Hancitor’s Use of Cobalt Strike and a Noisy Network Ping Tool

Hancitor is an information stealer and malware downloader used by a threat actor designated as MAN1, Moskalvzapoe or TA511. In a threat brief from 2018, we noted Hancitor was relatively unsophisticated, but it would remain a threat for years to come. Approximately three years later, Hancitor remains a threat and has evolved to use tools like Cobalt Strike. In recent months, this actor began using a network ping tool to help enumerate the Active Directory (AD) environment of infected hosts. This blog illustrates how the threat actor behind Hancitor uses the network ping tool, so security professionals can better identify and block its use.

As early as October 2020, Hancitor began utilizing Cobalt Strike and some of these infections utilized a network ping tool to enumerate the infected host’s internal network. Normal ping activity is low to nonexistent within a Local Area Network (LAN), but this ping tool generates approximately 1.5 GB of Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) traffic as it pings more than 17 million IP addresses of internal, non-routable IPv4 address space.

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Source: Palo Alto