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Recently, Jacob discovered 2 interesting phishing websites,http://maybankk2u%5Bdot%5Dcom  and http://maybank2u-my%5Bdot%5DcomThis 2 websites had the same identical codes and come with a malware in it.

The malware that we discovered is a file infector virus. It scans the system for .html files, .exe and autorun.inf and insert malicious codes into the files.

[ Sample used in the analysis ]
MD5: 44A604F9D96368A83DF55E19644321D3
SHA1: CDBF41310DAE6EFF1127BB92A217369FD2F90B37896568D4F34528AC20468B5C
Malware Sample: index page
Password is “infected29A”

[Backdoor Analysis]
A brief high level overview of the malware infection process flow.

Figure 1 – Infection process

[ Initial Exploitation ]
The backdoor was dropped onto victims’ machine via a malicious VBScript in phishing home page.

Maybank Phishing homepage

Figure 2 – Maybank Phishing homepage

[ VBScript analysis ]
Scrolling down the html source of the webpage, you will come across a large chunk of alphanumeric text. If you look closer at the start of this large chunk of text, you will see the hexadecimal “0x5A4D” which stands for MZ in ascii. Files that start with a MZ header suggests that it is a PE file. You may refer to the following website for more information about PE files.

To download the payload you may either run the VBScript (which I don’t really recommend) or simply copy the entire hexadecimal wall of text into a hex editor and save it as a .exe file.


Figure 3 – MZ header spotted


Figure 4 – Dropping malware into temporary folder

When the VBScript is executed, it drops an executable into the targets’ temp folder. The file names are hard-coded as the malware author is probably trying to hide the malware in plain sight by using a common windows executable name, svchost.exe

The details of the extracted malware from the HTML is as follows:
SHA256: FD6C69C345F1E32924F0A5BB7393E191B393A78D58E2C6413B03CED7482F2320
VirusTotal Report: 50/54 (link); 2016-02-03 11:56:14 UTC
Compiled Date/Time: 2008-02-12 11:02:20
Packed: UPX

Let’s unpack the malware using UPX tool itself.

upx decompile

Figure 5 –Unpacking using upx -d

The details of the unpacked malware is as follows:
VirusTotal Report: 44/54 (link); 2016-02-02 23:21:33 UTC
Compiled Date/Time: 2008:02:12 12:02:20+01:00

The malware camouflage itself as a bitdefender management console. Another interesting thing to note is that both the product version and the file version seems to be an ip address (


Figure 6 – Possibly IP address

[ Dynamic Analysis ]
Let’s begin our journey in analyzing this piece of malware. The malware author had used anti reversing techniques to deter malware analyst from reversing it. Using IDA Pro to see the binary isn’t of much use. Using Procmon surface some interesting stuff.


Figure 7 –New file dropped

As we can see from Figure 7, the malware is writing a new executable into “C:\Program Files\Microsoft\DesktopLayer.exe“. After examining the hashes of the newly dropped executable, I can conclude that the malware simply copy and pasted itself into the new location.


Figure 8 – Executing DesktopLayer.exe

After the file has been copied to the new location, A ProcessCreate function is called to execute the newly dropped executable. The current executable will then terminates.


Figure 9 – Executing Default Browser

Analyzing DesktopLayer.exe via olly debugger shows that the malware is attempting to run the default browser in the operating system. For this case here, it is attempting to execute IEXPLORE.EXE. On further examination, we will notice that the malware is actually trying to write process memory into the suspended IEXPLORE.exe process. This technique is known as process hollowing. Once the malware has finished writing its code into IEXPLORE.EXE process, it will then resume the suspended thread.


Figure 10 – Mutex

Based on Figure 10 taken from process explorer tool. We can observe that the malware uses a unique string (KyUffThOkYwRRtgPP) as it’s mutex.

It is also noted that the malware adds the following key into the registry “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit“. By doing so, it is able to maintain it persistency in the victims’ machine.


Figure 11 – Persistent Registry Key

To get the actual malware codes that is running off IEXPLORE.exe, we would need to attach ollydbg into the running process and by using the OllyDumpEx plugin we can dump out the running process.

The dumped process contains some interesting strings.


Figure 12 – Script Tags and Autorun?

There are some more interesting strings in the dump that suggests that there is an Antidote for this virus. It also contained the mutex key and a domain name.


Figure 13 – Antidote is available

I am interested in using the antidote. Analyzing the injected process memory dump we come to this assembly codes. To activate the “Antidot”, we would just need to add a registry key; “HKLM\Software\WASAntidot\disable“.


