TrickBot Employs Bogus 1Password Installer to Launch Cobalt Strike

 

The Institute AV-TEST records around 450,000 new critical programmings (malware) every day with several potentially unwanted applications (PUA). These are thoroughly examined by their team under characteristic parameters and classified accordingly. 

Malware is a networking-generated file or code that infects, scans, exploits, or practically performs any activity that an attacker desires. 

One such prevalent malware is Trickbot which was first seen in 2016. Trickbot has established itself in cyberspace as a modular and multipurpose malware. The Trickbot operators initially focused on bank credential theft operations and then expanded their skills to attack several industries. With further advancements Trickbot came to light for its participation in ransomware attacks, using Ryuk and Conti malware. 

Recently, it has been found that Trickbot employs a technique for installing a bogus "1Password password manager" to corrupt and collect data on the victim's PC. The first way to accomplish this is with a password-protected Microsoft Word or Excel archive file with macros, that will compromise the targeted device if activated. For criminals to accumulate information about several network computers, a bogus 1Password file installer with the title "Setup1.exe" is also commonly used to launch the Cobalt Strike. 

1Password is an AgileBits Inc. developed password manager. It offers users a place in the digital void that is secured with the master password of the PBKDF2, to hold several passwords, Software licenses, and additional confidential material. 

In the regard, the DFIR Report states, “The Trickbot payload injected itself into the system process wermgr.exe — the Windows process responsible for error reporting. The threat actor then utilized built-in Windows utilities such as net.exe, ipconfig.exe, and nltest.exe for performing internal reconnaissance. Within two minutes of the discovery activity, WDigest authentication was enabled (disabled by default in Windows 10) in the registry on the infected host. This enforces credential information to be saved in clear text in memory. Shortly after applying this registry modification, the LSASS process was dumped to disk using the Sysinternals tool ProcDump.” 

This same bogus installer also eliminates a file that enables the execution of the Cobalt Strike (CS) shellcode and hence receives CS beacons. As the program allows unauthorized connection to victim systems, PowerShell commands are being used to gather data about victim PCs, such as their “anti-virus state”. 

Cobalt Strike is a commercial penetration test framework that helps an agent called 'Beacon' to be deployed by an attacker on the victim's network. Beacon has a wide range of functions including command execution, keylogging, data transfer, SOCKS proxy, privilege scale, port scanning, and lateral movement. 

Meanwhile, as the researchers highlighted, the acquired material was not exfiltrated and the group's motifs remain uncertain. If more advancements are noted in the near future, they will continue to update everyone on it, said the researchers. 

Consequently, researchers in cybersecurity must look for approaches to make sure that their customer facilities are secure from these techniques, as the gang can restart an attack on other networks anytime.