Trend Micro detected a spam campaign that drops the same FlawedAmmyy RAT (remote access Trojan) used by a Necurs module to install its final payload on bots under bank- and POS-related user domains. The spam campaign was also found abusing SettingContent-ms – an XML format shortcut file that opens Microsoft's Windows Settings panel. Malicious SettingContent-ms files were found embedded in a PDF document that drops the aforementioned RAT.
Figure 1. The volume of spam emails in July 12 and 13
From our research and analysis of spam emails sent on July 12 and 13, more than 50 percent of the email accounts that received this spam belonged to banks located in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Kenya, Romania, Poland, and Austria.
Figure 2. Infection chain of the spam campaign
Once the “downl.SettingContent-ms” file is opened, Windows will run the PowerShell command inside the <DeepLink> tag, which will download the FlawedAmmyy RAT from hxxp://169[.]239[.]129[.]117/cal before executing it. This FlawedAmmyy RAT variant is the same one installed by a Necurs module on bots under bank- and POS-related user domains.
Figure 8. The content of the “downl.SettingContent-ms file that contains the PowerShell command for downloading the FlawedAmmyy RAT
FlawedAmmyy RAT - the spam campaign’s connection to Necurs
Recently, Necurs has been showing interest in bots with specific characteristics. On July 12, Necurs pushed a module – a downloader of the FlawedAmmyy RAT – to its bots. The module checked if the domain name contained any of the following keywords: bank, banc, aloha, aldelo, and postilion (as seen in Figure 10). Aloha is a restaurant POS system, Aldelo is an iPad POS system, while Postilion is a solution for acquiring payments or transactions across all channels, from ATM and POS to ecommerce and mobile. It downloads and executes the final payload from hxxp://169[.]239[.]129[.]117/Yjdfel765Hs if the bot’s user domain matches Necurs’ criteria.
Figure 9. The module obtained the bot's user domain via the cmd command echo %%USERDOMAIN%%
Figure 10. The module checks if the user domain contains any of the highlighted keywords
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Indicators of compromise (IOCs)
|5181ede149a8cd560e9e0958be51ec069b486c87 14efc02509ab12eee08183a8||SHA256||Necurs module that checks if the bot is potentially bank- or POS-related|
|576a373ccb9b62c3c934abfe1573a87759a2bfe26 6477155e0e59f336cc28ab4||SHA256||PDF used in the spamming campaign on July 12 and 13|
|42ded82ef563db3b35aa797b7befd1a19ec92595 2f78f076db809aa8558b2e57||SHA256||FlawedAmmyy RAT dropped by the Necurs module and the spam campaign on July 12|
|185[.]99[.]132[.]119:443||IP + Port||C&C of the FlawedAmmyy RAT|
|hxxp://169[.]239[.]129[.]117/Yjdfel765Hs||URL||URL used to download the FlawedAmmyy RAT in the Necurs module|
|hxxp://169[.]239[.]129[.]117/cal||URL||URL used to download the FlawedAmmyy RAT in the SettingContent-ms file embedded in the PDF|