The Return Of Locky With Fake Invoice Emails

Office Macro Malware

We haven’t seen Locky for a long time, so I was quite surprised to see this one. It is an email with the subject of Copy of Invoice 79898702coming or pretending to come from noreply@random email addresses with a semi-random named zip attachment in the format of 79898702.zip ( random 8 digits) The zip matches the subject. Whether this is a permanent return to locky or a one off, I don’t know at this stage, but Locky have vanished for while before & returned. It is also very unusual for locky to come as an executable file inside a zip.

The normal method, if there is such a thing as normal for locky & other malware is to come either as a js or WSF file inside a zip or a macro enabled word doc or Excel file that downloads the locky binary from a remote site, either as a working binary or as an encrypted text file that the js, wsf or macro transform to a working .exe

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.

79898702.zip : extracts to INV-09837592.zip which in turn Extracts to: INV-09837592.exe Current Virus total detections: (Payload Security) None of the sandboxes are showing any encrypting activity or the usual Locky signs, so it looks like a new version with protections against analysis. We only know it is locky because one of the analysts extracted the locky payload from the memory while running this file ( virustotal)

Update I have been informed that Locky (https://twitter.com/VK_Intel/status/877566377376329728) has completely changed its previous delivery method. I am sure we will see more details later

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.

One of the emails looks like:

From: Hilario Walton <Walton.571@afirstclassmove.com>

Date: Thu 01/09/2021 19:22

Subject: Copy of Invoice 79898702

Attachment: 79898702.zip

Body Content:

Please find attached file containing your order information.

If you have any further questions regarding your invoice, please call Customer Service.

Please do not reply directly to this automatically generated e-mail message.

Thank you.

Customer Service Department

Screenshot:

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.

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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_(security)) 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.

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