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
1 August, 2021
Also known as
Schnorchel
Global rank
24
Week rank
8
Month rank
14
IOCs
4330

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. 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
3.134.39.220
3.131.147.49
3.22.15.135
3.138.180.119
52.14.18.129
3.141.142.211
3.138.45.170
3.141.177.1
3.22.53.161
193.161.193.99
82.49.26.149
86.126.190.77
82.79.9.47
3.142.167.4
3.136.65.236
3.134.125.175
3.142.129.56
3.128.107.74
3.132.159.158
18.189.106.45
Hashes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WindowsAuthentication324-49629.portmap.host
majul.com
kokohackpack.hopto.org
isns.net
yatzuowned.ddns.net
4.tcp.ngrok.io
qualiphar.be
ar.oldversion.com
googleapis2.duckdns.org
bccd.duckdns.org
2.tcp.ngrok.io
6.tcp.ngrok.io
dfsewrd.duckdns.org
googleapis2m.duckdns.org
susur2334.duckdns.org
littlerat.ddns.net
elx01.knas.systems
8.tcp.ngrok.io
booking.msg.bluhotels.com
booking.msg.bluhotels.com

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