This is a continuation from this previous post about malware using resumes or job applications as the lure. They have changed behaviour again since that post was written and it is time to once again update the details. ( I have only received 1 so far today)
The primary change in delivery method is the use of a password for the zip file that contains the word doc to try to bypass antivirus filters. Also there does appear to be differences in the malware itself to previous versions.
Today’s version continues to deliver Smoke Loader /Sharik trojan which is a downloader for other malware. I am currently not able to get any other malware via the online sandboxes.
Update: Brad from Malware Traffic has managed to run this on a live system and got some very interesting results http://malware-traffic-analysis.net/2018/01/22/index.html
It appears that this malware ( the PowerShell script dropped by the macro ) will only work in Windows 8.1 or higher. This means the many millions of users running windows 7 are currently “safe”. The malware author has used a PowerShell scriplet ‘Invoke-WebRequest’ that only works in PowerShell V3.0 and higher. Windows 7 has V2 installed by default. PowerShell is one of the windows features that does not get auto-updated during monthly updates, it doesn’t even appear in the list of optional updates via windows update ( thankfully) So an Admin has to go looking for the new versions on Microsoft site and manually install them along with the numerous other dependencies needed.
While some IT admins in larger companies will possibly do this, so they can use new features and commands only available in newer versions to perform various admin tasks, the average home user and small business won’t.
An email with the subject of Website Job Application coming from Jonathan Kauffman <GIANDANA@latestlog.com> ( probably random names) with a password protected zip file containing a malicious word doc attachment delivers Smoke loader/ sharik trojan. However latestlog.com is probably a malicious site set up on the OVH Canada network to be used in malware campaigns.
They are using email addresses and subjects that will scare, shock, persuade or entice a user to read the email and open the attachment. These are generally targeted at small or medium sized businesses, small charities or organisations who might not have enterprise level protections against this sort of malware delivery method. In today’s current jobs climate, it is extremely common to get resumes or job applications out of the blue. These are just generic enough and just about believable so that a busy, hardworking HR department or General Office dogsbody in a small organisation could be tempted to look at the word doc to see if the details matched the company requirements, before replying.
I am not too sure why the “With sympathy” sign off in the email is there. That only goes to show that these emails are either being crafted by a non native English speaker, or the bot sending them has a whole range of sign offs that are randomly chosen.
With sympathy is not a suitable sign off for a job application.
Remember many email clients, especially on a mobile phone or tablet, only show the Name in the From: and not the bit in <domain.com >. That is why these scams and phishes work so well.
You can now submit suspicious sites, emails and files via our Submissions system
The email looks like:
From: Jonathan Kauffman <GIANDANA@latestlog.com>
Date: Mon 22/01/2018 03:52
Subject: Website Job Application
Attachment: Jonathan Resume.zip
I visited your website yesterday..
I’m currently looking for work either part time or as a intern to get experience in the field.
Please review my CV and let me know what you think.
I password protected my resume for security.
Password is 123456
Jonathan Resume.zip : Extracts to resume.doc Current Virus total detections: Hybrid Analysis | Anyrun Beta | VirusBay | Joebox |
HA is under heavy load this morning & I started at number 770 in the queue and seemingly getting lower in the queue ( now 794) . It looks like somebody or something is flooding HA and causing problems. Updated run via Anyrun Beta looks like it is simply running a coin miner rather than downloading any extra malware. However there is always a limited run time on online sandboxes and on a victim’s real computer we might expect more action after an extended time
This malware doc file drops a powershell script that downloads from http://126.96.36.199/poop.jpg Which is not an image file but a renamed .exe file DKSPKD.exe ( VirusTotal) Anyrun Beta | Hybrid analysis | VirusBay |
The C2 appears to be http://microsoftoutlook.bit/email/send.php
Note Anyrun beta showed the URL in the details about the dropped PowerShell script but didn’t even attempt to contact it or download the Smoke trojan. The macro in the word doc is quite short and somewhat obfuscated and encoded. I can’t see where the PowerShell script is in the macro. I currently have no idea what Hybrid analysis will show due to the heavy load and long delays getting an analysis this morning.
