QBot Trojan delivered via malspam campaign exploiting US election uncertainties – Malwarebytes Labs

QBot Trojan delivered via malspam campaign exploiting US election uncertainties – Malwarebytes Labs

Criminals won’t pass a unique opportunity to leverage current events to deliver malware.

This blog post was authored by Jérôme Segura and Hossein Jazi.

The 2020 US elections have been the subject of intense scrutiny and emotions while happening in the middle of a global pandemic. As election night ended and uncertainty regarding the results began to creep in, threat actors decided to jump in on it too.

Those tracking the threat landscape know very well that major world events do not go unnoticed by criminals. In this case, we began observing a new spam campaign delivering malicious attachments that exploit doubts about the election process.

The QBot banking Trojan operators return with yet another themed spam wave using the same hijacked email thread technique enticing victims with malicious election interference attachments.

Hijacked email threads pushing bogus DocuSign documents

The malicious emails come as thread replies, similar to what Emotet does to add legitimacy and make detection harder. They contain zip attachments aptly named ElectionInterference_[8 to 9 digits].zip.

While the election results are still being evaluated and debated, victims are enticed to open up the document to read about alleged election interference:

QBot Trojan delivered via malspam campaign exploiting US election uncertainties – Malwarebytes LabsFigure 1: Malicious email with ElectionInterference attachment

The extracted file is an Excel spreadsheet that has been crafted as if it were a secure DocuSign file. Users are tricked to allow macros in order to ‘decrypt’ the document.

Figure 2: Excel document containing malicious macro

This tried and tested trick will download a malicious payload onto the victim’s machine. The URL for that payload is encoded in a cell of a Cyrillic-named sheet “Лист3”.

Figure 3: Payload URL obfuscation

Once executed, the QBot Trojan will contact its command and control server and request instructions. In addition to stealing and exfiltrating data from its victims, QBot will also start grabbing emails that will later be used as part of the next malspam campaigns.

Figure 4: QBot process flow execution

World events are the best lure

At the core of the malware attacks we witness each day are typical social engineering schemes. Threat actors need to get victims to perform a certain set of actions in order to compromise them.

Spam campaigns routinely abuse email delivery notifications (Fedex, DHL, etc.) or bank alerts to disguise malicious payloads. But world events such as the Covid pandemic or the US elections provide ideal material to craft effective schemes resulting in high infection ratios.

Malwarebytes users were already protected against this attack thanks to our Anti-Exploit technology. Additionally, we detect the payload as Backdoor.Qbot.

Figure 5: Malwarebytes blocking the macro from delivering its payload

Indicators of Compromise

Malicious Excel documents
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QBot

china[.]asiaspain[.]com/tertgev/1247015.png

1edfe375fafa1f941dc4ee30702f4af31ba636e4b639bcbb90a1d793b5d4b06c
06be75b2f3207de93389e090afd899f392da2e0f1c6e02226db65c61f291b81b

QBot C2s

142.129.227[.]86
95.77.144[.]238

MITRE ATT&CK techniques

Criminals do not miss the unique opportunity to use the news to spread malware.

The authors of this blog article are Jérôme Segura and Hossein Jazi.

The U.S. elections of 2020 have been the subject of much attention and emotion in the midst of a global pandemic. When the election night came to an end and uncertainty about the outcome of the elections began to arise, the actors who posed a threat also decided to intervene in the process.

Read Also: 28 Best Safe ROM Download Sites 2021 (Latest ROMS)

Those who follow the threat are well aware that major world events do not go unnoticed by criminals. In this case, we started observing a new spam campaign that resulted in malicious attachments, using doubts about the election process.

QBot Trojans are back with another wave of thematic spam, using the same technique to intercept the email flow and lure victims with malicious attachments that disrupt the election.

Intercepted emails with false docuSign documents

Malicious messages come in the form of continuous reactions, just as the emotet gives legitimacy and makes detection difficult. They contain Zip inserts with the correct name ElectionInterference_[8-9 digits].zip.

While the results of the elections are still being evaluated and discussed, the victims open the document to read, with temptation, the accusations of interference in the elections:

https://digilord.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/server.digimetriq.com/uploads/2020/11/QBot-Trojan-delivered-via-malspam-campaign-exploiting-US-election-uncertainties.png Figure 1 : Malicious e-mail with attachment Election interference

The extracted file is an Excel spreadsheet created as a secure DocuSign file. Users are misled by allowing macros to decipher the document.

https://digilord.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/server.digimetriq.com/uploads/2020/11/1604537652_977_QBot-Trojan-delivered-via-malspam-campaign-exploiting-US-election-uncertainties.png Figure 2 : Excel document with a malicious macro

This proven trick is used to load a malicious charge onto the victim’s car. The URL of this load is encoded in a cell of the Cyrillic Sheet3.

https://digilord.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/server.digimetriq.com/uploads/2020/11/1604537653_15_QBot-Trojan-delivered-via-malspam-campaign-exploiting-US-election-uncertainties.png Figure 3 : Embezzlement of useful URLs

As soon as the QBot Trojan is launched, it contacts its command and control server and asks for instructions. Besides stealing and filtering the data of its victims, QBot will also start intercepting emails that will be used in future spam campaigns.

https://digilord.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/server.digimetriq.com/uploads/2020/11/1604537655_78_QBot-Trojan-delivered-via-malspam-campaign-exploiting-US-election-uncertainties.png Figure 4 : Performing the QBot process

World Events – Best Bait

The malware attacks we encounter on a daily basis are based on typical social engineering patterns. Issues that pose a threat should force victims to take a number of steps to compromise them.

