On 11 April 2021 another researcher Brad Duncan (http://www.malware-traffic-analysis.net/) posted this blog post / diary entry on SANS (https://isc.sans.edu/forums/diary/Malspam+on+20170411+pushes+yet+another+ransomware+variant/22290/) site noting a new delivery method that delivered Mole Ransomware.
I saw the same method used on 12 April 2021 with minor differences.
Today they have changed slightly again and now just have a link to a site where you download a single executable file that pretends to be a plugin that allows you to read the documents online. Today ( so far) are all Zbot / Panda Banking Trojans plugin_office_update_KB093211.exe (VirusTotal) | Payload Security
Remember many email clients, especially on a mobile phone or tablet, only show the Name in the From: and not the bit in <domain.com >. That is why these scams and phishes work so well.
Typical senders imitating USPS include:
- USPS Ground Support <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- USPS Support Management <email@example.com
- USPS TechConnect <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- USPS Delivery <email@example.com>
- USPS Support Management <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- USPS TechConnect <email@example.com>
- USPS Home Delivery <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- USPS Priority Parcels <email@example.com>
- USPS Priority <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There are a multitude of different subjects. Some of the ones I received today are:
- WARNING: TROUBLE WITH YOUR ITEM
- ATTENTION REQUIRED: DETAILS ABOUT A IMPENDING REFUND
- URGENT USPS MONEYBACK INFORMATION CONCERNING YOUR PARCEL
- WARNING: you’re legally obliged to review the status of your parcel
- URGENT: notification of delay of your parcel
- Official letter concerning your order
- Major problems reported to the USPS customer support
- WARNING: INFORMATION ON YOUR IMPENDING REFUND
- IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED: your shipment’s been postponed
- URGENT USPS MONEYBACK INFO CONCERNING YOUR SHIPMENT
- AUTOMATED letter regarding your shipment’s location
- OFFICIAL USPS REFUND INFO
- Official notice from USPS
- WARNING: ISSUES WITH YOUR SHIPMENT
- USPS USER URGENT NEW INFO CONCERNING YOUR PACKAGE
- WARNING: PROBLEMS WITH YOUR ORDER
- OFFICIAL USPS system statement
- USPS official notice: major trouble with your parcel
- USPS customer support team notice: your shipment has been postponed
Some of the email contents look like these examples. Each email has different subjects and individual body content created by the bots from a set of phrases :
This is an automatic message: you have been charged for the parcel
#21502074, to learn its planned shipping date, use the information provided
To get money back, you have to click on this link provided below.
Thanks and best regards.
Jetta Husseini – USPS Parcels Operation Manager.
Please use required information to learn all about the cost details,
estimated date of delivery and the contents of your item, #487374675.
Please, use this URL shown below to contact the USPS support team.
Malissa Hoaglund – USPS Mail Delivery Clerk.
We’re unhappy to let you know that, due to some complications, we are not
able to deliver your item in time.
Please follow the URL provided below.
Melba Caradine – USPS Senior Delivery Manager.
All have links in email body to a fake word online website and you are invited to download the latest plugin version to read the documents online.
Sites today include ( there probably are others but I haven’t received emails with other sites ) :
All these malicious emails are either designed to steal your Passwords, Bank, PayPal or other financial details along with your email or FTP ( web space) log in credentials. Or they are Ransomware versions that encrypt your files and demand large sums of money 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.
Be very careful with email attachments or links in the email body. All of these emails use Social engineering (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_(security)) tricks to persuade you to open the attachments or follow the link in 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.
Melwin Philip is a FinTech specialist, a market analyst, and an investor. His investment strategy entails performing a valuation assessment and conducting technical analysis on financial and technology firms. He's passionate about stocks, forex, crypto, blockchain, and digital assets. He keeps a close eye on industry trends and provides insight into beginner-friendly platforms.