You are browsing the archive for Clustering.

Signed Nullsoft Plug-ins – potential Lolbins

April 14, 2019 in Batch Analysis, Clustering, File Formats ZOO, Living off the land, LOLBins, Reusigned Binaries

A couple of years ago I exported ~12K Nullsoft plugins from a large corpora of installers. It was a part of my research on hooking Nullsoft plug-in APIs that I described here.

Today I revisited this old repo, because it crossed my mind that perhaps some of these DLLs were actually signed. And if they are, I thought, then perhaps some of them will tick the box of re-usigned libraries.

To my surprise, I found over 2K signed plug-ins.

Encouraged by these stats, I ran a script to list all the functions exported by these DLLs. Apart from default exports that can be found in the most popular Nullsoft plug-ins, I was able to find tones of other functions.

There are functions for pretty much every occasion:

  • Internet downloads
  • Resource handling
  • Message Boxes
  • Mathematical functions
  • FTP
  • File operations
  • Audio / Video
  • Unicode
  • Network enumeration
  • Process operations
  • Sqlite3
  • Encryption
  • HTML
  • SSH
  • Hooking
  • String operations
  • GDI / UI primitives
  • XML
  • ZIP
  • Zlib
  • and lots more

There are also ‘more refined’ self-descriptive functions e.g. CreateProcessInjected, InjectDll, _DownloadCompleteFile, SilentOpenURLA, KillAllXBrowserProcesses and a variation of KillProcess functions.

Given the variety of exported functions many of these DLLs must be based of source code of popular foss libraries. Why? It’s really hard to believe someone accidentally included all OpenSSL exports in a working Plug-in.

Being so feature-rich one could use these to build unusual code paths that would rely on code callbacks provided by these signed DLLs. In a way similar to ROP, except re-using functional code blocks instead of a single instructions, their small clusters, or trampolines.

Here’s the whole list if you want to have a look.

Extracting and Parsing PE signatures en masse

March 3, 2019 in Clustering, Malware Analysis, Yara sigs

A few years back I was dealing with a large corpora of PE files, and many of them were PUA/Adware installers. Most of these were signed, so I thought it would be cool to automate writing yara sigs based on these PE signatures. So I did, and it helped me a lot with dividing the whole sampleset into clusters. I could then just exclude (a.k.a. delete) the uninteresting clusters of installers, and remove them from a scope of my further analysis.

Today someone reminded me of this project, and I thought I will jot down some notes + share the yara sig I generated at that time. I believe in automation a lot, and hope this will be useful to someone facing similar problems.

To extract signatures from a PE file, one can use the from Didier Stevens. Once we extract it, we can analyze it. The problem is that:

  • the extracted signature is in a binary form
  • parsing it is non-trivial, so we need to use existing tools to do so for us

After googling around, I eventually learned how to do it & wrote a simple batch file that I delegated this unpleasant task to. The batch file takes a name of a PE file from a command line, and extracts the binary signature using, and then parses it… in 3 different ways.

This is the batch file: extract "%1" "%1.cert"
if exist "%1.cert" (
openssl asn1parse -inform DER -i -in "%1.cert" > "%1.cert.asn"
openssl pkcs7 -inform DER -in "%1.cert" -text -print_certs > "%1.cert.asn2"
certutil -asn "%1.cert" > "%1.cert.asn3"

You may notice that I am using both openssl / certutil. Why double, or even triple the effort? This is because I discovered that relying on data extracted by only one tool was not enough. To be frank, I don’t know the intricate details of what is exactly stored inside the actual Authenticode signature, and how. The ASN format is not a pillow read either, hence I went with a ROI-driven approach and simply extracted the data in any possible way and format.

With that, I ran it over a corpora of samples. I then used a quick & dirty parser I wrote for the data outputted by these two tools, and generated a yara sig that covered most of the installers in the corpora.

You can download the Yara Sig file here. Note, I saved it as Unicode, so you can see localization issues one needs to take into account while parsing sigs.

Feel free to use it, but only on your own risk. I don’t guarantee that it’s error free. Also, if you are listed in the sig file, it’s only for purposes of samples’ clustering.