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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

INSIDE THE SOC
Darktrace cyber analysts are world-class experts in threat intelligence, threat hunting and incident response, and provide 24/7 SOC support to thousands of Darktrace customers around the globe. Inside the SOC is exclusively authored by these experts, providing analysis of cyber incidents and threat trends, based on real-world experience in the field.
AUTHOR
ABOUT ThE AUTHOR
Sam Lister
SOC Analyst
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Attack Trends: VIP Impersonation Across the Business Hierarchy

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22
Feb 2024

What is VIP impersonation?

VIP impersonation involves a threat actor impersonating a trusted, prominent figure at an organization in an attempt to solicit sensitive information from an employee.

VIP impersonation is a high-priority issue for security teams, but it can be difficult to assess the exact risks, and whether those are more critical than other types of compromise. Looking across a range of Darktrace/Email™ customer deployments, this blog explores the patterns of individuals targeted for impersonation and evaluates if these target priorities correspond with security teams' focus on protecting attack pathways to critical assets.

How do security teams stop VIP Impersonation?

Protecting VIP entities within an organization has long been a traditional focus for security teams. The assumption is that VIPs, due to their prominence, possess the greatest access to critical assets, making them prime targets for cyber threats.  

Email remains the predominant vector for attacks, with over 90% of breaches originating from malicious emails. However, the dynamics of email-based attacks are shifting, as the widespread use of generative AI is lowering the barrier to entry by allowing adversaries to create hyper-realistic emails with minimal errors.

Given these developments, it's worth asking the question – which entities (VIP/non-VIP) are most targeted by threat actors via email? And, more importantly – which entities (VIP/non-VIP) are more valuable if they are successfully compromised?

There are two types of VIPs:  

1. When referring to emails and phishing, VIPs are the users in an organization who are well known publicly.  

2. When referring to attack paths, VIPs are users in an organization that are known publicly and have access to highly privileged assets.  

Not every prominent user has access to critical assets, and not every user that has access to critical assets is prominent.  

Darktrace analysis of VIP impersonation

We analyzed patterns of attack pathways and phishing attempts across 20 customer deployments from a large, randomized pool encompassing a diverse range of organizations.  

Understanding Attack Pathways

Our observations revealed that 57% of low-difficulty attack paths originated from VIP entities, while 43% of observed low-difficulty attack paths towards critical assets or entities began through non-VIP users. This means that targeting VIPs is not the only way attackers can reach critical assets, and that non-VIP users must be considered as well.  

While the sample size prevents us from establishing statistical significance across all customers, the randomized selection lends credence to the generalizability of these findings to other environments.

Phishing Attempts  

On average, 1.35% of total emails sent to these customers exhibited significantly malicious properties associated with phishing or some form of impersonation. Strikingly, nearly half of these malicious emails (49.6%) were directed towards VIPs, while the rest were sent to non-VIPs. This near-equal split is worth noting, as attack paths show that non-VIPs also serve as potential entry points for targeting critical assets.  

Darktrace/Email UI
Figure 1: A phishing email actioned by Darktrace, sent to multiple VIP and non-VIP entities

For example, a recent phishing campaign targeted multiple customers across deployments, with five out of 13 emails specifically aimed at VIP users. Darktrace/Email actioned the malicious emails by double locking the links, holding the messages, and stripping the attachments.

Given that non-VIP users receive nearly half of the phishing or impersonation emails, it underscores the critical importance for security teams to recognize their blind spots in protecting critical assets. Overlooking the potential threat originating from non-VIP entities could lead to severe consequences. For instance, if a non-VIP user falls victim to a phishing attack or gets compromised, their credentials could be exploited to move laterally within the organization, potentially reaching critical assets.

This highlights the necessity for a sophisticated security tool that can identify targeted users, without the need for extensive customization and regardless of VIP status. By deploying a solution capable of promptly responding to email threats – including solicitation, phishing attempts, and impersonation – regardless of the status of the targeted user, security teams can significantly enhance their defense postures.

Darktrace vs Traditional Email Detection Methods

Traditional rules and signatures-based detection mechanisms fall short in identifying the evolving threats we’ve observed, due to their reliance on knowledge of past attacks to categorize emails.

Secure Email Gateway (SEG) or Integrated Cloud Email Security (ICES) tools categorize emails based on previous or known attacks, operating on a known-good or known-bad model. Even if tools use AI to automate this process, the approach is still fundamentally looking to the past and therefore vulnerable to unknown and zero-day threats.  