To make it more difficult to analyse the malware is using the .bit domain system. So quoting from Wikipedia we see .bit is a top-level domain that was created outside the most commonly used Domain Name System (DNS) of the Internet, and is not sanctioned by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The .bit domain is served via the cryptocurrency Namecoin infrastructure, which acts as an alternative, decentralized domain name system. Use of the .bit domain requires a copy of the Namecoin blockchain, a supporting public DNS server, or a web browser plug-in.
Which effectively means that the online sandboxes cannot contact the C2 to get information and download the rest of the malware.
I am also seeing the malware using a get command to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2460049 which is a support article describing Office 2010 service pack 2 and to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=286133 which just sends me to the generic support page on Microsoft for my country UK.
|188.8.131.52||mta20.latestlog.com||Montreal||Quebec||CA||AS16276 OVH SAS|
Received: from mta20.latestlog.com ([184.108.40.206]:55813)
by knight.knighthosting.co.uk with esmtp (Exim 4.89_1)
for email@example.com; Mon, 22 Jan 2018 03:54:53 +0000
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha1; c=relaxed/relaxed; s=bulk; d=latestlog.com;
DomainKey-Signature: a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws; q=dns; s=bulk; d=latestlog.com;
Mime-Version: 1.0 (Mac OS X Mail 8.2 \(2104\))
Subject: Website Job Application
From: “Jonathan Kauffman” <GIANDANA@latestlog.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2018 04:52:06 +0100
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.2104)
All the alleged senders, companies, names of employees, phone numbers, amounts, reference numbers etc. mentioned in the emails are all frequently innocent and are just picked at 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 other 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.
This email attachment contains what appears to be a genuine word doc with a macro script that when run will infect you.
Modern versions of Microsoft office, that is Office 2010, 2013, 2016 and Office 365 should be automatically set to higher security to protect you.
By default protected view is enabled and macros are disabled, UNLESS you or your company have enabled them. If protected view mode is turned off and macros are enabled then opening this malicious word document will infect you, and simply previewing it in windows explorer or your email client might well be enough to infect you. Definitely DO NOT follow the advice they give to enable macros or enable editing to see the content.
Most of these malicious word documents either appear to be totally blank or look something like these images when opened in protected view mode, which should be the default in Office 2010, 2013, 2016 and 365. Some versions pretend to have a digital RSA key and say you need to enable editing and Macros to see the content. Do NOT enable Macros or editing under any circumstances.
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
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. It might be a simple message saying “look at this picture of me I took last night” that appears to come from a friend. It might be a scare ware message that will make you open the attachment to see what you are accused of doing. Frequently it is more targeted at somebody ( small companies etc.) who regularly receive PDF attachments or Word .doc attachments or any other common file that you use every day, for example an invoice addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Many of us routinely get Word, Excel or PowerPoint attachments in the course of work or from companies that we already have a relationship with.
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. A lot of 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”, an invoice or receipt from some company for a product or service or receive a Word doc or Excel file report that work has supposedly sent you to finish working on at the weekend, 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.
With these malformed infected word, excel and other office documents that normally contain a vba macro virus, the vital thing is do not open any office document direct from your email client or the web. Always save the document to a safe location on your computer, normally your downloads folder or your documents folder and scan it with your antivirus. Many Antiviruses do not natively detect vba macro-viruses in real time protection and you need to enable document or office protection in the settings. Do not rely on your Anti-Virus to immediately detect the malware or malicious content. DO NOT enable editing mode or enable macros
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 files and PowerPoint etc that are downloaded from the web or received in an email automatically in “protected view” that stops any embedded malware or macros 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 until you are 100% sure that it is a safe document. If the protected mode bar appears when opening the document DO NOT enable editing mode or enable macros the document will look blank or have a warning message, but will be safe.
Be aware that there are a lot of 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 starting to outweigh the convenience, benefits and cost of keeping an old version going.
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.