Lokibot

Lokibot was developed in 2015 to steal information from a variety of applications. Despite the age, this malware is still rather popular among cybercriminals.

Type
Stealer
Origin
ex-USSR territory
First seen
3 May, 2015
Last seen
2 August, 2021
Also known as
Loki
LokiPWS
Global rank
3
Week rank
9
Month rank
6
IOCs
20586

What is Lokibot malware?

Lokibot, also known as Loki-bot or Loki bot, is an information stealer malware that collects credentials from the most widely used web browsers, FTP, email clients, and over a hundred software tools installed on the infected system. It was developed in one of the ex-USSR countries.

It was discovered for the first time on May 3rd, 2015 from a sale announcement made by the creator and the malware is still active to this day.

General description of Lokibot

Initially created and sold by a hacker known as "lokistov," or "Carter,", the first versions of Lokibot spyware used to cost up to $400. However, soon after almost identical malware started appearing on hacker forums, available for as little as $80 from a number of sellers. As it is thought, “lokistov” himself was hacked, and the source code of the virus was leaked, allowing others to use its techniques and sell extremely similar malware.

Curiously, a researcher subsequently found out that the first version of the virus got patched by someone without accessing the source code, which gave the hacker community the ability to set a series of individual domains used to receive the retrieved data.

Even though several versions of the virus exist today, after the analysis, it was found that all of them are actually modifications of the original malware. Interestingly, the server to which Lokibot stealer sends data is unique for every particular malware sample.

In the latest versions of Lokibot, a third stage is added to the process of compromising systems, besides more encryption, a technique to escape detection. Each layer is encrypted to attempt to hide the eventual source of code.

The malware uses the known technique of blurring images in documents to force users to enable macros. This trick infects machines quite successfully.

Lokibot malware analysis

A video displaying the simulation of the contamination process created by the ANY.RUN interactive malware hunting service provides the perfect opportunity for malware analysis to see how the contamination process is unfolding on an infected machine. As shown in the simulation, Lokibot needs email attachments, such as a Microsoft Office file or an archive file to be opened to enter an active phase.

process graph of lokibot stealer execution Figure 1: Process graph generated by the ANY.RUN malware hunting service

During the analysis we found out that the malware life cycle can be broken down into the following stages:

  • Contamination. The victim downloads a malicious archive or a Microsoft Office file which eventually downloads the malware;
  • Being packed initially, the Keylogger unpacks itself and begins the execution of the main payload;
  • The virus creates unique loop-functions for each application that it is targeting and saves retrieved data into a buffer;
  • Then, a registry key is modified and the Trojan is copied specifically into a folder with a specific name unique name under the %APPDATA% folder. This allows the virus to establish persistence. MachineGuid MD5 is used for the name generation and the name can also be used as a Mutex as well as bot-id. As the last action of this step, the virus generates a registry key that points to the file it copied before to the specific folder inside the %APPDATA% folder;
  • Then, depending on if the current user is privileged or not the virus sets persistence either under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or KEY_CURRENT_USER;
  • Next, general system information is sent to the C&C server;
  • For persistence, the keylogger then applies triple DES encryption to the URL and the registry key;
  • After this the virus starts waiting for commands from C&C, creating a new thread to detect the C&C response.

How to avoid infection by Lokibot?

Since Lokibot spyware requires macros to be activated to infect the system, attackers will do everything in their power to make the victim enable them. Thus keeping macros turned off is the best bet to stay protected from the Trojan. Particularly, extra caution should be exhibited when a document downloaded from a suspicious source or an unknown email address prompts to enable macros.

Also, having antivirus software from trusted developers and always keeping it updated is a good way to decrease the probability of becoming the malware’s victim and protect credentials. Another good common practice is to be extremely mindful when opening attachments or clicking links in emails from unidentified sources.

Distribution of Lokibot

Lokibot stealer is distributed mostly via mail-spam campaigns, prompting the user to download a malicious file that is attached. Particularly, the three most commonly used types of files are Microsoft Office documents configured to begin the download and installation processes of the malware, archive files that contain a Loki-Bot executable or ISO files, also containing a Loki-Bot executable.

Lokibot execution process

Interactive sandbox simulation conducted on the ANY.RUN malware hunting service allows us to take a closer look at how the execution process of Lokibot unfolds in a case when a contaminated Microsoft Office file is the infection source.

  • The simulation starts with opening a Microsoft Office file. Immediately, WINWORD.EXE is executed with enable macros.
  • Then, through the exploitation of the CVE-2017-11882 vulnerability, Microsoft Office Equation Editor proceeds to download a malicious executable file;
  • Finally, a malicious executable file runs itself and then proceeds to steal the personal data and connect to the C&C server.

process tree of a lokibot stealer execution Figure 2: Illustrates the execution processes of Lokibot as shown by ANY.RUN simulation

a text report of a lokibot analysis Figure 3: A text report created by ANY.RUN

The virus generates multiple artifacts during its execution process. Particularly, four types of files can be simultaneously stored in the secret %APPDATA% directory at any point in time. Those files can have “.exe,” “.lck,” “.hdb” or “.kdb.” extensions, and each file type is used for a specific purpose:

