As I mentioned earlier in the week, we aren’t seeing massive amounts of malware, especially in the UK at the moment BUT we do see a steady lowish volume stream of commodity malware. These are the standard easy to purchase and use malware tools like Nanocore, Hawkeye, Agent Tesla and other keyloggers or remote access trojans that are so easy to use that they get used by both Skiddies & the criminal malware gangs.
Today’s first example is a Nanocore remote access Trojan that was delivered via a fake Swift Payment advice pretending to come from Citi Bank. So far nothing unusual or noteworthy. Until you look at the site that actually contains the malware payload: https://www.djmarket.co.uk/dea.exe This site is hosted on a domestic consumer BT IP number using a dynamic DNS service to direct to the site. ( BT generally only offer a domestic customer a dynamic IP address that changes very frequently, sometimes daily, sometimes you keep the same IP for 1 month or even longer).
BT do allow or rather do not disallow running a webserver on your internet connection. But the T&C for a domestic broadband connection with BT does appear to prohibit running a commercial site selling things.
This Domain https://www.djmarket.co.uk does appear to be an online shop for DJ equipment, using WordPress on a home computer as the server. There is nothing wrong with anybody running a web server from their domestic IP address but you do need to know it is not as simple as it first appears and you can make several mistakes that either make the site unavailable or introduce serious security vulnerabilities. I assume from looking at the Virus Total domain report that the domain was compromised and used in a phishing a scam back in January 2019 when it was hosted by Godaddy, so the owner decided to try to run a server himself to “control” things better or more cheaply. Although he has up to date server software, WordPress, Apache, PHP etc. There must still be a serious vulnerability somewhere allowing the miscreants behind these campaigns to continue to abuse this server.
It might be something as simple as him falling for a phishing scam at some time & has given away his log in credentials allowing the criminals to misuse his server. Or a more serious compromise on his home computer or server.
I can’t easily tell if this person is running the webserver on his personal day to day computer or is using a stand alone server. But he definitely has a problem. Looking up the domain on VirusTotal we see that he was using a hosting company until fairly recently ( March 2019) Since he changed to self hosting he has been appearing in blacklists & has been serving malware pretty regularly.
I have sent a message to the website owner via his contact form on the website, but from previous experience it is extremely common for the site owner to totally ignore these reports. They either think it is a scam trying to extort money from them or sell them something ( a clear up service etc). Or they just bury their head in the sand & ignore it, hoping it will go away.
I can easily find 3 different malware files still available for download. There are probably many more. It is not uncommon for multiple malware spreading miscreants to abuse the same vulnerable servers or share login details. But it can be an indication of the same miscreant using multiple different malware versions. I obviously don’t have copies of the emails (if there were any) for the first 2 malware versions delivering Agent Tesla keylogger
- http://www.djmarket.co.uk/igb.exe (virustotal) Agent Tesla | Anyrun
- https://www.djmarket.co.uk/his.exe (virusTotal) Agent Tesla | Anyrun
- https://www.djmarket.co.uk/dea.exe (virusTotal) Nanocore RAT | Anyrun
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
The email looks like:
From: Citibank Inc <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri 24/05/2019 03:01
Subject: Payment Advice-BG_EDG9502019052406050045_16878_950
Attachment: Payment Swift Advice-398379.xlsx
For the attention of: email@example.com
Please be advised that the following payment will be made to you on behalf of SIME DARBY PLANTATION (SABAH) SDN BHD
Transaction Reference: 516433200100020
Payer/Remitter’s Reference No: 1600004843
Beneficiary Details: victimsdomain.com
Payment method: Giro
Payment Amount: 38,000.00
Value Date: 24-May-2019
Note. The contents of this advice is confidential and may be legally privileged. This advice is issued at the request of the bank’s client and purports to set out certain details of the transaction our bank was instructed to effect. This is not a confirmation. The bank bears no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising out of this advise being sent by email by the bank or other third parties. If you are not an intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this advice is strictly prohibited. If you have received this advice in error, please notify the sender and permanently delete this advice immediately. You should not retain, copy or use this advice for any purpose, nor disclose all or any part of the contents to any other person. If you need to forward the advise back to Citi please fax it to the following fax number +603 23833000 – attention Cash Management Payments product department.
As you can see the xls file is not a payment advice of any sort but contains an embedded blurry image of a service agreement quotation for Applied Biosystems that I have seen used in dozens if not hundreds of malware campaigns. This sort of simple mistake proves that the miscreants behind this & other similar malware campaigns are buying an “off the shelf ” exploit malware delivery kit and just changing the urls in the kit, not customising it properly or effectively.
This malware downloads from https://www.djmarket.co.uk/dea.exe
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Swift Advice-398379.xlsx”
Dropped executable file
sha256 C:\Users\admin\AppData\Roaming\mbnjbn.exe 081b7ca6fb2e9252010acc8f0913594872e2a8ea0319f180d14c7c40d10b90e6
Main object- “his.exe”
Dropped executable file
sha256 C:\Users\admin\AppData\Local\Temp\tmpG280.tmp f28ace19e2150e5a6c5adc59786410c133e68046329179444cef365fd31ef211
Main object- “igb.exe”
Dropped executable file
sha256 C:\Users\admin\AppData\Local\Temp\tmpG467.tmp 76dbd2799701596511e00531a851acbd25af23ccd2a901a934be8b8e28cc0a56