Pythons and Unicorns and Hancitor…Oh My! Decoding Binaries Through Emulation

This blog post is a continuation of my previous post, VB Dropper and Shellcode for Hancitor Reveal New Techniques Behind Uptick, where we analyzed a new Visual Basic (VB) macro dropper and the accompanying shellcode. In the last post, we left off with having successfully identified where the shellcode carved out and decoded a binary

Aveo Malware Family Targets Japanese Speaking Users

(This blog post is also available in Japanese.) Palo Alto Networks has identified a malware family known as ‘Aveo’ that is being used to target Japanese speaking users. The ‘Aveo’ malware name comes from an embedded debug string within the binary file. The Aveo malware family has close ties to the previously discussed FormerFirstRAT malware

Orcus – Birth of an unusual plugin builder RAT

Unit 42 has been tracking a new Remote Access Trojan (RAT) being sold for $40 USD since April 2016, known as “Orcus”. Though Orcus has all the typical features of RAT malware, it allows users to build custom plugins and also has a modular architecture for better management and scalability. The objective of this blog

Afraidgate: Major Exploit Kit Campaign Switches from CryptXXX Ransomware Back to Locky

By mid-July 2016, the Afraidgate campaign stopped distributing CryptXXX ransomware. It is now distributing the “.zepto” variant of Locky. Afraidgate has been using Neutrino exploit kit (EK) to distribute malware after Angler EK disappeared in early June 2016. As we previously reported, this campaign continues to utilize gate domains using name servers from

SpyNote Android Trojan Builder Leaked

Our team recently discovered a new Android Trojan called SpyNote which facilitates remote spying. The builder, which creates new versions of the malware, recently leaked on several malware discussion forums. SpyNote is similar to OmniRat and DroidJack, which are RATs (remote administration tools) that allow malware owners to gain remote administrative control of an Android

PowerWare Ransomware Spoofing Locky Malware Family

Unit 42 has recently discovered a new variant of PowerWare, also known as PoshCoder, imitating the popular Locky ransomware family. PoshCoder has been encrypting files with PowerShell since 2014, and the new variant named PowerWare was reported in March 2016. The malware is responsible for encrypting files on a victim’s machine and demanding a ransom via the

Andromeda Botnet Targets Italy in Recent Spam Campaigns

Over the past month, Palo Alto Networks has observed two spam campaigns targeting users residing in Italy. The spam emails attempt to install the pervasive Andromeda malware onto victim machines. This malware has been around since 2011 and shows no signs of stopping. Compromised hosts cause a victim’s machine to be attached to the Andromeda

How to Track Actors Behind Keyloggers Using Embedded Credentials

Mo’ key loggers, mo’ problems This past year Unit 42 has seen a resurgence of keylogger activity and it seems like every week a new research blog comes out talking about one of four popular families: KeyBase, iSpy, HawkEye, or PredatorPain. These blogs usually delve into the technical workings of the threats, discuss their relationship to each

Investigating the LuminosityLink Remote Access Trojan Configuration

In recent weeks, I’ve spent time investigating the LuminosityLink Remote Access Trojan’s (RAT) embedded configuration. For those unaware, LuminosityLink is a malware family costing $40 that purports to be a system administration utility. However, when executed, the malware leverages a very aggressive keylogger, as well as a number of other malicious features that allow an

Recent MNKit Exploit Activity Reveals Some Common Threads

Unit 42 recently identified a variant of MNKit-weaponized documents being used to deliver LURK0 Gh0st, NetTraveler, and Saker payloads. The documents were delivered to targets involved with universities, NGOs, and political/human rights groups concerning Islam and South Asia. Reuse of this MNKit variant, sender email addresses, email subject lines, attachment filenames, command and control domains,

Prince of Persia – Game Over

Summary Unit 42 published a blog at the beginning of May titled “Prince of Persia,” in which we described the discovery of a decade-long campaign using a formerly unknown malware family, Infy, that targeted government and industry interests worldwide. Subsequent to the publishing of this article, through cooperation with the parties responsible for the C2

Extending AutoFocus Threat Intelligence With New Tag Types

In previous posts we have discussed how AutoFocus accelerates the analysis, hunting, and incident response workflows by providing full context for threat events seen on your network, as well as high-level visibility into how targeted a threat is against you or your industry peers. This visibility into the threat landscape enables teams to move away

Understanding Angler Exploit Kit – Part 2: Examining Angler EK

This is the second part of a two-part blog post for understanding Angler exploit kit (EK). The first part covered EKs in general. This blog focuses on the Angler EK. Angler is currently one of the most advanced, effective, and popular exploit kits in the cyber criminal market. It generally uses the most recent exploits

Understanding Angler Exploit Kit – Part 1: Exploit Kit Fundamentals

Generally speaking, criminal groups use two methods for widespread distribution of malware. The most common method is malicious spam (malspam). This is a fairly direct mechanism, usually through an email attachment or a link in the message to the malware. However, malspam requires some sort of action by the user to be successful (for example,

The OilRig Campaign: Attacks on Saudi Arabian Organizations Deliver Helminth Backdoor

In May 2016, Unit 42 observed targeted attacks primarily focused on financial institutions and technology organizations within Saudi Arabia. Artifacts identified within the malware samples related to these attacks also suggest the targeting of the defense industry in Saudi Arabia, which appears to be related to an earlier wave of attacks carried out in the