This example is an email containing the subject of “I have securely shared file(s) with you” pretending to come from Microsoft Rights Management but actually coming from a look-a-like, typo-squatted or other domain that can easily be misidentified, mistaken or confused with the genuine site. “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 was much bigger campaign that normal today with just over 100 copies in about 30 minutes. However all of them were detected and blocked by the spam filter on my mail server, so I assume that the lack of noise about this campaign on social media means that most other spam filters also worked.
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
From: Microsoft Rights Management <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue 24/07/2018 13:26
Subject: I have securely shared file(s) with you
The sender has protected the attachment(s) with Microsoft Rights Management
Note: To protect against computer viruses, e-mail programs may prevent sending or receiving certain types of file attachments. Check your e-mail security settings to determine how attachments are handled.
Microsoft or any Microsoft department 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.
- protected.org.uk hosted on & sending emails via 188.8.131.52| 184.108.40.206 |220.127.116.11| 18.104.22.168|
Continuing with the behaviour we have been seeing recently with the macros on these word docs. They are using some sort of Active X control ( looks like ink picture resize active X control today. We have also been seeing ink picture paint recently) to start & run the macro, so it needs an extra couple of clicks from the victim to get infected. You actually have to enable activeX content then close the word doc & re-open it for the macro to fire off while using anyrun. I am not sure if this is the same behaviour in a real computer or only in the VM.
The alternate Download location is http://drpeterhonmd.com/pic.mic
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: email@example.com