ServHelper

ServHelper is a new backdoor with a downloader variant first appearing in November of 2018. Named by the prolific creators “Ta505”, ServHelper Spreads through email campaigns using a quantity over quality approach that has proven to work, albeit, less effective than the Emotet strategies discussed here. ServHelper seems to be largely targeted toward businesses but could change to focus on individual’ s in future campaigns.

How does ServHelper works

ServHelper is downloaded through Microsoft word documents with hidden macros. The documents often pretend to be invoices though they may take other forms such as, but not limited to, greeting cards, complaints, or details from your bank.  These documents attempt to convince the user to enable them saying that they cannot be viewed until they are enabled. If the enable Content button is pressed, it runs code that downloads ServHelper to the computer. You can learn more about how to protect yourself here. An example is shown below:

 Infected enable Content doc

Another method employed by ServHelper is to give PDF files that claim you must follow the link provided to update your pdf viewer. These links instead reach out to a download server that infects anyone who visits. The end result is the same regardless of which infection vector is used.

Once installed ServHelper does 1 of 2 things.

  1. ServHelper establishes a remote-control session that allows the malicious actor to control the infected computer from anywhere. From here the malware talks to a Command and control server (C&C) where it takes it commands from. Some of the notable commands include the ability to kill itself and remove traces of itself from the computer, the ability to copy user’s browser profiles, and execute a command shell.
  2. ServHelper more recently removed some of its capabilities (in this version only) to instead focusing on dropping another piece of malware now known as FlawedGrace. FlawedGrace acts as a remote access Trojan providing similar functions to ServHelper, however there is ample evidence that FlawedGrace is operated by a different threat actor than ServHelper.

Who is affected?

ServHelper largely targets businesses and as such most of the emails are designed to take advantage of emails you would see in your day to day business such as invoices. Despite this active focus its entirely possible for computers outside of a business to be infected and extorted so protection is paramount.

Indicators of infection

ServHelper makes several changes that can help identify if you have been infected or not. In addition it reaches out to several known addresses.

  1. The most noticeable one is the C:\Windows\ServHelper.dll that is dropped in the windows folder.
  2. Unusual scheduled startup tasks are always noteworthy and ServHelper uses them to start itself every time a victim’s computer is ran.
  3. C:\PROGRAM FILES\COMMON FILES\SYSTEM\WINRESET.EXE
  4. crl.verisign.com/pca3.crl
  5. http://ocsp.verisign.com/MFEwTzBNMEswSTAJBgUrDgMCGgUABBQ%2FxkCfyHfJr7GQ6M658NRZ4SHo%2FAQUCPVR6Pv%2BPT1kNnxoz1t4qN%2B5xTcCECcNdVyfWsO322H1CZgocHg%3D
  6. http://www.download.windowsupdate.com/msdownload/update/v3/static/trustedr/en/authrootstl.cab
  7. IP: 104.81.60.211
  8. IP: 104.81.60.51
  9. IP: 2.17.157.9

What you can do


If you or someone you know is infected with the ServHelper malware download SUPERAntiSpyware Professional right now and get a 14 day free trial, no credit card required.  SUPERAntiSpyware is easy to install and will detect and remove Emotet from any Windows computer. If you are a Computer Technician, you may like to try our SUPERAntiSpyware Tech Edition solution, now free for the next 30 days. Use Tech02 as the Tech ID.  Click here: https://www.superantispyware.com/technician-download.html

HOW TO REMOVE ServHelper

  1. Restart the infected computer in safe mode without networking
  2. Search through the Indicators of infection and investigate any files/folders you do not recognize. You can run the file through SUPERAntiSpyware or online through VirusTotal.com to confirm that it is malware.
  3. Delete files and folders that have been confirmed as malware.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 on all other machines in the network.
  5. Restore all infected computers to normal mode only after confirming the infection is removed.

