Published on: 12 04 2016 | Modified on: 03 01 2022
A deep look inside a recent campaign
Gamarue / Andromeda
Gamarue (or Andromeda) is a well-known modular malware. Basically, Gamarue is a dropper which drops different modules. Since it is possible to easily develop a new module, Gamarue is loved by crooks. Don’t worry, this article is not another Gamarue analysis. A lot of great articles are already available blog.avast.com/andromeda-under-the-microscope, resources.infosecinstitute.com/andromeda-bot-analysis/ & eternal-todo.com/blog/yet-another-andromeda-gamarue-analysis...
I’m not a big expert of Gamarue, so I have some difficulties to identify the version of the malware. For those who can help, the C&C communication requests looks like:
This template doesn’t match the usual version (botconf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/OK-P07-Jose-Esparza-Travelling-to-the-far-side-of-Andromeda-2.pdf)
Here are some of the features of the packer found in this version of Gamarue.
The packer tries to detect if an Anti-Virus is installed on the victim’s computer. To do this, the malware uses the function ZwQuerySystemInformation with the parameter SystemProcessInformation (0x5) to retrieve the process list and checks for the presence of one of the following processes:
- dwservice.exe (DrWeb)
- defenderdaemon.exe (Shadow Defender)
- spiderui.exe (DrWeb)
- spidernt.exe (DrWeb)
Gamarue packer tries to know if it is being run in a virtual environment by checking (as this is done for AV detection) if some processes are running:
- vmacthlp.exe (VMWare)
- vboxservice.exe (Virtual Box)
- vboxtray.exe (Virtual Box)
It also attempts to load some DLL to detect if running in a virtualized environment:
- VBoxHook.dll (Virtual Box)
- VBoxMRXNP.dll (Virtual Box)
And finally, it checks if the VMWare tools directory exists:
- C:\program files\VMware\VMware Tools
To complicate the dynamic analysis, the packer is looking for some tool process:
- taskmgr.exe (the built-in Windows task manager)
- procmon.exe (Process Monitor)
It also enumerates all Window title too and looking for the strings:
- HTTP Analyzer
- capturing from Wireshark
- TCPViewClass TCPView
- task manager
After the unpacking process, Gamarue launches C:\windows\system32\lsass.exe (either with CreateProcess or WMI) and injects a rogue DLL inside the process. This DLL is used to communicate with C&C and drops all 3 modules:
- Pony, a well-known stealer. This module steals sensitive data like FTP credentials, bitcoin wallet, browser credentials…
- Hioles, a malware that acts as a proxy on the victim’s computer in order to stealing webmail information (steal Hotmail credentials for example).
- A mail spammer.
I try to grab useful data by “guessing” the web server of the C&C found inside the original binary: I try to find sub directories which are available and maybe find directory with the option “directory listing” enabled. After some guessing I’m able to identify some interesting contents inside the C&C web server:
As seen in the original sample, a Pony module is used. I’ve found the control panel of the module in a subdirectory of the web server
You can find a lot of information on the Internet about pony xylibox.com/2013/05/pony-19-win32fareit.html. As we can see here, the attacker is running a malware campaign to grab stolen credentials.
ProxyCB Control panel
In another directory of the web server, I can find a PCB control panel. PCB is used to manage a botnet of proxies. You can find more information at virusbulletin.com/virusbulletin/2014/03/proxycb-spam-proxy-under-radar
The spam kit source code
Finally, I’ve found a browseable directory that contains all I need to understand how this Gamarue campaign works. The archive 1/5.rar and nnn.rar contain a huge database of email addresses to spam. Sendmail.rar is the source code of the spamming kit. The other text (.txt extension) files are part of the spamming kit. Let’s analyze the spamming kit inside sendmail.rar.
Let’s have a look at the binaries:
It is a software used to generate keywords newox.ru/kwk.php. We can imagine that this software generates keywords used to craft random emails for the spamming campaign.
VPSProxy is a software created to manage a list of proxies. These proxies are infected website (CMS). The attackers upload a malicious PHP script on the compromised CMS servers and use them as proxies. It is really useful to be hidden when you are a crook :). The PHP source code of the script uploaded on compromised host can be found at: pastebin.com/4kXhLtGh
In the archive sendmail.rar, VPSProxy is configured with a list of 179 compromised hosts.
As first, the script checks if the option « jscode » is enabled. If yes, the script loads another script: jscode.php.
- The email template:
- The subject template:
- A list of fake name:
- A list of fake source email addresses:
To send spam, the script is not using compromised SMTP server as TeslaCrypt does. This time, the script uses a list of compromised websites on which an attacker have uploaded a malicious PHP script. The kit contains a list of 14179 compromised hosts (the huge majority are WordPress websites).
The malicious script used to send mail (via the mail() PHP function) is available at : pastebin.com/8W6FXnZz. Finally, online, this spamming kit looks like:
In sendmail.rar we can also find a standalone PHP script, update.php, used to automatically deploy the spamming kit.
We now have all the information needed to follow with attention this campaign with free tools like malwr.com (looking for ‘ .zip’ recently submitted files):
I’m really fed up with this situation but there is no real solution.
As a reminder, to protect the endpoint, you can change the default program to execute ‘.js’ files to execute notepad.exe instead of wscript.exe. This prevents the script from being erroneously executed by a user.
Some points in conclusion:
- DO NOT OPEN UNKNOWN EMAILS.
- If you are a website administrator, DO NOT LEAVE OLD WORPRESS SITES ON THE INTERNET.
- And, if you are a crook, allowing directory listing in your web server is a really a good idea for investigation.