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June 25th, 2013

Story of the Cutwail/Pushdo hidden C&C server

This is a loose sequel to the Cutwail botnet analysis blogpost published on the malwaremustdie.blogspot.com. In this blogpost I will primarily focus on the downloaded PE executable itself (SHA256: 5F8FCC9C56BF959041B28E97BFB5DB9659B20A6E6076CFBA8CB2D591184C9164) and the network traffic that it generates. I will also reveal a hidden C&C server.

But first let’s quickly go through the things it does at the beginning:
- It registers an exception handler that will only start the process again using CreateProcess().
- It performs a check whether it has admin privileges.
- It checks or creates a mutex named “xoxkycomvoly” (hardcoded identifier used on multiple occasions).
- It checks or creates couple of registry entries under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.
- It checks if the process image filename is “xoxkycomvoly.exe” (it restarts for the first time).
- It nests into the system by creating autorun entry in registry under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run.
- It copies itself to the user’s profile directory named as “xoxkycomvoly.exe”.
Then on the first time an exception occurs and the sample is restarted from the user’s profile location named as “xoxkycomvoly.exe”.

Initial startup activities

Initial startup activities

After these initial steps, the sample starts communicating heavily over the network.
Read more…

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