Figure 14 – Disable Malware

As shown in Figure 15, we can prevent mass infection of the virus by adding the registry key as earlier . We even get to see a nice message box telling us that Antidot is activated.

enabling antidote

Figure 15 – Antidot Activated

The malware loop through the folders in the victims’ machine and edit all html file it come across with the same malicious code we found in the phishing website. It also attempts to infect suitable .exe files with malicious codes. Once these infected executable gets executed, a copy of the same malware will be dropped and executed on the machine.

The malware also infects removable drives by editing the autorun.inf and planting itself in the RECYCLER sub folder. Better unplug your removable drives from the VM before you try analysing this!

The malware attempts to resolve a domain, It also attempts to resolve


Figure 16 – DNS queries in Wireshark

Spawning Shell

Figure 17 – Spawning Shell

Once the malware calls fget-career url. It can executes shell on the target machine if commands are given.

port 4678

Figure 18 – Open port 4678

The malware also attempts to listen on port 4678.


Figure 19 – Port 4678 Opened

One of the common ways to find infected or breached systems that most AV companies use is using IOC.  We should be looking for known (or suspicious) command and control (C&C) traffic on the network and looking for known bad or suspicious indicators on the hosts.

Based on our dynamic analysis, below are the known IOC that we can scan our PCs.

[ Host based Indicator ]

  1. Mutex – KyUffThOkYwRRtgPP
  2. File – C:\Program Files\Microsoft\DesktopLayer.exe
  3. File – temp folder\svchost.exe
  4. Registry Key – HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit
  5. Process – Default Browser with no parent
  6. C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\complete.dat (Default browser path)
  7. C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\dmlconf.dat (Default browser path)

[ Network based Indicator ]

  1. (DNS)
  2. User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)
  3. Listener on port 4678

[ Whois information ]

Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 1556
Whois Server:
Referral URL:
Status: ok
Updated Date: 02-feb-2016
Creation Date: 02-feb-2016
Expiration Date: 02-feb-2017

IP Address:

Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 1556
Whois Server:
Referral URL:
Status: ok
Updated Date: 02-feb-2016
Creation Date: 02-feb-2016
Expiration Date: 02-feb-2017

IP Address:


Once again network whois on the suspicious ip we got from the product version earlier on points back to China.

However, based on the analysis done on the malware and based on passive DNS and past whois records from Virustotal and, the ip address we got from product version earlier could likely to be a fake to throw us off.

Another thing to note is that seems to be offline at the moment and it will be expiring in March 2016. Therefore if we are interested to know/plot the infection widespread of this malware or to takeover this malware we can attempt to buy this domain and host our own C&C server.


Kovter Malware Victims Were Secret Zombies in the ProxyGate Proxy Network

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Legitimate proxy software distributed with Kovter malware.

During the past few months, computers infected with the Kovter click-fraud malware were also secretly added to the proxy network operated by ProxyGate, the Forcepoint team reports.

Kovter is one of the oldest malware strains around, one that has adapted to fit various needs and niches, and survived mainly as a click-fraud toolkit, ideal for making a quick buck out of online ads.

A recent spam campaign detected by Forcepoint (formerly Raytheon|Websense) has identified Kovter delivered through file attachments in the form of ZIP files.

When uncompressed, these ZIP files automatically execute a JavaScript file which connects to a Web server and downloads the Kovter malware.

In this specific campaign, Forcepoint saw this auto-download process abusing an Alexa Top 10 site, but also downloading two additional payloads besides Kovter.

One of them is the Miuref adware while the second was a legitimate executable, the ProxyGate installer.

All three files were executed as soon as they finished downloading, and silently installed their payloads on the victim’s machine without any type of user interaction needed.

Spam campaign’s author may have participated in ProxyGate’s referral program

It is yet unknown why the malware operators installed the ProxyGate application on the victim’s PC. This application does nothing malicious on its own and is designed to add the user’s computer to ProxyGate’s network of available proxy servers.

A possible explanation for these strange actions may be ProxyGate’s referral programwhich allows users to boost their own account’s number of free proxies available per day.

The spam campaign’s author may possibly be running other malicious campaigns through ProxyGate’s network and wanted to boost his available proxy output IP addresses by secretly abusing ProxyGate’s referral program by packaging the legitimate installer alongside Kovter’s payload.

This is not the first malware campaign that infected users and added their PC to a proxy network. In the past, the Bunitu and the ProxyBack malware families did the same thing.

Users infected with Kovter, may also want to check their computer’s list of installed applications and check to see if they’re not an unwitting zombie in a ProxyGate’s service.

