In a recent tweet, the malware researcher @0xrb shared a list containing URLs of recently captured IoT botnet samples. Among the links, there was an uncommon example, a URL behind a Discord CDN, which as pointed by the IoT malware researcher @_lubiedo, may be difficult to block.
Summary: The malware author claims to be doing these infections for ‘research purposes’, or in his words to test which servers would stay active with infection unnoticed for the longest period (by infection we refer to adding users for remote ssh access). The ‘no harm research purposes’ claim is backed by making the final stage of the infection a shell-script rather than a compiled binary which would require more time to reverse engineer. Also, stage 1 binary payload is not obfuscated/packed. This botnet malware backdoors Linux devices with SSH access by adding users.
network IDS / blacklist evasion -> Discord CDN for binary distribution over HTTPS rather than VPS boxes (the typical way)
Anti-sandbox and EDR / Antivirus evasion -> Use of timeouts, removes logs and bash history, echoed hex-strings as intermediate payload
The infection starts with fetching a shell-script from the URL below and executing it:
When it comes to IoT/Linux botnets, the shell-scripts are typically used for downloading and executing cross-compiled binaries of the botnet. In this analysis, we’ll look at the binary sample compiled for Intel x86 CPU.
The x86 sample is detected by 42/62 AV engines. This is not strange since the sample is not obfuscated using packers or string encoding.
The x86 sample (stage 1) makes an HTTP GET request to a URL: hxxp://45[.]11.181.37/…/vivid
The web server responds with a sequence of bytes that is piped to bash directly and not written to a file on the machine, as it is typically done with the echoed hex strings payload transfer technique, originally introduced by Hajime. The hex string resolves a sequence of shell commands fetched from the web server that instructs the victim device to perform the following:
The stage 3 payload, os, is also a shell-script, it performs the following actions:
PHP server that handles registration of new infected devices: hxxp://gay[.]energy/WelcomeNewBotBuddy/OwO.php
Original analysis @ https://tolisec.com/ssh-backdoor-botnet-with-research-infection-technique/
About the author: Tolijan Trajanovski (@tolisec)
Tolijan Trajanovski is a Cyber Security Researcher and a PhD Candidate at the University of Manchester, UK, specializing in IoT Security and Malware Analysis.
(SecurityAffairs – hacking, botnet)