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The resurgence of the raccoon: Steps of a Raccoon Stealer v2 Infection (Part 2)

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08
Nov 2022
08
Nov 2022
Since the release of version 2 of Raccoon Stealer in May 2022, Darktrace’s SOC has observed a continuous surge in Raccoon Stealer v2 activity. In this blog, we will outline the typical steps of a Raccoon Stealer v2 infection, paying close attention to the info-stealer’s network-based behaviors.

Raccoon Stealer Malware

Since the release of version 2 of Raccoon Stealer in May 2022, Darktrace has observed huge volumes of Raccoon Stealer v2 infections across its client base. The info-stealer, which seeks to obtain and then exfiltrate sensitive data saved on users’ devices, displays a predictable pattern of network activity once it is executed. In this blog post, we will provide details of this pattern of activity, with the goal of helping security teams to recognize network-based signs of Raccoon Stealer v2 infection within their own networks. 

What is Raccoon Stealer?

Raccoon Stealer is a classic example of information-stealing malware, which cybercriminals typically use to gain possession of sensitive data saved in users’ browsers and cryptocurrency wallets. In the case of browsers, targeted data typically includes cookies, saved login details, and saved credit card details. In the case of cryptocurrency wallets (henceforth, ‘crypto-wallets’), targeted data typically includes public keys, private keys, and seed phrases [1]. Once sensitive browser and crypto-wallet data is in the hands of cybercriminals, it will likely be used to conduct harmful activities, such as identity theft, cryptocurrency theft, and credit card fraud.

How do you obtain Raccoon Stealer?

Like most info-stealers, Raccoon Stealer is purchasable. The operators of Raccoon Stealer sell Raccoon Stealer samples to their customers (called ‘affiliates’), who then use the info-stealer to gain possession of sensitive data saved on users’ devices. Raccoon Stealer affiliates typically distribute their samples via SEO-promoted websites providing free or cracked software. 

Is Raccoon Stealer Still Active?

On the 25th of March 2022, the operators of Raccoon Stealer announced that they would be suspending their operations because one of their core developers had been killed during the Russia-Ukraine conflict [2]. The presence of the hardcoded RC4 key ‘edinayarossiya’ (Russian for ‘United Russia’) within observed Raccoon Stealer v2 samples [3] provides potential evidence of the Raccoon Stealer operators’ allegiances.

Recent details shared by the US Department of Justice [4]/[5] indicate that it was in fact the arrest, rather than the death, of an operator which led the Raccoon Stealer team to suspend their operations [6]. As a result of the FBI, along with law enforcement partners in Italy and the Netherlands, dismantling Raccoon Stealer infrastructure in March 2022 [4], the Raccoon Stealer team was forced to build a new version of the info-stealer.  

On the 17th May 2022, the completion of v2 of the info-stealer was announced on the Raccoon Stealer Telegram channel [7].  Since its release in May 2022, Raccoon Stealer v2 has become extremely popular amongst cybercriminals. The prevalence of Raccoon Stealer v2 in the wider landscape has been reflected in Darktrace’s client base, with hundreds of infections being observed within client networks on a monthly basis.   

Since Darktrace’s SOC first saw a Raccoon Stealer v2 infection on the 22nd May 2022, the info-stealer has undergone several subtle changes. However, the info-stealer’s general pattern of network activity has remained essentially unchanged.  

How Does Raccoon Stealer v2 Infection Work?

A Raccoon Stealer v2 infection typically starts with a user attempting to download cracked or free software from an SEO-promoted website. Attempting to download software from one of these cracked/free software websites redirects the user’s browser (typically via several .xyz or .cfd endpoints) to a page providing download instructions. In May, June, and July, many of the patterns of download behavior observed by Darktrace’s SOC matched the pattern of behavior observed in a cracked software campaign reported by Avast in June [8].   

webpage whose download instructions led to a Raccoon Stealer v2
Figure 1: Above is a webpage whose download instructions led to a Raccoon Stealer v2 sample hosted on Discord CDN
example of a webpage whose download instructions led to a Raccoon Stealer v2
Figure 2: Above is an example of a webpage whose download instructions led to a Raccoon Stealer v2 sample hosted on Bitbucket
example of a webpage whose download instructions led to a Raccoon Stealer v2
Figure 3: Above is an example of a webpage whose download instructions led to a Raccoon Stealer v2 sample hosted on MediaFire

Following the instructions on the download instruction page causes the user’s device to download a password-protected RAR file from a file storage service such as ‘cdn.discordapp[.]com’, ‘mediafire[.]com’, ‘mega[.]nz’, or ‘bitbucket[.]org’. Opening the downloaded file causes the user’s device to execute Raccoon Stealer v2. 

The Event Log for an infected device,
Figure 4: The Event Log for an infected device, taken from Darktrace’s Threat Visualiser interface, shows a device contacting two cracked software websites (‘crackedkey[.]org’ and ‘crackedpc[.]co’) before contacting a webpage (‘premiumdownload[.]org) providing instructions to download Raccoon Stealer v2 from Bitbucket

Once Raccoon Stealer v2 is running on a device, it will make an HTTP POST request with the target URI ‘/’ and an unusual user-agent string (such as ‘record’, ‘mozzzzzzzzzzz’, or ‘TakeMyPainBack’) to a C2 server. This POST request consists of three strings: a machine GUID, a username, and a 128-bit RC4 key [9]. The posted data has the following form:

machineId=X | Y & configId=Z (where X is a machine GUID, Y is a username and Z is a 128-bit RC4 key) 

PCAP showing a device making an HTTP POST request with the User Agent header ‘record’ 
Figure 5:PCAP showing a device making an HTTP POST request with the User Agent header ‘record’ 
PCAP showing a device making an HTTP POST request with the User Agent header ‘mozzzzzzzzzzz’
Figure 6: PCAP showing a device making an HTTP POST request with the User Agent header ‘mozzzzzzzzzzz’
PCAP showing a device making an HTTP POST request with the User Agent header ‘TakeMyPainBack’
Figure 7: PCAP showing a device making an HTTP POST request with the User Agent header ‘TakeMyPainBack’

The C2 server responds to the info-stealer’s HTTP POST request with custom-formatted configuration details. These configuration details consist of fields which tell the info-stealer what files to download, what data to steal, and what target URI to use in its subsequent exfiltration POST requests. Below is a list of the fields Darktrace has observed in the configuration details retrieved by Raccoon Stealer v2 samples:

  • a ‘libs_mozglue’ field, which specifies a download address for a Firefox library named ‘mozglue.dll’
  • a ‘libs_nss3’ field, which specifies a download address for a Network System Services (NSS) library named ‘nss3.dll’ 
  • a ‘libs_freebl3’ field, which specifies a download address for a Network System Services (NSS) library named ‘freebl3.dll’
  • a ‘libs_softokn3’ field, which specifies a download address for a Network System Services (NSS) library named ‘softokn3.dll’
  • a ‘libs_nssdbm3’ field, which specifies a download address for a Network System Services (NSS) library named ‘nssdbm3.dll’
  • a ‘libs_sqlite3’ field, which specifies a download address for a SQLite command-line program named ‘sqlite3.dll’
  • a ‘libs_ msvcp140’ field, which specifies a download address for a Visual C++ runtime library named ‘msvcp140.dll’
  • a ‘libs_vcruntime140’ field, which specifies a download address for a Visual C++ runtime library named ‘vcruntime140.dll’
  • a ‘ldr_1’ field, which specifies the download address for a follow-up payload for the sample to download 
  • ‘wlts_X’ fields (where X is the name of a crypto-wallet application), which specify data for the sample to obtain from the specified crypto-wallet application
  • ‘ews_X’ fields (where X is the name of a crypto-wallet browser extension), which specify data for the sample to obtain from the specified browser extension
  • ‘xtntns_X’ fields (where X is the name of a password manager browser extension), which specify data for the sample to obtain from the specified browser extension
  • a ‘tlgrm_Telegram’ field, which specifies data for the sample to obtain from the Telegram Desktop application 
  • a ‘grbr_Desktop’ field, which specifies data within a local ‘Desktop’ folder for the sample to obtain 
  • a ‘grbr_Documents’ field, which specifies data within a local ‘Documents’ folder for the sample to obtain
  • a ‘grbr_Recent’ field, which specifies data within a local ‘Recent’ folder for the sample to obtain
  • a ‘grbr_Downloads’ field, which specifies data within a local ‘Downloads’ folder for the sample to obtain
  • a ‘sstmnfo_System Info.txt’ field, which specifies whether the sample should gather and exfiltrate a profile of the infected host 
  • a ‘scrnsht_Screenshot.jpeg’ field, which specifies whether the sample should take and exfiltrate screenshots of the infected host
  • a ‘token’ field, which specifies a 32-length string of hexadecimal digits for the sample to use as the target URI of its HTTP POST requests containing stolen data 

After retrieving its configuration data, Raccoon Stealer v2 downloads the library files specified in the ‘libs_’ fields. Unusual user-agent strings (such as ‘record’, ‘qwrqrwrqwrqwr’, and ‘TakeMyPainBack’) are used in the HTTP GET requests for these library files. In all Raccoon Stealer v2 infections seen by Darktrace, the paths of the URLs specified in the ‘libs_’ fields have the following form:

/aN7jD0qO6kT5bK5bQ4eR8fE1xP7hL2vK/X (where X is the name of the targeted DLL file) 

Advanced Search logs for an infected host
Figure 8: Advanced Search logs for an infected host, found on Darktrace’s Advanced Search interface, show a device making an HTTP POST request to retrieve configuration details, and then making HTTP GET requests with the User Agent header ‘record’ for DLL files
Advanced Search logs for an infected host
Figure 9: Advanced Search logs for an infected host, found on Darktrace’s Advanced Search interface, show a device making an HTTP POST request to retrieve configuration details, and then making HTTP GET requests with the User Agent header ‘qwrqrwrqwrqwr’ for DLL files
Advanced Search logs for an infected host
Figure 10: Advanced Search logs for an infected host, found on Darktrace’s Advanced Search interface, show a device making an HTTP POST request to retrieve configuration details, and then making HTTP GET requests with the User Agent header ‘TakeMyPainBack’ for DLL files

Raccoon Stealer v2 uses the DLLs which it downloads to gain access to sensitive data (such as cookies, credit card details, and login details) saved in browsers running on the infected host.  

Depending on the data provided in the configuration details, Raccoon Stealer v2 will typically seek to obtain, in addition to sensitive data saved in browsers, the following information:

  • Information about the Operating System and applications installed on the infected host
  • Data from specified crypto-wallet software
  • Data from specified crypto-wallet browser extensions
  • Data from specified local folders
  • Data from Telegram Desktop
  • Data from specified password manager browser extensions
  • Screenshots of the infected host 

Raccoon Stealer v2 exfiltrates the data which it obtains to its C2 server by making HTTP POST requests with unusual user-agent strings (such as ‘record’, ‘rc2.0/client’, ‘rqwrwqrqwrqw’, and ‘TakeMyPainBack’) and target URIs matching the 32-length string of hexadecimal digits specified in the ‘token’ field of the configuration details. The stolen data exfiltrated by Raccoon Stealer typically includes files named ‘System Info.txt’, ‘---Screenshot.jpeg’, ‘\cookies.txt’, and ‘\passwords.txt’. 

Advanced Search logs for an infected host
Figure 11: Advanced Search logs for an infected host, found on Darktrace’s Advanced Search interface, show a device retrieving configuration details via a POST request, downloading several DLLs, and then exfiltrating files named ‘System Info.txt’ and ‘---Screenshot.jpeg’
Advanced Search logs for an infected host
Figure 12: Advanced Search logs for an infected host, found on Darktrace’s Advanced Search interface, show a device retrieving configuration details via a POST request, downloading several DLLs, and then exfiltrating a file named ‘System Info.txt’ 
Advanced Search logs for an infected host
Figure 13: Advanced Search logs for an infected host, found on Darktrace’s Advanced Search interface, show a device retrieving configuration details via a POST request, downloading several DLLs, and then exfiltrating files named ‘System Info.txt’, ‘\cookies.txt’ and ‘\passwords.txt’
Advanced Search logs for an infected host
Figure 14: Advanced Search logs for an infected host, found on Darktrace’s Advanced Search interface, show a device retrieving configuration details via a POST request, downloading several DLLs, and then exfiltrating a file named ‘System Info.txt’

If a ‘ldr_1’ field is present in the retrieved configuration details, then Raccoon Stealer will complete its operation by downloading the binary file specified in the ‘ldr_1’ field. In all observed cases, the paths of the URLs specified in the ‘ldr_1’ field end in a sequence of digits, followed by ‘.bin’. The follow-up payload seems to vary between infections, likely due to this additional-payload feature being customizable by Raccoon Stealer affiliates. In many cases, the info-stealer, CryptBot, was delivered as the follow-up payload. 

