The DarkHydrus Trojan is a dangerous weapon used against computer users worldwide. It infects mainly via infected documents. Our article gives an overview of its behavior according to the collected samples and available reports, also it may be helpful in attempting to remove the virus.
|Short Description||The DarkHydrus Trojan is a computer virus that is designed to silently infiltrate computer systems.|
|Symptoms||The victims may not experience any apparent symptoms of infection.|
|Distribution Method||Software Vulnerabilities, Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages, Scripts and others.|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by DarkHydrus Trojan |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss DarkHydrus Trojan.|
DarkHydrus Trojan – Distribution Methods
The DarkHydrus Trojan is named after the criminal collective behind it. Its code is based on an older sample known as the RogueRobin Trojan. The detected attack campaign features several distinct versions of infected documents, specifically Excel documents with the .xlsm extension. When they are opened a Security Warning prompt will be shown asking the users to enable the built-in content. The analysis of the document shows that the acquired samples were made in December 2018 and January 2019. It is very possible that other formats are also used for the same purpose: databases, spreadsheets and text documents. As soon as the scripts are allowed to run they will trigger a PowerShell script that will lead to the |Trojan installation. Modifications to key system data will set it to automatically start when the computer is started.
While this campaign currently uses documents as the main payload delivery device there are other methods that can be considered by the hackers. Some of them include the following:
- Infected Software Installers — A similar strategy is to embed the Trojan delivery code into setup files of popular applications that are frequently downloaded by end users. Example programs include system utilities, creativity suites, optimization tools and productivity apps. When the files are run the DarkHydrus Trojan will be deployed.
- Email Phishing Messages — Traditional ransomware delivery is made by sending out messages that imitate legitimate notifications sent out via emails. They will often impersonate well-known companies, products and services by copying their body layout and text. As soon as the victims interact with any of the malicious elements or the file attachment the infection will be started.
- Malicious Sites — To make infections more prevalent the hackers can model fake sites that impersonate legitimate landing pages, software vendor sites, download portals and etc. Whenever the victims interacts with any of the elements the DarkHydrus Trojan infection will be acquired — this can be when downloading a file or simply clicking on a script.
- Browser Hijackers — They are browser-based plugins which are made by the hackers and are usually deployed on the respective repositories. This is done with fake developer credentials and user reviews. Their descriptions will include promises of performance enhancements or the addition of new functionality.
DarkHydrus Trojan – Detailed Description
As the DarkHydrus Trojan is based on the source code of an earlier threat many of its functionality wll be shared. During the virus installation the threat will be set to run every time the computer is powered on which makes it very hard to remove. The other command that is run as soon as the infection has taken place is the security bypass function. It will scan the infected machine’s memory and search for any installed virtual machine hosts, debug tools or sandbox environment which may be used by security specialists to analyze it. The engine will immediately shut itself down if it detects that such an application or service is running.
The Trojan will then set up a connection to a hacker-controlled server using regular expressions. Its interesting to note that this is done via DNS queries and custom queries. The distinctive characteristic of this particular malware is that it will build a subdomain for each individual infection. The code analysis reveals a list of the available commands:
- ^kill — This will instruct the thread containing the Trojan to be killed
- ^\$fileDownload — The given file is to be uploaded to the hacker-controlled server
- ^\$importModule — Runs a PowerShell instance and adds it to the “modules” list
- ^\$x_mode — Switches on an alternative “x_mode” mode which switches to an alternative command channel
- ^\$ClearModules — Clears the previously run “modules” list
- ^\$fileUpload — This command is used to setup a path to which a new file is to be uploaded.
- ^testmode — This runs a test function which checks if a connection can be securely made to the hacker-controlled server
- ^showconfig — This will generate the current configuration of the infection engine
- ^changeConfig — This will trigger a configuration change which takes the sent input parameters and saves them on the local instance
- ^slp — This wil setup the sleep and jitter values
- ^exit — Exits the Trojan instance
The new variant of the DarkHydrus Trojan has been found to use Google Drive as the instrumental repository to deliver the hacker commands. This is done by uploading a file to the predefined hacker account and constantly checking for any changes on the document. Any entered command will be run according to the entered fields. All chnages to the uploaded document are regarded as jobs that will be run on the infected computers. Authentication to the service is done via special commands that are specific to the Google Drive scheme. Special access tokens are retrieved before access is given to the document.
A complex network of domains has been revealed which shows that much work has been implemented in order to create the Trojan and its infrastructure. Its code analysis reveals that it is capable of carrying out damage to the systems and hijack sensitive data. This is done via a special script that uses the gathered information to generate an unique machine ID. There are two categories of information that are usually considered:
- Personal Information — The engine will search for strings that can directly expose the identity of the victim users. The Trojan can be instructed not only to search the memory, but also the contents of the hard disk, removable devices and available network shares. Data of interest includes their name, address, phone number, location data and any stored account credentials. The collected information can be used to carry out crimes such as identity theft and financial abuse.
- Machine Information — The Trojan can generate a report of the installed hardware components and system settings. The extensive data is useful in order to determine what kind of computers are infected. The statistical information is useful when designing updates for the Trojan.
There are various uses for the Trojan which can be much more than the simple overtake of the infected computers. The use of the complex infrastructure and the complex security bypass steps taken in the beginning of the infection routine shows that the target victims are probably corporations or government agencies. It is very likely that any future versions may add in newer functionality and enhance the already enabled ones. The use of Google Drive infrastructure can make it harder for any network administrators to notice an infection as Trojan clients are expected to contact unusual hacker-controlled servers.
The data theft capability gives security analysts reasons to believe that this may be a weapon for sabotage purposes. The engine can collect a large amount of information across both categories of information, potentially accessing network drives as well. In the event where there is a coordinated attack against a given enterprise this could be a very powerful weapon.
The performed code analysis shows that the Trojan is capable of accessing and modifying a wide range of system data:
- Windows Registry — Modifications to the Windows Registry can compromise both the values that are used by the operating system and any third-party apps. This can lead to serious performance issues and the inability to access some services or functions that are normally used by end users. Modifications to entries belonging to any third-party applications can lead to unexpected errors.
- Boot Options — This is done in order to set the Trojan automatically start once the computer is powered on. Certain actions can disable access to the recovery boot menu and settings which makes it impossible to use most of the manual recovery guides.
- System Data — The engine can be used to search and identity any backups, System restore points and other files that are used during recovery.
Given the fact that the DarkHydrus Trojan presents a complex threat that can be launched at enterprise and government agencies at any given time once the command is given any existing infections should be identified and removed as quickly as possible. Future updates can transform it into an even more powerful weapon.
Remove DarkHydrus Trojan Trojan
If your computer system got infected with the DarkHydrus Trojan Trojan, you should have a bit of experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this Trojan as quickly as possible before it can have the chance to spread further and infect other computers. You should remove the Trojan and follow the step-by-step instructions guide provided below.
Note! Your computer system may be affected by DarkHydrus Trojan and other threats.
Scan Your PC with SpyHunter
SpyHunter is a powerful malware removal tool designed to help users with in-depth system security analysis, detection and removal of DarkHydrus Trojan.