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Parallax RAT

87
Global rank
92
Month rank
88
Week rank
6
IOCs

Parallax RAT is a versatile malware capable of stealing credentials, recording keystrokes, capturing screenshots, and exfiltrating sensitive data. It hides under legitimate processes like Notepad, uses diverse communication channels, and establishes persistence to maintain control over infected machines.

RAT
Type
Unknown
Origin
1 December, 2019
First seen
7 February, 2024
Last seen

How to analyze Parallax RAT with ANY.RUN

RAT
Type
Unknown
Origin
1 December, 2019
First seen
7 February, 2024
Last seen

IOCs

Hashes
4ceab10c2d3cdb9ae245f25c67fe95e5349d3c632d3b9140112e7d77720b5252
f3efd0535a571a82e0cd39ccd2e87cb449e81076484a8927d8e9e565b97d9e56
fbf003e40568ccf053e2abd44541c8a2da441970e6e59231612de39ee0d0273e
f4a48f22b86d2f6d02f91a39c1bbb72bea98ab0495be8c3153392c8c8d44eb34
9cf0e9b1502dac20e9a7515341624a763b208e12416803b2d9ff2791d8d41421
c5ba970a225709c87944ed188b1b861f4f00f1ac12a6ecbedb29f1a69195260b
Last Seen at
Last Seen at

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What is Parallax RAT malware?

Parallax RAT, a remote access Trojan (RAT) active since December 2019. It has gained notoriety for its evasion techniques, such as process hollowing, and extensive data exfiltration capabilities.

The malware has been widely used by various APTs around the world, including in attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic. ParallaxRAT has also been linked to the activity of the advanced persistent threat (APT) named TA2541 that has been targeting aviation and defense industry actors since 2017.

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Technical details of the Parallax RAT malicious software

Parallax RAT’s architecture enables attackers to engage in diverse malicious activities. The most common of them are:

  • Credential theft: Steals login credentials from various sources, including cached passwords, browser cookies, and Windows credential stores.
  • Keystroke logging: Captures every keystroke typed on the infected machine, including passwords, messages, and other sensitive data.
  • Screen capture: Periodically or on-demand captures screenshots of the infected machine's desktop, providing the attacker with visual information about the user's activity.
  • Uploading and downloading of files: Allows the attacker to upload and download files to/from the infected machine.
  • Information gathering: Beyond basic system information (name, OS), Parallax RAT uses various techniques for extensive data exfiltration. This includes scraping clipboard content.

Similar to other malware families, such as WarzoneRAT and DarkGate, Parallax RAT utilizes a sophisticated process-hollowing technique. It injects its malicious payload into a legitimate Windows process (e.g., pipanel.exe), leveraging the process's existing privileges to bypass security checks and remain undetected.

The malware usually establishes persistence by adding itself to the startup folder and creating scheduled tasks. Afterwards, Parallax RAT opens communication channels with the attacker's command-and-control (C2) server. One of the standout features of the malware is the use of Windows Notepad for communication with the victim. In many instances, attackers used this way of connecting with the victims to instruct them to visit the criminals’ Telegram channel.

Parallax RAT often employs a multi-stage delivery chain to evade detection. Initial stages might involve seemingly harmless files like weaponized Microsoft Word documents with embedded macros. Triggering these macros can download and execute the next stage payload, often a malicious DLL.

Execution process of Parallax RAT

To see how Parallax RAT infection takes place and collect its indicators of compromise, we can use ANY.RUN. Let’s submit a PrallaxRAT sample for analysis.

Parallax utilizes various techniques to infect targeted systems and establish persistence within them. In our analysis, it's evident that this malware generates a child process that promptly initiates malicious activities, including the theft of personal data, execution of injected code in a separate process, and the creation of files in the startup directory. Parallax employs injection techniques to conceal itself within legitimate processes, rendering detection challenging. In this instance, it is injected into the Explorer.exe system process. Furthermore, the Remote Access Trojan (RAT) also establishes connections to a Command and Control (C2) server to receive additional instructions.

ParallaxRAT process graph shown in ANY.RUN ParallaxRAT's process graph demonstrated in ANY.RUN

Distribution methods of the Parallax RAT malware

Attackers that engage in the distribution of Parallax RAT typically leverage phishing campaigns. They use emails impersonating trusted entities (e.g., banks) with malicious attachments or links. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many ParallaxRAT campaigns involved sending victims messages with attached archives that contained files responsible for further infection of the victim’s device.

Conclusion

Parallax RAT's reliance on email-based social engineering makes it crucial for organizations to ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms in place to prevent infection. One of the essential elements of a layered defense strategy is a malware analysis sandbox. It offers an isolated environment for safely executing any file or opening a link to determine if it poses a danger.

ANY.RUN is a malware analysis sandbox that provides an effortless cloud-based experience for analyzing files and links. The service swiftly identifies ParallaxRAT and dozens of other malware families and provides users with conclusive reports on the threat, featuring the malware’s TTPs and IOCs.

Try ANY.RUN for free – request a demo!

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