An email that possibly indicates that photo.net has been breached or leaking client information. The recipient of this email is a keen photographer who does belong to many different photo communities online. The file attachment downloads Quantloader malware
Photo.net are not actually sending the emails to you. However I cannot confirm that they have not been hacked or had their email or other servers compromised.
Judging by comments on Photo.net forums and a second post saying about possible compromise lots of current and past users have received this email which suggests that the details have come from photo.net itself. Some users have indicated that the only place the email address was used was photo.net. The forum admin continue to deny that photo.net has been breached but posts indicate strongly that it has.
Photo.net do know about this and have posted a small message saying ignore the emails, but no further details or acknowledgement of a probable compromise of their systems. The forum posts also show an example of an earlier email that had links to download the malware and also a possible phishing link to sign into a website.
One of the emails looks like:
From: Photo.Net <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu 21/09/2017 16:53
Subject: Your Photo.net Subscription Confirmation and Receipt
Dear photo.net member, Richard [redacted] We are updating our Terms & Conditions of Use and Policy to provide you with better service, and wanted to share the details with you. These updates are effective starting October 1, 2017.
Since 1993, photo.net has been an engaging community for photography enthusiasts, collaborative peer-to-peer educational platform for photographers ranging from hobbyists to professionals. We have created an online community that brings people together and provides lively forums, competitive photo contests, information about the hottest gear, tutorials to help you on your journey, inspirational interviews, and more. But in today’s internet environment, in order for us to survive, we are no longer able to provide free service to all of our members! We know that this is difficult to hear, just as it was a difficult decision to make.
Your account will be billed and switched automatically to Premium Membership starting October 1, 2017.
Please find Details and our Terms & Conditions of Use changes attached.
Please note: If you already have a premium membership please follow the steps provided in the link above.
Thank you for for becoming a premium member!
Your account will be billed $29.95 yearly.
The next charge will be 10/01/2017.
You Purchased: 1 year Premium Membership
You Paid: $29.95
Your Name: Richard [redacted] Your Email: richard@[redacted].co.uk
Premium Expires: Sunday 1th of October 2018
Update: link in other email was to https://www.udeth.com/PhotoNet_Membeship_Premium_Info_Html.zip | contains PhotoNet_Membeship_Premium_Info_Html.js ( VirusTotal) (Payload Security) shows attempted downloads from http://vietactivegroup.com/images/banners/i.php and http://lagge.net/Images/ico/i.php both currently giving a 0 byte file called data.bin
|22.214.171.124||www.dataportti.solutions||FR||AS16276 OVH SAS|
by knight.knighthosting.co.uk with smtp (Exim 4.89)
for richard@[redacted] ; Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:53:18 +0100
From: “Photo.Net” <email@example.com>
To: “Richard [redacted]” <richard@[redacted]>
Subject: Your Photo.net Subscription Confirmation and Receipt
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:53:19 +0200
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=”f0941ed0aa0cdfec24f0dfe0d6c3″
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.
Previous campaigns over the last few weeks have delivered numerous different download sites and malware versions. There are frequently 5 or 6 and even up to 150 download locations on some days, sometimes delivering the exactly same malware from all locations and sometimes slightly different malware versions. Locky does update at frequent intervals during the day, sometimes as quickly as every hour, so you might get a different version of these nasty Ransomware.
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.