Emotet

You may have heard of the Trojan Emotet before, first appearing back in 2014 stealing banking information, it has since evolved into a multi-faceted threat that targets everyone. It uses social engineering through emails to attempt to convince the user to open a Microsoft Word document and run its malicious macros. Even more worrisome is that once they have infected a target, they attempt to take over the victims Microsoft outlook desktop application. If successful Emotet will go through all sent emails and contacts, before sending out a new wave of spam emails. Only this time it will be from a trusted email. A campaign from Emotet over the Christmas season reads like a friend sending a friendly season greeting.

Dear <name>,

You make the stars shine brighter and the winter days warmer just by being in my life. Merry Christmas to my favorite person in the world.

Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Greeting Card is attached

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. Garrison Keillor

While not limited to invoices or Christmas cards, these emails attempt to get the user to click the download link and then to open the document. In the email mentioned above the target may be fooled into thinking that the attached greeting card is legitimate.  The document actually contains a malicious macro, an embedded script. While macros were initially designed to help automate keystrokes and mouse movements, they were quickly abused by nefarious virus creators. The infection cannot run on its own as Microsoft has automatically disabled macros more than a decade ago to help stop these malicious scripts. Instead, Emotet uses a few techniques to get the user to re-enable macros. Examples can be seen below.



The picture urges the user to click the Enable Content button, implying that they cannot view the Word document until they do so. You may have already noticed that the bar itself says that Macros have been disabled and the enable content button will in fact allow them. The moment that Enable content is click the macros will start and in seconds you will be infected, even worse in most cases you will have no indication from this point forward that anything is wrong. In one test case we briefly had a command window appear:



This window lasted less than two seconds before disappearing. This attack vector is not unique to Emotet though. In fact, it has been used by a number of ransomware attacks in the past. If you ever see a document you didn’t expect to receive, you should always be extremely cautious with it and you should never enable macros without a very good reason.

How it works

Emotet is an evolving malware that has been known to primary spread itself through the use of email spam campaigns.  Emotet itself does not attempt to do much harm, instead it opens the door for other malware who pay the doorman on the way in. It achieves this by using what is known as a Command and control server (C&C), Emotet will request instructions from its control server who will issue a new command. This command could be anything from grab this malware sample and run it to tell me what passwords are stored in the user’s browser. Emotet can also receive updates and new capabilities in this way as well, showing that if Emotet has infected your computer or network it should be removed as quickly as possible.

Emotet doesn’t stop at the first computer infected though, once it’s on a network it will attempt to get to all computers it’s connected to through a brute-force attack. Unless strong passwords are enforced on machines and all known vulnerabilities are patched, a single installation of Emotet can cause every computer in the network to become infected. Emotet is often updated with new exploits as they are found, meaning that while it may not be successful at first it will keep trying until it finds something that does work.

Code

We won’t go into too much depth on the actual code itself, but a brief step-by-step walkthrough can be useful to get a better understanding on how this malware works.

1. In the Word document there is a VBA script that is obfuscated so that you cannot read it at a glance, all this code does is launch a command shell which then launches PowerShell, a more powerful version of the Windows command shell.

2. Using PowerShell, the script attempts to download the core Emotet payload from a large variety of distribution websites.

3. The randomly named payload will then reach out to the main server and request a command. The command will change based on the campaign that is running, it could go grab new malware or it could attempt to use your own email address as a way to spread itself.

Who is affected

Many people assume that they will not be targets of malware campaigns, Emotet though targets everyone equally, it has the simple goal of getting on every machine it can and then getting paid to let other, more targeted malware come in behind it. If your email address has ever been sold, disclosed in a breach, or was on a friend’s email list when they got infected it’s possible you will receive a malicious email from them.

Indicators of infection

The main location for the executable is in C:\Users\<name>\AppData\Local\ and then whatever new name Emotet decides to use. One we have seen often is archivessymbol but this will change. If you see something in this folder you don’t know about, its important to run a scan.

Versions of Emotet can also drop files onto your computer in C:\Users\Public or C:\Users\<username>:

These files generally have 5-6 randomly generated numbers in the file name, followed by .exe. These are not actually executable files, but HTML documents that are used to generate revenue for the Blackhat’s by simulating clicks on web advertisements.

