Reports

Zloader: Back in Action (But Quietly)

Executive Summary

The Zloader malware is a trojan derived from the Zeus banking trojan that originally targeted German banks in 2015-2016. The code and capabilities of the trojan evolved, and it started to be marketed as “Silent Night” in underground forums around 2019, following trends similar to other MaaS, complete with a clever and catchy name, moved from fraud to ransomware to a fully sophisticated modular trojan. The current iteration of Zloader offers anti-analysis features, natively supported 64-bit Windows loader and encrypted network communications to its C2 server.

Technical Analysis

To avoid analysis and to decrease the efficacy of sandboxing techniques, Zloader utilizes junk code, resolves the majority of its imports at runtime and has explicit expectations for the filename, wherein failure to match the expected filename causes execution to stop. Since malware sandboxes will rename files, this can be problematic for analysis utilizing sandboxes.

ZeuS fits into this with its overlay section called ‘PeSettings’ where installation information is stored. If a system is not already infected, the trojan will recognize this and follow through with generating the information needed to install and uniquely identify the RC4 key for the host. The PeSettings will be reencrypted and overlay data overwritten modifying the header and data size. 

For C2 communications, if the primary server is unavailable, Zloader utilizes DGA which is a fairly common tactic in a number of malware families and their associated campaigns.

Zloader’s static configuration is encrypted using the RC4 stream cipher and ThreatLabZ observed the same RSA public key for each of the unique samples analyzed.

Once Zloader has been installed on a system, access to the infected systems can be sold to affiliates and additional malicious activities can be achieved including ransomware and installation/misuse of legitimate tools (e.g., Cobalt Strike).

The Zloader trojan typically arrives via malicious Office or Google documents containing malicious macros sent by email or through a malicious advertisement delivery mechanism. This is achieved by compromise of legitimate domains and adding malicious subdomains impersonating the legitimate domain/service. Attempting to download a product from the compromised domain being impersonated results in redirection to the threat actor’s domain. According to Microsoft, the Zloader operators have typically used the REG.RU, LLC registrar and the .site TLD.

Following are some of the collected artifacts amongst various sources accessed throughout this analysis:

SHA256 IOCs from Zloader samples:

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

Zloader C2 URLs:
hxxps[://]adslstickerhi[.]world
hxxps[://]adslstickerni[.]world
hxxps[://]dem.businessdeep[.]com

What Ultraviolet Cyber is Doing

  • UltraViolet Cyber is actively threat hunting for IOCs and artifacts related to emerging threats
  • Monitoring hosts for potential compromise or unusual activity based on up-to-date alerting, signatures, and rules
  • Communicating with customers promptly when vulnerabilities that may be exploited are shown to be present either via threat hunting or in information gathered during normal workflow

 

What Customers Can Do

  • Proceed to only utilize approved browsers with appropriate security controls in place and avoid downloading applications from the web or documents from email attachments that aren’t thoroughly vetted from a known source
  • Avoid activity involving the disabling or compromise of AV or installed detection software on company workstations

 

References

Any.run:

Title: “Zloader”
Source: Any.run. Retrieved from any.run/malware-trends/zloader

Title: “Loader Now Targets 64-bit Systems: Analyze The New Version in ANY.RUN”
Source: Any.run. Retrieved from any.run/cybersecurity-blog/new-zloader-campaign/

Thehackernews.com:

Title: “Loader Malware Evolves with Anti-Analysis Trick from Zeus Banking Trojan”
Source: The Hacker News. Retrieved from thehackernews.com

Microsoft:

Title: “Dismantling ZLoader: How malicious ads led to disabled security tools and ransomware”
Source: Microsoft. Retrieved from www.microsoft.com

SC Magazine:

Title: “Increased stealth introduced in updated Zloader malware”
Source: SC Media. Retrieved from www.scmagazine.com

Zscaler:

Title: “Zloader Learns Old Tricks”
Source: Zscaler ThreatLabz. Retrieved from www.zscaler.com/blogs/security-research/zloader-learns-old-tricks

Title: “loader: No Longer Silent in the Night”
Source: Zscaler ThreatLabz. Retrieved from www.zscaler.com/blogs/security-research/zloader-no-longer-silent-nigh