Darktrace Coverage of Raccoon Stealer

Once a user’s device becomes infected with Raccoon Stealer v2, it will immediately start to communicate over HTTP with a C2 server. The HTTP requests made by the info-stealer have an empty Host header (although Host headers were used by early v2 samples) and highly unusual User Agent headers. When Raccoon Stealer v2 was first observed in May 2022, the user-agent string ‘record’ was used in its HTTP requests. Since then, it appears that the operators of Raccoon Stealer have made several changes to the user-agent strings used by the info-stealer,  likely in an attempt to evade signature-based detections. Below is a timeline of the changes to the info-stealer’s user-agent strings, as observed by Darktrace’s SOC:

  • 22nd May 2022: Samples seen using the user-agent string ‘record’
  • 2nd July 2022: Samples seen using the user-agent string ‘mozzzzzzzzzzz’
  • 29th July 2022: Samples seen using the user-agent string ‘rc2.0/client’
  • 10th August 2022: Samples seen using the user-agent strings ‘qwrqrwrqwrqwr’ and ‘rqwrwqrqwrqw’
  • 16th Sep 2022: Samples seen using the user-agent string ‘TakeMyPainBack’

The presence of these highly unusual user-agent strings within infected devices’ HTTP requests causes the following Darktrace DETECT/Network models to breach:

  • Device / New User Agent
  • Device / New User Agent and New IP
  • Anomalous Connection / New User Agent to IP Without Hostname
  • Device / Three or More New User Agents

These DETECT models look for devices making HTTP requests with unusual user-agent strings, rather than specific user-agent strings which are known to be malicious. This method of detection enables the models to continually identify Raccoon Stealer v2 HTTP traffic, despite the changes made to the info-stealer’s user-agent strings.   

After retrieving configuration details from a C2 server, Raccoon Stealer v2 samples make HTTP GET requests for several DLL libraries. Since these GET requests are directed towards highly unusual IP addresses, the downloads of the DLLs cause the following DETECT models to breach:

  • Anomalous File / EXE from Rare External Location
  • Anomalous File / Script from Rare External Location
  • Anomalous File / Multiple EXE from Rare External Locations

Raccoon Stealer v2 samples send data to their C2 server via HTTP POST requests with an absent Host header. Since these POST requests lack a Host header and have a highly unusual destination IP, their occurrence causes the following DETECT model to breach:

  • Anomalous Connection / Posting HTTP to IP Without Hostname

Certain Raccoon Stealer v2 samples download (over HTTP) a follow-up payload once they have exfiltrated data. Since the target URIs of the HTTP GET requests made by v2 samples end in a sequence of digits followed by ‘.bin’, the samples’ downloads of follow-up payloads cause the following DETECT model to breach:

  • Anomalous File / Numeric File Download

If Darktrace RESPOND/Network is configured within a customer’s environment, then Raccoon Stealer v2 activity should cause the following inhibitive actions to be autonomously taken on infected systems: 

  • Enforce pattern of life — This action results in a device only being able to make connections which are normal for it to make
  • Enforce group pattern of life — This action results in a device only being able to make connections which are normal for it or any of its peers to make
  • Block matching connections — This action results in a device being unable to make connections to particular IP/Port pairs
  • Block all outgoing traffic — This action results in a device being unable to make any connections 
The Event Log for an infected device
Figure 15: The Event Log for an infected device, taken from Darktrace’s Threat Visualiser interface, shows Darktrace RESPOND taking inhibitive actions in response to the HTTP activities of a Raccoon Stealer v2 sample downloaded from MediaFire

Given that Raccoon Stealer v2 infections move extremely fast, with the time between initial infection and data exfiltration sometimes less than a minute, the availability of Autonomous Response technology such as Darktrace RESPOND is vital for the containment of Raccoon Stealer v2 infections.  

Timeline of Darktrace stopping raccoon stealer.
Figure 16: Figure displaying the steps of a Raccoon Stealer v2 infection, along with the corresponding Darktrace detections

Conclusion

Since the release of Raccoon Stealer v2 back in 2022, the info-stealer has relentlessly infected the devices of unsuspecting users. Once the info-stealer infects a user’s device, it retrieves and then exfiltrates sensitive information within a matter of minutes. The distinctive pattern of network behavior displayed by Raccoon Stealer v2 makes the info-stealer easy to spot. However, the changes which the Raccoon Stealer operators make to the User Agent headers of the info-stealer’s HTTP requests make anomaly-based methods key for the detection of the info-stealer’s HTTP traffic. The operators of Raccoon Stealer can easily change the superficial features of their malware’s C2 traffic, however, they cannot easily change the fact that their malware causes highly unusual network behavior. Spotting this behavior, and then autonomously responding to it, is likely the best bet which organizations have at stopping a Raccoon once it gets inside their networks.  

Thanks to the Threat Research Team for its contributions to this blog.

References

[1] https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2022/05/17/in-hot-pursuit-of-cryware-defending-hot-wallets-from-attacks/

[2] https://twitter.com/3xp0rtblog/status/1507312171914461188

[3] https://www.esentire.com/blog/esentire-threat-intelligence-malware-analysis-raccoon-stealer-v2-0

[4] https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdtx/pr/newly-unsealed-indictment-charges-ukrainian-national-international-cybercrime-operation

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fsz6acw-ZJ

[6] https://riskybiznews.substack.com/p/raccoon-stealer-dev-didnt-die-in

[7] https://medium.com/s2wblog/raccoon-stealer-is-back-with-a-new-version-5f436e04b20d

