Over the past several months, Cisco Talos has seen attackers carrying out ongoing email-based malware distribution campaigns to distribute various malware payloads. These email campaigns feature several notable characteristics that appear designed to evade detection and maximize the effectiveness of these campaigns. The use of web-based contact forms, legitimate hosting platforms, and a specific crypter make analysis and detection more difficult. All of the malware samples associated with these campaigns feature a modified DOS header containing the string “Salfram,” making them extremely easy to track over time. The crypter used in these campaigns is undergoing active development and improvements to obfuscate the contents of malware payloads. Additionally, the crypter uses several effective techniques to make the detection and analysis of the final malware payload more difficult. It obfuscates the original payload binaries in a way that results in payloads that appear completely different from each other after being packed using the same crypter. It even takes a great amount of effort to compare the packed binaries in a disassembler and determine if the same packer was used.



Talos Group

Talos Security Intelligence & Research Group