What you can do


If you or someone you know is infected with the Emotet malware download SUPERAntiSpyware Professional right now and get a 14 day free trial, no credit card required.  SUPERAntiSpyware is easy to install and will detect and remove Emotet from any Windows computer. If you are a Computer Technician, you may like to try our SUPERAntiSpyware Tech Edition solution, now free for the next 30 days. Use Tech01 as the Tech ID.  Click here: https://www.superantispyware.com/technician-download.html

Emotet has also been known to exploit a vulnerability in Windows called EternalBlue. Microsoft has issued a patch for this, and applying this patch can help protect you from Emotet as well as other malware who utilize this exploit.

HOW TO REMOVE EMOTET

  1. Restart the infected computer in safe mode without networking
  2. Search through the Indicators of infection and investigate any files/folders you do not recognize. You can run the file through SUPERAntiSpyware or online through VirusTotal.com to confirm that it is malware.
  3. Delete files and folders that have been confirmed as malware.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 on all other machines in the network.
  5. Restore all infected computers to normal mode only after confirming the infection is removed.

Watch out for fake PayPal “unable to complete your recent transactions” phishing emails!

 

Phishing Emails Watch out for fake PayPal

We here at SUPERAntiSpyware have noticed a fairly recent clever email phishing campaign that claims to be PayPal. In the email the fake PayPal scam artists attempt to scare users into thinking that not only have their recent PayPal payments been declined, there is also unusual selling activities and they “will need some more information” about your recent sales in attempt to steal your information.

Example of the phishing email

Phishing Emails

We here at SUPERAntiSpyware recommend you simply delete this email, and do not click any links within the email, especially the fake blue “Check Your Accounts” button. If you have been scammed by this email, immediately change your PayPal account password and consider looking into changing your spam settings to avoid future spam emails such as these. Remember, if you do not recognize the sender address, do not open the email, and if you do open an email such as this always hover your mouse pointer over the emails links to see where they’re trying to take you, usually phishing emails links will point you to a website that has nothing to do with the company they’re posing as.

Watch out for fake Office 365 phishing emails!

that claims to be Microsoft attempting to inform users their Office account email storage space is almost full and to prevent incoming/Outgoing mail from getting bounced back, to click the supplied link to add an additional 10 gigs of free and mandatory storage. This of course is an obvious scam to phish your password as the link takes you to a fake Office 365 login screen.

Example of the spam. Beyond the obvious sketchy character of the email, hovering over the links within the email with your mouse pointer clearly shows it takes you to a different website and not a Microsoft website.

We here at SUPERAntiSpyware recommend you simply delete this email, and do not click any links within the email. If you have been scammed by this email, immediately change your Office 365 account password and consider looking into changing your spam settings to avoid future spam emails such as these. Remember, if you do not recognize the sender address, do not open the email, and also if you do open an email always hover your mouse pointer over the emails links to see where they’re trying to take you.

Watch out for fake “Microsoft account Verify your email address” spam!

Verify Your Email Address

We at SUPERAntiSpyware have noticed in uptick in spam that claims to be associated with verifying your email address to set up a Microsoft Account.

Fake Microsoft account verification email

We recommend you immediately delete this email, do not click the “Verify Your email address button” it will redirect you to a known phishing site to try to steal your account information. You can tell the button is fake by simply hovering your mouse over the button and taking a look at the URL, clearly non-Microsoft related.

Clicking this button does not verify your account, it brings you to a phishing website that will lure you into giving up your account information!

If you have been scammed by this email, immediately change your Microsoft account password and consider looking into changing your spam settings to avoid future spam emails such as these. Remember, if you do not recognize the sender address, do not open the email!

Watch out for fake USPS delivery emails!

usps

Fake USPS Delivery Emails?

We at SUPERAntiSpyware have been alerted to scam emails hitting users claiming to be from the US Postal Service (USPS) that contains a link that will infect them with malware. One of the emails being used by this scam is notice@ussp(DOT)com

The subject line of the email will typically be titled “Delivery notification – Parcel delivery *NUMBER* failed” containing a message that the user please call the number on the shipping notice we left at your doorstep (which there will be none!) to arrange a new delivery, and a link which you can view the delivery notice online, on the USPS website.

This is a fake link to a malware infested website.

