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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New DarkGate Malware Marketing campaign Hits Firms Through Microsoft Groups


Get technical particulars about how this new assault marketing campaign is delivered by way of Microsoft Groups and how one can shield your organization from this loader malware.

A computer screen with program code warning of a detected malware script program.
Picture: James Thew/Adobe Inventory

A brand new report from international cybersecurity firm Truesec reveals a new assault marketing campaign leveraging Microsoft Groups to contaminate corporations’ customers. Whereas the motivation of the attacker stays unknown, this DarkGate loader malware might enable its perpetrator to go for monetary achieve or cyberespionage.

Leap to:

What’s the DarkGate malware?

DarkGate is a loader malware written in Delphi; the aim is to allow the obtain and execution of different malware as soon as it runs on an contaminated laptop. The extra malware is downloaded instantly within the reminiscence on 32- and 64-bits architectures, which makes it tougher to detect as a result of it doesn’t reside on the file system.

Different mechanisms carried out within the malware makes it tougher to investigate:

  • Anti-VM: The malware checks for recognized {hardware}/identifiers utilized in digital machines.
  • Anti-Sandboxes: The malware checks for recognized identifiers utilized by sandbox software program.
  • Anti-AntiVirus: A number of antivirus merchandise are being appeared for.
  • Anti-debug: The malware usually checks for a debugger connected to the method.
  • Disk house and reminiscence checks: The malware could be set to solely run with a minimal disk/reminiscence dimension.

Relying on the outcomes of all these checks, the malware may alter its habits and probably cease working.

DarkGate has persistence capabilities that may be enabled in its configuration. In that case, it shops a replica of itself on the exhausting drive and creates a registry key to be executed at reboot instances.

Though DarkGate is usually a loader for third-parties’ malware, it nonetheless has built-in capabilities.

  • Info gathering: DarkGate is ready to question the system to get details about the at the moment logged-in person, working software program, processes and extra, which it sends to the C2 server. It might additionally accumulate recordsdata from the system and ship it to the C2 server, in addition to do display screen captures.
  • Credentials theft: DarkGate is ready to steal passwords and cookies from browsers, e mail software program and different software program akin to Discord or FileZilla. To realize that aim, the malware makes use of a number of reputable free instruments from the favored NirSoft web site.
  • Cryptomining capabilities: DarkGate is ready to begin, cease and configure a cryptominer.
  • Distant entry device capabilities: DarkGate can provoke a digital community connection and execute instructions.

How new assault spreads DarkGate loader by way of Microsoft Groups

The assault consists of messages despatched on Microsoft Groups by a menace actor who used two compromised Groups accounts on the market on the Darkish Net. These accounts have been used to ship socially engineered content material to persuade customers to obtain and open a malicious archive file (Determine A).

Determine A

Phishing message sent to targets via Microsoft Teams.
Phishing message despatched to targets by way of Microsoft Groups. Picture: Truesec

As soon as the zip file is opened, it reveals the person a malicious LNK (shortcut) file posing as a PDF doc (Determine B).

Determine B

Malicious LNK file posing as a PDF file.
Malicious LNK file posing as a PDF file. Picture: Truesec

After the LNK file is clicked, it executes a command line that triggers the obtain and execution of AutoIT by way of a VBScript file. A precompiled AutoIT script can also be downloaded and executed by way of the AutoIT software program.

On this assault marketing campaign, the AutoIT script checks for the presence of the Sophos antivirus; different campaigns may examine for different antivirus options. If the antivirus isn’t put in, the script downloads a shellcode that in flip downloads a file, byte by byte, utilizing the stacked strings method in an effort to remain undetected. That ultimate payload is the DarkGate loader malware.

DarkGate’s enterprise mannequin

DarkGate loader was marketed in June 2023 by its developer RastaFarEye (Determine C), as proven in a report from German firm Telekom Safety.

Determine C

DarkGate loader's developer RastaFarEye advertised on a cybercriminal underground forum.
DarkGate loader’s developer RastaFarEye marketed on a cybercriminal underground discussion board. Picture: Telekom Safety

The menace actor restricted the malware-as-a-service to solely 10 associates at a month-to-month worth of $15,000 USD, or $100,000 USD for a full 12 months.

RastaFarEye additionally supplied a video displaying the malware builder and management panel (Determine D).

Determine D

Screen capture exposing DarkGate loader's panel and its options to control computers.
Display screen seize exposing DarkGate loader’s panel and its choices to regulate computer systems. Picture: Telekom Safety

DarkGate’s capabilities makes it a device of selection for cybercriminals taken with monetary fraud or menace actors taken with working cyberespionage campaigns.

Along with creating DarkGate loader, RastaFarEye marketed extra malware developed by himself, together with on Mac working methods. The cybercriminal additionally supplied Prolonged Validation certificates creation companies.

The right way to shield from DarkGate malware menace

On this assault marketing campaign, the menace actor despatched messages by way of Microsoft Groups to organizations utilizing it. So, it’s strongly suggested to not enable Microsoft Groups chat requests from exterior domains that don’t belong to the group; solely whitelisted exterior domains ought to be allowed to ship chat requests.

Different assault campaigns that delivered DarkGate loader used emails to attempt to social engineer the goal into opening a malicious file, so it’s additionally suggested to deploy safety options that analyze the URLs contained in emails along with connected recordsdata.

All working methods and software program ought to be updated and patched to stop being compromised by widespread vulnerabilities.

Multifactor authentication ought to be deployed wherever potential, in order that even a menace actor in possession of legitimate credentials nonetheless can not entry the company surroundings.

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