This example is an email containing the subject of “FW: Account Documents ” pretending to come from Santander Bank but actually coming from a look-a-like or typo-squatted domain “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 version is probably using Threadkit which is an office doc exploit builder using the Microsoft Equation Editor Exploit CVE-2017-11882 and probably 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 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.
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From: Santander <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue 01/05/2018 12:33
Subject: FW: Account Documents
Please find attached your secure documents. Please review, complete and return completed documents via email to email@example.com.
If you have any queries relating to the above, feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This message was sent to you as a Santander customer, to tell you about important information concerning your account.
Please do not reply to this email. It has been sent from an email address that does not accept incoming emails. Santander will never ask you to supply personal information such as passwords or other security information via email. As an additional security measure, every customer email will be addressed to you personally. If you receive an email from Santander which is not personally addressed to you, or an email requesting personal information, please report this to email@example.com.
Santander UK plc. Registered Office: 2 Triton Square, Regent’s Place, London, NW1 3AN, United Kingdom. Registered Number 2294747. Registered in England. www.santander.co.uk. Telephone 0870 607 6000. Calls may be recorded or monitored. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Our Financial Services Register number is 106054. Santander UK plc is also licensed by the Financial Supervision Commission of the Isle of Man for its branch in the Isle of Man. Deposits held with the Isle of Man branch are covered by the Isle of Man Depositors’ Compensation Scheme as set out in the Isle of Man Depositors’ Compensation Scheme Regulations 2010. In the Isle of Man, Santander UK plc’s principal place of business is at 19/21 Prospect Hill, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1ET. Santander and the flame logo are registered trademarks.
You can check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA’s website www.fca.org.uk/register or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768.
Santander 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 are between 2 and 4 newly registered domains 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. Some days however we do see dozens or even hundreds of fake domains. Today they only appear to be using 1 domain but 3 servers linked to that domain to send the emails
Today’s example of the spoofed domain is registered via Godaddy as registrar using privacy protection services
- santander-bank.co.uk sending emails via 188.8.131.52free.example.com Victoria Saint Louis SC AS21100 ITL Company | 184.108.40.206 hosting.eurohoster.org Burgas Burgas BG AS49981 WorldStream B.V. | 220.127.116.11 807f6ca6-static.iperimoveis.com.br Tullinge Stockholm SE AS51430 AltusHost B.V. |
This malware doc file downloads from http://tasfitness.com/2593f737367806c10fb5aa7766eda1ea4a.bin which is renamed .exe file ( VirusTotal) Gtag ser0501
The alternate Download location is http://opticsigns.com/2593f737367806c10fb5aa7766eda1ea4a.bin
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.