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New PowerShell Backdoor Discovered

A recently detected PowerShell backdoor can steal information and execute various commands on the infected machines.

A recently detected PowerShell backdoor can steal information and execute various commands on the infected machines.

Dubbed PRB-Backdoor, the malware has been distributed via a Word document containing malicious macros. The document was named “Egyptairplus.doc” and was initially believed to deliver malware linked to the MuddyWater campaigns targeting the Middle East.

Analysis of the document’s macro revealed a function called Worker(), designed to call multiple other functions embedded in the document, to ultimately run a PowerShell command.

The command would look within the document for a chunk of embedded data that is Base64 encoded and decodes it, the security researcher behind Security 0wnage explains. This eventually results in an obfuscated PowerShell script.

“Replacing iex with Write-Output and running this code will result in a second layer PowerShell script that is shown earlier in the blog and has similarities with MuddyWater code due to the use of the Character Substitution functions,” the security researcher notes.

Replacing all the iex with Write-Output reveals more readable code that still contains encoded chunks of data. Further analysis of the code revealed an Invoker.ps1 script designed to decrypt the main backdoor code.

The backdoor contains over 2000 lines of code when properly formatted. Because of the main function is named PRB, the researcher decided to call the malware PRB-Backdoor.

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Although execution of the sample in a sandbox did not reveal network communication, the code does include a variable that appears
to point to the main domain that the backdoor communicates with to retrieve commands, namely

The researcher discovered that the email address used to register the domain was also used for the domain LinLedin[.]net. The researcher also found the IPs the two domains were resolving to, but no additional information on either of them was discovered.

Looking into the PRB-Backdoor code, the security researcher found functions supposedly related to initial communication and registration with the command and control (C&C) server, along with a function designed to retrieve the browsing history from different browsers, including Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox.

Other functions revealed the backdoor’s ability to steal passwords, write files to disk, read files, update itself, launch a shell, log keystrokes, take a screenshot of the screen, get the system info, and more.

“The PRB-Backdoor seems to be a very interesting piece of malware that is aimed to run on the victim machine and gather information, steal passwords, log keystrokes and perform many other functions. I could not find any reference to the backdoor or its code in any public source,” the researcher notes.

Related: New Cyberespionage Attacks Linked to MuddyWater Campaign

Related: New macOS Backdoor Linked to Cyber-espionage Group

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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