Pony

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
4 October, 2022
Also known as
Fareit
Siplog
Global rank
14
Week rank
26
Month rank
20
IOCs
61954
Last Seen at

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 wallet 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. In addition, 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 as the most popular password stealer through 5 years. Apart from being able to steal credentials the same as RedLine, 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 the “titanic work of the author of miracle (Fareit Bot),” further stating that the loader was incorporated in the Andromeda botnet attacks as a plug-in.

Part of the malware’s popularity is because the source code of multiple Pony loader versions has been leaked and is available for download on 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. According to the analysis, 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, the 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 perform the analysis of 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 user ran the malicious file, 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

Based on the analysis, Pony is distributed in multiple ways, including email spam campaigns, exploit kits and DNS poisoning. Also, Pony can be hidden within free downloadable online programs and can mimic legitimate software. For example, malicious emails usually include either a Microsoft Word archive or a JavaScript file. As soon as the document is downloaded and opened, Pony injects 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 perform an analysis of what changes the malware made in the registry. Just click on the process and then on the button "More Info" in the appeared window. Then, in the "Advanced details of process" window, switch to the "Registry changes" tab. Note that you can switch between the friendly and raw display of changes. You can also try this method while analyzing GootKit or Danabot.

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
186.202.157.79
23.253.46.64
130.185.109.77
104.18.36.225
160.153.131.199
92.63.197.106
192.3.137.194
103.21.59.27
192.185.214.199
162.248.241.106
5.61.53.84
173.44.60.58
185.58.213.110
160.153.128.12
5.79.68.109
69.162.102.218
131.72.236.163
85.17.187.29
45.64.104.223
45.95.168.70
Hashes
27df3ea785d8cb2753674efde2a0374425aba3669f4c889f1c33792716b4465e
c6685a4c01221444f60c02ca187f54343e15089fc7880a8551ccaa119f2532ad
82a022b29bda763ef9f2ce01c82c82e199182d1d0243cca9811eccc1d993cecf
17cc77df1334f8f0df21f79c7aa35bec1e5aaaa7ffa1d5ce84710ec46246c64d
34e50d5454d6da86b275f2ac730b59db4efa9e46909a6e2d1e24434a661fc752
19c12165c512d8be136814349b0d0f86b9d3242d6ef5d282e89cf2f155c07586
5430565c4534b482c7216a0ae75d04e201ee0db0386682c0c010243083c28d29
69680d4c72acd442198c06b3b0965af97ee4ef29b57bb56469f1d40b6c573b48
5aa8b90ada476c908f1395556cfddea7ad4c1a8dc778aa3b4863b92c8877c026
9505894e5dfe9fa343615183ab613525c89f4bcaaec55b841f2bd88104ec052e
02319d9971ea81969a51843833accaea31ef2af90bef075e7dde5d3ee00c2a62
994ce849406388fb706b915c13945eaf66e66304f7b8d38a12b12e6e0c9a0830
d70f9ad9efdaad5f997ebf04642c97bcf87dae10ccffb0b70836ed9e1cdab554
0f8995f8ece4ec14d6ad1745ec11987a02585c0e83ffa8f5c752331a16e0a02f
1b7f600c8dbe9683e2e092e12ce6fc9a296e341c4106acfdb9fbf48c018b1fbe
3b8f1e963da628ebe6308fbdbbed378593242c5c9eaff9ee68e5c42f8277e608
4c10dd2c7477ffa1921a3c646fd728a8f96210c8a984d6d4d4016ca9cf13db20
6d53538d71e655b22a64e41dd986789fb0f81a0cec528fcfb9c7eff770f64363
72b8b03e9a0835529c4324e7d0f2c0d13e8d14e8ac1d77072407542c79705bb0
495b2d3102de768ca3a8c428788777b254ff01023058bca1a1b3f19c9958564b
Domains
5vr74.xyz
derweekge.com
zerit.top
fuyt.org
tzgl.org
kotob.top
securebiz.org
www.thecitizensforum.org
steamid.biz
xakfor.net
acint.net
wrrst.top
tbpws.top
astdg.top
cdn.jsdeliver.net
rasenalong.com
xmr.omine.org
fannieme.com
proxylistchecker.org
www.https.com

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