Orcus RAT

Orcus is a modular Remote Access Trojan with some unusual functions. This RAT enables attackers to create plugins using a custom development library and offers a robust core feature set that makes it one of the most dangerous malicious programs in its class.

Type
RAT
Origin
Canada
First seen
1 April, 2016
Last seen
4 October, 2022
Also known as
Schnorchel
Global rank
17
Week rank
17
Month rank
18
IOCs
6039

What is Orcus RAT?

Orcus, previously known as Schnorchel, is a Remote Access Trojan, which enables remote control of infected systems. Although Orcus RAT malware is mostly a typical member of the RAT family, it has some competitive advantages over similar malware and unique features.

In addition, Orcus RAT has a modular structure, and it gives users the ability to create custom plugins for the malware. The modularity of this trojan gives it higher than standard scalability and management, allowing it to tailor the malware to the needs of various campaigns.

The first time we heard about this malware was from a forum post by one of its authors. The post announced the development of a new RAT that was named Schnorchel at the time. Soon after the announcement, the malware became commercially available under the name “Orcus RAT” and was presented to the public as legal software for remote administration, similar to Teamviewer. Interestingly, the authors claimed that the abbreviation RAT stood for Remote Administration Tool and not Remote Access Trojan.

General description of Orcus RAT

Apart from a few exceptions, Orcus RAT malware has a relatively standard but robust feature set for a technologically advanced Remote Access Trojan. The malware can grab screenshots and record user input, activate the webcam, steal passwords, record audio, and steal information. In addition, Orcus comes with the ability to detect if it’s being launched on a virtual machine to complicate the analysis by security researchers.

The functions described above already make this malware quite capable. However, it offers a few unusual functions that enhance its functionality. Namely, the RAT in question supports plugins, and besides offering the ability to build them, it has a whole library of already created plugins that attackers can choose from. Furthermore, Orcus RAT plugins can be written in multiple languages, including C#, C++, and VB.Net.

To make the development of extensions more streamlined, malware creators rolled out a dedicated development environment. What’s more, those who lack the skills to build plugins from scratch on their own can follow detailed tutorials and benefit from well-maintained documentation libraries.

Additionally, Orcus had a Github page where authors have published samples of created plugins.

Another relatively unique feature that the malware authors packed into this virus is real-time scripting. Real-time scripting allows Orcus to write and run code on machines that it infected.

Speaking of Orcus RAT malware authors, we know that the virus was developed by a 36-year-old John Revesz, also known as “Armada" on the underground forums. In 2019, Canadian authorities accused Revesz of operating an international malware distribution scheme.

In his defense, Revesz claimed that the RAT is, in fact, a legitimate program for remote administration, and his company “Orcus Technologies” is a legal business. However, an examination of the functionality clearly revealed that the software is intended for malicious use cases, which resulted in the arrest of Revesz.

It is believed that Revesz wasn’t working alone. Therefore, a joint development effort theory makes sense, especially considering the technological complexity of certain aspects of this malware. For example, Orcus RAT consists of multiple components, with the control panel being a separate component. In addition, the server that the malware establishes a connection with after infection does not hold an admin panel. This architecture provides several advantages to the attackers, for example, the ability to share access to infected PCs from the same server. Additionally, it allows for greater scalability or infected networks.

Orcus RAT malware analysis

A video recorded in the ANY.RUN interactive malware hunting service displays the execution process of Orcus RAT in real-time.

process_graph_of_orcus_rat_execution

Figure 1: Displays the execution process of the Orcus RAT. This visualization was generated by ANY.RUN.

text_report_of_orcus_rat_execution

Figure 2: Displays a text report generated by ANY.RUN. Text reports are useful for demonstration and can be customized by a user to show necessary data.

Orcus RAT execution process

The execution process of the Orcus RAT is straightforward. This malware often disguises itself as a cheat code or crack, so it is mostly delivered to a system as an archive file with the compressed executable file inside. Since this trojan was written in C#, it often uses .NET infrastructure, available in Windows. To compile the C# source code, our sample started Visual C# compiler, which, in turn, started the Resource File To COFF Object Conversion Utility. After it was compiled, the executable file began its execution and malicious activity. Note that Orcus remote access tool does not always make its way into an infected system, as described above. In some cases, it comes as a precompiled executable file which only needs a user to double click on it to start the execution.

Orcus RAT malware distribution

Orcus RAT commonly makes its way into target machines as a downloadable attachment in malicious spam emails. Campaigns are often highly targeted and aim at organizations rather than at individuals.

Attackers use phishing and social engineering to trick victims into downloading an attachment or visiting a link that points to a server that holds the payload. In order to begin execution, Orcus does require user input. However, in most cases, it is unable to infect the system without user interaction.

How to detect Orcus RAT?

This malware creates files that allow analysts to detect it with a high degree of certainty. To identify the Orcus RAT, open the "Advanced details of process" by clicking on the "More info" button and switch events display to "Raw." This trojan often creates files with "Orcus" in the names, so all we need is to find such a file. To make it easier, type the word "Orcus" in the filename field. If such a file is found, you can be sure that Orcus RAT is in front of you.

files_created_by_orcus_rat

Figure 3: Files created by Orcus RAT

Conclusion

Orcus RAT malware is a sophisticated trojan that offers some unusual functions on top of solid basic info-stealing capabilities. Technical complexity was complemented by an affordable price of just 40 USD. Today, interested users can download a leaked version of Orcus for free. Unfortunately, this, along with excellent support and documentation, ensured the popularity of Orcus RAT.

Since its deployment in 2016, researchers have been observing Orcus RAT campaigns, and the popularity of this malware is still on the rise. As a result, we can expect several new attacks utilizing malicious software in the future.

Researchers can analyze Orcus RAT using the ANY.RUN malware hunting service to study this malware or other RATS such as Quasar RAT or njRAT. ANY.RUN is an interactive sandbox that allows researchers to stop and correct the simulation at any point, which ensures pure research results. In addition, useful information that can be obtained from the analysis can be added to our growing database of cyber threats to help combat internet crime worldwide.

IOCs

IP addresses
3.132.159.158
3.142.167.54
212.220.202.104
206.123.141.239
92.55.19.153
206.189.139.209
194.34.132.153
104.244.74.228
3.134.196.116
18.177.76.42
198.54.133.70
109.171.5.62
193.242.166.42
185.65.134.162
54.153.239.159
193.242.166.48
13.238.81.219
91.109.190.2
45.132.1.232
31.44.184.164
Hashes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majul.com
elx01.knas.systems
WindowsAuthentication324-49629.portmap.host
been-david.at.playit.gg
e483-2001-8003-7481-401-a58a-de85-8eb-4178.ngrok.io
a302-88-218-212-9.ngrok.io
92ea-81-16-141-214.ngrok.io
77d9-177-62-12-42.ngrok.io
b51a-34-132-61-42.ngrok.io
5177-5-45-72-19.ngrok.io
3a16-35-239-30-233.ngrok.io
e693-192-154-196-22.ngrok.io
c7d9-82-149-24-154.ngrok.io
8310-2a00-23c7-9b88-101-d415-cb84-4bd-10ab.ngrok.io
31de-92-46-109-42.ngrok.io
8.tpc.ngrok.io
5acf2105.ngrok.io
0d65-2403-6200-89a6-62a4-e1ac-d738-197a-6226.ngrok.io
0b97-18-130-226-185.ngrok.io
5976-2804-d45-965b-fb00-6500-860e-441d-5754.ngrok.io

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