EU Cookie Law Notification Abused to Hijack Clicks for Invisible Ads

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Did you click on a cookie notification, or was that an ad?. Cyber-crooks have come up with a new way to fool users into clicking on ads instead of letting them access a website’s content, and this method relies on the EU Cookie Law notification.

In May 2011, the European Parliament adopted an EU Directive which said that individuals have the right to refuse the use of cookies, and so, website operators should show a notification on their sites to inform users if and how cookies are used.

Since then, all Internet users have come accustomed to these cookie usage notifications, some sites showing them to all visitors, not just those coming from European countries.

New clickjacking technique is hard to spot with the naked eye

According to cyber-security vendor Malwarebytes, a group of cybercrooks have found a way to abuse these innocent-looking notifications, tricking users into clicking on a hidden ad instead.

The scam is simple and quite ingenious. When accessing a website, a cookie usage notification is shown in the middle of a page inside a popup.

What users don’t know is that on top of this popup, the scammers also load an iframe with a Google ad inside. They then use the CSS property “opacity: 0” to make the ad invisible, letting the underneath notification show through.

The technique can also be used for malvertising campaigns

The ad is still there, but naked to the human eye. When the user clicks on any of the cookie notification’s buttons, he’s unwittingly clicking the ad, generating profits for the scammers, and redirecting the user to the ad’s target URL.

While this campaign is quite harmless in its current form, since it shows safe ads from legitimate companies, the trick behind it can easily be used to display malicious ads instead, cleverly redirecting users to dangerous Web pages where exploit kits infect users with malware.

Something tells us this isn’t the last time we hear about EU Cookie Law notifications being abused.

New EU Cookie Law clickjacking technique, visually explained

New EU Cookie Law clickjacking technique, visually explained


Large Number of Adult Sites Distribute Malware Via AdXpansion Malvertising

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While malvertising activity on adult sites has been ‘relatively’ quiet for some time, we started picking up dozens of attacks on moderately popular XXX portals, where moderate still means millions of daily visitors.

The modus operandi is quite straightforward and facilitated by a compromised Flash advert directly hosted and served by AdXpansion, an adult ad network, which triggers a hidden Flash exploit loaded from a seemingly innocent XML file. This technique has been used before in other self-sufficient Flash ad/exploit attacks.

This malvertising campaign has been running since at least Nov 21 and is affecting hundreds of adults sites. As soon as the rogue Flash advert is displayed in the browser (no click on it is required) it will attempt to load the exploit code.

Notable sites that were affected include:

  • (55.3 M)
  • (41.9 M)
  • (14M)
  • (6.9M)
  • (4.2M)

Monthly traffic in millions, according to SimilarWeb.

The malicious advert:


Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit blocks the malicious advert when it attempts to load the remote exploit shell code.

Technical details

An attack on


The Flash exploit (CVE-2015-7645) resides inside of the second XML file loaded from

Same attack on distributes two different payloads at once:


The decoded Flash exploit:


We informed AdXpansion but have not received any response so far.


Malicious advert:

  • MD5: 037ca5bba3dbe2a84632ebb9f7f98fdc

Flash exploit:

  • MD5: f2145598b40e0b0506e6cb4b15513efd
  • Decoded SWF MD5: 146d4f6d149c1b0613e1be3f3a777eab

Malware payloads:

  • payload: 4bee00fbaede53b7b83192867717289c
  • payload (1/2): f502ecb0e450df366fb110d102f34ce0
  • payload (2/2): 3f7f1b51bdaccd3931ff78c154bda0b8


Angler Exploit Kit Blasts Daily Mail Visitors Via Malvertising

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There has been a lot of buzz about the powerful Angler Exploit Kit in recent days. One thing is for sure, the gangs using it are extremely resourceful and won’t let attempts at slowing them down get in the way.

We detected an attack that happened via a sophisticated malvertising campaign we had previously documented on this blog: the SSL malvertising attack via Microsoft Azure.

This time it struck on popular British newspaper the Daily Mail which accounts for 156 million monthly visits according to SimilarWeb.

Infection flow:

  • Ad call:[sas_target]&visit=m&tmstp=[timestamp]&clcturl=
  • Fake SSL ad server (malvertising)
  • Fake advert for (malvertising)
  • iframe(1)
  • iframe(2)
  • Angler Exploit 

Angler Exploit Kit Blasts Daily Mail Visitors Via Malvertising

Malvertising has been one of the main infection vectors and continues to affect large publishers and ad networks through very distinct campaigns, very much like a whack-a-mole game.

