A bit of a complicated and somewhat unusual malware delivery method this time. When I received this email earlier today, I was convinced it was a simple phishing scam. The url in the email gave me a 404 not found and I thought they were trying to perform the phish or scam via the phone numbers in the email which don’t seem to track to any known company. A contact on Twitter however managed to contact the site & found the malware chain.
An email with the subject of “Action needed: Activity confirmation” pretending to come from HSBC but actually coming from email@example.com eventually delivers Nymaim ransomware and banking trojan
Here is where we go on a chain of download & diverts to get to then malware payload
Start with http://globaljobsearch.com/iw redirects to https://padlock.link/trans which redirects to https://docs.google.com/uc?id=1JSD6Vwb5XbQ2HV2WXi8Bac3wKFOJjm1I which in turn eventually gives you https://doc-0o-54-docs.googleusercontent.com/docs/securesc/ha0ro937gcuc7l7deffksulhg5h7mbp1/e2vee1qs1lgbkctvd1gjlt6bari90d7n/1522936800000/09918653276902835338/*/1JSD6Vwb5XbQ2HV2WXi8Bac3wKFOJjm1I which delivers a VBS script Card Transaction Log.vbs Current Virus total detections: Hybrid analysis | Anyrun | This VBS has a mass of junk padding to wade through & ignore, before decoding
I think it is very fussy about where it runs from because Anyrun didn’t give me much and seems blocked from downloading the files
This malware file in turn downloads from http://18.104.22.168/1233123312331233/marlynmonro/ilovecanadagirl101010101101010/index.php which gave an image file disguised as a bin file which the vbs renames to the correct .png & simply displays an image saying “Mailchimp”
It also download http://22.214.171.124/1233123312331233/marlynmonro/ilovecanadagirl101010101101010/pretty.png which of course is not an image file but a renamed .exe ( VirusTotal)
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.
HSBC 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
One of the emails looks like:
From: HSBC Security <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu 05/04/2018 12:16
Subject: Action needed: Activity confirmation
Action issued: Activity confirmation
HSBC Fraud Protection Services: HSBC ATM or HSBC Debit Card ending 1189
Please tell us if you, or other person , used your HSBC ATM or HSBC Debit Card for:
Unconfirmed HSBC Debit or ATM Card Transactions
Do you recognize each transaction listed above?
CONFIRM – dial 0800 085 7080 (+44 1442 420521 if you are overseas.)
– Your Chase card remains active.
– If any purchase was declined, you won’t be charged until you will try again.
NO – dial 0800 085 9199 (+44 1442 427549 if you are overseas.)
– Your card will be blocked, and we’ll call you.
HSBC Fraud Protection Services
Keep contact information of the account up-to-date. In case of fraudulent or unusual activity, we’ll need to know the best way to notify you – Sign in to your account.
© Copyright HSBC Bank plc 2018. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement
Please do not reply to this email – use the contact points on the HSBC Bank web site to contact us. http://www.hsbc.co.uk
HSBC Bank plc Registered Office: 8 Canada Square, London E14 5HQ. Registered in England – Number 22537.
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.