HomeLatest UpdatesZloader Analysis | ThreatLabz

Zloader Analysis | ThreatLabz


Technical Analysis

In the following sections, we dive into the technical details surrounding Zloader’s new updates to their anti-analysis techniques, embedded configuration, DGA, and network encryption.

Anti-analysis techniques

Zloader uses a combination of API import hashing, junk code, a filename check, and string obfuscation. The following sections analyze each technique.

Imports and API resolution

The newest Zloader samples only import a few functions from the kernel32 library. The remaining imports are resolved at runtime using checksums to obfuscate the functions that are used. This technique, already present in older versions, changes its implementation, adding an XOR constant which changes between samples. Python code that replicates the API hashing algorithm is shown below.


def calculate_checksum(func_name, xor_constant):
    checksum = 0
    for element in func_name.upper():
        checksum = 16 * checksum - (0 - (ord(element)+1))
        if checksum & 0xf0000000 != 0:
            checksum = ((((checksum & 0xf0000000) >> 24) ^ checksum) & 0xfffffff)
    return checksum ^ xor_constant


Junk code 

Similar to previous versions, Zloader uses custom obfuscation. The new version of Zloader adds junk code that consists of various arithmetic operations, as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Example Zloader 2.1 junk code

Figure 1. Example Zloader 2.1 junk code

In Figure 1, the instructions inside the red box are the junk code.

Anti-sandbox

Each Zloader sample expects to be executed with a specific filename. If the filename does not match what the sample expects, it will not execute further. This could evade malware sandboxes that rename sample files. Figure 2 shows an example of a Zloader sample that expects its filename to be CodeForge.exe.

Figure 2. Example of Zloader’s anti-analysis filename check

Figure 2. Example of Zloader’s anti-analysis filename check

ThreatLabz has observed Zloader use the following filenames:

  • CodeForge.exe
  • CyberMesh.exe
  • EpsilonApp.exe
  • FusionBeacon.exe
  • FusionEcho.exe
  • IonBeacon.dll
  • IonPulse.exe
  • KineticaSurge.dll
  • QuantumDraw.exe
  • SpectraKinetic.exe


String obfuscation

Similar to prior versions, Zloader implements a string obfuscation algorithm for some of the malware’s important strings such as registry paths, DLL names, and the DGA’s top-level domain (TLD) using XOR with a hardcoded key. Python code that replicates the string obfuscation algorithm is shown below:


def str_deobfuscate(enc_bin, enc_key):
  res = ''
  for i, element in enumerate(enc_bin):
    res += chr( ((element ^ 0xff) & (enc_key[i % len(enc_key)])) | (~(enc_key[i % 
len(enc_key)]) & element))
  return res

The encryption key differs between samples and is also hardcoded in the .rdata section as shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3. Example string obfuscation key used by Zloader

Figure 3. Example string obfuscation key used by Zloader

A list of Zloader’s obfuscated strings is shown in the Appendix.

Static configuration encryption and structure

The Zloader static configuration is still encrypted using RC4 with a hardcoded alphanumeric key, but the structure is slightly different. The botnet ID, campaign name, and command-and-control servers (C2s) are set at fixed offsets, in addition to an RSA public key that replaces the old RC4 key that was used for network encryption. ThreatLabz has observed 15 unique new Zloader samples and all of them have the same RSA public key, likely indicating there is currently only a single threat actor using the malware.

An example Zloader static configuration is shown below.