[8] https://blog.avast.com/fakecrack-campaign

[9] https://blog.sekoia.io/raccoon-stealer-v2-part-2-in-depth-analysis/

Appendices

MITRE ATT&CK Mapping

Resource Development

• T1588.001 — Obtain Capabilities: Malware

• T1608.001 — Stage Capabilities: Upload Malware

• T1608.005 — Stage Capabilities: Link Target

• T1608.006 — Stage Capabilities: SEO Poisoning

Execution

•  T1204.002 — User Execution: Malicious File

Credential Access

• T1555.003 — Credentials from Password Stores:  Credentials from Web Browsers

• T1555.005 — Credentials from Password Stores:  Password Managers

• T1552.001 — Unsecured Credentials: Credentials  In Files

Command and Control

•  T1071.001 — Application Layer Protocol: Web Protocols

•  T1105 — Ingress Tool Transfer

IOCS

Type

IOC

Description

User-Agent String

record

String used in User Agent header of  Raccoon Stealer v2’s HTTP requests

User-Agent  String

mozzzzzzzzzzz

String used inUser Agent header of Raccoon Stealer v2’s HTTP requests

User-Agent String

rc2.0/client

String used in User Agent header of  Raccoon Stealer v2’s HTTP requests

User-Agent  String

qwrqrwrqwrqwr

String used in  User Agent header of Raccoon Stealer v2’s HTTP requests

User-Agent String

rqwrwqrqwrqw

String used in User Agent header of  Raccoon Stealer v2’s HTTP requests

User-Agent  String

TakeMyPainBack

String used in  User Agent header of Raccoon Stealer v2’s HTTP requests

Domain Name

brain-lover[.]xyz  

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

Domain  Name

polar-gift[.]xyz

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

Domain Name

cool-story[.]xyz

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

Domain  Name

fall2sleep[.]xyz

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

Domain Name

broke-bridge[.]xyz

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

Domain  Name

use-freedom[.]xyz

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

Domain Name

just-trust[.]xyz

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

Domain  Name

soft-viper[.]site

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

Domain Name

tech-lover[.]xyz

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

Domain  Name

heal-brain[.]xyz

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

Domain Name

love-light[.]xyz

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

104.21.80[.]14

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

107.152.46[.]84

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

135.181.147[.]255

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

135.181.168[.]157

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

138.197.179[.]146

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

141.98.169[.]33

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

146.19.170[.]100

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

146.19.170[.]175

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

146.19.170[.]98

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

146.19.173[.]33

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

146.19.173[.]72

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

146.19.247[.]175

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

146.19.247[.]177

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

146.70.125[.]95

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

152.89.196[.]234

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

165.225.120[.]25

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

168.100.10[.]238

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

168.100.11[.]23

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

168.100.9[.]234

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

170.75.168[.]118

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

172.67.173[.]14

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

172.86.75[.]189

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

172.86.75[.]33

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

174.138.15[.]216

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

176.124.216[.]15

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

185.106.92[.]14

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

185.173.34[.]161

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

185.173.34[.]161  

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

185.225.17[.]198

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

185.225.19[.]190

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

185.225.19[.]229

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

185.53.46[.]103

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

185.53.46[.]76

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

185.53.46[.]77

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

188.119.112[.]230

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

190.117.75[.]91

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

193.106.191[.]182

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

193.149.129[.]135

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

193.149.129[.]144

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

193.149.180[.]210

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

193.149.185[.]192

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

193.233.193[.]50

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

193.43.146[.]138

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

193.43.146[.]17

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

193.43.146[.]192

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

193.43.146[.]213

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

193.43.146[.]214

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

193.43.146[.]215

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

193.43.146[.]26

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

193.43.146[.]45

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

193.56.146[.]177

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

194.180.174[.]180

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

195.201.148[.]250

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

206.166.251[.]156

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

206.188.196[.]200

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

206.53.53[.]18

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

207.154.195[.]173

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

213.252.244[.]2

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

38.135.122[.]210

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.10.20[.]248

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.11.19[.]99

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.133.216[.]110

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.133.216[.]145

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.133.216[.]148

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.133.216[.]249

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.133.216[.]71

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.140.146[.]169

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.140.147[.]245

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.142.212[.]100

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.142.213[.]24

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.142.215[.]91

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.142.215[.]91  

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.142.215[.]92

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.144.29[.]18

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.144.29[.]243

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.15.156[.]11

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.15.156[.]2

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.15.156[.]31

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.15.156[.]31

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.150.67[.]156

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.153.230[.]183

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.153.230[.]228

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.159.251[.]163

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.159.251[.]164

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.61.136[.]67

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.61.138[.]162

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.67.228[.]8

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.67.231[.]202

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.67.34[.]152

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.67.34[.]234

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.8.144[.]187

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.8.144[.]54

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.8.144[.]55

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.8.145[.]174

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.8.145[.]83

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.8.147[.]39

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.8.147[.]79

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.84.0.152

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.86.86[.]78

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.89.54[.]110

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.89.54[.]110

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.89.54[.]95

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.89.55[.]115

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.89.55[.]117

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.89.55[.]193

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.89.55[.]198

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.89.55[.]20

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

45.89.55[.]84

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

45.92.156[.]150

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.182.36[.]154

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

5.182.36[.]230

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.182.36[.]231

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

5.182.36[.]232

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.182.36[.]233

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

5.182.39[.]34

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.182.39[.]74

