We have had just over a one week break from Trickbot being distributed via Malspam and Spear phishing style emails. But it is a new month and the Trickbot gang have their quotas to meet, so they are back with their usual malspam campaigns. They continue to imitate well known companies dealing with Payrolls or other financial matters in the UK again today with this example. They are continuing to use Excel spreadsheet attachments instead of word docs again this week.
They are trying to make the email slightly more believable by personalising the subject and adding the recipient’s email address as part of the subject line. The email has the subject of “September Payrolls – firstname.lastname@example.org ” pretending to come from Price WaterHouse Cooper but actually coming from “RDornier@pwcco.uk” 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 macro enabled Excel spreadsheet attachment is today’s latest spoof of a well-known company, bank or public authority delivering Trickbot banking Trojan
This has not been a very successful campaign by these criminals today. Firstly every copy sent to my server was detected as high spam & quarantined. It is highly likely that many other recipients, also won’t have actually received these. Secondly Godaddy have been on the ball for a change and null routed the DNS for the fake domain quickly, so making it less likely that anything sent would be received or get through spam filters. Then to add the cherry to the icing on top of the cake both of the compromised domains found the payload quickly & removed it, so reducing the infection rate dramatically.
There has been a lot of publicity recently about Trickbot with the UK NCSC delivering a warning to companies. There was also a very good write up explaining how Trickbot works and why it is so successful by a security company Barkly. While the NCSC alert is very timely and should draw some attention, it is severely lacking in effective advice on how to prevent you or company becoming a victim of this & other email based malware.
The most effective way of preventing infection is block completely & not allow Macros or other content in documents received by email.
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
From: Rene Dornier <RDornier@pwcco.uk>
Date: Tue 02/10/2018 12:22
Subject: September Payrolls – email@example.com
Attached are the Reconciliations of the Payroll email/Funding/and JE for payroll in September.
Note the ongoing discrepancies on the system generated payrolls. I think you looked at this last month and had the source(s) of the difference. We should re-visit this after close to update that JE Mapping in Paycom.
Ofc: +44 020 7583 5000 Ext 343
Cel: +44 020 7583 5000
“NOTICE: This electronic mail transmission is for the use of the named individual or entity to which it is directed and may contain information that is privileged or confidential. It is not to be transmitted or received by anyone other than the named addressee (or a person authorized to deliver it to the named addressee). It is not to be copied or forwarded to any unauthorized persons. If you have received this electronic transmission in error, delete it from your system without copying or forwarding it, and notify the sender of the error by replying via e-mail to the sender so that the address record can be corrected.”
Price WaterHouse Cooper 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.
- pwcco.uk hosted on & sending emails via 22.214.171.124| 126.96.36.199 |188.8.131.52| 184.108.40.206|
The alternate Download location is http://hotelbarrancabermejaplaza.com/super.orb
The folder for the files & configs is: C:\Users\[User]\AppData\Roaming\AMNI
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 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: RDornier@pwcco.uk