New Emotet attacks use a new template urging recipients to upgrade Microsoft Word

Pierluigi Paganini October 25, 2020

Emotet operators have started using a new template this week that pretends to be a Microsoft Office message urging a Microsoft Word update.

Researchers this week observed Emotet attacks employing a new template that pretends to be a Microsoft Office message urging the recipient to update their Microsoft Word to add a new feature.

Source Bleeping Computer

Emotet spam messages leverage templates to trick the victims into enabling macros to start the infection.

Upon installing the malware, Emotet will download additional payloads on the machine, including ransomware, and use it to send spam emails.

The Emotet banking trojan has been active at least since 2014, the botnet is operated by a threat actor tracked as TA542. In the middle-August, the malware was employed in fresh COVID19-themed spam campaign

Recent spam campaigns used messages with malicious Word documents, or links to them, pretending to be an invoice, shipping information, COVID-19 information, resumes, financial documents, or scanned documents.

The infamous banking trojan is also used to deliver other malicious code, such as Trickbot and QBot trojan or ransomware such as Conti (TrickBot) or ProLock (QBot).

Emotet is a modular malware, its operators could develop new Dynamic Link Libraries to update its capabilities.

Recently, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an alert to warn of a surge of Emotet attacks that have targeted multiple state and local governments in the U.S. since August.

During that time, the agency’s EINSTEIN Intrusion Detection System has detected roughly 16,000 alerts related to Emotet activity.

In a recent campaign observed on October 14th, the attackers are using multiple lures, including invoices, purchase orders, shipping information, COVID-19 information, and information about President Trump’s health.

The spam messages come with malicious Word (.doc) attachments or include links to download the bait document.

“Emotet switched to a new template this week that pretends to be a Microsoft Office message stating that Microsoft Word needs to be updated to add a new feature.” reported BleepingComputer.

Below the messages displayed to the recipient to trick him into opening enabling the macros.

Upgrade your edition of Microsoft WordUpgrading your edition will add new feature to Microsoft Word.
Please click Enable Editing and then click
Enable Content.

Upon enabling the macros, the Emotet malware is downloaded and installed into the victim’s %LocalAppData% folder, as shown below.

“Due to this, it is important that all email users recognize malicious document templates used by Emotet so that you do not accidentally become infected.” concludes Bleeping computer.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, malware)

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