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

5.182.39[.]75

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.182.39[.]77

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

5.252.118[.]33

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.252.176[.]62

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

5.252.177[.]217

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.252.177[.]234

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

5.252.177[.]43

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.252.177[.]47

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

5.252.177[.]92

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.252.177[.]98

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

5.252.22[.]142

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.252.23[.]100

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

5.252.23[.]25

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

5.252.23[.]76

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

51.195.166[.]175

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

51.195.166[.]176

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

51.195.166[.]194

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

51.81.143[.]169

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

62.113.255[.]110

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

65.109.3[.]107

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

74.119.192[.]56

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

74.119.192[.]73

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

77.232.39[.]101

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

77.73.133[.]0

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

77.73.133[.]4

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

77.73.134[.]45

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

77.75.230[.]25

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

77.75.230[.]39

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

77.75.230[.]70

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

77.75.230[.]93

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

77.91.100[.]101

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

77.91.102[.]12

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

77.91.102[.]230

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

77.91.102[.]44

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

77.91.102[.]57

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

77.91.102[.]84

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

77.91.103[.]31

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

77.91.73[.]154

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

77.91.73[.]213

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

77.91.73[.]32

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

77.91.74[.]67

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

78.159.103[.]195

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

78.159.103[.]196

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

80.66.87[.]23

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

80.66.87[.]28

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

80.71.157[.]112

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

80.71.157[.]138

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

80.92.204[.]202

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

87.121.52[.]10

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

88.119.175[.]187

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

89.185.85[.]53

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

89.208.107[.]42

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

89.39.106[.]78

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

91.234.254[.]126

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

94.131.104[.]16

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

94.131.104[.]17

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

94.131.104[.]18

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

94.131.106[.]116

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

94.131.106[.]224

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

94.131.107[.]132

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

94.131.107[.]138

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

94.131.96[.]109

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

94.131.97[.]129

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

94.131.97[.]53

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

94.131.97[.]56

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

94.131.97[.]57

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

94.131.98[.]5

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

94.158.244[.]114

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

94.158.244[.]119

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

94.158.244[.]21

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

94.158.247[.]24

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

94.158.247[.]26

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

94.158.247[.]30

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

94.158.247[.]44

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

IP  Address

95.216.109[.]16

Raccoon Stealer  v2 C2 infrastructure

IP Address

95.217.124[.]179

Raccoon Stealer v2 C2 infrastructure

URI

/aN7jD0qO6kT5bK5bQ4eR8fE1xP7hL2vK/mozglue.dll

URI used in  download of library file

URI

/aN7jD0qO6kT5bK5bQ4eR8fE1xP7hL2vK/nss3.dll

URI used in download of library file

URI

/aN7jD0qO6kT5bK5bQ4eR8fE1xP7hL2vK/freebl3.dll

URI used in  download of library file

URI

/aN7jD0qO6kT5bK5bQ4eR8fE1xP7hL2vK/softokn3.dll

URI used in download of library file

URI

/aN7jD0qO6kT5bK5bQ4eR8fE1xP7hL2vK/nssdbm3.dll

URI used in  download of library file

URI

/aN7jD0qO6kT5bK5bQ4eR8fE1xP7hL2vK/sqlite3.dll

URI used in download of library file

URI

/aN7jD0qO6kT5bK5bQ4eR8fE1xP7hL2vK/msvcp140.dll

URI used in  download of library file

URI

/aN7jD0qO6kT5bK5bQ4eR8fE1xP7hL2vK/vcruntime140.dll

URI used in download of library file

URI

/C9S2G1K6I3G8T3X7/56296373798691245143.bin

URI used in  download of follow-up payload

URI

/O6K3E4G6N9S8S1/91787438215733789009.bin

URI used in download of follow-up  payload

URI

/Z2J8J3N2S2Z6X2V3S0B5/45637662345462341.bin

URI used in  download of follow-up payload

URI

/rgd4rgrtrje62iuty/19658963328526236.bin

URI used in download of follow-up  payload

URI

/sd325dt25ddgd523/81852849956384.bin

URI used in  download of follow-up payload

URI

/B0L1N2H4R1N5I5S6/40055385413647326168.bin

URI used in download of follow-up  payload

URI

/F5Q8W3O3O8I2A4A4B8S8/31427748106757922101.bin

URI used in  download of follow-up payload

URI

/36141266339446703039.bin

URI used in download of follow-up  payload

URI

/wH0nP0qH9eJ6aA9zH1mN/1.bin

URI used in  download of follow-up payload

URI

/K2X2R1K4C6Z3G8L0R1H0/68515718711529966786.bin

URI used in download of follow-up  payload

URI

/C3J7N6F6X3P8I0I0M/17819203282122080878.bin

URI used in  download of follow-up payload

URI

/W9H1B8P3F2J2H2K7U1Y7G5N4C0Z4B/18027641.bin

URI used in download of follow-up  payload

URI

/P2T9T1Q6P7Y5J3D2T0N0O8V/73239348388512240560937.bin

URI used in  download of follow-up payload

URI

/W5H6O5P0E4Y6P8O1B9D9G0P9Y9G4/671837571800893555497.bin

URI used in download of follow-up  payload

URI

/U8P2N0T5R0F7G2J0/898040207002934180145349.bin

URI used in  download of follow-up payload

URI

/AXEXNKPSBCKSLMPNOMNRLUEPR/3145102300913020.bin

URI used in download of follow-up  payload

URI

/wK6nO2iM9lE7pN7e/7788926473349244.bin

URI used in  download of follow-up payload

URI

/U4N9B5X5F5K2A0L4L4T5/84897964387342609301.bin

URI used in download of follow-up  payload

DANS LE SOC
Darktrace sont des experts de classe mondiale en matière de renseignement sur les menaces, de chasse aux menaces et de réponse aux incidents. Ils fournissent une assistance SOC 24 heures sur 24 et 7 jours sur 7 à des milliers de clients Darktrace dans le monde entier. Inside the SOC est exclusivement rédigé par ces experts et fournit une analyse des cyberincidents et des tendances en matière de menaces, basée sur une expérience réelle sur le terrain.
AUTEUR
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Sam Lister
SOC Analyst
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Email

Beyond DMARC: Navigating the Gaps in Email Security

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29
Feb 2024

Email threat landscape  

Email has consistently ranked among the most targeted attack vectors, given its ubiquity and criticality to business operations. From September to December 2023, 10.4 million phishing emails were detected across Darktrace’s customer fleet demonstrating the frequency of attempted email-based attacks.

Businesses are searching for ways to harden their email security posture alongside email providers who are aiming to reduce malicious emails traversing their infrastructure, affecting their clients. Domain-based Message Authentication (DMARC) is a useful industry-wide protocol organizations can leverage to move towards these goals.  

What is DMARC?

DMARC is an email authentication protocol designed to enhance the security of email communication.

Major email service providers Google and Yahoo recently made the protocol mandatory for bulk senders in an effort to make inboxes safer worldwide. The new requirements demonstrate an increasing need for a standardized solution as misconfigured or nonexistent authentication systems continue to allow threat actors to evade detection and leverage the legitimate reputation of third parties.  

DMARC is a powerful tool that allows email administrators to confidently identify and stop certain spoofed emails; however, more organizations must implement the standard for it to reach its full potential. The success and effectiveness of DMARC is dependent on broad adoption of the standard – by organizations of all sizes.  

How does DMARC work?

DMARC builds on two key authentication technologies, Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and helps to significantly improve their ability to prevent domain spoofing. SPF verifies that a sender’s IP address is authorized to send emails on behalf of a particular domain and DKIM ensures integrity of email content by providing a verifiable digital signature.  

