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
30 September, 2020
Also known as
Predator Pain
HawkEye Reborn
Global rank
7
Week rank
17
Month rank
23
IOCs
2675

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
104.16.154.36
66.171.248.178
104.16.155.36
23.94.30.178
162.241.169.155
198.54.114.129
209.99.16.42
198.54.115.205
145.14.145.124
192.64.118.117
111.118.215.253
103.21.59.9
207.174.213.181
185.101.95.28
190.210.10.5
162.222.225.57
162.241.148.33
50.87.253.146
103.21.59.28
103.21.58.156
Hashes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majul.com
qxq.ddns.net
smtp.moorefundz.com
smtp.ecojett.co
smtp.jpoco.net
smtp.erneralduae.com
smtp.taiemerica.com
smtp.blackpyramid.xyz
smtp.brandenburggruppe-de.com
smtp.solartorbines.com
smtp.iklea-res.com
smtp.ibtbrussel.eu
smtp.elittacop.com
smtp.cpmindia.co.in
smtp.greenhornechem.com
smtp.auroraallimentos-br.com
smtp.xideshengs.com
smtp.morocolor.in
smtp.j2res0urces.com
smtp.ikrrispharmanetwork.com

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