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
18 February, 2020
Also known as
Predator Pain
HawkEye Reborn
Global rank
7
Week rank
6
Month rank
8
IOCs
1350

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 which 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 to 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 which 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 which 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
104.16.155.36
173.247.247.215
104.16.154.36
66.171.248.178
207.174.213.181
173.254.28.204
43.255.154.47
198.54.125.159
145.14.144.15
204.11.58.87
192.185.109.172
103.21.59.28
199.188.201.105
162.222.225.58
192.99.81.95
79.124.76.85
162.241.148.33
162.222.225.57
108.179.194.93
192.185.16.218
Hashes
4bb60d03aa351949256fd0b21583148b03e8e74fa61a1bd20cf79ac633eaf883
e741316cdee811177ffe7b20cfdd1616cf29d63d475b5abcf4be45f0165b2095
4c7cd89ea97a9b854461f359967f13bc7d82bdb0d69f4c4a1005b3432a25df80
b98030335337f01183cc474feefbb351d45afe8263ddfcfa7fd5554b97147362
4e573ee0e40bbecb50ffe6fe950acd53242453447e3a15a8a67ed7d0b276fee0
54d0a29d8823aa17419be7de88135ef39c709eca1150cc40ba906e1bf30b994c
6e70b56d748c4ccab13cc8a055d3795ea0dd95fe3b70568d7d3ac0c6621140a3
ae3255b5bbb7c161afc9859cd12bdd402ce2fcc705caa24432ec1f791f73fd94
2c60bcb66106055d51a4c5738ec56b3453339769e76146eaddefb258cac315c0
facf1d25162e381b5a0520ac954c19fa5cdf3f557e29eacb044dcb88a3d9f84e
22bd05817cae5fea174bb6fb146001bf62d115a13ee20048e8a67296c832f51d
7cd916530a031a562d2729bdfbbd60f509eb19fde00161b0c51c32451e6b3dd1
ae205981af2c6ff3956dd194f0b4b517a4814301832d99492820c2ea872630bc
409de3f8b607bdcd4deee33623f9f33c8940010172c1dc353ea1d9bc84f57a60
7c38161b50bfa0d62fba13ee1daaaad2a86e59fc5e9693dcaccbb29046644347
f1297715ab25f5a4093511f6c646078f65081f552df05706b186bd94ab71cbaa
ec09919431799f6f4208dfd76b2cc49b1400ccaee3664d54c11c16cd9dc17782
c6999b9f79932c3b4f1c461a69d9dc8dc301d6a155abc33efe1b6e9e4a038391
50e3405c5ea00e6a15c312c68051ae3a4377e0fa1024eadded14f14459db3b7b
5c56e6f1947bb4891942554cf2a385cdcfec9687256f97bf19eccc1e5474fabc
Domains
thuocnam.tk
majul.com
m-onetrading-jp.com
krupskaya.com
isns.net
elx01.knas.systems
smtp.waltartosto.com
mail.sykelbikes.com
mail.modulmex.com.mx
mail.mueblesparatiendas.com.mx
modulmex.com.mx
autodiscover.modulmex.com.mx
e8960.b.akamaiedge.net
www.whatismyipaddress.com
smtp.mekaorigin.top
smtp.ahrass.com
smtp.payperindia.com
smtp.kenokwanfood.com
smtp.ociii.net
qxq.ddns.net

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