An email with the subject of Remittance coming from random email addresses, companies and names with a malicious word doc or Excel XLS spreadsheet attachment is another one from the current bot runs which try to download various Trojans and password stealers especially banking Trojans like Dridex or Dyreza and ransomware like Locky, crypto locker or Teslacrypt.
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-sized businesses, with the hope of getting a better response than they do from consumers.
The name of the alleged sender, in this case, Bridgette matches the name of the accountant in the body of the email
The email looks like this:
From: Bridgette – WITAN PACIFIC INVESTMENT TRUST <Cunningham.Bridgette3@leonduniec.com>
Date: Fri 04/03/2021 10:30
Hope you are well. I am writing you to let you know that the full amount specified in the contract has been paid into your bank account on the 1st of March at 14 through the BACS payment system and should reach the destination (beneficiary’s) account within 3 working days.
To see full payment details please refer to the remittance advice note attached to the letter.
Any queries? Please reply back with your questions and you will receive a prompt and qualitative response as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to write to us.
You can now send any suspicious files for examination by the antivirus companies via our submission system
4 March 2021: rem.advice-3798605447.rtf
Current Virus total detections and MALWR is unable to detect any HTTP connection or download any malware, which is probably due to anti-analysis protection in the word doc RTF. It will almost certainly turn out to download Dridex banking trojan, Locky or another similar ransomware
Update: Dynamoo has posted some locations for the downloads which appear to be Dridex banking Trojan
Previous campaigns over the last few weeks have delivered 5 or 6 and quite often up to 10 or 12 different versions, some with word doc attachments and some with Excel Xls attachments. There are frequently 5 or 6 download locations all delivering slightly different malware versions. Dridex /Locky does update at frequent intervals during the day, so you might get a different version of this nasty Ransomware or banking, password stealer Trojan.
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 scareware 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 to 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 hide 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 .EXE .COM .PIF .SCR .JS 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 words, excel and other office documents that normally contain a VBA macro virus, the vital thing does not to 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 are 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 override 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 the word. This is a good reason to update your office programs to a recent version and stop using office programs 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 an 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.