In the realm of malware analysis, uncovering the valuable configuration data hidden within malicious samples is a formidable challenge. Malware developers are acutely aware of the significance of this data and often employ layers of obfuscation and evasion techniques to protect it from prying eyes.
This chapter sheds light on the secret sauce that fuels VMRay’s remarkable success in extracting malware configurations: the foundation of high-quality underlying data, meticulously generated by our sophisticated monitoring system.
Unmasking Malicious Configurations
The primary challenge in malware configuration extraction lies in the fact that malware developers are proactive in hiding this valuable data. To surmount this obstacle, VMRay employs a multi-step approach. Some de-obfuscation and parsing steps are executed by our sandbox’s monitor, while the final parsing steps are meticulously implemented manually by VMRay Labs’ experts, family-by-family.
The crux of our success hinges on the exceptionally high quality of data produced by our monitoring system. This data minimizes the need for extensive manual intervention, rendering our extraction process more robust and resilient to changes in malware behavior.
VMRay’s Monitoring Technology: The Cornerstone of Excellence
VMRay’s monitoring technology empowers our extractors in three fundamental ways:
Smart Memory Dumping:
Our Smart Memory Dumping feature generates memory dumps that offer maximum value with minimal impact on system performance.
Comprehensive Data Utilization:
VMRay’s configuration extractors go beyond memory dumps, harnessing all data generated by the malware during its execution. This approach enables our extractors to handle scenarios where the configuration isn’t stored directly within the executed malware.
Examples include receiving updated configurations from C2 servers or configuration provided as command-line options, as seen in miners like XMRig.
VMRay’s hypervisor-based monitoring offers two invaluable benefits. First, it exhibits robust resistance to common sandbox evasion techniques. Second, it provides an accurate log of API calls made during execution, offering extractors access to data and memory addresses that would otherwise be arduous to obtain.
A Strong Foundation for Malware Configuration Extraction
Formbook / XLoader
QuasarRAT & variants
As we conclude our exploration of VMRay’s exceptional malware configuration extraction capabilities, it’s imperative to acknowledge that our success is underpinned by the quality of our underlying data. This data, generated through our sophisticated monitoring system, empowers us to overcome the challenges posed by obfuscation and evasion tactics employed by malware developers.
Malware Configurations: How to find and use them
Empowering Analysts with Extracted Malware Configurations