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Kieran Jacobsen is the Head of Information Technology at Readify, a Microsoft MVP and regular speaker at conferences throughout Australia.

PowerWorm Analysis and Weaponized PowerWorm

So Matt Graber posted a few weeks ago three items of significant importance for PowerShell security folks.

The first, is he has performed an extremely detailed analysis of PowerWorm, the PowerShell malware that TendMicro found about a month ago and I wrote about as well. Matt has gone one better though, and rewritten the code, make it safe, and cleaned up the abstraction and obfuscation and put all of the code up on GitHub.

I recommend everyone, both those who are interested in PowerShell and those who are interested in malware to take a look.

Matt talks about why the PowerShell execution policy doesn’t help, the code uses the –endcodedcommand parameter when calling powershell.exe. I didn’t know about this till recently, and I was shocked at its effectiveness. If you haven’t looked into this one, I so thoroughly recommend you do, it is amazing.

There is plenty of other interesting things though, considering how this malware users PowerShell and WMI to persist. As I mentioned earlier, the use of the Net.WebClient explained why Polipo was needed as well as Tor.

I also was highly interested in the use of freegeoip.com, I have already started writing some code to make use of this site. I recommend you take a look.

Please go and look at the Matt’s post, and at his GitHub code.

But wait, there is much more! PowerWorm has picked up the functionality of CryptoLocker!!!!

Matt also tweeted a link to this post at Bleeping Computer, which describes a new variant of PowerWorm, dubbed PoshCoder or PoshKoder. This variant is encrypting files and folders in a manner similar to CryptoLocker, and then demanding the victim pays a fee of a couple of bitcoin.

The posts on Bleeping Computer do reference more volatile code, so I do warn you that it isn’t safe to play with unlike Matt’s deactivated code, so be careful. If you want to play, look at Matt’s code.

One interesting thing, is amongst these posts, it appears the malware writer makes an appearance. Whilst I and those on the forum could be wrong, there are some cryptic comments by one of the posters who makes even me wonder.

What is interesting, is that what Matt, TendMicro, myself and most others thought was harmless, has been successfully weaponized, and done so entirely in PowerShell. This malware, PoshCoder, is just as dangerous as CryptoLocker, but nowhere near as detectable. Right now, the low infection rates have prevented this from becoming a massive problem.

Last thing, paying the ransom doesn’t seem to be effective. There is a glitch somewhere and decryption isn’t working correctly. So bad news for anyone infected, you probably can’t get your files back.

Good news, some people have reported that Microsoft Security Essentials is detecting the malware.


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