This is today’s latest spoof or imitation of a well-known company, bank or public authority delivering Trickbot banking Trojan. The email with the subject of “FW: Confidential documents” pretends to come from Lloyds Bank, but actually comes from “Robina.Bennett@lloydsbankonline.uk” which is a look-a-like, typo-squatted or other domain that can easily be misidentified, mistaken or confused with the genuine site. These all have a link to download the malicious Word Doc from a remote website.
We are back to a slightly more complicated or involved Trickbot download campaign today with links in the email to download the word doc instead of attachments in the email. This type of malware delivery campaign does tend to have a much shorter “shelf life” or campaign duration than the more usual office file attachment version, sometimes only between a few minutes and 2 or 3 hours, but in that very short period of time hundreds if not thousands of victims can still be infected. This is because the domain names and websites involved look so realistic and are so similar to the genuine company’s name or website url. The criminals have also added an additional step today where you need to enter a password or access code on the website. That prevents automatic analysis tools from following the email link and retrieving or detecting any malware.
It is much easier for a registrar to block, delete or null route the DNS entries to remove access to the fake sites hosting the malware. It is much harder when compromised legitimate servers are spreading the payload and can take much longer to persuade a hosting company to block access. In these cases we frequently see the payload still active weeks after the initial campaign and reports to the hosting company or companies.
These do need quite a degree of user interaction to get infected. First you have to click the link in the email. Then enter the password or code on the fake website. Then you have to press the “open in word” button on the website that spoofs or imitates the company. Then accept the download & either open it directly or save it. If you save it, then you have to open the word doc and then in any case enable macros and content to be infected.
Lloyds Bank 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 the genuine Company, Bank, Government Department or message sending service. There are either one or two newly registered domain that imitates a well known Company, Government Department, Bank or other organisation that can easily be confused with the genuine body or website in some way. These are hosted on & send the emails from 3 or 4 different servers. Some days however we do see dozens or even hundreds of fake domains sending emails. Today we have 2 very similar typo-squatted or look-a-like domains, one sending the emails with the second domain hosting the Malicious Office files & the Trickbot payload.
The DNS entry for lloydsbankonline.co.uk is very slow to propagate today so hopefully Godaddy will null route it before it does fully propagate & save most recipients from being infected by this. For me to get the malware doc file & the malware payload. I had to look up the DNS entry & add the IP number to my hosts file so I could contact the site.
Today’s example of the spoofed domains are, as usual, registered via Godaddy as registrar. Because of new GDPR rules we cannot easily find the registrants name or any further details.
- lloydsbankonline.uk Hosted on & sending emails via 188.8.131.52| 184.108.40.206|220.127.116.11| 18.104.22.168|
- lloydsbankonline.co.uk Hosted on and distributing the XLS file and the Trickbot payload from 22.214.171.124
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
From: Lloyds Bank <Robina.Bennett@lloydsbankonline.uk>
Date: Wed 14/11/2018 12:48
Subject: FW: Confidential documents
This email was sent from a notification-only email address which cannot accept incoming email. Please do not reply directly to this message.
We have uploaded invoices/documents related to your account, please check the link below for more information.
Please use this authorisation code to view your documents
Documents will be automatically deleted on Nov 15, 2018 @ 09:21 AM (GMT)
The submission number is id: 8d6ba737-775e8bdc-f95f16f3-1b460259
Please quote this number in any communications with Lloyds Bank.
Robina Barker Bennett
Calls may be monitored or recorded in case we need to check we have carried out your instructions correctly and to help improve our quality of service.
Disclaimer: This email and any attachments are confidential and for the sole use of the recipients. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender.
Email Security Powered by Lloyds Bank Online. Copyright 2002-2018 Lloyds Bank Security, PLC. All rights reserved.
The link in the email goes to https://lloydsbankonline.co.uk/secure8272635_x-r-lloydsbank_layout_lds3eb56-5123-489c-8ca7-a87ecaff5876_7D_action=default_uid=_7BFDC3EB56-5123-489C-8CA7-A87ECAFF5876_7D_ListItemId=86_ListId=_7B1B27C90C-FR233-481D-AA20-8DFSS8X07AD7_7D_odsp=1_env=docs/ Where a word doc containing macros is downloaded after you enter the security code.
You first get sent to a webpage looking like these examples, with a moving bar under the Lloyds bank logo so you think that something is actually preparing.
Then you need to enter the Access code from the email
Then a page with a warning saying online preview not available and you need to open in Word
Then when you press the open in Word button you get sent to this page which downloads the Word Doc automatically.
There is only one download location for the Trickbot binary today with this campaign.
The folder for the files & configs is: C:\Users\[User]\AppData\Roaming\vsvsid
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: Robina.Bennett@lloydsbankonline.uk