00000000  00 00 00 00 42 69 6e 67  5f 4d 6f 64 35 00 00 00  |....Bing_Mod5...|
00000010  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 4d 31 00 00 00 00 00  |.........M1.....|
00000020  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 68 74  |..............ht|
00000030  74 70 73 3a 2f 2f 61 64  73 6c 73 74 69 63 6b 65  |tps://adslsticke|
00000040  72 68 69 2e 77 6f 72 6c  64 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |rhi.world.......|
00000050  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
*
000002b0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  02 00 00 00 01 00 00 00  |................|
000002c0  2d 2d 2d 2d 2d 42 45 47  49 4e 20 50 55 42 4c 49  |-----BEGIN PUBLI|
000002d0  43 20 4b 45 59 2d 2d 2d  2d 2d 0a 4d 49 47 66 4d  |C KEY-----.MIGfM|
000002e0  41 30 47 43 53 71 47 53  49 62 33 44 51 45 42 41  |A0GCSqGSIb3DQEBA|
000002f0  51 55 41 41 34 47 4e 41  44 43 42 69 51 4b 42 67  |QUAA4GNADCBiQKBg|
00000300  51 44 4b 47 41 4f 57 56  6b 69 6b 71 45 37 54 79  |QDKGAOWVkikqE7Ty|
00000310  4b 49 4d 74 57 49 38 64  46 73 61 0a 6c 65 54 61  |KIMtWI8dFsa.leTa|
00000320  4a 4e 58 4d 4a 4e 49 50  6e 52 45 2f 66 47 43 7a  |JNXMJNIPnRE/fGCz|
00000330  71 72 56 2b 72 74 59 33  2b 65 78 34 4d 43 48 45  |qrV+rtY3+ex4MCHE|
00000340  74 71 32 56 77 70 70 74  68 66 30 52 67 6c 76 38  |tq2Vwppthf0Rglv8|
00000350  4f 69 57 67 4b 6c 65 72  49 4e 35 50 0a 36 4e 45  |OiWgKlerIN5P.6NE|
00000360  79 43 66 49 73 46 59 55  4d 44 66 6c 64 51 54 46  |yCfIsFYUMDfldQTF|
00000370  30 33 56 45 53 38 47 42  49 76 48 71 35 53 6a 6c  |03VES8GBIvHq5Sjl|
00000380  49 7a 37 6c 61 77 75 77  66 64 6a 64 45 6b 61 48  |Iz7lawuwfdjdEkaH|
00000390  66 4f 6d 6d 75 39 73 72  72 61 66 74 6b 0a 49 39  |fOmmu9srraftk.I9|
000003a0  67 5a 4f 38 57 52 51 67  59 31 75 4e 64 73 58 77  |gZO8WRQgY1uNdsXw|
000003b0  49 44 41 51 41 42 0a 2d  2d 2d 2d 2d 45 4e 44 20  |IDAQAB.-----END |
000003c0  50 55 42 4c 49 43 20 4b  45 59 2d 2d 2d 2d 2d 0a  |PUBLIC KEY-----.|
000003d0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|



Domain generation algorithm

When the primary C2 server is not available, Zloader reverts to a DGA. The DGA algorithm has changed in the latest version and no longer contains a different seed per botnet. Python code that replicates Zloader’s new DGA algorithm is shown below.


import time
from datetime import datetime, timedelta

def uint32(val):
    return val & 0xffffffff

def get_dga_time():
    now = datetime.now()
    ts = time.time()
    utc_offset = (datetime.fromtimestamp(ts) - 
datetime.utcfromtimestamp(ts)).total_seconds() / 3600
    midnight = now.replace(hour=0, minute=0, second=0, microsecond=0)
    midnight = midnight + timedelta(hours=utc_offset)
    return int(midnight.timestamp())

def generate_zloader_dga_domains():
    domains = []
    t = get_dga_time()
    for i in range(32): # number of domains to generate
        domain = ""
        for j in range(20): # domain name length
            v = uint32(ord('a') + (t % 25 ))
            t = uint32(t + v)
            t = (t >> 24) & ((t >> 24) ^ 0xFFFFFF00) | uint32(t << 8)
            domain += chr(v)
        domains.append(domain+".com")
    return domains

The code generates 32 domains per day by using the local system time at midnight (converted to UTC) as a seed. Each of the DGA domains have a length of 20 characters followed by the “.com” TLD.

Network communications

Zloader continues to use HTTP POST requests to communicate with its C2 server. However, the network encryption is now using 1,024-bit RSA with RC4 and the Zeus “visual encryption” algorithms. Zloader uses the custom Zeus BinStorage format where the first 128 bytes are the RSA encrypted RC4 key (32 random bytes) and, the remaining bytes are encrypted with the RC4 key and visual encryption as shown in Figure 4:

Figure 5. Zloader BinStorage object for a hello message (prior to encryption)

Figure 4. Zloader BinStorage object for a hello message (prior to encryption)

The Zeus BinStorage structure uses an ID integer value to represent the information stored, followed by the length and data. The BinStorage ID values in this example are shown in Table 1.

Value (Decimal) Value (Hexadecimal) Description
10002 0x2712 Botnet ID
10025 0x2729 Campaign ID
10001 0x2711 Bot ID
10003 0x2713 Malware version
10006 0x2716 Unknown flag (set to 0x1)

Table 1. Zloader BinStorage hello message fields

ThreatLabz has observed samples containing the following botnet IDs:

  • Bing_Mod2
  • Bing_Mod3
  • Bing_Mod4
  • Bing_Mod5

All of the campaign IDs have been set to the value M1.



Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular

Recent Comments