaa
sha256 C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\73.0.3683.86\Installer\setup.exe c028b4732577a3cbe1c5ec47f87763a5da817fc87377026b3ca11a8e02ebdf14
DNS requests
domain posakloska.com
domain curlmyip.net
domain idealefunds.website

HTTP/HTTPS requests
url http://curlmyip.net/

Main object- “result.xps”
sha256 12158687a8ccfe84dbcccc02e5dc67c48bdaa95230d26e27551de5a2d4dbbdfb
sha1 5de53c87a2e45c7d82c2855b1afda34cc8998020
md5 cf610ae92bf9fd7e3e77598a998a1ee0
DNS requests
domain posakloska.com