Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Cybercrime

‘GoldenSpy’ Malware Uninstaller Delivered to Victims Following Public Exposure

Within days after a report detailing the GoldenSpy malware operation targeting organizations doing business in China, an uninstaller was pushed to affected systems to completely remove the infection.

Within days after a report detailing the GoldenSpy malware operation targeting organizations doing business in China, an uninstaller was pushed to affected systems to completely remove the infection.

Last week, Trustwave published information detailing the manner in which a hidden backdoor had been delivered to organizations via Intelligent Tax, a piece of software from Aisino Corporation that is required by a Chinese bank.

Designed to provide attackers with unfettered access to the victim networks, with SYSTEM privileges, the GoldenSpy malware is believed to have been around since 2016, but it’s unclear how many organizations it might have compromised to date.

On June 28, just three days after Trustwave’s report went public, the Aisino Intelligent Tax product was observed silently pushing a new file onto infected systems, “AWX.exe.” This file was specifically designed to remove GoldenSpy and all traces of compromise, including registry entries and the malware’s files and folders, after which it would delete itself from the system.

The command used for deletion results in the Windows command-line interface being terminated upon the completion of the operation, and ensures that the deletion is performed without requiring permission or displaying a notification.

“In our testing, this GoldenSpy uninstaller will automatically download and execute, and effectively, will negate the direct threat of GoldenSpy in your environment, however, as the deployment of this uninstaller is delivered directly from the supposedly legitimate tax software, this has to leave users of Intelligent Tax concerned about what else could be downloaded and executed in a similar manner,” Trustwave notes.

Despite this new development, however, the security researchers are not convinced that the threat actor will slow down its activity, but rather consider it a “clear and present danger.” Thus, they advise organizations to remain vigilant and continue their threat hunting.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

A second version of the GoldenSpy uninstaller was observed on June 29, only hours after the initial variant emerged. Identical to the first, the new iteration would obfuscate variables with Base64 encoding, likely in an attempt to evade detection.

Analysis of the uninstaller also revealed that it removes GoldenSpy following the exact malware removal steps that Trustwave included as recommendation in their report. This shows once again that the actor is fully aware of the attention it has received and wants to ensure it can hide its tracks to hinder further investigations.

Related: ‘GoldenSpy’ Malware Hidden In Chinese Tax Software

Related: Attacker Installs Backdoor, Blocks Others From Exploiting Citrix ADC Vulnerability

Related: China-Linked Threat Actor Using New Backdoor

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Join security experts as they discuss ZTNA’s untapped potential to both reduce cyber risk and empower the business.

Register

Join Microsoft and Finite State for a webinar that will introduce a new strategy for securing the software supply chain.

Register

Expert Insights

Related Content

Cybercrime

The changing nature of what we still generally call ransomware will continue through 2023, driven by three primary conditions.

Cybercrime

As it evolves, web3 will contain and increase all the security issues of web2 – and perhaps add a few more.

Cybercrime

A recently disclosed vBulletin vulnerability, which had a zero-day status for roughly two days last week, was exploited in a hacker attack targeting the...

Cybercrime

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group informed some customers last week that their online accounts had been breached by hackers.

Cybercrime

Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.

Cybercrime

Satellite TV giant Dish Network confirmed that a recent outage was the result of a cyberattack and admitted that data was stolen.

Artificial Intelligence

The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.

Cybercrime

A new study by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) named a staggering figure as the true annual cost of...