Darktrace uses AI to understand each unique organization and how its email environment interoperates with each user and device on the network. Consequently, it is able to identify the subtle deviations from normal behavior that qualify as suspicious. This approach goes beyond simplistic categorizations, considering factors such as the sender’s history and recipient’s exposure score.  

This nuanced analysis enables Darktrace to differentiate between genuine communications and malicious impersonation attempts. It automatically understands who is a VIP, without the need for manual input, and will action more strongly on incoming malicious emails  based on a user’s status.

Email does determine who is a VIP, without a need of manual input, and will action more strongly on incoming malicious emails.

Darktrace/Email also feeds into Darktrace’s preventative security tools, giving the interconnected AI engines further context for assessing the high-value targets and pathways to vital internal systems and assets that start via the inbox.

Leveraging AI for Enhanced Protection Across the Enterprise  

The efficacy of AI-driven security solutions lies in their ability to make informed decisions and recommendations based on real-time business data. By leveraging this data, AI driven solutions can identify exploitable attack pathways and an organizations most critical assets. Darktrace uniquely uses several forms of AI to equip security teams with the insights needed to make informed decisions about which pathways to secure, reducing human bias around the importance of protecting VIPs.

With the emergence of tools like AutoGPT, identifying potential targets for phishing attacks has become increasingly simplified. However, the real challenge lies in gaining a comprehensive understanding of all possible and low-difficulty attack paths leading to critical assets and identities within the organization.

At the same time, organizations need email tools that can leverage the understanding of users to prevent email threats from succeeding in the first instance. For every email and user, Darktrace/Email takes into consideration changes in behavior from the sender, recipient, content, and language, and many other factors.

Integrating Darktrace/Email with Darktrace’s attack path modeling capabilities enables comprehensive threat contextualization and facilitates a deeper understanding of attack pathways. This holistic approach ensures that all potential vulnerabilities, irrespective of the user's status, are addressed, strengthening the overall security posture.  

Conclusion

Contrary to conventional wisdom, our analysis suggests that the distinction between VIPs and non-VIPs in terms of susceptibility to impersonation and low-difficulty attack paths is not as pronounced as presumed. Therefore, security teams must adopt a proactive stance in safeguarding all pathways, rather than solely focusing on VIPs.  

Attack path modeling enhances Darktrace/Email's capabilities by providing crucial metrics on potential impact, damage, exposure, and weakness, enabling more targeted and effective threat mitigation strategies. For example, stronger email actions can be enforced for users who are known to have a high potential impact in case of compromise. 

In an era where cyber threats continue to evolve in complexity, an adaptive and non-siloed approach to securing inboxes, high-priority individuals, and critical assets is indispensable.  

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About the author
Kendra Gonzalez Duran
Director of Technology Innovation

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Inside the SOC

Gootloader Malware: Detecting and Containing Multi-Functional Threats with Darktrace

Default blog imageDefault blog image
15
Feb 2024

What is multi-functional malware?

While traditional malware variants were designed with one specific objective in mind, the emergence of multi-functional malware, such as loader malware, means that organizations are likely to be confronted with multiple malicious tools and strains of malware at once. These threats often have non-linear attack patterns and kill chains that can quickly adapt and progress quicker than human security teams are able to react. Therefore, it is more important than ever for organizations to adopt an anomaly approach to combat increasingly versatile and fast-moving threats.

Example of Multi-functional malware

One example of a multi-functional malware recently observed by Darktrace can be seen in Gootloader, a multi-payload loader variant that has been observed in the wild since 2020. It is known to primarily target Windows-based systems across multiple industries in the US, Canada, France, Germany, and South Korea [1].  

How does Gootloader malware work?

Once installed on a target network, Gootloader can download additional malicious payloads that allow threat actors to carry out a range of harmful activities, such as stealing sensitive information or encrypting files for ransom.

The Gootloader malware is known to infect networks via search engine optimization (SEO) poisoning, directing users searching for legitimate documents to compromised websites hosting a malicious payload masquerading as the desired file.

If the malware remains undetected, it paves the way for a second stage payload known as Gootkit, which functions as a banking trojan and information-stealer, or other malware tools including Cobalt Strike and Osiris [2].

Darktrace detection of Gootloader malware

In late 2023, Darktrace observed one instance of Gootloader affecting a customer in the US. Thanks to its anomaly-focused approach, Darktrace DETECT™ quickly identified the anomalous activity surrounding this emerging attack and brought it to the immediate attention of the customer’s security team. All the while, Darktrace RESPOND™ was in place and able to autonomously intervene, containing the suspicious activity and ensuring the Gootloader compromise could not progress any further.

