Pony is a malware with two main functions — stealing information and dropping other viruses with different tasks on infected machines. It has been around since 2011 and it still actively attacks users in Europe and America.

Type
Stealer
Origin
Unknown
First seen
1 January, 2011
Last seen
16 April, 2021
Also known as
Fareit
Siplog
Global rank
10
Week rank
17
Month rank
18
IOCs
11786

What is Pony malware?

Pony, also known as Fareit or Siplog, is an information stealer and loader – a malware used to collect data from infected machines and install other malicious programs. This particular virus was First Spotted in the wild in 2011. It is known to attack users primarily in Europe and North America.

The earliest discovered version of Pony stealer is 1.7 and the latest updated known version is 2.2. Though, being regularly updated, the malware did not gain groundbreakingly new features since the time of its first discovery by Microsoft. In addition to the core functionality, Pony can also steal cryptocurrency wallets credentials, FTP clients and autofill values from the browsers.

In contrast to the majority of botnets, Pony stealer does not require a centralized C&C server or a group of C&C servers to carry out its attacks. Instead, each attacker can set up their own custom control server or purchase a server that was previously set up by another criminal, instantly gaining access to infrastructure that provides reports about the stolen data. The malware itself can be divided into two modules, the builder which is used to construct clients that are then have to be downloaded on the victim’s machine to collect data and the bot itself – the final payload.

General description of Pony malware

The robust functionality of Pony trojan helped this malware to keep its position of the most popular password stealer through 5 years. Apart from being able to steal credentials, Pony malware can disable certain antivirus and windows security features and run in the background completely hidden from the user, who may not have a clue that his or her PC is, in fact, infected. When activated, Pony stealer can use the infected PC to take part in botnet attacks, for example, using a hijacked machine to send spam emails. Pony can also download other malware to the victim’s machine and send harvested personal data to a destination specified by the attacker.

What’s more, Pony has been mentioned by multiple “hacker celebrities” as the backbone of many attack campaigns. For instance, the author of the infamous Andromeda botnet has referred to Pony as “titanic work of the author of miracle (Fareit Bot)”, further stating that Pony loader was incorporated in the Andromeda botnet attacks as a plug-in.

Part of the malware’s popularity is due to the fact that the source code of multiple Pony loader versions has been leaked and is available for download in the darknet. Particularly, the source code of Pony builder and loader versions 1.9 and 2.0 are available for download on several underground forums.

The Pony stealer builder is a program that attackers can use to construct custom Pony bots with pre-programmed C&C addresses, where stolen data can be sent. The Pony Bot is the actual program that is used for information stealing. The Bot is written primarily in assembly language. A peculiar feature of this malware that separates it from the rest of the pack is its unique decoding technique. The Bot itself does not come equipped with a decoding algorithm, instead of using just simple functions that are programmed to send encrypted information to the control server, where stolen passwords and other data are decrypted.

Even though the core feature-set of Pony trojan has not changed drastically over the course of its lifespan, newer versions of the malware gained several anti-detection features, designed to prevent research and disassembly of the malware. As such, in addition to standard anti-evasion and debugging techniques, each attacker has the ability to implement various packers, including custom ones, to avoid detection by antivirus software.

With the use of Packers, the malware gains a Russian “matryoshka” nesting-doll like-design. While the payload is inactive when the package containing Pony stealer is analyzed the final payload cannot be detected by antivirus signatures since it is hidden in the innermost and smallest package. However, once activated Pony loader has to unpack itself, thus revealing its presence.

Pony malware analysis

A video of a simulation recorded in ANY.RUN malware hunting service helps us to examine the behavior of Pony in-depth.

process graph of the pony execution Figure 1: A process graph generated by ANY.RUN enables to examine the lifecycle of Pony in a visual form

text report of a Pony analysis Figure 2: Customizable text reports provided by ANY.RUN gives more opportunities for research or sharing of study results

Pony malware execution process

In the case of our simulation, after the malicious file was run by the user the malware launched itself. Next, the malicious executable file connected to the C2 server and started stealing information from the infected system. It should be noted that in some cases Pony is known to download other malware to the victim’s machine.

Distribution of Pony malware

Pony is distributed in multiple ways, among which are email spam campaigns, exploit kits and DNS poisoning. Also, Pony can be hidden within free downloadable online programs and can mimic legitimate software. Malicious emails usually include either a Microsoft Word, archive or a JavaScript file. As soon as the document is downloaded and opened Pony injects into the victim’s PC and starts execution.

Another attack vector of Pony is through a compromised DNS server which is infected by another malware. In this case, the victim is redirected to a malicious website from where Pony downloads itself onto the users’ PC.

How to detect Pony stealer using ANY.RUN?

Analysts can take a look at what changes the malware made in the registry. Just click on the process and then on the button "More Info" in the appeared window. In "Advanced details of process" window switch to the "Registry changes" tab. Note that you can switch between the friendly and raw display of changes.

pony fareit registry changes Figure 3: Registry changes made by Pony

Conclusion

Availability and robust feature set helped make Pony stealer one of the most widely used information stealers. In fact, this malware is regularly being used in attacks targeting Europe and North America. The danger of Pony attacks is further enhanced by its nesting-doll-like design, where the final payload hides within a layered package, allowing to avoid easy detection. Interactive malware hunting service ANY.RUN gives researchers the ability to take a look at how this dangerous malware functions and examine its behavior in action in a safe environment.

