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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Birminghammail / Paul Fulford "Redirected message" spam

This spam pretends to be from a journalist called Paul Fulford at the Birmingham Mail. However, it isn't.. it is a forgery with a malicious attachment.

Date:      Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:59:48 +0800 [08:59:48 EDT]
From:      Birminghammail [paul.fulford@birminghammail.co.uk]
Subject:      Redirected message

Dear [redacted]!

Please find attached the original letter received by our system.
I only have two samples of this, the originating IP addresses are: (HINET, Taiwan) (BSNL, India)

Poor Mr Fulford thinks that his email has been hacked.. it hasn't, but I suspect that he has pissed off some Russian spammers somewhere.

Attached is an archive file 1.zip which contains a malicious executable original_letter_234389_193.scr.exe which has a VirusTotal detection rate of 5/53. The Malwr report shows that this part reaches out to the following IPs:

Both of these belong to Comfortel Ltd in Russia. From there another file 2.exe is download which has a VT detection rate of just 3/53. The Malwr report is inconclusive.

I'm not familiar with the Russian host, but having two bad IPs in close proximity makes me think that you probably want to block at least or the whole (almost all sites are in the /24 anyway). This netblock contains a mix of what look like legitimate Russian-language sites and obvious phishing sites.

inetnum: -
netname:        COMFORTEL-NET
descr:          COMFORTEL ltd.
country:        RU
admin-c:        ME3174-RIPE
tech-c:         RASS-RIPE
status:         ASSIGNED PA
mnt-by:         MNT-PIN
mnt-routes:     MNT-PIN
mnt-domains:    PIRIX-MNT
source:         RIPE # Filtered

person:         Mikhail Evdokimov
address:        PIRIX
address:        Obukhovskoy Oborony, 120-Z
address:        192012, St.Petersburg
address:        Russia
phone:          +7 812 3343610
fax-no:         +7 812 6002014
nic-hdl:        ME3174-RIPE
mnt-by:         RUNNET-MNT
source:         RIPE # Filtered

person:         Dmitry Rassohin
address:        194156, St.Petersburg, Russia
address:        Bolshoy Sampsonievskiy prospekt 106A, apt. 304
phone:          +7 931 2700021
nic-hdl:        RASS-RIPE
mnt-by:         RASS-MNT
source:         RIPE # Filtered

descr:          PIRIXROUTE
origin:         AS56534
mnt-by:         MNT-PIN
source:         RIPE # Filtered

UPDATE: a slightly different version of the spam is doing the rounds today, with the fake senders being Allyson.Mays@birminghammail.co.uk and Troy.Short@birminghammail.co.uk (there seems to be nobody working for the Birmingham Mail with that name).

The attachment is in the format letter_549588.zip and letter_235708.zip and which unzips to a folder original_letter_234389_193.eml containing a malicious executable original_letter_234389_193.eml.exe which has a VirusTotal detection rate of 4/54.

The Malwr analysis shows that this reaches out to the following sites:


This drops a further file called mss3.exe with an MD5 of 8e5ea3a1805df3aea28c76adb13b3d9e which is still pending analysis.


Catherine Flannigan said...

thank you for providing so much information so quickly! And poor Paul Fulford...

testtest said...

Had similar issues this week using these IP relays for birminghammail.co.uk.

Hawthorn001 said...

Not just from Paul. I've just had one apparently from KarlDickerson@birminghammail.co.uk, saying they have an 'original letter'. Sent direct to spam filter

James Boyd said...

I've had lot of failed redirects 'from' Dusty Herrera at birmingham mail too. Over 25 emails from Paul Fulford to our domain alone yesterday. Every one blocked.