Tips & Advice

HANCITOR DOC drops via CLIPBOARD

By Sriram P & Lakshya Mathur 

Hancitor, a loader that provides Malware as a Service, has been observed distributing malware such as FickerStealer, Pony, CobaltStrike, Cuba Ransomware, and many more. Recently at McAfee Labs, we observed Hancitor Doc VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) samples dropping the payload using the Windows clipboard through Selection.Copy method. 

This blog focuses on the effectiveness of this newly observed technique and how it adds an extra layer of obfuscation to evade detection. 

Below (Figure 1) is the Geolocation based stats of Hancitor Malicious Doc observed by McAfee since September 2021 

Figure 1 – Geo stats of Hancitor MalDoc
Figure 1 – Geo stats of Hancitor MalDoc

INFECTION CHAIN

  1. The victim will receive a Docusign-based phishing email.
  2. On clicking on the link (hxxp://mettlybothe.com/8/forum[.]php), a Word Document file is downloaded.
  3. On Enabling the macro content in Microsoft Word, the macro drops an embedded OLE, a password-protected macro-infected document file and launches it.
  4. This second Document file drops the main Hancitor DLL (Dynamic Link Library) payload.
  5. The DLL payload is then executed via rundll32.exe.
Figure 2 – Infection Chain
Figure 2 – Infection Chain

TECHNICAL ANALYSIS

Malware authors send the victims a phishing email containing a link as shown in the below screenshot (Figure 3). The usual Docusign theme is used in this recent Hancitor wave. This phishing email contains a link to the original malicious word document. On clicking the link, the Malicious Doc file is downloaded.

Figure 3 – Phishing mail pretending to be DocuSign
Figure 3 – Phishing mail pretending to be DocuSign

Since the macros are disabled by default configuration, malware authors try to lure victims into believing that the file is from legitimate organizations or individuals and will ask victims to enable editing and content to start the execution of macros. The screenshot below (Figure 4) is the lure technique that was observed in this current wave.

Figure 4 – Document Face
Figure 4 – Document Face

As soon as the victim enables editing, malicious macros are executed via the Document_Open function.

There is an OLE object embedded in the Doc file. The screenshot below (Figure 5) highlights the object as an icon.

Figure 5 – OLE embedded object marked inside red circle
Figure 5 – OLE embedded object marked inside the red circle

The loader VBA function, invoked by document_open, calls this random function (Figure 6), which moves the selection cursor to the exact location of the OLE object using the selection methods (.MoveDown, .MoveRight, .MoveTypeBackspace). Using the Selection.Copy method, it will copy the selected OLE object to the clipboard. Once it is copied in the clipboard it will be dropped under %temp% folder.

Figure 6 – VBA Function to Copy content to Clipboard
Figure 6 – VBA Function to Copy content to Clipboard

When an embedded object is being copied to the clipboard, it gets written to the temp directory as a file. This method is used by the malware author to drop a malicious word document instead of explicitly writing the file to disk using macro functions like the classic FileSystemObject.

In this case, the file was saved to the %temp% location with filename name “zoro.kl” as shown in the below screenshot (Fig 8). Fig 7 shows the corresponding procmon log involving the file write event.

Figure 7 – ProcMon log for the creation and WriteFile of “zoro.kl” in %temp% folder
Figure 7 – ProcMon log for the creation and WriteFile of “zoro.kl” in %temp% folder
Figure 8 – “zoro.kl” in %temp% location
Figure 8 – “zoro.kl” in %temp% location

Using the CreateObject(“Scripting.FileSystemObject”) method, the malware moves the file to a new location AppdataRoamingMicrosoftTemplates and renames it to “zoro.doc”.

Figure 9– VBA Function to rename and move the dropped Doc file
Figure 9– VBA Function to rename and move the dropped Doc file

This file is then opened with the built-in document method, Documents.open. This moved file, zoro.doc, is password-protected. In this case, the password used was “doyouknowthatthegodsofdeathonlyeatapples?”. We have also seen the usage of passwords likedonttouchme”, etc.

Figure 10 – VBA Function to password protect the Doc file
Figure 10 – VBA Function to password protect the Doc file

This newly dropped doc is executed using the Documents.Open function (Figure 11).

Figure 11 – VBA methods present inside “zoro.doc”
Figure 11 – VBA methods present inside “zoro.doc”

Zoro.doc uses the same techniques to copy and drop the next payload as we saw earlier. The only difference is that it has a DLL as the embedded OLE object.

It drops the file in the %temp% folder using clipboard with the name “gelforr.dap”. Again, it moves gelforr.dap DLL file to AppdataRoamingMicrosoftTemplates (Figure 12).

Figure 12 - Files dropped under the AppdataRoamingMicrosoftTemplate folder
Figure 12 – Files dropped under the AppdataRoamingMicrosoftTemplate folder

Finally, after moving DLL to the templates folder, it is executed using Rundll32.exe by another VBA call.

MITRE ATT&CK

Technique ID Tactic Technique details
T1566.002 Initial Access Spam mail with links
T1204.001 Execution User Execution by opening the link.
T1204.002 Execution Executing downloaded doc
T1218 Defense Evasion Signed Binary Execution Rundll32
T1071 C&C (Command & Control) HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) protocol for communication

 

IOC (Indicators Of Compromise)

Type SHA-256 Scanner Detection Name
Main Doc 915ea807cdf10ea4a4912377d7c688a527d0e91c7777d811b171d2960b75c65c WSS W97M/Dropper.im
Dropped Doc c1c89e5eef403532b5330710c9fe1348ebd055d0fe4e3ebbe9821555e36d408e WSS W97M/Dropper.im
Dropped DLL d83fbc9534957dd464cbc7cd2797d3041bd0d1a72b213b1ab7bccaec34359dbb WSS RDN/Hancitor
URLs (Uniform Resource Locator) hxxp://mettlybothe.com/8/forum[.]php WebAdvisor Blocked

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