DMARC adds to this by allowing domain owners to publish policies that set expectations for how SPF and DKIM verification checks relate to email addresses presented to users and whose authenticity the receiving mail server is looking to establish.  

These policies work in tandem to help authenticate email senders by verifying the emails are from the domain they say they are, working to prevent domain spoofing attacks. Key benefits of DMARC include:

  1. Phishing protection DMARC protects against direct domain spoofing in which a threat actor impersonates a legitimate domain, a common phishing technique threat actors use to trick employees to obtain sensitive information such as privileged credentials, bank information, etc.  
  2. Improving brand reputation: As DMARC helps to prevent impersonation of domains, it stands to maintain and increase an organization’s brand reputation. Additionally, as organizational reputation improves, so will the deliverability of emails.
  3. Increased visibility: DMARC provides enhanced visibility into email communication channels, including reports of all emails sent on behalf of your domain. This allows security teams to identify shadow-IT and any unauthorized parties using their domain.

Understanding DMARC’s Limitations

DMARC is often positioned as a way for organizations to ‘solve’ their email security problems, however, 65% of the phishing emails observed by Darktrace successfully passed DMARC verification, indicating that a significant number of threat actors are capable of manipulating email security and authentication systems in their exploits. While DMARC is a valuable tool in the fight against email-based attacks, the evolving threat landscape demands a closer look at its limitations.  

As threat actors continue to innovate, improving their stealth and evasion tactics, the number of attacks with valid DMARC authentication will only continue to increase in volume and sophistication. These can include:

  1. Phishing attacks that leverage non-spoofed domains: DMARC allows an organization to protect the domains that they own, preventing threat actors from being able to send phishing emails from their domains. However, threat actors will often create and use ‘look-a-like’ domains that closely resemble an organization’s domain to dupe users. 3% of the phishing emails identified by Darktrace utilized newly created domains, demonstrating shifting tactics.  
  2. Email Account Takeovers: If a threat actor gains access to a user’s email account through other social engineering means such as credential stuffing, they can then send phishing emails from the legitimate domain to pursue further attacks. Even though these emails are malicious, DMARC would not identify them as such because they are coming from an authorized domain or sender.  

Organizations must also ensure their inbound analysis of emails is not skewed by successful DMARC authentication. Security teams cannot inherently trust emails that pass DMARC, because the source cannot always be legitimized, like in the event of an account takeover. If a threat actor gains access to an authenticated email account, emails sent by the threat actor from that account will pass DMARC – however the contents of that email may be malicious. Sender behavior must be continuously evaluated and vetted in real time as past communication history and validated DMARC cannot be solely relied upon amid an ever-changing threat landscape.  

Security teams should lean on other security measures, such as anomaly detection tools that can identify suspicious emails without relying on historical attack rules and static data. While DMARC is not a silver bullet for email security, it is nevertheless foundational in helping organizations protect their brand identity and must be viewed as an essential layer in an organization's overall cyber security strategy.  

Implementing DMARC

Despite the criticality of DMARC for preserving brand reputation and trust, adoption of the standard has been inconsistent. DMARC can be complex to implement with many organizations lacking the time required to understand and successfully implement the standard. Because of this, DMARC set-up is often outsourced, giving security and infrastructure teams little to no visibility into or control of the process.  

Implementation of DMARC is only the start of this process, as DMARC reports must be consistently monitored to ensure organizations have visibility into who is sending mail from their domain, the volume of mail being sent and whether the mail is passing authentication protocols. This process can be time consuming for security teams who are already faced with mounting responsibilities, tight budgets, and personnel shortages. These complexities unfortunately delay organizations from using DMARC – especially as many today still view it as a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential.  

With the potential complexities of the DMARC implementation process, there are many ways security and infrastructure teams can still successfully roll out the standard. Initial implementation should start with monitoring, policy adjustment and then enforcement. As business changes over time, DMARC should be reviewed regularly to ensure ongoing protection and maintain domain reputation.

The Future of Email Security

As email-based attacks continue to rise, the industry must recognize the importance of driving adoption of foundational email authentication protocols. To do this, a new and innovative approach to DMARC is needed. DMARC products must evolve to better support organizations throughout the ongoing DMARC monitoring process, rather than just initial implementation. These products must also be able to share intelligence across an organization’s security stack, extending beyond email security tools. Integration across these products and tools will help organizations optimize their posture, ensuring deep understanding of their domain and increased visibility across the entire enterprise.

DMARC is critical in protecting brand identity and mitigating exact-domain based attacks. However, organizations must understand DMARC’s unique benefits and limitations to ensure their inboxes are fully protected. In today’s evolving threat landscape, organizations require a robust, multi-layered approach to stop email threats – in inbound mail and beyond. Email threats have evolved – its time security does too.

Join Darktrace on 9 April for a virtual event to explore the latest innovations needed to get ahead of the rapidly evolving threat landscape. Register today to hear more about our latest innovations coming to Darktrace’s offerings. For additional insights check out Darktrace’s 2023 End of Year Threat Report.

Credit to Carlos Gray and Stephen Pickman for their contribution to this blog

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About the author
Carlos Gray
Product Manager

Blog

A l'intérieur du SOC

Quasar Remote Access Tool: When a Legitimate Admin Tool Falls into the Wrong Hands

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23
Feb 2024

The threat of interoperability

As the “as-a-Service” market continues to grow, indicators of compromise (IoCs) and malicious infrastructure are often interchanged and shared between multiple malware strains and attackers. This presents organizations and their security teams with a new threat: interoperability.

Interoperable threats not only enable malicious actors to achieve their objectives more easily by leveraging existing infrastructure and tools to launch new attacks, but the lack of clear attribution often complicates identification for security teams and incident responders, making it challenging to mitigate and contain the threat.

One such threat observed across the Darktrace customer base in late 2023 was Quasar, a legitimate remote administration tool that has becoming increasingly popular for opportunistic attackers in recent years. Working in tandem, the anomaly-based detection of Darktrace DETECT™ and the autonomous response capabilities of Darktrace RESPOND™ ensured that affected customers were promptly made aware of any suspicious activity on the attacks were contained at the earliest possible stage.

What is Quasar?

Quasar is an open-source remote administration tool designed for legitimate use; however, it has evolved to become a popular tool used by threat actors due to its wide array of capabilities.  