If you see a link in a suspicious email such as this do not click the links or open the attachments no matter how innocent they sound. If it claims to be from an official organization, call them and ask if the email is legit. Better safe than sorry!

Tax Season is here – Watch out for Identity Stealing Spyware!

Taxes The Season is Here !

Keep your personal information safe this tax season by doing a Free scan with SUPERAntiSpyware Free Edition

We want to remind everyone that tax season is the time of increased attacks in the forms of spyware, various methods of phishing , and scams. Spyware and Malware authors significantly increase their activity during the tax season in order to try to steal data and withdraw money from bank accounts, steal credit cards, passwords, and other malicious acts.

Watch out for Identity Stealing Spyware!

During this tax season its important to do a few things to help protect yourself online:

1) Make sure your Operating System and software applications such as web browsers and email clients are up to date.

2) Run a Complete Scan with SUPERAntiSpyware regularly with the latest updates, at least twice a week during this period of increased activity.

3) Be cautious before visiting strange websites, or opening strange email attachments. Think before you click!

4) Manually erase, or use privacy software, to delete sensitive data from you PC. Spyware cannot steal what isn’t there!

5) Lookout for spam phishing email impersonating government, bank, or tax company officials asking for sensitive information.

Do you have any security recommendations that help you stay safe during the tax season? Feel free to leave a comment below!

SUPERAntiSpyware Team

How to deal with Tech Support Scams

How to deal with Tech Support Scams Now!

You get a pop-up message that says you’re infected and for you to call “Microsoft” Tech Support with the provided number, a voice may come from your speaker instructs you that your data is in harm’s way and you should not shut off your PC. In a panic, PC users call this number and long story short, end up paying hundreds of dollars to a scam artist that claimed to fix something that was never an issue to begin with. This story is common today if you read the news.

A tech support scam artist claims to be an employee (or work with) of a major software company offering technical support to the victim. This can range from someone claiming to be your ISP, your cable provider, or even a Apple or Microsoft. The scam artist will claim the “company” has received notifications of errors, viruses, or issues from the victim’s PC. Scam artists are also claiming to work on behalf of the government to fight computer viruses and threats from enemy nations, hackers and terrorist organizations.

How they get you

Tech Support scam artists have a few tricks to try to extort you or scare you into paying them:

Cold Call. You’ll get a random call from the scammer who claims your PC is infected or has a serious error.

Pop-Up or Rogue Website. This is the more popular tactic where the victim will accidentally stumble upon a rogue website or receive a pop-up claiming you have a Windows OS Blue Screen Error, a massive data error, or a serious infection. Sometimes, it will lock your screen up and freeze your internet browser, or play a sound or voice over the speaker in an attempt to scare the victim. The pop-up or rogue website will always include the scam phone number for the victim to call.

Once you are speaking to them and letting them in

They will attempt to scare you further and instruct you to allow them to remote access your PC or devices to “fix” them. One they are in, they will claim they found the “errors” or “viruses” and ask you to pay for them to be removed, this usually amounts to hundreds of dollars. The money is collected from the victim usually by debit/credit card, wire transfer, or even prepaid gift carts!

If the tech support scammers are remotely accessing your devices, they can use this as a way to hold your information hostage and ransom you. They can intentionally install malware onto your PC, or steal your sensitive data on your PC such as passwords, financial accounts, and other data. There have been reports of the scammers becoming so agitated they have threatened to destroy the computer and all its data unless the victim pays on spot.

What can you do to stop them?

We at SUPERAntiSpyware recommend a few different forms of defense and mitigation against the plague of tech support scams:

Do NOT give out credit card or bank information.

Recognizing what is occurring and ending the call immediately if you are speaking to a tech support scammer.

Do not allow unknown and unverified organizations remote access your devices such as your phone or PC.

Make sure you are using the latest version of SUPERAntiSpyware and it is up to date.

If you see a pop-up or you stumble upon a rogue website that is claiming you are infected, have an error, or a Blue Screen of Death go ahead and close your web browser, if needed force it down via the Process Manager. If you cannot do that, reboot your machine.