In September 2023, Darktrace identified an instance of the Gootloader malware attempting to propagate within the network of a customer in the US. Darktrace identified the first indications of the compromise when it detected a device beaconing to an unusual external location and performing network scanning. Following this, the device was observed making additional command-and-control (C2) connections, before finally downloading an executable (.exe) file which likely represented the download of a further malicious payload.

As this customer had subscribed to the Proactive Notification Service (PTN), the suspicious activity was escalated to the Darktrace Security Operations Center (SOC) for further investigation by Darktrace’s expert analysts. The SOC team were able to promptly triage the incident and advise urgent follow-up actions.

Gootloader Attack Overview

Figure 1: Timeline of Anomalous Activities seen on the breach device.

Initial Beaconing and Scanning Activity

On September 21, 2023, Darktrace observed the first indications of compromise on the network when a device began to make regular connections to an external endpoint that was considered extremely rare for the network, namely ‘analyzetest[.]ir’.

Although the endpoint did not overtly seem malicious in nature (it appeared to be related to laboratory testing), Darktrace recognized that it had never previously been seen on the customer’s network and therefore should be treated with caution.  This initial beaconing activity was just the beginning of the malicious C2 communications, with several additional instances of beaconing detected to numerous suspicious endpoints, including funadhoo.gov[.]mv, tdgroup[.]ru’ and ‘army.mil[.]ng.

Figure 2: Initial beaconing activity detected on the breach device.

Soon thereafter, Darktrace detected the device performing internal reconnaissance, with an unusually large number of connections to other internal locations observed. This scanning activity appeared to primarily be targeting the SMB protocol by scanning port 445.

Within seconds of DETECT’s detection of this suspicious SMB scanning activity, Darktrace RESPOND moved to contain the compromise by blocking the device from connecting to port 445 and enforcing its ‘pattern of life’. Darktrace’s Self-Learning AI enables it to learn a device’s normal behavior and recognize if it deviates from this; by enforcing a pattern of life on an affected device, malicious activity is inhibited but the device is allowed to continue its expected activity, minimizing disruption to business operations.

Figure 3: The breach device Model Breach Event Log showing Darktrace DETECT identifying suspicious SMB scanning activity and the corresponding RESPOND actions.

Following the initial detection of this anomalous activity, Darktrace’s Cyber AI Analyst launched an autonomous investigation into the beaconing and scanning activity and was able to connect these seemingly separate events into one incident. AI Analyst analyzes thousands of connections to hundreds of different endpoints at machine speed and then summarizes its findings in a single pane of glass, giving customers the necessary information to assess the threat and begin remediation if necessary. This significantly lessens the burden for human security teams, saving them previous time and resources, while ensuring they maintain full visibility over any suspicious activity on their network.

Figure 4: Cyber AI Analyst incident log summarizing the technical details of the device’s beaconing and scanning behavior.

Beaconing Continues

Darktrace continued to observe the device carrying out beaconing activity over the next few days, likely representing threat actors attempting to establish communication with their malicious infrastructure and setting up a foothold within the customer’s environment. In one such example, the device was seen connecting to the suspicious endpoint ‘fysiotherapie-panken[.]nl’. Multiple open-source intelligence (OSINT) vendors reported this endpoint to be a known malware delivery host [3].

Once again, Darktrace RESPOND was in place to quickly intervene in response to these suspicious external connection attempts. Over the course of several days, RESPOND blocked the offending device from connecting to suspicious endpoints via port 443 and enforced its pattern of life. These autonomous actions by RESPOND effectively mitigated and contained the attack, preventing it from escalating further along the kill chain and providing the customer’s security team crucial time to take act and employ their own remediation.

Figure 5: A sample of the autonomous RESPOND actions that was applied on the affected device.

Possible Payload Retrieval

A few days later, on September 26, 2023, Darktrace observed the affected device attempting to download a Windows Portable Executable via file transfer protocol (FTP) from the external location ‘ftp2[.]sim-networks[.]com’, which had never previously been seen on the network. This download likely represented the next step in the Gootloader infection, wherein additional malicious tooling is downloaded to further cement the malicious actors’ control over the device. In response, Darktrace RESPOND immediately blocked the device from making any external connections, ensuring it could not download any suspicious files that may have rapidly escalated the attackers’ efforts.

Figure 6: DETECT’s identification of the offending device downloading a suspicious executable file via FTP.

The observed combination of beaconing activity and a suspicious file download triggered an Enhanced Monitoring breach, a high-fidelity DETECT model designed to detect activities that are more likely to be indicative of compromise. These models are monitored by the Darktrace SOC round the clock and investigated by Darktrace’s expert team of analysts as soon as suspicious activity emerges.

