Radware’s Threat Research has recently discovered a new botnet, dubbed DarkSky.
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Radware’s Threat Research has recently discovered a new botnet, dubbed DarkSky. DarkSky botnet features several evasion mechanisms, a malware downloader and a variety of network- and application-layer DDoS attack vectors. This bot is now available for sale for less than $20 over the Darknet.
As published by its authors, this malware is capable of running under Windows XP/7/8/10, both x32 and x64 versions, and has anti-virtual machine capabilities to evade security controls such as a sandbox, thereby allowing it to only infect ‘real’ machines.
Radware has been monitoring the DarkSky botnet malware since its early versions in May, 2017. Developers have been enhancing its functionality and released the latest version in December, 2017. Its popularity and use is increasing.
Figure 1: Differences between DarkSky versions
On New Year’s Day, 2018, Radware witnessed a spike in different variants of the malware. This is suspected to be the result of an increase in sales or testing of the newer version following its launch. However all communication requests were to the same host (“http://injbot.net/”), a strong indication of “testing” samples.
Radware suspects the DarkSky botnet spreads via traditional means of infection such as exploit kits, spear phishing and spam emails.
1. Perform DDoS Attack:
The malware is capable of performing
DDoS attacks using several vectors:
- DNS Amplification
- TCP (SYN) Flood
- UDP Flood
- HTTP Flood
Figure 2: DarkSky attack panel
The server also has a “Check Host Availability” function to check if the DDoS attack succeeded. When the Darksky botnet malware performs a HTTP DDoS attack, it uses the HTTP structure seen below. In the binaries, Radware witnessed hard-coded lists of User-Agents and Referers that are randomly chosen when crafting the HTTP request.
Figure 3: HTTP structure
The DarkSky botnet malware is capable of downloading malicious files from a remote server and executing the downloaded files on the infected machine. After looking at the downloaded files from several different botnets, Radware noticed cryptocurrency-related activity where some of the files are simple Monero cryptocurrency miners and others are the latest version of the “1ms0rry” malware associated with downloading miners and cryptocurrencies.
Figure 4: Darksky communication to the server
The Darksky botnet malware can turn the infected machine to a SOCKS/HTTP proxy to route traffic through the infected machine to a remote server.
The Darksky botnet malware has a quick and silent installation with almost no changes on the infected machine. To ensure persistence on the infected machine it will either create a new key under the registry path “RunOnce” or create a new service on the system:
- HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce\Registry Driver
- HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Icon Codec Service\
When the Darksky botnet malware executes, it will generate an HTTP GET request to “/activation.php?key=” with a unique User-Agent string “2zAz.” The server will then respond with a “Fake 404 Not Found” message if there are no commands to execute on the infected machine.
Figure 5: Example of HTTP GET request and 404 Not Found
Communication Obfuscation Example
The GET request param value is base64 encrypted.
The final readable string contains infected machine information as well as user information. When a new command is sent from the server “200 OK,” a response return is executed with the request to download a file from the server or execute a DDoS attack (see Figure below).
When the DarkSky botnet malware executes it will perform several anti-virtual machine checks:
- i) Dbghelp.dll
- ii) Software\Microsoft\ProductId != 76487-644-3177037-23510
- i) VBoxService.exe
- ii) VBoxHook.dll
- i) SbieDll.dll
It will also look for the Syser kernel debugger presence searching for the following devices:
Figure 7: Indicators of Compromise
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