Another pretty lame email from the Trickbot gang again today. Some days I really don’t understand this gang of criminals. They go to the bother of registering various look a like domains to send the emails from, so they might stand a better chance of fooling recipients. They then create very effective macro enabled word docs using all sorts of tricks to avoid detection & install on the victim’s computer. Then they go and send a stupidly lame email with no proper body content that absolutely screams this is a scam do not open me or do anything. The body is supposed to have content but the clowns have made a mess up of the formatting so most email clients can’t or won’t read the content.
This example is an email containing the subject of “Payment Advice ” pretending to come from HSBC but actually coming from “firstname.lastname@example.org” which is a look-a-like, typo-squatted or other domain that can easily be misidentified, mistaken or confused with the genuine site, with a malicious word doc attachment is today’s latest spoof of a well-known company, bank or public authority delivering Trickbot banking Trojan
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From: HSBC UK <email@example.com>
Date: Wed 29/08/2018 11:46
Subject: Payment Advice
Is supposed to read like this
The attached payment advice has been issued at the request of our customer. Your documents have been encrypted with the strongest encryption and a unique key, please print and sign the attached document.
Global Payment and Cash Management
This email is confidential. It may also be legally privileged. If you are not the addressee you may not copy, forward, disclose or use any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please delete it and all copies from your system and notify the sender immediately by return email. Internet communications cannot be guaranteed to be timely, secure, error or virus free. The sender does not accept liability for any errors or omissions.
But actually displays like this in an email client
HSBC 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.
What has happened is that the criminals sending these have registered various domains that look like genuine Company, Bank, Government or message sending services. Normally there is only newly registered domain that imitate Companies House, HMRC, another Government department, a Bank, file hosting service or a message sending service that can easily be confused with the genuine organisation in some way, that are hosted on & sending emails from 4 different servers. Some days however we do see dozens or even hundreds of fake domains.
Today’s example of the spoofed domain is, as usual, registered via Godaddy as registrar. Because of new GDPR rules we cannot easily find the registrants name or any further details.
- hsbc-payments.co.uk hosted on & sending emails via 126.96.36.199| 188.8.131.52|184.108.40.206| 220.127.116.11|
Continuing with the behaviour we have been seeing recently with the macros on these word docs. They are using an Active X control to start & run the macro, so it needs an extra couple of clicks from the victim to get infected. You actually have to enable activeX content then close the word doc & re-open it for the macro to fire off while using anyrun. I am not sure if this is the same behaviour in a real computer or only in the VM. I am not completely sure exactly what active X control is being used but it isn’t the ink picture resize they were using recently. As far as I can tell it is “Private Sub Frame1_Layout”. The macro is as usual heavily obfuscated and has so many turns & twists that you just don’t go down the rabbit hole, but come up, run round in circles and get dizzy then go back in via a different entrance.
This malware doc file downloads from http://axcys.ca/oroej.x which is a renamed .exe file VirusTotal | Gtag Ser 0829
The alternate Download location is http://conestogawaterproofing.com/oroej.x
The folder for the files & configs is: C:\Users\[User]\AppData\Roaming\vsmcd ( same as yesterday)
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 spreadsheet files and PowerPoint etc that are downloaded from the web or received in an email automatically in “protected view” that stops any embedded malware, macros, Active X controls and DDE “exploit /Feature” and embedded ole objects 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. If the protected mode bar appears when opening the document DO NOT follow the advice they give to enable macros or enable editing to see the content. The document will have a warning message, but you will be safe.
Be aware that there are a lot of other 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 outweighing the convenience, benefits and cost of keeping an old version going.
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
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.
Email from: firstname.lastname@example.org