How does Quasar work?

For instance, Quasar can perform keylogging, take screenshots, establish a reverse proxy, and download and upload files on a target device [1].  A report released towards the end of 2023 put Quasar back on threat researchers’ radars as it disclosed the new observation of dynamic-link library (DLL) sideloading being used by malicious versions of this tool to evade detection [1].  DLL sideloading involves configuring legitimate Windows software to run a malicious file rather than the legitimate file it usually calls on as the software loads.  The evolving techniques employed by threat actors using Quasar highlights defenders’ need for anomaly-based detections that do not rely on pre-existing knowledge of attacker techniques, and can identify and alert for unusual behavior, even if it is performed by a legitimate application.

Although Quasar has been used by advanced persistent threat (APT) groups for global espionage operations [2], Darktrace observed the common usage of default configurations for Quasar, which appeared to use shared malicious infrastructure, and occurred alongside other non-compliant activity such as BitTorrent use and cryptocurrency mining.  

Quasar Attack Overview and Darktrace Coverage

Between September and October 2023, Darktrace detected multiple cases of malicious Quasar activity across several customers, suggesting probable campaign activity.  

Quasar infections can be difficult to detect using traditional network or host-based tools due to the use of stealthy techniques such as DLL side-loading and encrypted SSL connections for command-and control (C2) communication, that traditional security tools may not be able to identify.  The wide array of capabilities Quasar possesses also suggests that attacks using this tool may not necessarily be modelled against a linear kill chain. Despite this, the anomaly-based detection of Darktrace DETECT allowed it to identify IoCs related to Quasar at multiple stages of the kill chain.

Quasar Initial Infection

During the initial infection stage of a Quasar compromise observed on the network of one customer, Darktrace detected a device downloading several suspicious DLL and executable (.exe) files from multiple rare external sources using the Xmlst user agent, including the executable ‘Eppzjtedzmk[.]exe’.  Analyzing this file using open-source intelligence (OSINT) suggests this is a Quasar payload, potentially indicating this represented the initial infection through DLL sideloading [3].

Interestingly, the Xmlst user agent used to download the Quasar payload has also been associated with Raccoon Stealer, an information-stealing malware that also acts as a dropper for other malware strains [4][5]. The co-occurrence of different malware components is increasingly common across the threat landscape as MaaS operating models increases in popularity, allowing attackers to employ cross-functional components from different strains.

Figure 1: Cyber AI Analyst Incident summarizing the multiple different downloads in one related incident, with technical details for the Quasar payload included. The incident event for Suspicious File Download is also linked to Possible HTTP Command and Control, suggesting escalation of activity following the initial infection.  

Quasar Establishing C2 Communication

During this phase, devices on multiple customer networks were identified making unusual external connections to the IP 193.142.146[.]212, which was not commonly seen in their networks. Darktrace analyzed the meta-properties of these SSL connections without needing to decrypt the content, to alert the usage of an unusual port not typically associated with the SSL protocol, 4782, and the usage of self-signed certificates.  Self-signed certificates do not provide any trust value and are commonly used in malware communications and ill-reputed web servers.  

Further analysis into these alerts using OSINT indicated that 193.142.146[.]212 is a Quasar C2 server and 4782 is the default port used by Quasar [6][7].  Expanding on the self-signed certificate within the Darktrace UI (see Figure 3) reveals a certificate subject and issuer of “CN=Quasar Server CA”, which is also the default self-signed certificate compiled by Quasar [6].

Figure 2: Cyber AI Analyst Incident summarizing the repeated external connections to a rare external IP that was later associated with Quasar.
Figure 3: Device Event Log of the affected device, showing Darktrace’s analysis of the SSL Certificate associated with SSL connections to 193.142.146[.]212.

A number of insights can be drawn from analysis of the Quasar C2 endpoints detected by Darktrace across multiple affected networks, suggesting a level of interoperability in the tooling used by different threat actors. In one instance, Darktrace detected a device beaconing to the endpoint ‘bittorrents[.]duckdns[.]org’ using the aforementioned “CN=Quasar Server CA” certificate. DuckDNS is a dynamic DNS service that could be abused by attackers to redirect users from their intended endpoint to malicious infrastructure, and may be shared or reused in multiple different attacks.

Figure 4: A device’s Model Event Log, showing the Quasar Server CA SSL certificate used in connections to 41.233.139[.]145 on port 5, which resolves via passive replication to ‘bittorrents[.]duckdns[.]org’.  

The sharing of malicious infrastructure among threat actors is also evident as several OSINT sources have also associated the Quasar IP 193.142.146[.]212, detected in this campaign, with different threat types.

While 193.142.146[.]212:4782 is known to be associated with Quasar, 193.142.146[.]212:8808 and 193.142.146[.]212:6606 have been associated with AsyncRAT [11], and the same IP on port 8848 has been associated with RedLineStealer [12].  Aside from the relative ease of using already developed tooling, threat actors may prefer to use open-source malware in order to avoid attribution, making the true identity of the threat actor unclear to incident responders [1][13].  

Quasar Executing Objectives

On multiple customer deployments affected by Quasar, Darktrace detected devices using BitTorrent and performing cryptocurrency mining. While these non-compliant, and potentially malicious, activities are not necessarily specific IoCs for Quasar, they do suggest that affected devices may have had greater attack surfaces than others.

For instance, one affected device was observed initiating connections to 162.19.139[.]184, a known Minergate cryptomining endpoint, and ‘zayprostofyrim[.]zapto[.]org’, a dynamic DNS endpoint linked to the Quasar Botnet by multiple OSINT vendors [9].

Figure 5: A Darktrace DETECT Event Log showing simultaneous connections to a Quasar endpoint and a cryptomining endpoint 162.19.139[.]184.

Not only does cryptocurrency mining use a significant amount of processing power, potentially disrupting an organization’s business operations and racking up high energy bills, but the software used for this mining is often written to a poor standard, thus increasing the attack surfaces of devices using them. In this instance, Quasar may have been introduced as a secondary payload from a user or attacker-initiated download of cryptocurrency mining malware.

Similarly, it is not uncommon for malicious actors to attach malware to torrented files and there were a number of examples of Darktrace detect identifying non-compliant activity, like BitTorrent connections, overlapping with connections to external locations associated with Quasar. It is therefore important for organizations to establish and enforce technical and policy controls for acceptable use on corporate devices, particularly when remote working introduces new risks.  

