QBOT – A HTML Smuggling method to focus on victims | Path Tech

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QBot, often known as Qakbot, QuackBot, and Pinkslipbot, is a banking Trojan that was first noticed in 2007. Right this moment, Qbot stays a vicious and protracted risk to organizations and has develop into one of many high banking Trojans Worldwide. Over time it has modified its preliminary methods to ship payloads like utilizing VBA macros, Excel 4 macros, VBS recordsdata, exploits like Follina and many others. Lately, within the Fast Heal safety labs, we discovered a brand new method that QBot takes benefit of for its assault. It is referred to as an “HTML smuggling assault.”

What’s HTML smuggling assault?

HTML smuggling is an assault vector during which the attacker smuggles a uniquely embedded payload or encoded malicious script. It makes use of HTML 5 and JavaScript to carry out its process. There are a number of methods to assault with this method. Some frequent methods 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, recordsdata, areas, 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 Blobs
    JavaScript blobs are objects which might be a group of bytes containing information saved in a file. Blob information is saved in consumer 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 shopper that may be handed to JavaScript APIs that anticipate URLs. For instance, the bytes of the payload.exe file could be supplied as enter to the JS code as a JS drop; it may be compiled and downloaded on the consumer’s finish.
  3. Utilizing the embedded factor
    It’s used to embed exterior functions, that are often multimedia content material comparable to audio or video, in an HTML doc. It’s used as a container to embed plugins, comparable to flash animations.

Why is this method used?

When the sufferer opens the HTML attachment, it decodes the embedded recordsdata and saves them regionally. Attributable to encrypted patterns, no malicious content material passes by means of the community, bypassing community filters and firewalls; subsequently, this assault methodology is gaining reputation amongst cyber criminals.

QBot assault circulation:

In one of many paperwork we analyzed, it was discovered that an embedded HTML factor was created with the “doc.createElement” methodology. Attackers took benefit of this tag to distribute payloads in zip recordsdata. 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 consumer as 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 – Obtain Zip

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

Fig.3 – Recordsdata extracted from iso

The “REJ” shortcut file is then accountable for performing the extra assault. The duty of this file is to execute the “reprocess” command script within the “oslo” folder. Afterwards, 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 info

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

Fig. 7: QBot checking Home windows Defender

Achieve persistence:

Qbot makes use of registry entries and self-replication to realize persistence. Because the payload executes, the Qbot features its persistence in 2 steps:

  1. Copying itself to the folder talked about under:
    %AppDatapercentRoamingMicrosoftRandom strings
  2. Create a registry worth pointing to the above payload

The folder creation and deleted DLLs are loaded by way of regsvr32.exe, as proven under:

Fig. 8- Folder creation with random title

Dump configuration information to the registry. Within the newest payload variations, Qbot has stopped creating its configuration file in “.dat” format. Now, it writes its cloned DLL entry to the sufferer as encrypted registry keys to ‘HKCUSoftwareMicrosoft[RandomString]’Hive.

Fig. 9 – Registry Entries

Communication C2:

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

Fig. 10 – Communication IPs C2


It isn’t possible to disable JavaScript in most environments, as too many professional methods and net functions require its use. On high of that, many professional JavaScript frameworks use obfuscation methods to reduce file sizes and enhance the velocity of net functions. Subsequently, blocking obfuscated JavaScript just isn’t a sensible possibility. Subsequently, customers are suggested to be very cautious whereas dealing with suspicious emails with HTML attachments. Fast Heal clients are already protected in opposition to these kind of assaults.


html attachment

Md5: 6783003a0737331c66a0b8fc0a35754d

Detection Title: HTML.QBot.47153

QBot Loader DLL

MD5: 52EC63A6F7F089862E648112FE8E9F1D

Detection Title: Trojan.Qakbot



MITER Mapping:

T1566 Id fraud
T1027.006 HTML smuggling
T1553.005 Net bypass model
T1574.002 DLL take a look at set up
T1055 course of injection
T1112 Modify report
T1027 Obfuscated recordsdata or info
T1218.010 Working System Binary Proxy: Regsvr32
T1010 Discovery of the applying window
T1082 System Data Discovery
T1071.001 Utility layer protocol: net protocols

Subject material consultants:

Anjali Raut

Nihar Deshpande