Over the last week or so, we have been forwarded several emails that should deliver malware, but so far have been unable to get any. I don’t know if the actual malware sites are all down, or whether there is some sort of referrer that is needed that I am missing, but I will post what we have seen and found out so far

There are numerous versions of the emails, but they all basically function in the same way. The email has a link to a compromised site that pretends to be a doc, image or PDF file but in reality will download a .lnk file ( windows shortcut file) these run powershell & contact another site to actually download the malware.

These link files have a base64 encoded section with the download link. Some of the email links have a base64 encoded section that is the recipients email address. Some are just “normal” links. I was forwarded 4 different ones last night, only 1 gives me the .lnk file all the others lead to dead sites. The malware site in the live .lnk file is also down or not responding to me.

The one ” working” email gave me which downloaded the lnk file which when decoded said:


I am unable to get any download from this site. It might be too late and it was only active for a very short time, or it might need a specific referrer that I haven’t yet found.


Hybrid Analysis

One example of a link with base64 encoded recipient email address is http://youreventlabel.com/dmljdGltQGRvbWFpbi5jb20=/scheduled-order-dispatched-01172017YW83844-HSL2K.doc ( I obviously changed the email address to ‘[email protected]’)

One of the emails looks like:

From: [email protected]

Date: Mon 30/01/2017 10:30

Subject: [recipients name redacted by me], Your Item Has Been Shipped EE8J63101350-EZ

Attachment: none ( link in email body)

Body content:

Dear redacted,
Thank you for your order at our website! We have received your order and confirm your purchase here
You can check the status of your order by logging into your account . If you have any questions regarding your order or if there is anything else we can help you with, please feel free to contact our Customer Service by using the contact form here

Confirmed Date: 1/30/2017
Consignment: EE8J63101350-EZ

We deliver between the hours of 07:00-21:00. However you will be allocated a system generated 3-hour delivery window the day before delivery. Additionally, the delivery team will also ring 30 mins to 1 hour prior to arriving on the day of delivery.
If you have any questions regarding your delivery, you can drop us a message on your order tracking page. Alternatively, you may reply to this email.

This e-mail and any attachments may contain confidential and
privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient,
please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail, delete this
e-mail and destroy any copies. Any dissemination or use of this
information by a person other than the intended recipient is
unauthorized and may be illegal.


item shipped

other emails read and look like

Booking Confirmation / YY458IKN
We are delighted that you have chosen Avenue Hotel and we are pleased to confirm your reservation as follows:

Reference: YY458IKN
Arrival Date 27 Jan 2017 Departure Date 29 Jan 2017 Check In Time 02:00 PM to 11:30 PM 1 Book Direct For The Best Rate! / 1 adult 60.00 GBP 1 Book Direct For The Best Rate! 60.00 GBP TOTAL ROOM 120.00 GBP TOTAL 120.00 GBP BALANCE 120.00 GBP Please print booking confirmation and present at reception when checking in. Reservations must be cancelled by 4pm 1 day prior to arrival or a 1 night charge incl tax is applicable. (PLEASE NOTE RESTRICTIONS IF AN INTERNET EXCLUSIVE RATE IS CHOSEN – CHANGES ARE NOT ALLOWED AND REFUNDS ARE NOT APPLICABLE IN CASE OF CANCELLATION/AMMENDMENT. FULL PAYMENT WILL BE TAKEN AT TIME OF RESERVATION) All reservations must be guaranteed with a valid credit card. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information, The Park Avenue Hotel does not accept liability for any errors or ommissions and reserves the right to change information and descriptions of featured products.

Order Confirmation

Dear Michelle/Fraser Lewis, We’d like to confirm that your order has been successfully scheduled. You can track your order online . To assist our delivery crew, please make sure that you report any access issues and verify your contact details on your order tracking page . Confirmed Date: 1/16/2017 13:17:58 Consignment: M4958261-4398 Products to be Delivered Samsung-2FLO7856DDZQ [ED6QEV] (1 parts) We deliver between the hours of 07:00-21:00. However you will be allocated a system generated 3-hour delivery window the day before delivery. Additionally, the delivery team will also ring 30 mins to 1 hour prior to arriving on the day of delivery. If you have any questions regarding your delivery, you can drop us a message on your order tracking page. Alternatively, you may reply to this email.

You can view your order status and history

booking confirmation

your order confirmed

All these malicious emails are either designed to steal your Passwords, Bank, PayPal or other financial details along with your email or FTP ( web space) log in credentials. Or they are Ransomware versions that encrypt your files and demand large sums of money 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.

There are frequently dozens or even hundreds of different download locations, sometimes delivering the exactly same malware from all locations and sometimes slightly different malware versions from each one. Dridex, Locky and many other malwares do 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 to the version we list here.

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.