In this case, Darktrace’s SOC triaged the emerging activity and sent an additional notice directly to the customer’s security team, informing them of the compromise and advising on next steps. As this customer had subscribed to Darktrace’s Ask the Expert (ATE) service, they also had a team of expert analysts available to them at any time to aid their investigations.

Figure 7: Enhanced Monitoring Model investigated by the Darktrace SOC.

Conclusion

Loader malware variants such as Gootloader often lay the groundwork for further, potentially more severe threats to be deployed within compromised networks. As such, it is crucial for organizations and their security teams to identify these threats as soon as they emerge and ensure they are effectively contained before additional payloads, like information-stealing malware or ransomware, can be downloaded.

In this instance, Darktrace demonstrated its value when faced with a multi-payload threat by detecting Gootloader at the earliest stage and responding to it with swift targeted actions, halting any suspicious connections and preventing the download of any additional malicious tooling.

Darktrace DETECT recognized that the beaconing and scanning activity performed by the affected device represented a deviation from its expected behavior and was indicative of a potential network compromise. Meanwhile, Darktrace RESPOND ensured that any suspicious activity was promptly shut down, buying crucial time for the customer’s security team to work with Darktrace’s SOC to investigate the threat and quarantine the compromised device.

Credit to: Ashiq Shafee, Cyber Security Analyst, Qing Hong Kwa, Senior Cyber Analyst and Deputy Analyst Team Lead, Singapore

Appendices

Darktrace DETECT Model Detections

Anomalous Connection / Rare External SSL Self-Signed

Device / Suspicious SMB Scanning Activity

Anomalous Connection / Young or Invalid Certificate SSL Connections to Rare

Compromise / High Volume of Connections with Beacon Score

Compromise / Beacon to Young Endpoint

Compromise / Beaconing Activity To External Rare

Compromise / Slow Beaconing Activity To External Rare

Compromise / Beacon for 4 Days

Anomalous Connection / Suspicious Expired SSL

Anomalous Connection / Multiple Failed Connections to Rare Endpoint

Compromise / Sustained SSL or HTTP Increase

Compromise / Large Number of Suspicious Successful Connections

Compromise / Large Number of Suspicious Failed Connections

Device / Large Number of Model Breaches

Anomalous File / FTP Executable from Rare External Location

Device / Initial Breach Chain Compromise

RESPOND Models

Antigena / Network / Significant Anomaly / Antigena Breaches Over Time Block

Antigena / Network / Significant Anomaly / Antigena Significant Anomaly from Client Block

Antigena / Network/Insider Threat/Antigena Network Scan Block

Antigena / Network / Significant Anomaly / Antigena Enhanced Monitoring from Client Block

Antigena / Network / External Threat / Antigena Suspicious File Block

Antigena / Network / External Threat / Antigena File then New Outbound Block

Antigena / Network / External Threat / Antigena Suspicious Activity Block

List of Indicators of Compromise (IoCs)

Type

Hostname

IoCs + Description

explorer[.]ee - C2 Endpoint

fysiotherapie-panken[.]nl- C2 Endpoint

devcxp2019.theclearingexperience[.]com- C2 Endpoint

campsite.bplaced[.]net- C2 Endpoint

coup2pompes[.]fr- C2 Endpoint

analyzetest[.]ir- Possible C2 Endpoint

tdgroup[.]ru- C2 Endpoint

ciedespuys[.]com- C2 Endpoint

fi.sexydate[.]world- C2 Endpoint

funadhoo.gov[.]mv- C2 Endpoint

geying.qiwufeng[.]com- C2 Endpoint

goodcomix[.]fun- C2 Endpoint

ftp2[.]sim-networks[.]com- Possible Payload Download Host

MITRE ATT&CK Mapping

Tactic – Technique

Reconnaissance - Scanning IP blocks (T1595.001, T1595)

Command and Control - Web Protocols , Application Layer Protocol, One-Way Communication, External Proxy, Non-Application Layer Protocol, Non-Standard Port (T1071.001/T1071, T1071, T1102.003/T1102, T1090.002/T1090, T1095, T1571)

Collection – Man in the Browser (T1185)

Resource Development - Web Services, Malware (T1583.006/T1583, T1588.001/T1588)

Persistence - Browser Extensions (T1176)

References

1.     https://www.blackberry.com/us/en/solutions/endpoint-security/ransomware-protection/gootloader

2.     https://redcanary.com/threat-detection-report/threats/gootloader/

3.     https://www.virustotal.com/gui/domain/fysiotherapie-panken.nl

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About the author
Ashiq Shafee
Cyber Security Analyst

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