Earlier this morning I received a spam email, pretending to be a new order asking me to quote a price, with a word docx attachment. That is normal for me & many others to receive this sort of malware laden spam. The subjects are so generic, the alleged senders might be a company or type of company / business your small or medium size business will deal with.
The attachment on this appears to be blank when opened. However this document is using an exploit that some Antiviruses describe as CVE-2017-0199. The malicious content is contained in the document.xml.rels which is a simple link to a compromised site where another malicious word doc ( actually a malformed RTF file using the CVE-2017-11882 Microsoft Equation Editor Exploit. )
What is different about this particular new order doc is the size of the document.xml.rels when extracted from the doc. it is a massive 4936kb and contains a lot of blank space with simple dividers and the actual content right at the end. A normal document.xml.rels is a couple of kb in size and has various links to the content of the word doc. Because the document.xml.rels is so large, it takes time to load in memory before it calls out to the malicious doc.
In theory, Nobody should be affected by these exploits. They have been known for the last 2 years. Just about every Antivirus or network perimeter defence should automatically block them. If they do slip through then the Microsoft Security patches for all supported versions of Office that have been issued continually over the last couple of years should completely block them. But we see dozens, if not hundreds of infected users from this type of malware, so something is going wrong somewhere in the chain.
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, exploits like these 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.
This malware doc downloads the malicious RTF from https://subwaybookreview.com/VL1/Sample.doc ( VirusTotal URL | File ) which then in turn downloads the lokibot binary payload from https://subwaybookreview.com/VL/Sample.exe ( VirusTotal URL | File ) The website https://subwaybookreview.com has been compromised since early February 2019 and used in multiple malware campaigns and phishing scams. ( VirusTotal)
The C2 for this Lokibot is http://richiechris.cf/wp/wp-content/oko/Panel/five/fre.php
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
mehtaherbals.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. If you look carefully at the image at the bottom of the email, you will see that it is a completely different company’s details.
The email looks like:
From: Anton Poedijono <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed 24/04/2019 04:51
Subject: New Order
Attachment: New Order.docx
Kindly find our new order as attached and provide us your best quote.
|184.108.40.206||220.127.116.11.static.swiftway.net||US||AS35017 Swiftway Sp. z o.o.|
Received: from [18.104.22.168] (port=53570 helo=mehtaherbals.com) by my email server with esmtp (Exim 4.91) (envelope-from <email@example.com>) id 1hJ8vm-0000m7-Sv for firstname.lastname@example.org; Wed, 24 Apr 2019 04:50:47 +0100 From: Anton Poedijono <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: New Order Date: 23 Apr 2019 20:50:45 -0700 Message-ID: <20190423205045.0A719FBE7155B183@mehtaherbals.com> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0012_8D602490.F90285E4"
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.
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@example.com.
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.
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- “New Order.docx”
Dropped executable file
sha256 C:\Users\admin\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\D2U1WPAC\Sample.exe bb038dee7695284a37c03d8142027021261c46f8c4bd2c388b4c5b59761e6d2d