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QBot, also called Qakbot, QuackBot, and Pinkslipbot, is a banking Trojan that was first noticed in 2007. At present, Qbot stays a vicious and protracted risk to organizations and has turn into one of many main banking Trojans. Worldwide. Through the years, it has modified its preliminary strategies to ship payloads like utilizing VBA macros, Excel 4 macros, VBS information, exploits like Follina, and so on. Lately, on the Fast Heal safety labs, we discovered a brand new method that QBot leverages for its assault. It is known as an “HTML smuggling assault.”

What’s HTML Smuggling Assault?

HTML smuggling is an assault vector wherein the attacker smuggles a maliciously encoded script or uniquely embedded payload. It makes use of HTML 5 and JavaScript to perform its job. There are a number of methods to assault with this system. Some frequent strategies are:

  1. Utilizing the anchor tag
    The HTML anchor tag “” defines a hyperlink that hyperlinks one web page to a different. You’ll be able to create a hyperlink to different net pages, information, places, or any URL. Additionally, if we need to obtain a file hosted on a server, we will use an anchor tag. For instance,
  2. Utilizing JavaScript Blob
    JavaScript blobs are objects which are a set of bytes containing information saved in a file. Blob information is saved in person reminiscence. This assortment of bytes is utilized in the identical locations an actual file would have been used. In different phrases, blobs can be utilized to assemble file-like objects on the consumer that may be handed to JavaScript APIs that anticipate URLs. For instance, the bytes of the file payload.exe may be offered as enter into the JS code as a JS drop; it may be compiled and downloaded on the person finish.
  3. Utilizing the embedded ingredient
    It’s used to embed exterior functions, that are often multimedia content material equivalent to audio or video, in an HTML doc. It’s used as a container for embedding plugins, equivalent to flash animations.

Why is this system used?

When the sufferer opens the HTML attachment, it decodes the embedded information and saves them domestically. Because of the encoded patterns, no malicious content material passes by means of the community, bypassing community filters and firewalls; due to this fact, this assault methodology is gaining recognition amongst cyber criminals.

QBot Assault Move:

In one of many paperwork we analyzed, it was discovered that an embedded HTML ingredient was created with the “doc.createElement” methodology. Attackers exploited this tag to distribute payloads in zip information. We are able to see within the following picture base64 encoded information for the zip file:-

Fig.1- HTML Bootleg Template

When opening an HTML file, it tips the person as if they’re downloading a zipper file, whereas the zip is already embedded in an HTML file. The password is highlighted within the picture under, “abc555”.

Fig.2 – Zip Obtain

After extracting the zip file, we get the disk picture file “REJ_2975”, which once more accommodates a number of information.

Fig.3 – Information extracted from iso

The “REJ” shortcut file is then liable for finishing up the extra assault. The duty of this file is to run the “reprocess” command script within the “oslo” folder. Subsequently, the script will execute the ultimate QBot Loader DLL with the title “counteractively.dat” as proven within the following determine:

Fig.4 – Execution Instructions

Later, the payload is injected into wermgr.exe by way of course of flush:-

Fig.5 – Execution Instructions

DLL evaluation:

This Qbot Loader DLL is a compiled x32-bit Delphi binary with no export capabilities.

Fig. 6- QBot charger data

Qbot is utilizing protection evasion controls; on this case, it’s for Home windows Defender simulation by checking the “C:INTERNAL__empty” file.

Fig. 7: QBot checking Home windows Defender

achieve persistence:

Qbot makes use of registry entries and self-replication to attain persistence. Because the payload is executed, the Qbot good points its persistence in 2 steps:

  1. Copying itself into the folder talked about under:
    %AppDatapercentRoamingMicrosoftRandom Strings
  2. Create a registry worth that factors to the earlier payload

Folder creation and eliminated DLLs are loaded by way of regsvr32.exe, as proven under:

Fig. 8- Creation of a Folder with a random title

Dump of configuration information within the Registry. Within the newest payload releases, Qbot has stopped creating its configuration file in “.dat” format. Now, write your cloned DLL entry to the sufferer as encrypted registry keys in ‘HKCUSoftwareMicrosoft[RandomString]’ hive.

Fig. 9 – Log entries

C2 communication:

As proven within the following determine, the injected course of “wermgr.exe” is making a reference to encrypted IPs:-

Fig. 10 – C2 communication IPs


It isn’t possible to disable JavaScript in most environments, as too many authentic techniques and net functions require its use. On high of that, many authentic JavaScript frameworks use obfuscation strategies to reduce file sizes and enhance the pace of net functions. Due to this fact, blocking obfuscated JavaScript just isn’t a sensible choice. Due to this fact, customers are suggested to be very cautious whereas dealing with suspicious emails with HTML attachments. Fast Heal clients are already protected in opposition to all these assaults.


html attachment

Md5: 6783003a0737331c66a0b8fc0a35754d

Detection Title: HTML.QBot.47153

QBot Loader DLL

MD5: 52EC63A6F7F089862E648112FE8E9F1D

Detection title: Trojan.Qakbot



MITER Mapping:

T1566 Identification fraud
T1027.006 HTML Smuggling
T1553.005 net bypass mark
T1574.002 DLL trial set up
T1055 course of injection
T1112 Modify Document
T1027 Obfuscated information or data
T1218.010 Working System Proxy Binary: Regsvr32
T1010 Revealing the appliance window
T1082 System Info Discovery
T1071.001 Software layer protocol: net protocols

Subject material consultants:

Anjali Raut

Nihar Deshpande