This example 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 “TD Bank Secure Mail ” pretends to come from TD Bank, but actually comes from “email@example.com” 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 file from a remote website with another very similar domain name.
This came in last night at about 6pm UTC but I wasn’t around to look at it. By the time I started to look at it, early this morning, all sites were down. I managed to find the payload via VirusTotal and following links and eventually found it on Hybrid analysis. It looks like either the hosting company and registrar Godaddy took down or blocked the site quite quickly or the bad actors only had it running for a few hours . It is also extremely likely that this campaign was Geo-specific and only targeting Canada and USA. The dns on both domains involved in this malware campaign still states Godaddy DNS servers and doesn’t have the usual suspended DNS servers, so it is highly probable that the bad actors just ran a very short campaign and tried to keep it under the radar so they can re-use the domains again very soon.
Hopefully because this appeared to have stopped very quickly and Trickbot payloads or the Excel spreadsheet did not appear to be available for more than a couple of hours, very few recipients will have actually been infected by it. I have only seen 1 other report about this one on the net so far and payloads were quite difficult & time consuming to find. This hopefully means it was very low volume, with fewer victims than usual.
We are back to a slightly more complicated or involved Trickbot download campaign today with links in the email to download an XLS excel spreadsheet which in turn downloads the Trickbot payload 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.
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.
TD 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.
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.
- securemail-td.com Hosted on & sending emails via 22.214.171.124 | 126.96.36.199|188.8.131.52 | 184.108.40.206|
- tdsecuremail.com Hosted on and distributing the Trickbot payload from 4 or 5 different IP addresses as well. The first 4 were live yesterday but the final one is only live today but no malware payload. 220.127.116.11 | 18.104.22.168 |22.214.171.124 | 126.96.36.199|188.8.131.52 | I can ping the final IP but cannot connect via a browser, but only when I add the IP to my hosts file.
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
From: TD Secure Mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue 26/02/2019 17:50
Subject: TD Bank Secure Mail
Click to Read Message (New users may need to verify their email address) Need help?
Support information or Video tutorial
Your personalized image for: email@example.com This personal security image will appear on all secure email to you. Email Security Powered by Voltage IBE(tm)
Copyright 2019 TD Bank. All rights reserved
This is what it looks like as it arrives in Outlook where the formatting makes it impossible to read the link or see the text on the button
This is opening the email in a browser or via a webmail service
The link in the email goes to https://tdsecuremail.com/netorg3168827/business_layouts_sourcedoc=%7BE598D31A-A7E5-410E-ABE6-675D8EA08ABB%7D&file=SecureMail.xls_action=edit-mobileredirect=true-wdNewAndOpenCt=17471982280_wdPreviousSession=82e4b963-12ad-4787-bdd2-6927b5a0a4fd_wdOrigin=businessbanking.tdcommercialbanking.com/
There was the usual intermediate step that involved a fake bank site that downloaded the XLS spreadsheet. The site was down by the time I looked at this, but I manged to find Anyrun reports showing the site
This downloaded the XLS sheet
SecureMail.xlsm Current Virus total detections | Anyrun [link] [xls]|Hybrid analysis | I couldn’t find the Trickbot binary download location via Anyrun but did find it in Hybrid analysis. There wasn’t a connection made so Anyrun doesn’t show locations, whereas Hybrid Analysis does also use static analysis which decodes the macro as far as it can to show what are supposed to be the download locations.
There is only one download location for the Trickbot binary today with this campaign, although it appeared to use 4 or 5 different IP addresses and servers all hosted by Godaddy.
The folder for the files, modules & configs is: C:\Users\[User]\AppData\Roaming\appnet
I cannot tell if any of the modules are different or have been changed since last week, but based on the change in delivery method, it is highly likely that there might be changes in the Trickbot files, modules and configs as well.
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.
Main object- “SecureMail.xlsm”
Main object- “tnq092.exe”
Dropped executable file
sha256 C:\Users\admin\AppData\Roaming\appnet\data.tmp 5ceec909f3dfc890fdd1e76d6f3cc093465c9d980d68b9987fc3f5eb289b6bd2
Email from: firstname.lastname@example.org