A slightly different malware than usual to report on this morning. I haven’t previously seen an out and out destructive malware like this sent in mass malspam for many years. It must be intended to act as some sort of ransomware but there is no ransom note or instruction. It initially copies itself to C:\Users\admin\AppData\Roaming\Paint.exe and then sets a startup for that file then it searches for & finds any .exe files, initially in downloads folder or desktop renames them to voriginalfilename.exe & copies itself to the original filename, so it runs when that file is opened by the victim. It then moves on to all .exe files in program files & then anywhere on the computer it can find a .exe except it appears to leave the windows/ system32 folder alone.
Each renamed file has a different MD5# to the original, and each renamed file has an individual MD5# although the files look identical in a hex editor. The malware must just change 1 or 2 unimportant bytes, which is just enough to throw some security tools off.
I can’t really see the purpose of it, except as a destructive program, intending to destroy the recipients computer. I suppose it might have been released early by mistake or as a test to see how it works in the wild. Most malware in this modern age is designed to steal something or ransom you. The criminals want to make money. Destroying the recipient’s computer won’t make any money, just cause immense annoyance.
I could only get this to run “properly” on W8.1 (32 bit) using Anyrun and it did almost nothing on W7 or W10. It does something on W8.1 (64 bit) but not as much as a on a 32 bit system. Hybrid analysis does show some of the renaming effect on W7 (32 bit). This is actually very well detected by VirusTotal. I am not sure whether this is a Virus, a Worm or a Trojan.
The email template style & the way the email uses broken .rar attachments wrongly named as .r00 means that most recipients should be safe from this, you need to rename the .r00 to .rar to be able to extract the malicious file in the first place.
I have been seeing these style of emails with broken .rar delivering a range of common malwares including Lokibot, fareit, Hawkeye, Remcos etc over recent weeks. I don’t know which bad actor is distributing them but a lot are coming from 18.104.22.168 AS199264 ESTOXY OU an Icelandic webhost.
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
These do not come from any AOL user . They are not sending the emails to you. They are just innocent victims in exactly the same way as every recipient of these emails and their address was simply spoofed.
One of the emails looks like:
From: AL-Amin Jameel <email@example.com>
Date: Thu 10/01/2019 09:17
Greetings and Compliments
This is AL-Amin Enterprises Trading Co.W.L.L, from Moroni, Comoros
We are in urgent need of your products as attached, Please send to us your best offer, CNF Moroni, Comoros.
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.
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.