Email attachments of singleton nested zipfiles are suspicious
Today I tweeted:
Our most commonly detected inbound email virus is now a .doc in a .zip inside another .zip. It's tempting to reject all such emails.
All of the recent ones of these have been what Sophos identifies as 'Mal/DrodZp-A' (which means that they're malware, not viruses as such). The good news is that after discussing the issue, we now reject such emails. One reason we could make this decision easily and with confidence is that we couldn't find legitimate examples in a month's worth of logs, which once again shows us the worth of setting up a system so that we know what types of attachments our users are getting.
But this is just one instance of a broader pattern we've been
seeing for a while. Malware seems to like
wrapping its payload up in two levels of archives, commonly as a
.zip inside another
.zip (there are variants with RAR
archives, but zip-in-zip is what we see almost all the time). It
appears that every single instance of this pattern we've seen in
the past month has been bad; besides
.doc files, we've seen
.wsf, and a couple of
.scr. At this point I'm
definitely going to keep an eye out for any new file extensions that
show up in such matryoshka zipfiles; whether or not our commercial
antispam system detects them as malware, they're probably bad news.
At the same time, you don't want to unconditionally block any zipfile that contains another zipfile. We've seen plenty of legitimate cases where people bundle up a bunch of stuff in a zipfile and part of what they bundled up is one or more other zipfiles. The suspicious case only is when it's just a single .zip file inside the first zipfile; it's hard to see a legitimate use for this, since you could just as well send the inner .zip directly.
(Well, apart from using an encrypted zipfile to pack up an unencrypted one, but I'm not sure if we can even see filenames inside encrypted zipfiles so I don't think we'd notice this.)