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
13 July, 2020
Also known as
Predator Pain
HawkEye Reborn
Global rank
7
Week rank
15
Month rank
19
IOCs
2589

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 tries to create files with "Reborn" in their names and based on that type of 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
104.16.155.36
104.16.154.36
204.11.58.87
198.54.115.205
203.195.111.5
103.228.50.240
145.14.144.22
23.94.30.178
23.111.174.152
207.174.213.181
188.240.51.2
192.185.120.127
162.222.225.58
67.20.76.74
95.130.175.151
145.14.145.4
145.14.144.98
145.14.145.53
160.153.129.236
Hashes
035e8e0106fe825128316b46835d0ea34e3e1691146e0303ee67a00c1c8a166a
6b3fb80564d4843daf117a578cecd55b24fa8035d4b8012a11e037e2a65809ec
3ca90a783b9b384033c409a05d03e3998780cecbc6c77b9ec551a6d98bf43f8b
18b5e8b21a0feba19538fd26046557f1b5ae22e93cf99adb92122254b8c72f3e
6c084e6840e512a229d864f6559457c35e4327a7dca6a1fa7543dd16f5acd0e4
734026ee74905295ec8c0ccd6c56d34d1cd701e0945bf0773bef8cd54e11d84a
f98bb09a67afe83ca7b041488f460d2a8b96224d77f21117d5b0076e04706dd4
cf5e7aadb79c1f633b86804f35742de5ff96952a84b45d0335597ffb82120b24
b06ce9c4ff6e31ad5eb8a060412874a8d9c5551f61ba90767beff66c3d7be12f
d4a0549dab13a3da8374633bf3262a3b0127a6d3bbd6c0dc4c68f7494b20200b
0059d000dad4edff66b76a81862b3dcf23c673417638eae062ca79da5d4be01b
0edc6218dec611e4dd00d3251ba2b3361d512f09dde595a8489639b9aa250ec9
0fc579cbb327b3a85cc89fe9cc2f7be2eb23ba346284f7b5f67935fd76d1a0f0
c708333db7d412d29df106d7ee49279876dc382a22f889fa942416844cdf5b58
a2046579b3aa3dac2bded9272c6dfb6b129dfc3af5ef2388c14d417b58255828
6bebbd1ecdf3850676f81e8edfdb60472a126617c56ed6b6dd717d3ed39ba012
688782ea7ab8b61b1f7823a1f718f78f6358e93ee40b1f922856e32de42ac305
d17985acb65e2a20ff555663bb1bce659aa578965509dfd78f1b35d89f56e456
95189c7c6974da53c8c96a8b31697ebe4013a3157e858fb6bf614fe990fb2951
43979426d7bd2eae9c93599e389dff26e8bc919eaa2412355f5c557bd0277f9e
Domains
isns.net
e8960.b.akamaiedge.net
ftp.southeating.com
smtp.altrii.com
majul.com
smtp.claroenergy.in
smtp.urban.co.th
smtp.thernaflex.com
smtp.mavinlabs.com
smtp.pharco--corp.com
smtp.tempelgroups.com
smtp.yornaypacking.com
smtp.slmmoworldfood.com
smtp.newxpan.xyz
smtp.teracefinancial.net
smtp.rapportfactor.com
smtp.logscome.xyz
smtp.rnurray-energy.com
smtp.clrakmheu.com
smtp.uni-augsburg.xyz

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