Figure 6: A device’s Event Log filtered by Model Breaches, showing a device connecting to BitTorrent shortly before making new or repeated connections to unusual endpoints, which were subsequently associated to Quasar.

In some cases observed by Darktrace, devices affected by Quasar were also being used to perform data exfiltration. Analysis of a period of unusual external connections to the aforementioned Quasar C2 botnet server, ‘zayprostofyrim[.]zapto[.]org’, revealed a small data upload, which may have represented the exfiltration of some data to attacker infrastructure.

Darktrace’s Autonomous Response to Quasar Attacks

On customer networks that had Darktrace RESPOND™ enabled in autonomous response mode, the threat of Quasar was mitigated and contained as soon as it was identified by DETECT. If RESPOND is not configured to respond autonomously, these actions would instead be advisory, pending manual application by the customer’s security team.

For example, following the detection of devices downloading malicious DLL and executable files, Darktrace RESPOND advised the customer to block specific connections to the relevant IP addresses and ports. However, as the device was seen attempting to download further files from other locations, RESPOND also suggested enforced a ‘pattern of life’ on the device, meaning it was only permitted to make connections that were part its normal behavior. By imposing a pattern of life, Darktrace RESPOND ensures that a device cannot perform suspicious behavior, while not disrupting any legitimate business activity.

Had RESPOND been configured to act autonomously, these mitigative actions would have been applied without any input from the customer’s security team and the Quasar compromise would have been contained in the first instance.

Figure 7: The advisory actions Darktrace RESPOND initiated to block specific connections to a malicious IP and to enforce the device’s normal patterns of life in response to the different anomalies detected on the device.

In another case, one customer affected by Quasar did have enabled RESPOND to take autonomous action, whilst also integrating it with a firewall. Here, following the detection of a device connecting to a known Quasar IP address, RESPOND initially blocked it from making connections to the IP via the customer’s firewall. However, as the device continued to perform suspicious activity after this, RESPOND escalated its response by blocking all outgoing connections from the device, effectively preventing any C2 activity or downloads.

Figure 8: RESPOND actions triggered to action via integrated firewall and TCP Resets.

Conclusion

When faced with a threat like Quasar that utilizes the infrastructure and tools of both legitimate services and other malicious malware variants, it is essential for security teams to move beyond relying on existing knowledge of attack techniques when safeguarding their network. It is no longer enough for organizations to rely on past attacks to defend against the attacks of tomorrow.

Crucially, Darktrace’s unique approach to threat detection focusses on the anomaly, rather than relying on a static list of IoCs or "known bads” based on outdated threat intelligence. In the case of Quasar, alternative or future strains of the malware that utilize different IoCs and TTPs would still be identified by Darktrace as anomalous and immediately alerted.

By learning the ‘normal’ for devices on a customer’s network, Darktrace DETECT can recognize the subtle deviations in a device’s behavior that could indicate an ongoing compromise. Darktrace RESPOND is subsequently able to follow this up with swift and targeted actions to contain the attack and prevent it from escalating further.

Credit to Nicole Wong, Cyber Analyst, Vivek Rajan Cyber Analyst

Appendices

Darktrace DETECT Model Breaches

  • Anomalous Connection / Multiple Failed Connections to Rare Endpoint
  • Anomalous Connection / Anomalous SSL without SNI to New External
  • Anomalous Connection / Application Protocol on Uncommon Port
  • Anomalous Connection / Rare External SSL Self-Signed
  • Compromise / New or Repeated to Unusual SSL Port
  • Compromise / Beaconing Activity To External Rare
  • Compromise / High Volume of Connections with Beacon Score
  • Compromise / Large Number of Suspicious Failed Connections
  • Unusual Activity / Unusual External Activity

List of IoCs

IP:Port

193.142.146[.]212:4782 -Quasar C2 IP and default port

77.34.128[.]25: 8080 - Quasar C2 IP

Domain

zayprostofyrim[.]zapto[.]org - Quasar C2 Botnet Endpoint

bittorrents[.]duckdns[.]org - Possible Quasar C2 endpoint

Certificate

CN=Quasar Server CA - Default certificate used by Quasar

Executable

Eppzjtedzmk[.]exe - Quasar executable

IP Address

95.214.24[.]244 - Quasar C2 IP

162.19.139[.]184 - Cryptocurrency Miner IP

41.233.139[.]145[VR1] [NW2] - Possible Quasar C2 IP

MITRE ATT&CK Mapping

Command and Control

T1090.002: External Proxy

T1071.001: Web Protocols

T1571: Non-Standard Port

T1001: Data Obfuscation

T1573: Encrypted Channel

T1071: Application Layer Protocol

Resource Development

T1584: Compromise Infrastructure

References

[1] https://thehackernews.com/2023/10/quasar-rat-leverages-dll-side-loading.html

[2] https://symantec-enterprise-blogs.security.com/blogs/threat-intelligence/cicada-apt10-japan-espionage

[3]https://www.virustotal.com/gui/file/bd275a1f97d1691e394d81dd402c11aaa88cc8e723df7a6aaf57791fa6a6cdfa/community

[4] https://twitter.com/g0njxa/status/1691826188581298389

[5] https://www.linkedin.com/posts/grjk83_raccoon-stealer-announce-return-after-hiatus-activity-7097906612580802560-1aj9

[6] https://community.netwitness.com/t5/netwitness-community-blog/using-rsa-netwitness-to-detect-quasarrat/ba-p/518952

[7] https://www.cisa.gov/news-events/analysis-reports/ar18-352a

[8]https://any.run/report/6cf1314c130a41c977aafce4585a144762d3fb65f8fe493e836796b989b002cb/7ac94b56-7551-4434-8e4f-c928c57327ff

[9] https://threatfox.abuse.ch/ioc/891454/

[10] https://www.virustotal.com/gui/ip-address/41.233.139.145/relations

[11] https://raw.githubusercontent.com/stamparm/maltrail/master/trails/static/malware/asyncrat.txt

[12] https://sslbl.abuse.ch/ssl-certificates/signature/RedLineStealer/

[13] https://www.botconf.eu/botconf-presentation-or-article/hunting-the-quasar-family-how-to-hunt-a-malware-family/

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About the author
Nicole Wong
Cyber Security Analyst

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