Script-Based Malware: A New Attacker Trend on Internet Explorer

Over the past few months, we have detected sophisticated script-based malware through Internet Explorer (IE) browser exploits that infect Windows Operating System (OS) users. We decided to investigate those scripts to identify their key features to demonstrate that they are attractive for attackers and so could lead to a trend worth paying attention to.

Indeed, with scripting languages, attackers have flexible and accessible tools to easily create sophisticated malware with multiple features and obfuscations. To demonstrate this, we chose two examples of script-based malware used to infect Windows OS users. Those examples were found from two separate sources, but came from the same IE browser exploit of the CVE-2019-0752 vulnerability. The first is a JScript Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that ensures persistence on the target system and then uses encoded network connection to connect to the attacker. After that, the attacker can execute arbitrary commands on the target machine to have potentially full control of it. The second is an AutoIT downloader that uses network connection and script functions to download and execute malware, which could be used to infect targeted systems with malware such as ransomware, spyware and so on.

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Source: Palo Alto