  • .exe files contain an executable copy of the Trojan that triggers when a user logs into an account,
  • .lck files are generated to prevent resource conflicts when either Windows Credentials or Keylogging are decrypted,
  • .hdb files are used to store the hashes of all data samples already transmitted to the C&C server
  • .kdb files are in turn used to hold information about the data that is yet to be sent to the server

The keylogger uses the following algorithm to name the files:

  1. First, Lokibot takes the value of MachineGuid from the registry branch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Cryptography . In the case of our simulation, it was set to dc5131b5-5fbc-4f85-b1ed-28d4392080ca.

lokibot mutex creation GUID registry

  1. Then, the virus uses the MD5 algorithm to calculate the hash sum of the MachineGuid which in our case ended up being c83ba0aa282a966263dda560052b3caf.

lokibot mutex creation md5

  1. Finally, characters from the 8th to the 13th of the resulting hash amount are used as the name of the subdirectory, and the characters from the 13th to the 18th are used as the name of the files.

lokibot mutex creation

Lokibot communication with C&C

To communicate with the C&C server, the patched version of the virus which is also the most widely spread strain sends a “ckav.ru” string. Interestingly, the sent data is also is a substring of “fuckav.ru”.

How to detect Lokibot malware using ANY.RUN?

Among other things you can detect either it is Lokibot in front of you or not by looking inside sending packets - there's always text "ckav.ru" inside them. Just click on the sent packet in the "HTTP REQUESTS" tab and take a look inside a packet.

lokibot network stream Figure 4: Lokibot network stream

Conclusion

Not lastly due to the fact that the first version of the malware was leaked and cloned, eventually becoming available for a significantly cheaper price than the original, Lokibot spyware became a widely spread malware that is continuing to appear in several mail-spam campaigns. In fact, the virus has become so popular that its set-up explanation videos are publically available on YouTube.

Fortunately, modern malware hunting tools like ANY.RUN provides the ability to examine the malware behavior in detail and establish solid protection against the hazard.

IOCs

IP addresses
204.11.56.48
209.99.40.222
119.235.250.52
172.67.150.86
172.67.204.22
72.52.179.174
91.239.235.6
204.93.178.31
172.67.178.39
23.253.46.64
192.124.249.18
172.67.203.236
174.136.57.62
131.153.37.3
185.212.128.20
45.133.200.3
192.42.116.41
172.67.158.24
198.54.114.236
192.169.69.25
Hashes
b1425881919f1d4352d71183f264da766eff03354e81db8ffa558642a6626fbc
206bddeaeeeb67c9a330d9ad936d2b0d14dca01b83cd25f35373ce05ac48c038
793ec68716fd4f63cdc8b181bdef2303be200c2759dbe576225ecc4dcd57e904
2a353f0d923436ae574742baf332300fc01d3128191d120a0947bbabfe75334e
d24e0e7d0b1ff4aabceb241fe7d7143daea5bdd1502e236e89850405f8285943
2ef3221076c6f142a5b1bc116f74e22af2fbaf5b873f312355debf57e80291c7
ea3200c6d739bdf86a3201fe6ed94dfdbd071e9a431349f216f433444b321aa7
3d5aca2d9cb4ebd8f8f810108509026212ee9bdc60c310f213153bc64cd67bec
eddc303f23bfe9a0511e2adba43e9c669bcb7217b225255fcbe82ac4dc458195
67746f374044e6e84b71de09e0676de8aa022e94ecfb53c83a39920d2533b087
da76b22e9c5f9cc5f23d760b6ccb284c6291853e09e753be373c37e54cbf6e46
bec8e8e71bc2a00b95d339c9f19b8c40a9e17beb943df3b9abb897f56d6d671f
c655cc215970dec5d45327944a3766c92b4bc3d9bb7151f945b9e33d681ab147
70a7f223dd07b742be9a2cfcafef942bbb2245ac3107a73558a53857ef95d3da
3dd8e57608751941804d5f1f0df50bcd1b1903a066686d1546ebdca4b38f0d6a
0b69967e2521d32bbe7e73b50d7458aaf1ef1d61e4ba3ecd3fcbe4efde30a37a
8a4b01e5cfe645937ad304b5f8aae756ef320541143f2149bcc6e16d1e92183f
a4784302286b79285620b3074ac01ad2133b737159c9ba2bb8befc9a2430f54f
cd71cf303bb183ffcf34487f8db9b3c05f517e0659b972153d5739422da9fbf3
89de46fc35e62873b22014eae31607256a70c0f0f37c0c6a5bd8f23a4c01b047
Domains
majul.com
everylist.xyz
checkoutspace.com
bcexgroup.co.uk
smtp.sefatyfire.com
smtp.coffiices.com
smtp.japhethpumps.com
smtp.vlsc-shipping.com
smtp.lanetex.net
smtp.siqanalytical.com
smtp.dahger-hinnawi.com
smtp.uascc.net
www.secondofferdelivery.com
startskip.com
www.startskip.com
www.transmissionrepairnow.com
www.report-download.com
bestbestbags.com
nethostnet.com
www.forkandstave.com

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