Hawkeye

Hawkeye often gets installed in a bundle with other malware. This is a Trojan and keylogger that is used to retrieve private information such as passwords and login credentials. This is an advanced malware that features strong anti-evasion functions.

Type
Keylogger
Origin
Unknown
First seen
1 January, 2013
Last seen
31 March, 2020
Also known as
Predator Pain
HawkEye Reborn
Global rank
7
Week rank
10
Month rank
9
IOCs
1432

What is Hawkeye malware?

Hawkeye, also known as Predator Pain is a dangerous trojan and keylogger - a malware used to steal information from PCs. It has very advanced detection evasion and information stealing functionality. Hawkeye can be combined with other malicious software to steal passwords from email clients and web browsers.

Available as a service on the dark web, Hawkeye can be used even by non-technically savvy attackers. In addition, this malware is known to have been advertised for some time in the general internet on its own website which today is unavailable. What’s more, creators of Hawkeye have developed a unique business model in which intermediaries are used for reselling the malware.

General description of Hawkeye

Hawkeye keylogger is capable of stealing a variety of information from the victim's PC, including passwords from mail clients and web browsers and bitcoin wallet information. Furthermore, this malware can take screenshots, has a keylogger functionality and can retrieve data from Internet download manager as employ JDownloader to steal passwords.

Predator Pain targets victims worldwide, but it’s attacks are being registered most often in the countries with the wealthiest economies according to the GPD data, such as the USA, Canda, Italy, and others.

Hawkeye keylogger employs a sophisticated technique to stay hidden from the antiviruses called process hollowing. In essence, the Trojan generates a new instance of a harmless process to subsequently swap the native code with a malicious one. The 8 version of Hawkeye keylogger is different from previous iterations of the malware in that instead of running the main malicious code as new process, the latest build injects the payload into MSBuild.exe, RegAsm.exe, and VBC.exe, which are a part of the .NET framework, enabling the virus to further disguises itself as a real and harmless process.

Another difference of the newest Predator Pain version from the older ones is that instead of being written in C, it now uses .NET and calls the native Windows API directly.

The primary function of Hawkeye keylogger is to record the key and mouse presses along with window context and clipboard data. In addition, the malware has special modules that allow it to derive information from certain applications, including a popular video game Minecraft, the FTP client FileZilla and others.

Somewhat standardly, Predator Pain utilizes real BrowserPassView and MailPassView tools to save data from browsers and emails. In addition, the malware is able to activate and take control of the webcam, if the infected machine has one connected.

To prevent detection and analysis, Hawkeye comes equipped with a series of anti-evasion tools besides processes hollowing. For instance, the malware is able to set a delay before being executed which helps it trick some of the automated sandbox analysis tools. It also comes equipped with a technique that targets specific antivirus processes and stops them from executing and blocks access to several domains used by antivirus programs for updating.

What’s more, the malware takes active steps to prevent the victim from disabling its own processes by taking control over command prompt, registry editor, and task manager. At the same time, Hawkeye constantly scans the computer for other malicious programs and instantly deletes them, if found.

Hawkeye keylogger malware analysis

The execution process of the Predator Pain keylogger can be reviewed in a lot of detail in a video recorded in the ANY.RUN malware hunting service

hawkeye execution process graph

Figure 1. a visual process graph generated by ANY.RUN allows to quickly review the lifecycle of the Hawkeye

text report of the hawkeye malware analysis

Figure 2. ANY.RUN also allows researchers to generate customizable text reports which are a great way to present the analysis results

Hawkeye execution process

hawkeye execution process tree

Figure 3. Execution processes of Hawkeye as displayed by the ANY.RUN malware hunting service

Hawkeye keylogger usually reaches users' devices through phishing emails, most commonly as a malicious Microsoft Office file, such as Docx file. After the user opens the downloaded file it either asks the user to enable macros or uses vulnerabilities to download and execute the main payload. In most cases, it downloads itself into the %AppData% folder. To maintain its presence, the malware adds itself to the autorun registry. It also uses process hollowing to hide its code in legitimate processes. The 8 version of Hawkeye, which is presented in the video from our simulation, injects itself either into MSBuild.exe, RegAsm.exe, or VBC.exe. Before sending information to the control server, Hawkeye saves stolen data in Tmp files which are placed into the %Temp% folder. Usually, these Tmp files are deleted after the information is sent to a control server.

stolen by hawkeye data saved in tmp file

Figure 4. Information saved in .TMP file

How to avoid infection by Hawkeye?

Following some common online hygiene guidelines is a good way to stay safe from getting infected with Hawkeye. Users should be careful when downloading free software from unknown or suspicious websites and carefully check the URLs when downloading any software in general.