Spam companies generally misuse email delivery notifications (Fedex, DHL, etc.) or bank alerts to hide malicious shipments. But global events such as the Covida pandemic or the American elections provide the ideal material for creating effective systems that lead to high infection rates.

Users using malicious bytes were already protected against this attack with our anti-malware technology. In addition, we define the payload as Backdoor.Qbot.

https://digilord.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/server.digimetriq.com/uploads/2020/11/1604537655_81_QBot-Trojan-delivered-via-malspam-campaign-exploiting-US-election-uncertainties.png Figure 5 : Malicious bytes that prevent the macro from delivering its load

Compromise figures

Malicious Excel documents

b500a3c769e22535dfc0c0f2383b7b4fbb5eb52097f001814d8219ecbb3048a1f2fb3e7d69bf c0c20484e94b20be33723b4715e7cf94c5cbb12 00328da0282a796dec675f556a0bf888eda0fe84f63558afc96321709a298d7a0a4f8e5e800b 5e02e6e46a05433a9531d7fb900a45af7999a262c3c147ac23cd4c107dec31d782ab776bcbb51bd64cbbd40039805ad94733d644a23d5cf16f85552c0bec208127e4a021dccb499131ea91062386126b75d098947134a37e41c4b03530de8dcd4e894549d6d16edb181dd1a7abec8f001c478cf73baf6075756dc8c2a8329913c8bbccb86b207e5a851f7696b a120929ca5c0a5709bd779babedfef8a17c3bb01d58bfea74a19f6cb8573cfb2d94d9e6159709ac15a7e0860dbce7ddc225ad0ed91ce90b3bde296c5ce0b4649447fb3f02188e5303e22dc7cb5f0

QBot

porcelain […] asia spain […] com/tertgev/1247015.png

1edfe375fafa41dc4ee30702f4af31ba636e4b639bcbb90a1d793b5d4b06c06be75b2f3207de93389e090afd899f392da2e0f1c6e02226db65c61f29 1b

QBot C2

142.129.227[.]86
95.77.144[.]238

MITER ATT&CK procedure

 

Tactics ID Name Details
Design T1059 Command line interface Performs CMD.EXE to execute commands
T1106 Execution via API The application works on its own.
T1053 Planned target Download the programmer COM-API
Perseverance T1050 New service Works as a Windows service
T1060 Registry version key / Start folder Changes the value of autorun in the registry
T1053 Planned target Download the programmer COM-API
Escalation of privileges T1050 New service Works as a Windows service
T1055 Process injection The question was injected in a different way.
T1053 Planned target Download the programmer COM-API
Bypassing the defence T1553 Installing the root certificate Changes in system certificate settings
T1055 Process injection The question was injected in a different way.
Opening T1087 Opening an account Performs NET.EXE to view/edit the user group
T1135 Discovery of network sharing Launch of NET.EXE for network search
T1069 Recognition of Authorization Groups Performs NET.EXE to view/edit the user group
T1012 Registration of applications Reads the computer GUID from the registry.
T1018 Remote system detection Launch of NET.EXE for network search
T1082 Recognition of system information Reads the computer GUID from the registry.
T1016 Detection of the network configuration of the system Uses IPCONFIG.EXE to find the IP address

Related Tags:

5htp reddit,5-htp amazon,5-htp and alcohol,5-htp walmart,5-htp vs sam-e,5-htp chemist warehouse,5-htp for ssri withdrawal,5-htp for adhd child,5-htp and lexapro reddit,l-tyrosine and 5-htp combination dosage,5-htp holland and barrett,5-htp solgar,5-htp trying to conceive,5-htp pregnancy reddit,can 5-htp affect menstrual cycle,5-htp interactions prescription drugs,5-htp dosage for ocd,5-htp recommended dosage for sleep,5-htp generic name,5htp muscle twitching,5-htp pregnancy category,5-htp seizures,5 htp swollen lymph nodes,5-htp reddit,l-tyrosine and 5-htp reddit,5-htp side effects,5-htp interactions,5-htp dosage for sleep,5-htp dosage for anxiety,5-htp withdrawal,5-htp when to take,5-htp reviews

About the Author: prateek

You May Also Like