GoldenEye ransomware disguised as job application

Opening the Excel attachment will encrypt the files on your computer

Check Point has uncovered a ransomware attack that is targeting German HR managers by posing as a legitimate job application.

The email is sent with a harmless PDF covering letter and an Excel spreadsheet that contains the ransomware. When the victim opens the Excel spreadsheet, they are invited to enable content so the macros can run. Upon giving the go-ahead, the malicious macro will launch a program that encrypts all the files on the user's computer, presents the message "YOUR_FILES_ARE_ENCRYPTED.TXT".

While the files are being encrypted, the user is faced with a fake "chkdsk" screen, urging them not to turn off their PC. When all the files are encrypted, they will see a skull and crossbones and be told their files have been encrypted using GoldenEye, with instructions of how to pay the ransom and unlock their files. The rates to unlock files start at 1.3 Bitcoins (800) per infection.

"Despite trying to brand itself as a new malware, GoldenEye, the latest Petya variant, is very similar to older versions and differs mostly in its "golden" motif," Check Point explained. "The most prominent change, however, is how the campaign spreads the ransomware.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"The current campaign used to distribute GoldenEye has a job application theme. It is therefore aimed at companies' Human Resources departments, due to the fact they usually cannot avoid opening emails and attachments from strangers, a common malware infection method."

The researchers said the campaign has only been running for a few days and it seems as though the infected attachment has been given a number of names, making it even more confusing for recipients. However, they follow the same format, with the supposed candidate's name as the first part of the file name and "Bewerbung", meaning "application" in German, as the second part.

Main image credit: Check Point

Featured Resources

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Three keys to maximise application migration and modernisation success

Harness the benefits that modernised applications can offer

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

The 3 approaches of Breach and Attack Simulation technologies

A guide to the nuances of BAS, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals

Download now



How can you protect your business from crypto-ransomware?

4 Nov 2019

Hackers abuse LinkedIn DMs to plant malware

25 Feb 2019

Best free malware removal tools 2019

23 Dec 2019

Best antivirus for Windows 10

3 Sep 2019

Most Popular

operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Data protection fines hit £100m during first 18 months of GDPR

20 Jan 2020