Home Malware Bogus AGL Electricity Bill Email Points To Torrentlocker Ransomware

Bogus AGL Electricity Bill Email Points To Torrentlocker Ransomware

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email purporting to be from Australian energy provider AGL supposedly contains details of your monthly bill and claims that you can click to view bill details or get more information.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not from AGL. It is a criminal ruse designed to trick you into visiting a compromised website and downloading Torrentlocker ransomware. Once installed, Torrentlocker can encrypt your computer files and then demand that you pay a ransom to receive an encryption key.


Example:
AGL Fake Bill Ransomware Email



Detailed Analysis:
Australian inboxes are currently being hit by a spate of emails that look like they come from Australian energy giant AGL. The emails appear to be a bill for your electricity account and include buttons that you can click to view your bill or get more information. The emails are professionally presented and feature the AGL logo.

However, the emails are certainly not from AGL and clicking the buttons will not open information about an electricity bill. The emails are designed to trick you into installing dangerous malware on your computer.

Clicking the links opens a webpage that appears to be part of the genuine AGL website. The page asks you to enter a Captcha code to access your bill. After you enter the code, a .zip file supposedly containing your bill will be downloaded to your computer. The .zip file harbours a malicious JavaScript file that, if opened, can download and install a version of the infamous Torrentlocker ransomware. Once installed, Torrentlocker can lock up all of your important computer files and then demand that you pay a ransom to online criminals to recover them.

Details, such as the bogus account number and bill amount, may vary in different versions of these emails. AGL has published a warning about this malware attack on its website, noting:

Customers and non-customers have received scam emails that pretend to be from AGL, which claim you owe money for an outstanding gas or electricity bill and ask you to click on a link to view your account or to make a payment.

Remember, AGL will never send you emails asking for personal banking or financial details.

Anyone receiving a suspicious email should delete it immediately or, if opened, not click on any links within the email.  AGL advises recipients of any suspicious emails to run antivirus software and block the sender by adding to the junk folder list.

The names of other high-profile Australian entities, including Australia Post and the AFP, have been used in similar malware attacks in recent months. And, similar fake AGL bill emails have been used to distribute other types of malware.




Last updated: June 2, 2016
First published: June 2, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Fake AGL Bill Email Contains Malware
Announcement: Spam email “Your electricity bill”
AGL Scam Carrying Crypto Ransomware Torrentlocker Hits Australian Inboxes
AFP ‘You’ve Received A Subpoena’ Malware Email
Australia Post ‘Your Package Has Experienced An Exception’ Malware Email

 

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer