DeXRAY – Decrypting VBN files, Part 2

September 21, 2012 in Batch Analysis, Compromise Detection, DeXRAY, File Formats ZOO, Forensic Analysis, Incident Response, Malware Analysis, Software Releases

A few months back I posted about DeXRAY –  a generic script/file carver that tries to decrypt various Quarantine files + PE files hidden inside other files under a simple layer of a single-byte xor encryption.

Some time later, in one of my other posts I mentioned that newer VBN files used by Symantec Quarantine use a different encryption scheme; instead of using well-known xor with a 0x5A key, they now use 0xA5 key.

Turns out that I was right about it, but only partially as there is a twist to it – not only these files are encrypted, but they are also divided into chunks separated by a 5 byte ‘chunk divider’ in a form of 0xF6 0x?? 0x?? 0xFF 0xFF. So, to reconstruct the encrypted Quarantine files, one needs to decrypt them with 0xA5 first and then remove the chunk dividers.

Simple, isn’t?

I updated to handle this (quick & dirty patch, but it should work). If you find some VBN files that don’t get decrypted at all or get corrupted after decryption, please let me know.

I bet Symantec guys added this to prevent accidental detection of Quarantine files by theirs and other AV companies’ scanners; the way I think it goes is that many AV companies use X-rays technique during scans (that is, they may find malware even if it is encrypted with a single byte xor) and they could potentially/accidentally decrypt and detect the Quarantine file during scans. That could potentially lead to some ‘funny’ results (recursive detection, etc.); introducing ‘chunk divider’ breaks the file format of the encrypted file and AV scans no longer can ‘understand’ the corrupted file structure (especially if it is an encrypted PE file).

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