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The Wizard of X – Oppa PlugX style

July 31, 2017 in Anti-*, Compromise Detection, Forensic Analysis, Incident Response, Malware Analysis

Xwizard is an ‘Extensible wizard host process’. While I am not 100% sure what it is doing I know for certain that – whatever it is – PlugX guys would approve.


When you run it with a ‘/h’ command line parameter, you will get this info:

Something about the unusual command line parameters described there caught my eye.

After a quick inspection I discovered why. The arguments are actually… names of functions exported from xwizards.dll!

Very nice!

And even nicer is the fact the LoadLibraryEx that loads that xwizards.dll finds its conveniently in the current path…


So… all you have to do is copy c:\WINDOWS\system32\xwizard.exe to your folder, drop your xwizards.dll DLL there and call xwizard.exe with at least two arguments.

And the Microsoft-signed xwizards.exe will load xwizards.dll of your choice…

Beyond good ol’ Run key, Part 62

April 19, 2017 in Anti-Forensics, Autostart (Persistence), Compromise Detection, Forensic Analysis, Incident Response, Malware Analysis


This is not an RCE. If it was, I would not publish it on this blog 🙂

Turns out “Simpsons already did it” and as pointed out by @arekfurt a normal template-based persistence is already implemented in EmpireProject and is based on awesome work of @enigma0x3. Interestingly, enabling macros is not needed to deliver the same functionality (as explained below).

Dropping any macro sheet inside the XLSTART folder and opening it from there will not show the macro warning 🙂

Old Post

Every once in a while we come across weird things that we not only discover accidentally, but are finding hard to understand. Today I was playing around with Word Macros and to my surprise I was able to accidentally run one, while my Macro Options were set to Disable all macros with notification.

Intrigued, I quickly realized that instead of adding it to a test word document, I accidentally added it to the normal template file.

Could it be… ?

I rushed to add the AutoOpen macro to the normal template that will launch the Calculator anytime the template is used:

Now I only needed to open some word document…

How nice!

Interestingly, the Security Warning appears ONLY after I visit options while the document is open.

Swap calculator with anything else, and a new stealth persistence mechanism is born…

Now, what about Excel?

Excel doesn’t have the Normal template equivalent by default, but you can add one. To do so, you just need to record any macro named Auto_Open and store it inside a personal template (by choosing ‘Store macro in Personal Macro Workbook‘):

(alternatively, you can create a personal template directly on the system by placing a prepared XLSB file in a following location: c:\Users\<USER>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART\PERSONAL.XLSB)

Then switch to the macro editor, and write the code as below:

This will ensure the Calculator will be executed anytime someone opens Excel, even if the macros are *cough* *cough* disabled…