Over the last month or 6 weeks we, along with many other researchers, have noticed quite a drop in Malspam, in fact in spam generally. Nobody quite knows why but generally this means one or other of the major spam sending botnets has been taken down or is retooling & getting ready for a new set of campaigns.

One of the few constant malware versions we are all seeing on a steady, almost daily basis, but using lowish volumes to stay somewhat under the radar is Hawkeye Keylogger. These generally aren’t worth posting about. They tend to use such generic emails that just never contain enough pointers or indicators to make posting worthwhile. All I normally do is tweet the info and submit to anti-virus companies so other researchers can add the sites to block-lists etc.

However like today, we occasionally get a more interesting sample that is worth mentioning. This version of Hawkeye is a typical version that on the face of it looks no different to any other version.

What makes this one “special” is the email address & domain that the stolen data is exfiltrated to. AND who the sender of the emails is. They come via the Oracle cloud delivery SMTP system which passes all normal email authentication methods and ensures a higher deliver rate.

Now I need to explain a little bit about how we find the information & the miscreants’s details including his user name & password. We use Anyrun which is an online sandbox, analysing system that has the ability amongst other analysis to intercept https requests & display them to the person running the malware in the online analysing system.

OK now now we get to the nitty-gritty & some details. It all starts with a malformed RTF file / word doc attached to a fake invoice / order etc containing an exploit that leads to a download of the Hawkeye keylogger/ info stealer.

Payment-Receipt.doc Current Virus total detections: Anyrun |

This malware rtf doc first contacts where it is redirected to download from ( VirusTotal ) Hopefully all of which will soon be down to prevent other victims. So far since it went live at 6 am 20th May 2019 there have been 124 clicks , so 123 prospective victims, but I am sure some of those will be other researchers & sandboxes.

Now if we look at the anyrun report & select the network connections tab & select the SMTP port 587 entry gator3285.hostgator.com we can see the miscreants details. The email address for both sending & receiving the stolen information is clearly shown in both plain text and base 64 encoded format ( [email protected] ) together with his password in base 64 format.

This is where it becomes more interesting than usual because spytector.com is a website selling an “undetectable” keylogger and info stealer. I have no way of knowing if the email address is a compromised email address, which is very common for Hawkeye campaigns, which would be very poetic justice for a keylogger vendor. Or whether the sellers of Spytector are not doing very well and need an additional source of income so are Hawkeye to steal more.


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

The email looks like:

From: [email protected]

Date: Mon 20/05/2019 17:47

Subject: Payment Receipt

Attachment: Payment-Receipt.doc

Body content:

Dear Sir/Madam

ᅡᅠ Kindly verify the payment made to your company in the attached file.
we hope to get a quick response from you in-regards to the payment made from our company to yours.

Kindest Regards,ᅡᅠ
Mrs.Rachael (Purchase dpt)


Fake Payment receipt email

Email Headers:

IP Hostname City Region Country Organisation US AS33517 Oracle Corporation

Received: from ([]:51704)
by my email server with esmtps (TLSv1.2:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:256)
(Exim 4.91)
(envelope-from <[email protected]>)
id 1hSlEh-000121-EI
for [email protected]; Mon, 20 May 2019 17:34:04 +0100
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed; s=OCIEmail04052018;
Date: Mon, 20 May 2019 16:33:58 +0000
To: [email protected]
From: Mrs Rachael <[email protected]>
Reply-To: [email protected]
Subject: Payment Receipt
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
X-Mailer: Mailster 2.3.18 (5.2.26)
X-Mailster: 27fab457a4af8870b891f20fe86cebc1
X-Mailster-Campaign: 77
X-Mailster-ID: a387640443551df4a89ba03ead767487
List-Unsubscribe: <https://user3.fastmailer.co/newsletter-signup/unsubscribe/27fab457a4af8870b891f20fe86cebc1/77/><https://user3.fastmailer.co/newsletter-signup/unsubscribe/>
List-Unsubscribe-Post: List-Unsubscribe=One-Click
Precedence: bulk
X-Message-ID: <5ce2d6f690ef1-27fab457a4af8870b891f20fe86cebc1-77-a387640443551df4a89ba03ead767487@user3.fastmailer.co>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
Sender: [email protected]
X-DynectEmail-Msg-Hash: Gyb1TbQUXvwgjrULpqCoOvWquaFo2JYdWh1DFZjeqCGNQ40GK8890ZJaU0ZyjC+dE4nY40n/yrFGits1713vSY+XQjR8y1WEwNZFhhtxK+kr7wgSmiDJzSpQOcRqDh6i
X-DynEmail-Meta: Y4+Hit9q6I0xzy6PRKFu/JJvvFKbAUhgUJV+ijm6pbvsTI5bhrW8LNCD+Ee
X-DynectEmail-Msg-Key: 20190520163403.000000179bbe@mail6-84-ussnn1
X-Feedback-ID: T0NJVk1UQXM=:534411:1153111:dyn06

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.



Main object- “Payment-Receipt.doc”
sha256 07dbfb003857a0ee6b63af4196248c65b0ca1ea2df9e4d0c40e05e3cb099c99f
sha1 174b4e38d916299ca0315980e2cf01e04160765e
md5 92f814d3809d746e2c37692014f5ce4e
Dropped executable file
sha256 C:\Users\admin\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\D2U1WPAC\ton[1].edee 42b516cd04c36b481ca8dfb4a55915080da29879fe945b6090f65c99813f8f94
sha256 C:\Users\admin\AppData\Roaming\WinMgmt\AuthFWWizFwk.exe 043e358a1cb5612f91f6f76204e1341e6dd8add6feda16b4eb81f5801ae4d130
DNS requests
domain bit.ly
domain filesend.ga
domain bot.whatismyipaddress.com
domain gator3285.hostgator.com
HTTP/HTTPS requests
url https://bit.ly/2WRVGFr
url https://filesend.ga/ton.edee
url http://bot.whatismyipaddress.com/

[email protected]