We continue to see Java Adwind Trojans daily. Today’s example is a slight change to the delivery method from previous Malspam emails that have been using Moneyexpress.com or MoneyGram or other middle eastern money exchange bodies. This one is an email with the subject of Post For Amendment pretending to come from firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> with a genuine PDF attachment which contains a link, that when clicked downloads a rar file containing a Java.jar file . We have seen various spoofed Western Union malspam emails in the past all of them using random names at Western Union.
The particular difference is the PDF attachment is a genuine PDF which pretends to be a notice from Google Drive to download another PDF. The actual link behind the download is not to Google drive but to a hacked / compromised WordPress site https://www.makgrills.com/wp-content/Transaction-Ref0624193.rar which downloads the rar file containing the Java Adwind Trojan. Note the HTTPS: The RAR file extracts to Agent Sendout Report.PDF.Doc.XLS.TXT.jar and if you have the windows default setting of “don’t show file extensions” set, you will think it is either a plain text file. The malspammer has added belts & braces though by naming it as report.PDF.Doc.XLS.TXT
WARNING: Java Adwind is a very dangerous remote access backdoor Trojan, that has cross OS capabilities and can potentially run and infect any computer or operating system including windows, Apple Mac, Android and Linux. It however can only be active or infect you if you have Sun / Oracle Java installed. Along with most security professionals, I strongly urge you to uninstall java and not use it, unless you have a pressing need for it. The majority of domestic ( home ) users and small businesses have no need for Java on their computers. This Article from a couple of years ago explains why you should remove it. If you cannot remove it then it must be kept up to date and be extremely careful with what you download or open.
They use email addresses and subjects that will entice a user to read the email and open the attachment. A very high proportion are being targeted at small and medium size businesses, with the hope of getting a better response than they do from consumers.
Western Union 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.
These don’t even come from the petnet.com.ph email address listed in the from field. They actually come via a compromised server at arclid-3.arclid.com. on IP number 220.127.116.11
A quick look up shows Arclid.com is a UK based web designer hosted on a server owned by Melbourne Server Hosting Ltd. You have to assume that if the email server is compromised then the whole website and server is compromised as well.
There looks like some sort of misconfiguration on the server. The ssl certificate for site / server is a certificate issued to aflite.co.uk by Comodo. I can see no legitimate reason to have a normal www.arclid.com go to arclid.com and a https://www.arclid.com redirect to https://aflite.co.uk/ but still show https://arclid.com in the url bar window. And to add insult to injury, it is an expired certificate. Sorry folks but if a web designer / Affiliate marketing company cannot secure their own website and email systems, then I would not trust them to design or develop anything for me. The server is running an old out of date version of both Apache and PHP, which inevitably leads to a major compromise.
The malspammer’s time clock is obviously out of sync on their computer or they are inserting a fake time in the sent field along with the spoofed email addresses because I received the first block of these at 01.30 UTC and a second block at 05.55 UTC
One of the emails looks like:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Mon 26/09/2021 09:41
Subject: Post For Amendment
View and post request for amendment. The Western union transaction is returned from a recieving agent. Details of the transaction has been attached
Thanks & Regards,
Western Union Money Transfer
Door – 26,Street- 920,Roudat Al Khail
P O Box ? 5600,Doha,State of Qatar,
+974- 4469 2262+974- 5689 2262/2190 6127
The PDF when opened looks like this image which pretends to say that you need to click the link to download the PDF from Goggle Drive:
These malicious attachments normally have a password stealing component, with the aim of stealing your bank, PayPal or other financial details along with your email or FTP ( web space) log in credentials. Many of them are also designed to specifically steal your Facebook and other social network log in details. A very high proportion are Ransomware versions that encrypt your files and demand money ( about £350/$400) 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.
27 September 2021: Transaction-Ref06214193.pdf : downloads: Transaction-Ref0624193.rar which extracts to Agent Sendout Report.PDF.Doc.XLS.TXT.jar Current Virus total detections for .jar file
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. Dridex /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 or Banking password stealer Trojans.
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 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.