If you are a victim

File a fraud report with your Bank or Card issuer immediately and stop payment, or see if you can dispute the payment if it has already been made.

File a Complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center

Change your passwords to the services the tech support scam artists may have uncovered when they remote accessed your PC.

Remove any remote access software the scam artist may have had you install on your PC.

Prevention is Best!

Prevention is the best Safeguard

Prevention is the best way to ensure you are never infected with spyware and your data is never lost or stolen. It is possible to clean up an infected machine and remove spyware but sometimes the damage from certain spyware, such as ransomware, cannot be fixed as files become encrypted or otherwise corrupted.

While no single solution available is a silver bullet, the following list outlines some of the best practices in lessening the risks of losing data after an infection:

1) Backup your files and software! Having backup copies of your photos, documents, software, and other files can make sure you never lose them to a malware infection such as ransomware encryption. Many people choose to use external drives or the cloud for their backups, but keep in mind that if you use external drives, the data can still be at risk if you leave your backup drives connected to your machine at all times.

We at SUPERAntiSpyware offer an Online Backup Solution as an optional service when purchasing SUPERAntiSpyware at $6.95 a month. This subscription allows you to back up and protect your important files and documents onto a cloud-like server so you always have copies of your important files.  You can read more about our backup services here: https://www.backup.support.com

2) Keep SUPERAntiSpyware up to date and run regular scans. We update our definition list twice a day to make sure our users catch the latest threats, as well as periodically release software updates. It is imperative users keep up to date so their software continues finding the latest threats. In order to make sure that nothing creeps in between scans, we recommend regular scanning at least once a week, if not every day.

3) Update your Windows Operating System and Software you use. Make sure you always are using the latest version of Windows with the latest updates and security fixes. Most Windows updates are patches for existing and/or potential vulnerabilities, so keeping these holes filled is crucial in stopping the spread of malware. Additionally, using unsupported operating systems (anything older than Windows 7 as of right now) can leave you just as unprotected. If you are using web browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, or others, always make sure you are using the latest versions, and don’t forget to update any add-ons, plugins, or extensions you use to the latest editions.

4) Double Check Emails before opening them. Check the sender of every email you receive. If you do not know them, or the email looks suspicious, do not open it! Delete it! Do the suspicious emails include links to click or strange attachments? Do not click the links or open the attachments no matter how innocent they sound. If it claims to be from an official organization, call them and ask if the email is legit. Better safe than sorry!

5) Use strong passwords and/or multi-factor authentication. Good passwords are long. Good passwords also contain capital and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Do not use an easily accessable password that contains personal information like your birthday or the name of your pet, and do not use the same password for every website! This makes it harder for hackers to gain access to your personal information, especially when you use different passwords for every site. It might be a bit more to remember, but it diminishes the risk and the headache of sorting everything out after your information is stolen.

Many sites, such as banks, often will have multi-factor authentication available. With these systems, you not only need a password, but you also will need a special code that is often randomized on a dongle or smart phone app. These types of systems are more secure than just a typical password, as the extra step is incredibly difficult to hack into.

6) Use an Ad blocking Extension. Software such as Adblock Plus and uBlock Origin for your internet browsers are free, cross-platform browser extensions that filter unwanted content such as ads, pop-ups, rogue scripts, and even IP leaks. Using an ad blocking extension on your web browser will greatly lessen the impact of “Malvertising”, website ads that drop rogue programs onto your PC without your knowledge. While these programs might not block every ad you encounter, the chances of you running into something particularly malicious will be reduced dramatically.

7) Remove unsupported software. Many software programs, such as Flash or QuickTime, are no longer supported by their publishers, or are no longer supported by modern web browsers. This means that existing versions can have massive security flaws, despite their being many users who still have the software installed on their computers. It is recommended that users uninstall software that has been abandoned by their creators, especially if it is something that deals with content on the web.

At the same time, many newer pieces of software cannot run on older operating systems such as Windows 98, Windows ME, and even Windows XP. Keep your operating system up to date! When Microsoft stops supporting an old operating system, they stop all updates, which can lead to vulnerabilities being exploited.

