The OceanLotus malware is a newly discovered threat which is used mainly as a payload delivery device. This is a collection of several tools that are used together in a complex attack scenario. According to the released reports the group has invested in the development of the tools and the way the intrusions are organized.
The distribution of the threat is done by imitating the legitimate McAfee scanner files by injecting itself to a legitimate “On Demand Scanner” process. This means that the hackers will need to devise a way to deliver the necessary data. It is distributed in a package containing the hookup files and the payloads in a secure and encrypted form. The noteworthy feature is that steganography is used, a technique used to hide data within other data. As soon as the the initial intrusion is made a sequence of payload delivery which make use of benign-looking files which the process interacts with. Using decryption of the data a series of steps are done in order to provide the final payload. An interesting note is that one of the payloads inside the files is a mange image.
The second main payload has been found to have several versions, dropping files that have file names that may appear as legitimate applications and services. It will also launch a security bypass module which aims to identify and remove security software that can interfere with the proper malware delivery. The next step is to launch a modified version of the Remy backdoor. It will establish a secure connection to a predefined hacker-controlled server allowing the operators to take over control of the machines, steal user data and deploy other threats.
The associated DLL files are obfuscated in order to make it very difficult to detect that such an operation is being carried out. At least two different communications were observed during the intrusion attack. Various other threats can be loaded to the compromised machines such as the following:
- Ransomware — These are dangerous crypto viruses that aim to process sensitive user data according to a built-in list of target file type extensions. A preset extension can be added to the processed data.
- Trojans — Other Trojan threats can be deployed to the compromised machines. They allow the hackers to take over control of the systems and manipulate them into performing various tasks.
- Cryptocurrency Miners — They are scripts that are designed to retrieve and run a sequence of performance demanding mathematical tasks. Whenever one of them is completed cryptocurrency will be awarded to the operators.
Every infection can result in different behavior outcome as every machine can have different conditions.
|Type||Malware, Scam Hacking Program|
|Short Description||A dangerous malware which can be used to evoke a series of dangerous actions.|
|Symptoms||The victims may notice performance issues and can get infected with other malware.|
|Distribution Method||Mainly via download sites and file sharing networks.|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by OceanLotus Malware |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss OceanLotus Malware.|
OceanLotus – How Did I Get It
The OceanLotus Malware can be spread using a variety of different tactics. There are many variants of it which are spread using various collectives. Our security research shows that there are many versions using the OceanLotus name and alternatives as well. This allows the criminal collectives to launch a multitude of attacks bearing different versions of the malware.
One of the main techniques is the coordination of phishing email messages which coerce the victims to interact with the included content. They are designed to appear as legitimate notifications sent from well-known services and companies. The OceanLotus Malware files can be either attached or inserted as text links.
Hacker-made sites that pose as legitimate download portals, search engines and software product pages will scam the users into downloading and running the application. They are generally hosted on domains that sound similar to popular sources and may include self-signed security certificates.
To increase the number of infected victims the criminals can also place the OceanLotus Malware in payload carriers such as macro-infected documents and malware application bundles. They are widely downloaded from the Internet by end users and may be found on file-sharing sites as well like BitTorrent.
Such infections can also be spread via browser hijackers which are dangerous web browser extensions that are usually uploaded to the repositories of the most popular browsers.
OceanLotus – What Does It Do
Such malware can execute many different tactics depending on the exact attack campaign. Most of them are used in order to serve as payload carriers for other threats. Popular options are the following:
- Trojan Clients — The made infections will create a persistent and secure connection to a hacker-controlled server which allows the hackers to take over control of the infected machines, steal their files and deploy other malware.
- Data Theft — The OceanLotus Malware may include an information harvesting ability which is capable of acquiring data that ca directly expose the identity of the victim users.
- Machine Identification — Many similar threats are programmed to extract the list of installed hardware components ,specific operating system environment values and user settings which are then processed by a special algorithm that will ouput an unique infection ID that is to be assigned to each different computer.
- Windows Registry Changes — The OceanLotus Malware can create entries for itself in the Windows Registry which can make its removal more difficult. If it edits existing values then serious performance issues can arise. Data loss and errors are a common side effect of this operation.
- Boot Menu Options Modification — Some OceanLotus Malware versions can modify the boot options in order to automatically start themselves when the computer is powered on. By disabling access to these options manual user removal guides can become worthless.
- Data Removal — The engine can be configured to locate and delete files such as system backups, restore files and shadow volume copies. This makes recovery much more difficult and in this case the use of a data recovery solution needs to be used.
Any future OceanLotus variants can include other malicious actions as per the hacker’s instructions.
How to Remove OceanLotus Malware
In order to fully remove OceanLotus Malware from your computer system, we recommend that you follow the removal instructions underneath this article. If the first two manual removal steps do not seem to work and you still see OceanLotus Malware or programs, related to it, we suggest what most security experts advise – to download and run a scan of your comptuer with a reputable anti-malware program. Downloading this software will not only save you some time, but will remove all of OceanLotus Malware files and programs related to it and will protect your computer against such intrusive apps and malware in the future.