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
21 May, 2022
Also known as
Loki
LokiPWS
Global rank
4
Week rank
6
Month rank
7
IOCs
22957

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.

The trojan 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, almost identical malware appeared on hacker forums soon after, available for as little as $80 from several sellers. As it is thought, "lokistov" himself was hacked, and the virus's source code was leaked, allowing others to use its techniques and sell remarkably 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 of the trojan 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 unfolds on an infected machine. As shown in the simulation, LokiBot trojan 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 explicitly copied 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 the triple-DES encryption technique 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 virus?

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. Notably, 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 keeping it updated is an excellent way to decrease the probability of becoming the malware's victim and protecting credentials. Another good common practice is to be highly mindful when opening attachments or clicking links in emails from unidentified sources as it's a popular method of malware spreading, including FormBook and Dridex.

Distribution of LokiBot

LokiBot stealer is distributed mostly via mail-spam campaigns, prompting the user to download a malicious file that is attached. Remarkably, 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 containing a Loki-Bot executable or ISO files, and 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

Based on the analysis, 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 subdirectory's name, 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 whether 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

Lastly, since the first version of the malware was leaked and cloned, eventually becoming available for a significantly lower price than the original, LokiBot spyware became a widely spread malware that continues to appear in several mail-spam campaigns. In fact, the virus has become so popular that its set-up explanation videos on stealing credentials 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
72.52.179.174
198.12.125.130
173.239.8.164
89.38.241.83
209.99.40.222
192.168.100.191
204.11.56.48
192.169.69.25
207.55.248.17
119.235.250.52
192.168.100.237
172.67.204.22
185.53.179.29
198.23.213.114
178.32.30.35
216.10.240.90
204.11.58.94
190.61.250.140
207.244.125.218
104.18.39.232
Hashes
35f907225af129bc3fd351e6935b506ea43ec65bc897d9bc9c57c14c878e01af
7af4925ef23c08cc12eb4aa6822f8d46c01d829cc32462a55d23ffec0c7c6e11
3957b6a56a5001b703e3572bea8c8e23a5f867d81a766195296d2324df93ba6a
692704ea1178102b991d87a95bd169434ee68c687863e012351ffed523e075b5
0c7eb0b43bd5530d390637c62e8ede0167be7a834626d7f1263e67d8eb0c7136
2d7121be69e95a2acc1014789a1c3c9c7fc00993331d02eb0ab0d54ee8d3b289
b629f165b4624132b06e3b4fbc96a1d38973f384b042cb15c8b8ec39b458577a
702a898f99fdcf56d29f5a9d4c54794c09880f7b000488a1f9f4c2259e520bee
a0e98fb5bfa5b1671c5b14e841ffe75432057cda5149ab60995ccd6e21dc29c6
22bddd18c4f073e53f7a09fea86f9d2e855621fb1fd073bb6e28650867ef311e
fa889c904ddf5bce4235c8a83a72c51bd7d59bd181cc5d89d36757f6e56ec448
c339959b2506ca80bbd78aa8684aec412f5f4fac8ad3266e9088ab1070b1da1c
dc567ec4e012d719e078ce163f7c993274b16c1124f025cc87e23ce641ecde2b
aa05609c14039954ff6314278b456c55916eb0ad2cb5f887eff6e43114d1c5bf
a699fd6cdf390a24f20aff0eff58a571088585ca7197464d3729a49e3bae6652
1bebac82bd6764612962f1a3daed34a11df24d659cda7fc8ceabcaa3a18e5cf9
82661c423e7e21d33b85f8239d34b780836d4fa42515b4bcc7f094c7486f74f2
e573934b8351e4f56c1b5d4e587ae7c48081961f2cb9e3a5f4245230a216560b
b5431e883d9ab03de5c5ef11015f14375e97b5f5ac13a5dc6ff3ea7da730239e
8a0154c741eac0ae67a5fd8b5ace266bb7d3f18eff4ded2fef019ca5730accbd
Domains
leansupremegarcinia.net
celebration-studio.com
millsmiltinon.com
office-archive-index.com
vladisfoxlink.ru
officeupgrade.org
grab-indonesia.com
broomingkingpoiuty.tk
mahikuchen.com
epsondriversforwindows.com
pool.ug
www.gaffney-krroese.com
boatshowradio.com
89gospel.com
booking.msg.bluhotels.com
booking.msg.bluhotels.com
blueeyeswebsite.com
www2.savemax.store
dlwordpress.com
secureanalytic.com

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