Malware attack! "You have received a secure message"

Filed Under: Featured, Malware, Spam

SophosLabs is intercepting a widespread malware attack, spammed out via email, posing as a secure message.

The emails, which have the subject line of "You have received a secure message", attempt to trick recipients into opening an attached ZIP file.

However, contained inside the ZIP file - - is a Trojan horse that Sophos products detect as Troj/Zbot-DPM.

Here is what a typical message looks like (click on the image for a fuller version):

Malicious email. Click for a fuller version

You have received a secure message

Read your secure message by opening the attachment, SECUREDOC. You will be prompted to open (view) the file or save (download) it to your computer. For best results, save the file first, then open it.

If you have concerns about the validity of this message, please contact the sender directly. For questions about Key's e-mail encryption service, please contact technical support at 888.764.7941.

First time users - will need to register after opening the attachment.
Help -
About IronPort Encryption -

The notorious ZBot family of malware (also known as Zeus) can hijack your computer, making it part of a criminal botnet. Over the past few years cybercriminals have used different versions of ZBot to steal money from online bank accounts, login details for social networking sites and email/FTP information.

It's easy to understand why recipients might be duped into believing that they have really received a secure message like the one shown above, and might be fooled into opening the attachment, and running the malicious executable contained within.

SophosLabs is seeing many of these messages spammed out at the moment - so please check that your anti-spam and anti-virus defences are updated, and capable of detecting this threat.

And always think carefully before opening an unsolicited email attachment.

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10 Responses to Malware attack! "You have received a secure message"

  1. Javier · 989 days ago

    When posting warnings like this, can you guys also point out the susceptibility of the operating system... ie Windows based are more susceptible... Android... iOS... OSX... There are so many operating systems and devices that a malware virus can highjack, it would be best to also point that out to people. Thanks for the warning.

  2. Nigel · 989 days ago

    Anyone who wants to communicate securely with me can bloody well ask for my PKCS public key. In fact, it's automatically attached to every message I send. The number of people (essentially zero) who even bother to ask what it is (let alone actually use it) is a sad commentary on the general level of awareness about secure messaging.

    I'm not just talking about "regular" everyman users. The number of companies (also essentially zero) that (apparently) are completely unaware of the importance of secure messaging is...well, appalling. (sigh)

    The upshot is this: Secure messaging is so far outside the norm that, if a message showed up asking me to open an allegedly secure attachment, I would be immediately suspicious of that premise.

  3. C. Scott Johnson · 988 days ago

    Doesn't this just fall in under the heading "COMMON SENSE"? I can't tell you how many times I have had to clean up some small business owners computer only to find that they have opened some rogue email from someone they have NEVER heard of or from some business they have NEVER dealt with but they just "HAD TO OPEN" the attached file. What is it about human nature that we have to test to see if the paint is dry or the fence is really electrically charged or if this file is REALLY going to endow me with millions or a bigger willy.

    Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

  4. jomo kenyata · 981 days ago

    Is Sophos protecting us from this now? Because we have Sophos running off our email server and this got through.

  5. Jason · 971 days ago

    I do business with JP Morgan and therefore I thought the email was for real. What do I do to fix the problem? I extracted the Zip file but nothing seemed to have happended. I do have Nortan Symantec working on my PC. I am nervous about being hacked. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  6. Robert A. Fouts · 918 days ago

    I opened it inside of a firewall to check it out. Unfortunately for me and fortunately for ypu, I had a flashdrive attached. This is what the virus does. It puts a number of programs in the documents, and it "secures" folders and files. The "secured" files will when checked for properties will all have "pwurlzn" as the type of application. The original application files all had as a date of creation Mar 15, 2013 or Mar 20, 2013, mostly the latter. The lockup will normally let you open the file once, but not again. The dates are about the same time as the North Korean cyber-attack.

  7. robert fouts · 918 days ago

    The nature of the attack suggests that it was written by some government security agent. The form of the damages would suggest that it was originally written to convey one time messages, and then to freeze up. Also, I noted that the actual damage was on the flash drive, rather than the hard drive. I was able to rescue some of the documents by pasting them in a new folder. There is probably a program to unlock the frozen files, probably written by the same people that wrote it. One more thing, It won't let you log off of the account that it is in. The other firewalled accounts are fine

  8. SusanHolmes · 707 days ago

    ironic that it's malware targeted at a tech savvy crowd who expect encrypted messages.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley