It has been very quiet with regards to malware in the UK for the last month or so. All I have been seeing has been the commodity malware like AgentTesla, Hawkeye & Lokibot that is frequently used by Skiddies and low grade bad actors who buy an off the shelf exploit kit and just fill in a few variables. These are so common that I haven’t bothered with them, except to submit any poorly detected samples to Antivirus companies.
I have also been quite ill for the last month, so haven’t been able to do very much anyway, so the slowdown in malware during the summer holidays has been very welcome.
Now the holidays are over in UK we are starting to see a slight uptick to malware hitting our inboxes.
Today we start with a Qbot backdoor pretending to be an update notice from west-telecom.com.
This has 2 links in the email, firstly a link to download a zip file containing an encrypted, obfuscated, encoded VBS file which drops 2 exe files. One malware backdoor and the legitimate windows calc.exe.
This malware vbs file drops a random named file VirusTotal | and a genuine copy of calc.exe under the same name as the malware file. This has multiple connections to several IP addresses where encrypted information appears to be exchanged.
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
As far as I can tell west-telecom.com 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. But west-telecom.com does not appear to actually exist any longer and the www.west-telecom.com redirects to a french telecom company https://4g.ozonepro.net/. Whereas the default http://west-telecom.com just gives a 404 not found. To compound the problem the SPF settings on the site dns lookups are incorrectly set to allow anybody to send emails on behalf of west-telecom.com. We are seeing these being sent via numerous different IP addresses, domains and servers.
This all starts with the link in the email to http://marketprice.com.ng/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/dichotomy-GQrV.zip which appears to be a compromised Nigerian E-Commerce site with an open directory listing & loads more malware and different versions of this available to download and at least 2 different webshells in the revslider directory.
The email also has an attempted phishing scam to a site that was closed down months ago by the hosting company. https://email@example.com
When we look at the open directory listings on http://marketprice.com.ng/wp-content/uploads we see several different versions of the zip file & VBS files along with various webshells
One of the emails looks like:
Date: Thu 05/09/2019 18:11
Subject: west-telecom.com Update Notice
I have something for you. Please see attached and confirm.
Please confirm your email address
We are undergoing maintenance therefore all accounts must be updated to avoid suspension, this is to reduce the number of dormant accounts.
Failure to update in 12 hours, your account will be temporary suspended
Please confirm your email account below.
Confirm your email address
©2019 Administrator. All Rights Reserved.
These malicious attachments normally have a password stealing component, with the aim of stealing your bank, PayPal or other financial details along with your email or FTP ( web space) log in credentials. Many of them are also designed to specifically steal your Facebook and other social network log in details. A very high proportion are Ransomware versions that encrypt your files and demand money ( about £350/$400) to recover the files.All the alleged senders, amounts, reference numbers, Bank codes, companies, names of employees, employee positions, email addresses and phone numbers mentioned in the emails are all 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 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.
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.
This is another one of the files that unless you have “show known file extensions enabled“, can easily be mistaken for a genuine DOC / PDF / JPG or other common file instead of the .EXE / .JS file it really is, so making it much more likely for you to accidentally open it and be infected.
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. Whether it is a message saying “look at this picture of me I took last night” and it appears to come from a friend or is more targeted at somebody who regularly is likely to receive PDF attachments or Word .doc attachments or any other common file that you use every day.
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.
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. Many 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” or a report in word document format that work has supposedly sent you to finish working on at the weekend, or an invoice or order confirmation from some company, 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.
While the malicious program is inside the zip file, it cannot harm you or automatically run. When it is just sitting unzipped in your downloads folder it won’t infect you, provided you don’t click it to run it. Just delete the zip and any extracted file and everything will be OK. You can always run a scan with your antivirus to be sure. There are some zip files that can be configured by the bad guys to automatically run the malware file when you double click the zip to extract the file. If you right click any suspicious zip file received, and select extract here or extract to folder ( after saving the zip to a folder on the computer) that risk is virtually eliminated. Never attempt to open a zip directly from your email, that is a guaranteed way to get infected. The best way is to just delete the unexpected zip and not risk any infection.
Main object- “dichotomy-GQrV.vbs”
Dropped executable file
sha256 C:\Users\admin\AppData\Local\Temp\ovcBXwleb.exe 259e8c4576444287f43218b2f6754da1d50339fdb4c4d8c9634ff72e6e2521f5
sha256 C:\Users\admin\AppData\Local\Temp\ovcBXwleb.exe 80c10ee5f21f92f89cbc293a59d2fd4c01c7958aacad15642558db700943fa22