Qbot is a banking Trojan — a malware designed to collect banking information from victims. Qbot targets organizations mostly in the US. It is equipped with various sophisticated evasion and info-stealing functions and worm-like functionality, and a strong persistence mechanism.

Type
Trojan
Origin
Unknown
First seen
1 January, 2009
Last seen
22 October, 2021
Also known as
Pinkslipbot
QakBot
Quakbot
Global rank
17
Week rank
19
Month rank
22
IOCs
9100

What is Qbot?

Qbot, also known as QakBot, Pinkslipbot, and Quakbot, is a Banking Trojan — malware designed to steal banking credentials, online banking session information, personal details of the victim, or any other banking data.

Although early versions of Qbot were spotted all the way back in 2009, its creators have maintained this Trojan. Today, it continues to be active and features worm-like abilities to spread over networks, supports advanced web-injections techniques, and has a persistence mechanism that some researchers believe to be one of the best in its class. Additionally, the Trojan has anti-VM, anti-debug and anti-sandbox functionally that makes research and analysis quite difficult.

Furthermore, Qbot is polymorphic, which means that it can change itself even after it is installed on an endpoint. The Trojan constantly modifies files, and the dropper that the newer version of Qbot continuously cycles through command and control servers.

The combination of these functions makes Qbot highly dangerous malware. Qbot has been used in several successful attacks on organizations and governmental structures and has infected tens of thousands of machines.

General description of Qbot

Qbot is dispatched in targeted attacks against businesses. With this Trojan, the attackers go after bank accounts of organizations or private users who access their personal online banking cabinets from corporate networks by piggybacking into banking sessions of the victim.

The Trojan uses man-in-the-browser functionality to perform web injections, allowing it to alter what the victims see on the banking website when browsing from an infected machine. Interestingly, while most malware samples that use this technique contain the web injection code in their config file, Qbot can fetch the code from a controlled domain as it performs malicious activity.

Another trait that differentiates Qbot from other Trojans is its worm-like functionality. Qbot can copy itself using shared drives and spread over the network, spreading on its own or after receiving a command from the command and control server. Together with a highly developed persistence mechanism that uses registry runkeys and scheduled tasks, these traits make erasing Qbot from the infected network very difficult. The Trojan is designed to sustain itself despite system reboots and automatically launch itself when the system is turned on again.

This infamous persistence functionality has allegedly caused compromise of sensitive information in two government organizations in Massachusetts in 2011, while worm-like behavior helped the Qbot infiltrate thousands of machines and create a botnet with over 1,500 devices resulting from that attack.

Most of the targets that Qbot goes after are US-based organizations. Only about twenty percent of the new attack businesses are located outside of the United States. Although apart from the government offices, most of the attacks have been directed at banking, tech, and healthcare industries, there is no hard evidence to suggest that the attackers are aiming at specific fields. This means that businesses working in any industry can get hit by Qbot.

It is also important to note that an advanced cybergang operates the malware. Qbot attacks have been appearing on the radar of security researchers periodically, with phases of high activity and intervals when attacks would completely stop. This behavior is likely to avoid attracting too much attention from law enforcement and allows attackers to tweak and improve the malware during their time off.

The group behind Qbot is also notoriously known for pushing out new modified malware samples at astonishing rates. They repack and re-scramble the code daily, making malware identification by means of anti-virus software unreliable.

Unfortunately, people's identities behind Qbot are unknown, but it is widely believed that the cyber gang is based somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Qbot malware analysis

This video recorded in the ANY.RUN interactive malware hunting service shows the execution process of Qbot.

qbot_process_graph

Figure 1: displays the graph of processes created by the ANY.RUN interactive malware hunting service

Qbot execution process

Since Qbot is mostly targeted at the corporate sector, the main way of its penetration into infected systems is through a malicious document. In our example, maldoc starts several processes, including Powershell through by using a macro. Then, using cmd.exe, this trojan starts a chain of commands and executions, creating folders and temporary files. It utilizes Powershell to download the payload. Notably, the payload's name is as simple as six of the same digits or, less often, letters. Also, the payload often has a .png extension, although it is an executable file.

After that trojan starts its main execution, Qbot tries to evade detection by overwriting itself with the legitimate Windows executable calc.exe using the following commands: cmd.exe /c ping.exe -n 6 127.0.0.1 & type "C:\Windows\System32\calc.exe" > “Path to malware executable.” Qbot also injects explorer.exe and adds itself into autorun for persistence.

Qbot distribution

Qbot uses multiple attack vectors to infect victims. The malware uses email spam and phishing campaigns, as well as vulnerability exploits to infiltrate its targets. One of the more recent versions of the malware was observed being distributed by a dropper.

The dropper that installs Qbot is equipped with a delayed execution function. This means that after the dropper itself is downloaded onto a target machine, it waits around fifteen minutes before dropping the payload, likely in an effort to trick automatic sandboxes and avoid detection.

How to detect Qbot using ANY.RUN?

Qbot trojan creates files that allow analysts to detect it with a high degree of certainty. To detect Qbot, open the "Files" tab in the lower part of the task's window and take a look at the created folders. If you see folders with names such as "Zulycjadyc" and "imtaykad" within C:\Users\admin\AppData\ Roaming\Microsoft\ directory and .exe or .dat file with a name "ytfovlym," as shown on the figure below, be sure that it is Qbot in front of you.

how_to_detect_qbot

Figure 2: Detecting Qbot by local files

Conclusion

Security researchers successfully reversed a sample of Qbot in a 2020 investigation. Since the researchers managed to pinpoint a command and control server, they could identify the true scale of the attack. What they uncovered was an active Qbot botnet consisting of over 2,000 computers.

If there was any doubt that Qbot is a severe threat, hopefully, this should clear it. Advanced web injections, sophisticated anti-evasion techniques, worm-like functions, and an experienced cyber gang that constantly updates the malware is a dangerous cocktail.

As security researchers, it is essential to analyze malware like Qbot since code obfuscation makes research complicated. Every investigation has the potential to uncover important data that will help businesses avoid attacks or identify and eradicate this Trojan quicker. At the same time, Qbot avoids dynamic analysis with some automatic sandboxes with the delayed execution of its dropper and other tricks, interactive sandboxes like the one presented by the ANY.RUN malware hunting services are not so easily fooled.

ANY.RUN presents a good opportunity to perform dynamic analysis on this malware from a secure online environment and share your findings with fellow researchers in our public malware database.

IOCs

IP addresses
45.77.117.108
149.28.99.97
149.28.98.196
209.210.187.52
207.246.77.75
149.28.101.90
45.32.211.207
45.77.115.208
86.220.62.251
95.77.223.148
217.17.56.163
81.241.252.59
125.209.114.182
207.246.116.237
65.100.174.110
47.40.196.233
120.150.218.241
24.152.219.253
24.229.150.54
187.116.124.82
Hashes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isns.net
www.groapp.in
ulyssesshop.store
malvinahub.store
tollyplay.biz
kikedeoliveira.com
better.town
samnewbyjax.com
htagzdownload.pw
ougohoueahgoushughoej.ru
www.blinov-house.ru
miledaughter.ru
krupskaya.com
m-onetrading-jp.com
majul.com
thuocnam.tk
mytime.dpdhl.com
shopget24.org
takeflat.com
www.myfaxsupport.com

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