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
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

The spam that is hardest to block is often the most damaging

We see a lot of spam in the VBSpam test lab, and we also see how well such emails are being blocked by email security products. Worryingly, it is often the emails with a malicious attachment or a phishing link that are most likely to be missed.

Throwback Thursday: We're all doomed

Mydoom turns 15 this month, and is still being seen in email attachments. This Throwback Thursday we look back to March 2004, when Gabor Szappanos tracked the rise of W32/Mydoom.

VB2019 call for papers - now open!

Have you analysed a new online threat? Do you know a new way to defend against such threats? Are you tasked with securing systems and fending off attacks? The call for papers for VB2019 is now open and we want to hear from you!

VB2018 paper: Unpacking the packed unpacker: reversing an Android anti-analysis library

Today, we publish a VB2018 paper by Google researcher Maddie Stone in which she looks at one of the most interesting anti-analysis native libraries in the Android ecosystem. We also release the recording of Maddie's presentation.

VB2018 paper: Draw me like one of your French APTs – expanding our descriptive palette for cyber threat actors

Today, we publish the VB2018 paper by Chronicle researcher Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade, who argues we should change the way we talk about APT actors.

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.