We are seeing a load of different malwares being downloaded via exploits rather than using macros in the last week. Today it looks like this behaviour is continuing. These are using multiple exploits combined in sequence.

This email pretends to be a debt recovery notice from CCICM international debt recovery service who are based in UK, claiming a sum of money for unpaid bills in USD $$. This was received by a UK recipient. The bad actors sending these seem to mixing up countries, companies and currencies. The subject line refers to DMG World Ltd who don’t appear to actually exist. The docx attachment suggests it is a medical bill.

An email with the subject of ” Payment Recovery $26563.68 DMG World Ltd, Our Reference: DT-261931″ pretending to come from Mrs Yzzi Cadwaladr <[email protected]> with a malicious word doc attachment delivers Remcos RAT, which might be used to download additional malware as well as steal everything on your computer.

They are using email addresses and subjects that will scare or 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.

Remember many email clients, especially on a mobile phone or tablet, only show the Name in the From: and not the bit in <domain.com >. That is why these scams and phishes work so well.

CCICM 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.

This version is 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 fully 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.

Now lets start to look at the complicated and difficult to follow infection chain. Which starts with PO 315 MJr 4a medical 19 02 2018 65 GHFS.docx |VirusTotal | Hybrid Analysis | Anyrun | This downloads from mashhadani ( VirusTotal) You get a 404 trying a direct download of the file, so it is insisting on either referral headers or User agents from the initial docx file.

This is actually a rtf file that contains the multiple exploits to download and run mashhadani ( VirusTotal) Anyrun shows this as multiple partial downloads but I managed to get this payload by direct download and it does appear in the anyrun report under the files section as remcos.exe

This docx is using CVE-2017-0199 in the initial stages to download the rtf file which has a doc name, which never displays to the user and is run in the background if you have low security settings in Microsoft Office. There were prompts in Anyrun to update linked files.

We noticed last week that regardless of pressing Yes or No, or even totally ignoring the prompt, the RTF was downloaded and the eventual payload downloaded & run with no further user action apart from the initial opening of the Docx file attached to the email & allowing editing & content.

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

The email looks like:
From: Mrs Yzzi Cadwaladr <[email protected]>
Date: Mon 16/04/2018 09:05
Subject: Payment Recovery $26563.68 DMG World Ltd, Our Reference: DT-261931
Attachment: PO 315 MJr 4a medical 19 02 2018 65 GHFS.docx

Body Content:

Dear Sir,
With reference to our telephone conversation, our client have instructed us to contact you in relation to the above unpaid amount, which according to their records remains outstanding and due for immediate payment. Details are noted below.
Invoice no – D140870
Debt Amount: $19888.00
Late payment Charges added: $6106.19
Interest added: $569.49
Current Balance: $26563.68

It is of vital importance that we receive documentation to support your dispute in writing regarding the above amount within the next 10 days.  If there is no dispute, we respectfully request that you contact CCI immediately to discuss receiving this payment.

In the absence of such details, we cannot request a response from our client in order to resolve this matter and therefore we must continue to pursue for the full outstanding balance.

I have put the account on hold until 30th of April, however if we do not hear from you within this time further recovery action may be taken and this matter will be referred to our recovery agent in your local area, who will be instructed to commence recovery action against you for the full amount.

Please be aware that further costs may be added if appropriate and permissible under local legislation. If you are unable to pay in full or you have a query on the account you must contact us as a matter of urgency. Our offices are open between 8:30AM to 8:00 PM weekdays and 9.00 AM to 4:00 PM Saturdays.

Yours sincerely,
Mrs Yzzi Cadwaladr
Credit Controller
Collection Department
CCI Credit Management Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 1766 771908
The CCI Centre
Fax: +44 (0) 1766 771840
Snowdonia Business Park
LL48 6LD
United Kingdom
Web: www.ccicm.com
Email: [email protected]
uthorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

This communication is from a debt collector. This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose

The information contained in this communication is intended solely for the use of the person named above and the organization to whom it is addressed. As it is strictly confidential and protected by the agent/client relationship it may contain information which is legally privileged. If you are not the named recipient you may not copy it, make use of it or use any information contained in it for any purpose or disclose its contents to any person. To do so may be unlawful. If you have received this message in error please contact us at once. We advise you to carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment as we cannot accept liability for any damage sustained as a result of any software viruses.

