New research: Docless Vietnam APT. A very interesting malware against Vietnam Government

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

We have detected a malware sent to some email accounts belonging to a Vietnam government domain. This email is written in Vietnamese and is dated March 13th, 2019. It seems to come from an account inside the organization (, maybe someone sending it to a security operator, because of resulting suspicious. The attached file resulted in a very interesting infection system. It uses a combination of techniques never seen before, making us think about a very targeted campaign, using interesting resources to specifically infect Vietnam government.

The global view of the threat schema is the following:

Global view of the threat schema image

Although it may look typical, the schema hides some very smart techniques to avoid detection and fool the system. 

New research: we discover how to avoid SmartScreen via COM Hijacking and with no privileges

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

COM Hijacking technique has a simple theoretical basis, similar to the DLL Hijacking one: What does it happen when an application searches for a non-existent COM object on the computer where it is being executed? Or when such object exists but it cannot be found on the registry key where it was searched? An attacker may create it by means of altered information. For instance, a path leading the victim to a DLL created by the attacker instead of to the searched one. We can benefit from the by-default order used by the program to search for this object: this is how we have managed to avoid SmartScreen on Windows.

Brief introduction
COM (Component Object Model) is a binary-interface standard for software components allowing communication between processes as well as dynamic creation of objects, regardless of the language used to program them. COM provides a stable ABI (Application Binary Interface) that does not change with compilers’ different versions. This is appealing for C++ developers when the code must be shared with clients using different compilers’ versions.

COM objects are commonly compiled as a DLL, but the way they are used is particular. COM objects must be unequivocally identifiable at execution time, so the GUID identification method is used.