VB2014 paper: Duping the machine - malware strategies, post sandbox detection

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 13, 2015

James Wyke looks at malware that takes extra steps to frustrate researchers.

Since the close of the VB2014 conference in Seattle in October, we have been sharing VB2014 conference papers as well as video recordings of the presentations. Today, we have added 'Duping the machine - malware strategies, post sandbox detection' by Sophos researcher James Wyke.

To hinder the automatic detection of malware samples, it is common for malware authors to add mechanisms that detect whether the malware is being run inside a sandbox.

Most malware simply halts execution once it detects that it is running inside a sandbox, but in his VB2014 presentation, James Wyke looked at four malware families (Andromeda, Simda, Vundo and Shylock) that go a step further and employ various kinds of decoy behaviour.

  Decoy configuration data returned by Shylock's C&C server in case the malware is running in a virtual environment.

This can vary from performing benign behaviour by connecting to a non-malicious server rather than the real command-and-control server, to returning fake configuration data when such a server receives a request from a sandboxed sample.

In all cases it will hamper detection and frustrate researchers. It could also help the malware authors to build a blacklist of researchers' IP addresses so that, should they harden their environment, they still won't see the real behaviour of the malware.

You can read the paper here in HTML-format, or download it here as a PDF (no registration or subscription required). You can download the presentation slides here. We have also uploaded the presentation to our YouTube channel.



Posted on 13 January 2015 by Martijn Grooten
twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
googleplus.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2018 paper: The dark side of WebAssembly

Today, we publish the VB2018 paper by Symantec researchers Aishwarya Lonkar and Siddhesh Chandrayan on the security risks that come with WebAssembly.

The Virus Bulletin conference returns home: VB2019 to take place in London

In 2019, the Virus Bulletin conference is set to return home, with VB2019 taking place in London, UK.

Guest blog: The case for increasing transparency in cybersecurity

In a guest blog post, Kaspersky Lab's Anton Shingarev considers the case for increasing transparency in cybersecurity.

VB2018 preview: Workshops

Workshops make their VB Conference debut during VB2018, giving delegates the opportunity to learn the basics of kernel-level malware analysis, Android reverse-engineering and artificial intelligence.

New article: Through the looking glass: webcam interception and protection in kernel mode

Today we publish a short article by Ronen Slavin and Michael Maltsev, researchers at Reason Software Company, who dive into the video capturing internals on Windows, and explain how this can be used by a malicious actor to steal images recorded by a…

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.