Quasar RAT

Quasar is a very popular RAT in the world thanks to its code being available in the open-source. This malware can be used to remotely control the victim’s computer.

Type
Trojan
Origin
Unknown
First seen
1 January, 2015
Last seen
31 March, 2020
Global rank
17
Week rank
9
Month rank
11
IOCs
667

What is Quasar RAT?

Quasar is a remote access trojan is used by the attackers to take remote control of infected machines. It is written using the .NET programming language and available to a wide public as an open-source project, making it a popular RAT that was featured in a number of attacks.

General description of Quasar RAT

Quasar RAT was first discovered in 2015 by security researchers, who, at the time, speculated that this RAT was written by an in-house development team after performing the analysis of a sample. Quasar is an evolution of an older malware called xRAT and some of its samples can carry out as much as 16 malicious actions.

Over the course of its lifetime, the malware has been updated several times, improving its overall functionality. The last version of the malware which was developed by the original author is v. 1.3.0.0. It was released in 2016. Since that time several third parties have adapted the RAT and issued their own version, both minor and major with the last major version being v. 2.0.0.1.

The RAT we are reviewing today consists of two main components – the server-side component and the client-side component. The server is equipped with a graphical user interface and it is used for managing connections with the client-side programs. The server-side component is also utilized to build malware samples which are eventually delivered to potential victims. Malware user has an option to select attributes and customize the executable to fit the needs of the attacker.

The functionality of the resulting malware includes remote file management on the infected machine, registry alterations, recording the actions of the victim, establishing remote desktop connections and more.

It should be noted that Quasar execution can unfold completely silently, thus, once the victim downloads and launches the client, usually delivered in a document via email, it can stay active for a long period of time, stealing data and giving the hacker control over the infected PC. The malware does generate a process that can be discovered using the Windows Task Manager or a similar application, but active user actions are required to discover Quasar trojan presence on a machine.

As far as creators of this malware are concerned, the group of people or a person behind the original version of this malware managed to remain anonymous. The little known information that we do have does not go beyond the name of the GitHub page author which states simply “quasar”.

As evident from the description on the “official” Quasar GitHub page, this malware is presented as a legitimate remote administration program, which is clearly misleading. In fact, Quasar was featured in an attack aimed at the US government early in 2017. Later the same year another wave of attacks using this malware occurred, this time targeting the private sector.

Quasar RAT malware analysis

The execution process of this malware can be viewed in a video recorded in the ANY.RUN malware hunting service, allowing to take a look at how the contamination process unfolds.

process graph of the quasar stealer execution Figure 1: Displays the lifecycle of Quasar in a visual form, as shown on the graph generated by ANY.RUN.

text report of quasar analysis Figure 2: Shows a customizable text report generated by the ANY.RUN malware hunting service.

Quasar RAT execution process

Quasar execution is pretty straightforward but can vary in minor details from sample to sample. In a given example, Quasar was dropped from a Microsoft Office file. The dropped file changed the registry value to make itself run with every operating system start, checked for external IP and also copied itself at another location. After all these steps, the malware started the main malicious activity - collecting information about the operating system and waiting for commands from the C2 server.

How to avoid infection by Quasar?

Quasar trojan writes itself into scheduled tasks and uses registry keys to achieve persistence, allowing the malware the run every time a machine is started. The persistence method is chosen based on user privileges. As such, if the user has admin rights, the malware uses schtasks to create a scheduled task which launches after a user logs on with the highest run level. If admin rights are lacking, then the scheduled task can only go as far as to add a registry value which is configured in the client builder and added to the current path as the startup program.

Distribution of Quasar RAT

Just as most of the other RATs, Quasar is distributed in email spam campaigns that carry the malware’s loader. The loader is embedded in a malicious file attachment which usually carries a name designed to trick the user into thinking that he or she is receiving some sort of a document. Sometimes these files will have a double extension such as docx.exe. This is done to trick the victim into thinking that the attached file is harmless. Of course, once opened, such files start a command prompt rather than Microsoft Office.

