Nanocore

NanoCore is a Remote Access Trojan or RAT. This malware is highly customizable with plugins which allow attackers to tailor its functionality to their needs. Nanocore is created with the .NET framework and it’s available for purchase for just $25 from its “official” website.

Type
Trojan
Origin
USA
First seen
1 January, 2013
Last seen
21 May, 2022
Global rank
7
Week rank
9
Month rank
8
IOCs
17355

What is NanoCore malware?

NanoCore is a Remote Access Trojan or RAT. This malware is highly customizable with plugins that allow attackers to tailor its functionality to their needs. Nanocore is created with the .NET framework and it’s available for purchase for just $25 from its “official” website.

This malware was recorded in the wild for the first time in 2013. Since then it has become extremely popular. It is now used in attacks all around the world. As a modular malware, the functionality of the NanoCore backdoor can be greatly expanded with plugins. This makes an already dangerous RAT potentially even more destructive for the company's cybersecurity.

Distributed on its own website with 24/7 technical support for just $25 with all official plugins included, the malware can also be downloaded from hacking forums where its "cracked" version has been leaked multiple times, making it an extremely accessible trojan to set up and use. Unfortunately, the accessibility, ease of use, and a bunch of information on NanoCore are still contributing to its growing popularity. It’s not completely certain whether the malware was being developed as a commercial program for institutions, or the creator had a goal to create malicious software from the beginning, Regardless, NanoCore author, Taylor Huddleston was tracked down and arrested by the FBI.

General Information about NanoCore RAT

According to the analysis, NanoCore’s first beta appeared in 2013. The latest version of the malware is being openly sold on its own website NANOCORE_dot_io. Unfortunately, this helped ensure the high popularity of the malware. Today NanoCore RAT targets victims worldwide. However, the majority of attacks are taking place in the US.

One of the key characteristics of this RAT is that technically savvy attackers are able to greatly expand the functionality of the malware, fine-tuning it to suit their needs, for instance, by adding screen locker functionality to the virus. Some essential plugins are already provided with the purchase bundle on the “official” website. Other even more sophisticated ones are being developed by the community of cybercriminals, that has formed around NanoCore.

For crooks that don’t want to engage in fiddling with plugins, NanoCore provides a straightforward user interface It allows even novice criminals to launch potentially destructive malicious campaigns. Thus further contributing to the popularity of the malware.

Interactive analysis of NanoCore

A video of the execution process provided by ANY.RUN malware hunting service allows us to perform the analysis of the lifecycle of the trojan or other malware such as WSHRAT or Vidar. We can watch NanoCore behavior as well as all processes as they unfold in a secure online environment.

nanocore execution process graph

Figure 1: A visual graph of NanoCore execution processes generated by ANY.RUN

How does NanoCore spread?

NanoCore RAT is distributed using multiple methods. However, the most commonly used is spam email campaigns. They trick users into downloading malicious documents, often presented as price lists or purchase orders.

The emails sometimes contain malicious attachments with .img or .iso extension. The large size of these files makes it difficult to scan them. Some versions of malware are also spread by a ZIP file which evades secure email gateways. Several file structure works here: one file script will download the payload while the rest are decoys that ensure the malicious content goes unnoticed by the system's security.

PowerPoint files acquire the same scenario as the infection chain takes place over multiple stages before the final payload is executed.

NanoCore RAT execution process

NanoCore is delivered to the victim’s PC using the AutoIt program. Not unlike Agent Tesla malware, which is somewhat typical for this type of RATs. Typically, NanoCore is spread using Microsoft Word documents. Infected files contain an embedded executable file or an exploit.

According to the RAT analysis, once the script file is opened an embedded macros download an executable script file and rename it. The downloaded executable file runs itself and creates a child process. The malware is able to use Regsvcs and Regasm to proxy the code execution through a trusted Windows utility.

nanocore execution process tree

Figure 2: A process tree of NanoCore execution processes generated by ANY.RUN

How to detect NanoCore malware using ANY.RUN?

You can identify whether you are dealing with a sample of NanoCore RAT or not by a quick analysis of the files and scripts created by the malware. Most often NanoCore injects into three processes RegSvcs.exe, RegAsm.exe, and MSBuild.exe.

Open "Advanced details of process" for these processes and look at the "Modified files" tab in the "Events" section. If a file named "run.dat" was created by one of these processes and placed in the %Root%:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming[GUID] folder, you can be sure that the malware you are observing is, in fact, NanoCore trojan.

file created by nanocore Figure 3: File created by Nanocore

Conclusion

Thanks to accessibility, ease of use, customization, and plenty of information, the popularity of NanoCore escalated making it one of the most widespread RATs in the world. Even though NanoCores’ creator has been arrested by officials, due to the appearance of several cracked versions, NanoCore is still openly available on hacker forums.

Often, it can be acquired for free, allowing anybody to set up attacks. The popularity of the malware is further aided by the fact that one does not need much programming knowledge to use this Trojan, as it comes equipped with a user-friendly interface. At the same time, very sophisticated and destructive attacks can be carried out with NanoCore RAT by skillful hackers, since its malicious capabilities can be extended with custom plugins. Thankfully, modern analysis tools such as ANY.RUN allow researchers to examine malware in detail, learn about its behavior patterns and set up an appropriate cybersecurity response.

IOCs

IP addresses
3.22.53.161
79.134.225.45
79.134.225.54
35.212.156.187
82.202.167.67
147.185.221.229
35.157.111.131
192.169.69.26
192.169.69.25
185.217.1.170
3.13.191.225
52.28.112.211
3.22.30.40
79.134.225.82
194.5.98.225
20.213.147.113
3.121.139.82
18.189.106.45
3.140.223.7
185.53.177.10
Hashes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googleapis2m.duckdns.org
googleapis2.duckdns.org
susur2334.duckdns.org
2.tcp.ngrok.io
lazyshare.net
icando.ug
WindowsAuthentication324-49629.portmap.host
booking.msg.bluhotels.com
booking.msg.bluhotels.com
ticket.ipv10.eu
3jkpvk2m8y.dattolocal.net
cuckoldfarmer.ddns.net
involved-stars.at.playit.gg
7.tcp.eu.ngrok.io
device-local-3193b8ff-0889-41c5-8fd6-67066f88b277.remotewd.com
jimdo-dolphin-static-assets-prod.freetls.fastly.net
majul.com
lah1.duckdns.org
windowsuport.duckdns.org
dnstrafficexchange.duckdns.org

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