In addition to spreading via compromised websites, Angler EK leverages malvertising thanks to several different threat actors who use clever ways to go undetected as long as possible or are able to quickly adapt and get back on their feet if one of their schemes gets too much attention and is disrupted.

During the past months we have been working very closely with ad networks, publishers, cloud providers and other companies that have been abused by these attacks.

In addition, we hope that well documented cases such as this one help consumers to realize that malvertising is a very dangerous and yet often misunderstood threat. There is no such thing as a safe website anymore and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure their devices are fully patched and well protected.

We contacted the affected publisher (DailyMail) and related ad networks right when we found out about this incident. On 10/12, we were informed by MediaMath that the malicious creative had been disabled.

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit users were already protected against this attack, thanks to its proactive exploit mitigation capabilities.


Novel malware dupes victims with fake blue screen of death

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Malware creators are hijacking Microsoft Windows’ infamous BSOD in a fresh malvertising campaign.

A new malvertising campaign uses the Blue Screen of Death to scam users into handing over their money and potentially their identity.

Online search engines are used daily by millions of web users. In order to support the vast amounts of requests these search engines receive and process, search engine providers — such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft — offer advertising platforms and packages for businesses. Users view sponsored links placed high up on a search results page, businesses gain more exposure and the search engine generates revenue.

However, search engine advertising is also a place ripe for exploit and is being used by cyberattackers in order to generate their own revenue. One of the most commonly-known techniques include setting up malicious domains which deliver malware payloads to victim machines — resulting in slave systems, compromised PCs and data theft. Some attackers also set up fraudulent domains which appear legitimate in order to lure victims to input their account information.

Unfortunately, many online advertisement schemes run through third-party platforms and sometimes threat actors slip through the net — resulting in fraudulent and malicious links being displayed on legitimate, trustworthy domains.

Now, a new and rather novel campaign has attracted cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes’ attention.

In a blog post on Monday, the team at Malwarebytes revealed their findings on a new malvertising campaign which uses the infamous Microsoft Windows’ Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) as its selling point.

The group uses BSOD to reel in potential victims as a social engineering technique. The security company found attackers bidding on popular phrases through Google’s AdWords advertising space, including the YouTube keyword to display their adverts at the top of the search engine. This link is meant to go to the designated YouTube URL, but instead, clicking on this advert leads to a convincing web page complete with the BSOD image.

While some users will not be fooled, others without much technical knowledge are likely to be.


On the page, users are instructed to call a toll-free “helpline” to resolve the BSOD issue. The scammers are waiting at the other end for these calls, where they pretend to be Windows support and offer their victims expensive and non-existent “support packages” — defrauding users of anything from $199 to $599.

However, this isn’t necessary the end of a painful story. Malwarebytes says innocent PC users may also end up having their identity stolen and bank accounts rinsed of funds.

In this particular campaign, at least two domains have been registered to redirect users to the fraudulent pages through IP addresses in Arizona.

The campaign was reported to Google and the adverts were immediately pulled, but this is is only one such campaign out of thousands of scams appearing every day online.


Hilton hotels in credit-card-stealing malware infection scare

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Someone has hacked the Hilton’s sales registers, and made off with guests’ credit-card details, it’s claimed. The hotel chain confirmed today it is investigating the alleged breach of its computer security.

Investigative journo Brian Krebs says malware in point-of-sale (POS) terminals is believed to have nicked the card information, some of which is already being used to make fraudulent transactions, we’re told.

Multiple sources have told Krebs that bank staff have traced the misused cards to a common source: the tills at restaurants and gift shops in various Hilton hotels around the US.

It is not clear how many accounts may have been compromised, but the malware was active from April 21 to July 27 of this year, apparently. Visa reportedly issued a security alert on the security breach back in August.

Hilton hotels in credit-card-stealing malware infection scare
Hilton hotels in credit-card-stealing malware infection scare

Sales terminals in Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, and Waldorf Astoria hotels were also compromised, it is claimed.

A Hilton spokesperson told The Register late on Friday afternoon:

Hilton Worldwide is strongly committed to protecting our customers’ credit card information. We have many systems in place and work with some of the top experts in the field to address data security. Unfortunately the possibility of fraudulent credit card activity is all too common for every company in today’s marketplace. We take any potential issue very seriously, and we are looking into this matter.

If Krebs’ sources are on the money, Hilton will be the latest major American chain to suffer a massive credit card security breach as the result of a malware incursion. Criminals typically plant malware on PC-like tills to collect credit card information when a purchase is made, and then siphon off the numbers.