8) Don’t talk to tech support scammers. If you’re on the internet and suddenly get a pop-up or email claiming your PC is infected with a virus, and that you need to call a listed number immediately, do not do it! A real security company wouldn’t sell their services from sketchy pop-ups or emails. These companies typically list a 1-800 number for you to call so they can try to lure you into spending potentially hundreds of dollars and giving them remote access to your PC.  More likely than not, they will try to infect you or steal personal information during their remote access “work”.

9) Make sure you are on secure connection when purchasing products online or entering in personal information. You can tell you are on a secure website when the URL reads “https” and not just “http.” This is also referred to as HTTP over SSL which is encrypted. This protects against eavesdropping and tampering. Often, the address bar will change color or display a lock icon next to the URL you are visiting if you are connected through a secure HTTPS connection.

10) Use a firewall. Since Windows XP, every Microsoft operating system has come with a firewall. It is recommended you make sure this is always enabled. If you use a third-party firewall, it is also recommended you always keep it up and running. Firewalls use rules and examine network traffic as it passes in and out of your PC. If a connection does not follow the firewalls rules, it will be blocked. This also allows you to monitor activity on your network from intrusion attempts or if rogue software on your PC is trying to reach out to a hacker.

Remember to Stay Safe

Even the most cautious of people can get infected; however, by following these tips your risk of getting infected or being unable to recover from an infection will go down dramatically. Remember to stay safe, exercise caution, scan regularly, keep everything up to date, and backup your data often.

Typosquatting: Another front of malware attacks

Typosquatting is a type of internet scam that relies on end users making mistakes, such as spelling errors or entering the wrong domain name when entering a websites URL. It is also commonly known as URL Hijacking. There are many motivations for a hijacker to take the Typosquatting approach to deceiving unsuspecting victims:

1) To redirect web traffic to their own or a competitor’s product.

2) Installing malware to infect the user’s machine, typically with ad-hosting pieces of malware.

3) Freeze the web browser for a fake Tech Support scam, scaring the user into calling a fake tech support number claiming the user has a virus infection. These scams potentially cost the users hundreds of dollars.

4) To steal user information by running a phishing scheme to mimic legitimate website.

5) Making revenue from the user clicking on advertisements (either in plain site or disguised as legitimate search links) on the Typosquat website.

6) To blackmail or strong-arm payment from the company they’re Typosquatting in order to force a purchase of the website from the Typosquatter.

A scammer who runs a Typosquat scam typically registers a website address with spelling close to the legitimate websites address. This is typically something simple like omitting a letter, adding a letter, or using a different Top Level Domain. For example if a user wants to go to our website, they may end up typing superaantispyware[dot]com with double a’s. This will end up showing a user a Typosquatting website such as this:

Another type of Typosquat scam would be due to the person improperly typing out the full URL, typing something like google [dot] om , rather than typing google [dot] com. In this instance, the person typing the .om domain would actually be viewing a page hosted on Oman’s Top Level Domain, rather than the basic .com domain. In some instances, large corporations will buy up as many associated domains as they can in order to prevent this type of mistake (Google, for example, has variants of their site containing multiple o’s and different Top Level Domains); however, not all companies have the foresight and/or money to do this.

It is easy to avoid falling prey to a Typosquatting scam. Here are a few easy things you can do to prevent this.

1) Never open links in emails from unexpected senders, and exercise caution when visiting sites you’re not familiar with.

2) Bookmark your favorite websites so you can easily access them.

3) Use a search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo when looking for a specific website if you are unsure about the spelling or if the business’ website is the same as their name. Some car dealerships, for example, use dealer names or slogans as their website.

4) Double check the URL you are typing before loading the page

5) Make sure Real-Time Protection is turned on in SUPERAntiSpyware Professional

6) If you are starting a web-based business, consider buying multiple domains that are similar to your primary site to preemptively stop Typosquatters. Most domain registrars will offer bulk rates when you purchase more than one domain at a time.

While this type of attack is somewhat uncommon by today’s standards, it still happens every once in a while. By practicing safe browsing habits, keeping your web browsers up-to-date, and running regular scans of your machine, you should not be impacted by most of these types of attacks.