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

Type
Trojan
Origin
Unknown
First seen
1 January, 2009
Last seen
29 May, 2020
Also known as
Pinkslipbot
QakBot
Quakbot
Global rank
20
Week rank
11
Month rank
8
IOCs
1181

What is Qbot?

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

Although early versions of Qbot have been spotted all the way back in 2009, this Trojan has been well maintained by its creators. 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. Since its first surfacing Qbot has been used in a number of 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 is able to 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 can launch itself automatically 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 to infiltrate thousands of machines and create a botnet with over 1,500 devices as the result of that attack.

Most of the targets that Qbot goes after are US-based organizations. Only about twenty percent of the targets 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 business working in any industry can get hit by Qbot.

It is also important to note that the malware is operated by an advanced cybergang. 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 a way to avoid attracting too much attention from law enforcement and also 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 samples of the malware at astonishing rates. They repack and re-scramble the code on a daily basis, making malware identification by means of anti-virus software unreliable.

Unfortunately, the identities of people 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. It is notable that very often the name of the payload 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 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 an extremely serious 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 extremely important to analyze malware like Qbot, since code obfuscation makes research complicated and every investigation has the potential to uncover important data that will help businesses in the future avoid attacks or identify and eradicate this Trojan quicker. While Qbot avoids dynamic analysis with some automatic sandboxes with the delayed execution of its dropper as well as 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
77.73.67.108
206.169.163.147
71.77.252.14
197.210.96.222
192.254.234.66
24.226.137.154
82.127.193.151
67.170.137.8
50.78.93.74
72.29.181.77
70.124.29.226
184.98.104.7
18.203.69.85
217.182.38.188
104.50.141.139
24.99.180.247
73.214.231.2
72.209.191.27
95.77.204.208
98.219.77.197
Hashes
27d7e909a3a5865f102c70ab9edf3ea9be59bbed6733c942ac26b0f2c09de11b
c0fd2cb2b4ed0ed7f20f1fcea03680e05a5dfafda7e12c78563c04a08d957b61
9c752a5c576f89035953deec7d6282b798c897bd7e25dbdf66bcbc5cde7ca57e
d014854444fc4c94ceeb1f8f06273c7c96bee9cd8a286918c88c308a3476073e
991775fb16370e2946a6ffc995762cca55b4b2ea7ea2f845352f42d74fe6be4a
04c0b550ed91d47d988675fbb17e3a78bc8aa6170ffaa0b65b6f017037a7d7fa
705860fcc71ebaf0306ff21756644cd9e903c92a0a8a2e5dd422b5a66b3f6d46
ee4596baab8e1bddd38e9fd991b472609161c0a4941d77d4c175d6df383cbfd8
ceca77b7b1648862b936ebbfaa7a3299e2e39b44e3fb8ef5a6e125479e528d40
e9469536b0a02911199c898b5a125985a718d8e1b25474e11e55b45c97f69072
a2adf67036ef9b5efd41288e57ea4f7de4ddc2d4b7252075423571c2a569c11b
9fa41fe9429aec300b9f04f6f1532c81ffee2337cab65287caba09ad8789a6be
0c33a3b59cbaf650564160767f292167323ae3faf3c98dd01a870a387c465f68
5bb0b51da7347507ec0c72a07e6babe73bc640e8f60f5bad66e9f1192fffb85d
9dfbc6fe09291124020f9968d05079efa8dba8a79dd221c92cbfdfbf0d54a033
5bd0f9e0dd1557fe0fa98f65a637a5008f6d8190357c7481a49585c7406e01b5
5d01ad987f161936034c36c4b317a738ebc3d6808d8664977181180dea7f5845
76721f68685b9ca5336977d5c026d0927906a9aa76c5d9f75afbb2a1570fe891
480253e42b24df58518b1b7790b51c7c69324a8077e40760ee661bdf164e22a4
6573d2352767b41ec468e31265c6d4898d663751f6634e786b997fdef4d0ca4d
Domains
majul.com
isns.net
ffoeefsheuesihfo.ru
bagelbath.com
secure.jsc0nten1maker.com
errors.newdatastatsserv.com
awskohg.wecloudapi.com
somesub.louisianaquickdivorce.com
dmad.info
riifndisojdoj.in
cdn.ssstatic.net
ipruoamdmsngktvvhxluztsm.info
futureinterest.org
pumaskill.com
qwerty.tastywieners.com
dendy.oshkoshrugby.org
type.tastywieners.com
old.oshkoshrugby.com
ank.tastywieners.com
store.defatinator.net

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