Company Registration No: 04358908 – FRN: 712354 – Data Protection Registration No: Z5640292 – VAT: GB801319764 – BSI 27001: IS 615404 – Registered Office: Stanhope House, Mark Rake, Bromborough, CH62 2DN
For security and training purposes all telephone calls are recorded

Email Headers:

From <[email protected]> Mon, 16 Apr 2018 09:05:20 +0100
Return-Path: <[email protected]>
Received: from vps.ndpl.net.in [] by mail; Mon, 16 Apr 2018 09:05:20 +0100
Received: from dhcp-78-8a-20-59-dc-e0.cpe.xcountry.tv ([]:40122 helo=User)
by vps.ndpl.net.in with esmtpa (Exim 4.89_1)
(envelope-from <[email protected]>)
id 1f7z8H-00014q-Md; Mon, 16 Apr 2018 08:05:03 +0000
Reply-To: <[email protected]>
From: “Mrs Yzzi Cadwaladr”<[email protected]>
Subject: Payment Recovery $26563.68 DMG World Ltd, Our Reference: DT-261931
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2018 01:04:56 -0700
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed;
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname – vps.ndpl.net.in
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain – victom.domain
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID – [47 12] / [47 12] X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain – ccicm.com
X-Get-Message-Sender-Via: vps.ndpl.net.in: authenticated_id: [email protected]
X-Authenticated-Sender: vps.ndpl.net.in: [email protected]

All the alleged senders, companies, names of employees, phone numbers, amounts, reference numbers etc. mentioned in the emails are all innocent and are just picked at 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 other 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.

This email attachment contains what appears to be a genuine word doc or Excel XLS spreadsheet with either a macro script or an embedded OLE object that when run will infect you.
Modern versions of Microsoft office, that is Office 2010, 2013, 2016 and Office 365 should be automatically set to higher security to protect you.

By default protected view is enabled and macros are disabled, UNLESS you or your company have enabled them. If protected view mode is turned off and macros are enabled then opening this malicious word document will infect you, and simply previewing it in windows explorer or your email client might well be enough to infect you. Definitely DO NOT follow the advice they give to enable macros or enable editing to see the content.

Most of these malicious word documents either appear to be totally blank or look something like these images when opened in protected view mode, which should be the default in Office 2010, 2013, 2016 and 365. Some versions pretend to have a digital RSA key and say you need to enable editing and Macros to see the content. Do NOT enable Macros or editing under any circumstances.

What Can Be Infected By This


At this time, these malicious macros only infect windows computers. They do not affect a Mac, IPhone, IPad, Blackberry, Windows phone or Android phone. The malicious word or excel file can open on any device with an office program installed, and potentially the macro will run on Windows or Mac or any other device with Microsoft Office installed.

BUT the downloaded malware that the macro tries to download is windows specific, so will not harm, install or infect any other computer except a windows computer. You will not be infected if you do not have macros enabled in Excel or Word. These Macros do not run in “Office Online” Open Office, Libre Office, Word Perfect or any other office program that can read Word or Excel files.

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

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. It might be a simple message saying “look at this picture of me I took last night” that appears to come from a friend. It might be a scare ware message that will make you open the attachment to see what you are accused of doing.

Frequently it is more targeted at somebody ( small companies etc.) who regularly receive PDF attachments or Word .doc attachments or any other common file that you use every day, for example an invoice addressed to [email protected].

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. Many of us routinely get Word, Excel or PowerPoint attachments in the course of work or from companies that we already have a relationship with.

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. A lot of 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”, an invoice or receipt from some company for a product or service or receive a Word doc or Excel file report that work has supposedly sent you to finish working on at the weekend, 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.

With these malformed infected word, excel and other office documents that normally contain a vba macro virus, the vital thing is do not open any office document direct from your email client or the web. Always save the document to a safe location on your computer, normally your downloads folder or your documents folder and scan it with your antivirus.

Many Antiviruses do not natively detect vba macro-viruses in real time protection and you need to enable document or office protection in the settings. Do not rely on your Anti-Virus to immediately detect the malware or malicious content. DO NOT enable editing mode or enable macros

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 files and PowerPoint etc that are downloaded from the web or received in an email automatically in “protected view” that stops any embedded malware or macros 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 until you are 100% sure that it is a safe document. If the protected mode bar appears when opening the document DO NOT enable editing mode or enable macros the document will look blank or have a warning message, but will be safe.

Be aware that there are a lot of 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 starting to outweigh the convenience, benefits and cost of keeping an old version going.

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.