In addition, after receiving a suspicious email or an email from an unidentified sender, users should be very careful when downloading attachments. If when opened, the document prompts the user to enable macros or activate the editing, users must never follow these instructions as they most likely indicate the malicious nature of the file.

Distribution of Hawkeye

Hawkeye trojan uses multiple distribution methods including packaging within free downloadable programs or being disguised as legitimate software. Hawkeye can also be installed on the victim’s PC manually if the attacker gains either remote or physical access to the machine.

However, the most commonly used distribution method is email phishing, where the malware is distributed as a malicious attachment, usually a Microsoft Word document. Known phishing campaigns usually revolve around notifications regarding an issue with a real product, quotation requests, payment orders or random or personal, disturbing topics that were aimed at tricking the victim to download the attachment.

In most cases, the Microsoft Office opens the document with a warning and Hawkeye displays a message prompting to enable editing, which the user must interact with in order for the trojan to start the execution process. In some other cases hower, the malware uses Microsoft Office exploits, allowing Hawkeye to start the execution without any user interaction.

How to detect Hawkeye using ANY.RUN?

This malware creates files that allow to analysts say for sure that this is Hawkeye. Click on the malicious process in the process tree and then click "More info" button. On the upper-right corner of the "Events" panel switch from "Friendly" to "Raw". Now you see all operations with files that were performed by a chosen process. Often this malware family creates files with "Reborn" in their names and based on that you can determine that it is Hawkeye.

files created by hawkeye Figure 5: Files created by Hawkeye

Conclusion

Carrying extremely advanced anti-evasion techniques and robust info-stealing functionality, Hawkeye presents a serious danger to corporations and individuals all around the globe. Unfortunately, the distribution of malware as a service allows even non-technically savvy cybercriminals to set up effective attack campaigns, contributing to the overall popularity of the virus.

Furthermore, Hawkeye trojan uses a set of special techniques to complicate the analysis and in particular – trick automated analysis services and complicating the development of countermeasures.

However, interactive analysis services like ANY.RUN gives researchers the ability to examine malware even as elusive as Hawkeye is and conduct effective studies.

IOCs

IP addresses
66.171.248.178
162.222.225.59
199.79.63.218
104.16.154.36
23.94.30.178
104.16.155.36
46.30.211.66
46.30.211.66
45.58.121.194
162.222.225.58
145.14.145.3
95.130.175.151
103.21.58.156
145.14.145.229
79.124.76.85
108.179.194.93
162.241.148.33
116.206.105.72
198.54.115.43
103.21.59.28
Hashes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smtp.weldall.mn
smtp.imp-powers.com
smtp.mailmarketer.in
smtp.saicomindia.com
smtp.anapobolivia.org
smtp.bcbbhd.com.my
smtp.timesmarketing.com
smtp.aptsamriddhi.com
smtp.parkleton.com
smtp.cismysore.in
smtp.shrilakshmi.in
smtp.caisa.com.mx
smtp.stacy.lk
smtp.rosekandy.net
smtp.castletoyota.co.in
smtp.siani.com.mx
smtp.pyramidtech.net
smtp.evatours.travel
smtp.24x7rooms.com
smtp.jrwtrucking.com

HAVE A LOOK AT

Adwind screenshot
Adwind
adwind trojan
Adwind RAT, sometimes also called Unrecom, Sockrat, Frutas, jRat and JSocket is a Malware As A Service Remote Access Trojan that attackers can use to collect information from infected machines. It was one of the most popular RATs in the market in 2015.
Read More
Agent Tesla screenshot
Agent Tesla
agenttesla trojan rat stealer
Agent Tesla is spyware that collects information about the actions of its victims by recording keystrokes and user interactions. It is falsely marketed as a legitimate software on the dedicated website where this malware is sold.
Read More
Ave Maria screenshot
Ave Maria
avemaria stealer trojan rat
Ave Maria malware is a Remote Access Trojan that is also called WARZONE RAT. Hackers use it to control PCs of their victims remotely and steal information from infected PCs. For example, they can remotely activate the camera to take pictures of a victim and send them to a control server
Read More
Azorult screenshot
Azorult
azorult trojan rat
AZORult can steal banking information including passwords and credit card details as well as cryptocurrency. This constantly updated information stealer malware should not be taken lightly, as it continues to be an active threat.
Read More
Crimson RAT screenshot
Crimson RAT
crimson rat trojan
Crimson is a Remote Access Trojan — a malware that is used to take remote control of infected systems and steal data. This particular RAT is known to be used by a Pakistani founded cybergang that targets Indian military objects to steal sensitive information.
Read More
Danabot screenshot
Danabot
danabot trojan stealer
Danabot is an advanced banking Trojan malware that was designed to steal financial information from victims. Out of the Trojans in the wild this is one of the most advanced thanks to the modular design and a complex delivery method.
Read More