IOCs

IP addresses
160.153.136.3
207.241.224.2
192.185.115.146
52.128.23.153
209.99.40.222
45.64.104.223
185.177.93.149
198.54.117.197
78.198.121.158
35.205.61.67
103.224.182.251
23.227.38.32
67.227.226.240
103.21.59.27
185.107.227.241
185.151.30.147
185.58.213.110
213.186.33.82
213.186.33.16
213.186.33.2
Hashes
a87c76402548fdef67c57b5c17c18b9650f31afb1f5b57e1b8addea30b976ba5
82a022b29bda763ef9f2ce01c82c82e199182d1d0243cca9811eccc1d993cecf
89ba6ca01979a51dd5e8fee7d80e8d69322531ba357750a79d8aaceb5a3163c7
34e50d5454d6da86b275f2ac730b59db4efa9e46909a6e2d1e24434a661fc752
bc121cbe39b515a72d06957465a60ecf9b30b2d81a3f357e14b011e25e390f0e
51357f80c49e7dd61998efc163b61f187feebe6c374c3b50d259e7c50aef3166
a8f87315426d5c09fa7d6438b921520d47360d97ecef5cfbe9c018fcfd1a4ff3
918762466acf2b1623dc7e360c7245252385fad4587c00211cf6a71ad6efb19d
35e72d33b6d99055c41dffe0e882a540be6564a26c5651d04f8b72017e1d4149
d634843da16ff74a676a748989cd01916cd86278dc96c0d45fa9872dd78ba251
2396718872bb6f8a4828eb6590eae58adc2f2826678e08d6bb6030870c2aa960
59eec971cce51e24be4612177f661563dc41a4274eb38731f2612d5528adbcc6
5805954aa66a0800e96e576ad633c4a67d08998165f77244b477a1d891d581e3
161516f819327d2d1f5266d2c83200421250ef83423f84a36faa145489ec8b8f
5ee70bdf6cfa9c2742889a7c724fa6940e40c64d6ab420303ea6e031ae3d6ce4
92faf07c3b1c36d62291a830b547492b1c610ed042400c4764c631f728c17579
1044ec442e3ba7fa846a958f7ce9d7280ae1a72ec79787fd9982397a93ff2b24
125c88c0a34185a8a6c38ba5e7d461ccc5b9d8a1acc87871a618c3e15c32be42
446121b4c191fc024f0a2670500d41511107e741668964a9e9bf200c88842917
1184416382d2d8321fdc152007b6f6c520dc47d4ac0cba7d0b6ac7311d2c9f05
Domains
loomisnet.info
www.brightenupyourday.ca
2osuxcybit.ly
www.eacvea.com
www.xfa.org
www.hrhgroup.ltd
deaddance.net
deaddance.ru
www.blackdb.co.kr
webrc.omega.dce-eir.net
www.foodcondor.icu
www.ax5c.trtiugoe.com
www.ukbw.oskdei.com
www.owl.i-p.ru
elrwemmanwdb.ru
walton.circusvn.com
halifaxmk.com
foleyssmn.xyz
zhaishuyanshang.app
www.sunraise.ltd

HAVE A LOOK AT

Adwind screenshot
Adwind
adwind trojan
Adwind RAT, sometimes also called Unrecom, Sockrat, Frutas, jRat and JSocket is a Malware As A Service Remote Access Trojan that attackers can use to collect information from infected machines. It was one of the most popular RATs in the market in 2015.
Read More
Agent Tesla screenshot
Agent Tesla
agenttesla trojan rat stealer
Agent Tesla is spyware that collects information about the actions of its victims by recording keystrokes and user interactions. It is falsely marketed as a legitimate software on the dedicated website where this malware is sold.
Read More
Ave Maria screenshot
Ave Maria
avemaria stealer trojan rat
Ave Maria malware is a Remote Access Trojan that is also called WARZONE RAT. Hackers use it to control the PCs of their victims remotely and steal information from infected PCs. For example, they can remotely activate the camera to take pictures of a victim and send them to a control server.
Read More
Azorult screenshot
Azorult
azorult trojan rat
AZORult can steal banking information including passwords and credit card details as well as cryptocurrency. This constantly updated information stealer malware should not be taken lightly, as it continues to be an active threat.
Read More
Crimson RAT screenshot
Crimson RAT
crimson rat trojan
Crimson is a Remote Access Trojan — a malware that is used to take remote control of infected systems and steal data. This particular RAT is known to be used by a Pakistani founded cybergang that targets Indian military objects to steal sensitive information.
Read More
Danabot screenshot
Danabot
danabot trojan stealer
Danabot is an advanced banking Trojan malware that was designed to steal financial information from victims. Out of the Trojans in the wild this is one of the most advanced thanks to the modular design and a complex delivery method.
Read More