How to detect Quasar RAT using ANY.RUN?

ANY.RUN uses Suricata IDS rule sets so if malware trying to communicate with C&C servers it will be detected. To look at what threats were detected just click on the "Threats" section of the "Network" tab.

quasar network threats Figure 3: Quasar network threats

Conclusion

Quasar trojan is a powerful open-source malware equipped with a robust persistence mechanism and a complete feature set of malicious capabilities. Being available to anybody with programming knowledge, Quasar became a widely used RAT which was even featured in an attack targeted at the American government.

However, unlike other more advanced Trojans, Quasar RAT does not have extremely sophisticated anti-analysis features, which makes setting up robust cyber-defense an easier task, especially when using malware hunting services like ANY.RUN to simplify and streamline the research process.

IOCs

IP addresses
184.73.165.106
208.95.112.1
208.95.112.1
3.19.3.150
58.158.177.102
193.161.193.99
104.31.255.10
54.243.147.226
104.31.134.11
104.31.76.103
141.98.212.23
79.134.225.5
18.222.249.59
104.31.254.10
79.134.225.95
79.134.225.74
159.203.157.217
104.31.139.11
104.31.138.11
154.221.22.25
Hashes
e798508df6ded4fb9ecd2d14349a98f82596a50abcce2ea56762354b11ac5ef4
a389d4f8320e46f8244ee5a90e4a0b8935c8bf9ba4aba1ad82e89d5bf0e3f6a2
56fdb45b8fa3c1fc1f5c4b7ab7bcacca2979bf2dc2eb24b87b54238954ec53be
98ec86907b09874204fa014407a78f71ee7f34f358e734f87225d39d0aaefacd
f96c2a4d34d5d7becae7e5584dc0b01e0e897d054add3414e5e5a558c686fb81
1edac07a1f58de3e37bab4ed683c5a698b3b2ecb0a9b116307a723bf180017cb
2687a03d7453e164aef1d51b67cf5c94abeebd7c53e652c773a2f04774a5688a
aa522a1b531a2dad031f2e3119a1a2de8bf67e895c14b54c819270eb714d099e
5125c1976027c9fb873e1f821e889743d4d98a7e3c65d4bd17130dfd61ddba1e
93b8d133beaad4361adcf0b800d0001d187ec7ba33678dc93e678729cf345775
75b3863570e2737fd57a1376d37471b878fac7c522cead4a534090e3b2eec5e3
d5ac85eb8b03a31eec10f914b5050c7b470313d43822eb510773cefc62770b65
646f1c538da40c634927f54ef01dfc28ee0fdb2c873679eee089b2fc2f1caeb1
43c97b87317b4d5eb82cbe82d2fc725d9557204823bfd88ee5e95c0c98ee746e
8ab886197c6a0c53deb273b36cfe3ae4de987aedc02703a14c3d068b11d4a4da
7d3a69b8f4d5def3b1822cd9b61945e5a69a07f90419d40678b0b16f70e7476b
467cc2c2c7a67919ebf4f277ef05afd01928faefb89c864886ca421555bd8c52
66fa728ff6c5d1bb39a956029a9738f65e6136777e98c1f2e8cf26ee7954a54a
5ce3ef1999d35248b93170b3292ccb2d4be743c97c899eea141da9a50aece3b0
be79f5fa6e5b5084d18a0e71060d5e7e3c1349494a7be3a157e7a035815f7534
Domains
dns.chinanews.network
cloud.360cn.info
cthree.msoftupdates.com
ctwo.msoftupdates.com
cone.msoftupdates.com
majul.com
elx01.knas.systems
demo.ip-api.com
www.ip-api.com
westernautoweb.duckdns.org
tools4money1.duckdns.org
slimmy1.duckdns.org
bnow.duckdns.org
isns.net
www.dds.walshdavis.com
Lolikot-43158.portmap.host
adminish-44565.portmap.io
agsagasg-51850.portmap.host
kravl-49734.portmap.io
www.portmap.io

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