Trickbot Watch: Arrival via Redirection URL in Spam

Trickbot Watch: Arrival via Redirection URL in Spam

by Miguel Ang (Threats Analyst)


We discovered a variant of the Trickbot banking trojan (detected by Trend Micro as TrojanSpy.Win32.TRICKBOT.THDEAI) using a redirection URL in a spam email. In this particular case, the variant used Google to redirect from the URL hxxps://google[.]dm:443/url?q=, whereby the URL in the query string, url?q=, is the malicious URL that the user is redirected to. The redirection URL is a way to sidestep spam filters that may block Trickbot at the onset.


At first glance, the spam email could pass as legitimate, even adding social media icons for good measure. The content indicates a processed order that is ready for shipping. The mail then goes into detail with the freight number for the package, delivery disclaimer, and contact details of the seller. The cybercriminals used the Google redirection URL in the email to trick unwitting users and deflect from the hyperlinks’ actual intention. Moreover, since the URL is from a known site, it lends some air of authenticity to the email and redirection.



Figure 1. Sample spam email with redirection URL


The URL in the email is used to redirect the user from Google to a Trickbot download site. The browser will show a redirection notice stating that the user will be sent to a link with “order review” in it.



Figure 2. Redirection notice


After clicking the link to confirm the redirection, the user is then led to the malicious site disgui ..