2023W20 Weekly report => 15/05 2K23 - 21/05 2K23 MalSpam campaigns targeting Italy

Malware spread through the campaigns: AgentTesla, FormBook, PikaBot, QakBot, StrelaStealer

Weekly report by TG Soft's C.R.A.M concerning Italian malspam campaigns.

Below the details of the campaigns massively spread during the week from May 15 to May 21, 2023.

In the
monitored week , global campaigns increased slightly from the previous week, instead those targeting Italian users rose sharply.

The week was characterized by Password Stealers of the Families: AgentTesla, FormBook, PikaBot, QakBot and StrelaStealer.

The blue bar indicates the total number of campaigns monitored in Italy in each week, while the red bar concerns campaigns written in Italian (targeting Italy).

We monitored 57 campaigns this week, 12 of which used Italian as their language.

In order to understand how the various weeks are divided, below is a small table showing the breakdown of the periods considered:

from to
Week_17 24/04 30/04
Week_18 01/05 07/05
Week_19 08/05 14/05
Week_20 15/05 21/05

During the week, the peak in campaigns was found on Thursday, May 18 with 15 different campaigns. On Tuesday, May 16, the peak was found for the Italy target with 4 campaigns, as is highlighted by the chart below:

In the following chart we see the malware families that were spreaded globally for each day in the week:

Instead, in this graph we see the distribution based on malware family. In the past week, 13 different families were detected:

The majority of the executable samples featured this week are MSILs (C#) covering 63.16% of the malware sent via e-mail. In second place are Win32s with 10.53%.
8.77% of the samples examined were Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, etc.).

In the picture below we can see the various types of languages used in malware development:

In the following graph we see the distribution of the various types of languages divided by day:

In this graph you can see the malware families that were spreaded with target Italy (written in Italian) in the week, consisting of 5 different families:

The Italian campaigns analyzed by TG Soft's C.R.A.M. were grouped according to macro categories, obtained from the subject of the email message exploited for malware distribution (malspam). Below we see the subjects used in the various campaigns divided by day and type of malware.
AgentTesla - spread through two campaigns themed "Orders".
 spread through one campaign themed "Orders".

AgentTesla spread through one campaign themed "Invoices".
StrelaStealer spread through two campaigns themed "Invoices".
QakBot spreadt hrough one campaign themed "Various".

FormBook spread through one campaign themed "Orders".

AgentTesla spread through one campaign themed "Offers".
FormBook spread through one campaign themed"Payments".
PikaBot spread through one campaign themed "Various".

FormBook spread through one campaign themed "Documents".

On May 18, a globally targeted malspam campaign was observed, with the subject of a fake DHL shipment, aimed at spreading ransomware "Chaos Ransomware"

Inside the email message we find, as an attachment, a compressed .RAR file with the name "Download Tracking Reference.rar" which inside contains the executable file "Download Tracking Reference.exe". An interesting feature is highlighted when we examine the compilation date of the executable file which turns out to be 2080-07-25 13:21:26. Clearly this is a bogus compilation date.

Nome File SHA-256 Data compilazione
Download Tracking Reference.rar d2012bfdb125efcf124d46c934a373e5709d8a0e449c758854083277d6f2a2d8 -
Download Tracking Reference.exe
b4dcdba63c910f0b639470e13d33d712a3e2139340e422f422fd1d86116af1e9 2080-07-25 13:21:26
Once the executable file is extracted and started, the ransomware's phase of encrypting the user's files begins. Among the first operations performed is the replication of itself inside the %APPDATA% folder under the name "svchost.exe" (name of a good Windows process, used to be less recognizable and more difficult to be detected by the user).Simultaneously a .URL file is created inside the StartUp folder that points to the file just created inside %APPDATA%. In this way the ransomware is launched each time the PC is started.
Chaos Ransomware specifically targets the Downloads, Desktop, Contacts, Shortcuts, Documents, Music, and Images directories, and then goes on to fully encrypt the machine.
An interesting peculiarity of this ransomware can be seen during encryption where, unlike most ransomware, the extension that is added turns out to be a combination of 4 random alphanumeric characters and different for each file.

Another interesting feature is the method by which the encrypted file is saved: each encrypted file has, within it, two Base64-encoded sections:
  • The encryption key contained in the <Encrypted Key> tags, which is itself encrypted and encoded in base64.
  • The content of the file that is encrypted and encoded in base64. This  begins immediately after the encryption key tag is closed.
This way even if the encrypted file extension is random, the ransomware decryptor will still be able to identify the encrypted files.
Once the encryption is complete, ransom instructions are created with the name "read_it.txt" where we find the instructions, the email address to contact the criminals, and the amount to be paid in Bitcoin.
The amount demanded by cyber criminals is 1 BTC, which at the current exchange rate is equivalent to about 26879 USD equal to about 24847 Euros.

The wallet specified for payment, on 22/05/2023, did not receive any transaction of value 1 BTC. There is only one transaction of value 0.00652666 BTC equal to 175.34 USD on 06/05/2023, an amount that was removed on the same day.

In the past week, the massive sending of MalSpam emails for the spread of the Emotet malware, was not detected.
Find out if you are an Emotet target!
TG Soft, as reported in the information "HAVEiBeenEMOTET portal to find out whether a mailbox has been used in malspam campaigns to spread EMOTET ", has provided and maintained for over a year the HAVEiBeenEMOTET service, which is useful to check if your email addresses or domains are targeted by Emotet.
With this service you can check for free if your email addresses/domains are involved or are targets of MalSpam by Emotet.
Advanced search features and the IOC feed are available by registering and activating the API service at the link: 


Check out the campaigns for the month of May/June


We invite you to check out the April/May 2023 reports to stay up-to-date on the malspam campaigns circulating in Italy:

07/05/2023 => Weekly report of Italian MalSpam campaigns from May 08, 2023 to May 14, 2023
01/05/2023 => Weekly report of Italian MalSpam campaigns from May 01, 2023 to May 07, 2023
24/04/2023 => Weekly report of Italian MalSpam campaigns from April 24, 2023 to April 30, 2023
17/04/2023 => Weekly report of Italian Malspam campaigns from April 17, 2023 to April 23, 2023

TG Soft's Anti-Malware Research Center
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