IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Hackers use open source Microsoft dev platform to deliver trojans

Microsoft's Build Engine is being used to deploy Remcos password-stealing malware

Hackers have abused an open source development tool provided by Microsoft to deliver password-stealing trojans to unsuspecting victims.

Security researchers at Anomali Threat Research observed a new campaign whereby threat actors used Microsoft Build Engine (MSBuild) to filelessly deliver the Remcos remote access tool (RAT) and password-stealing malware commonly known as RedLine Stealer.

Researchers said the campaign appeared to have begun in April this year and was ongoing. Hackers used MSBuild — a tool used for building apps and gives users an XML schema “that controls how the build platform processes and builds software” — to deliver RemcosRAT and RedLine stealer using callbacks.

The files delivered contained encoded executables and shellcode — some were hosted on Russian image-hosting site, “joxi[.]net.” While researchers couldn’t determine the distribution method of the .proj files, these files’ objective was to execute either Remcos or RedLine Stealer. Most of the malware analyzed delivered Remcos as the final payload.

Once installed on the victim’s computer, the Remcos trojan allows hackers to remote control, remote admin, remote anti-theft, remote support, and pentest a machine.

Related Resource

How to increase cyber resilience within your organisation

Cyber resilience for dummies

Cyber resilience for dummies - How to improve cyber resilience within your organisation - whitepaper from MimecastDownload now

While Remcos is commercial software created by Breaking Security, hackers often use it for malicious purposes. Researchers said the software enables full access to the infected machine with features like anti-AV, credential harvesting, gathering system information, keylogging, persistence, screen capture, script execution, and more.

The other malware observed in the campaign is Redline Stealer. This malware is written in .Net and when installed on a victim’s system, it can steal multiple types of data, such as cookies, credentials, crypto wallets, NordVPN credentials, stored web browser information, and system information. It will also search for multiple products, including cryptocurrency software, messaging apps, VPNs, and web browsers.

Using MSBuild allows hackers to evade detection while installing malicious payloads directly to a targeted computer's memory.

"The threat actors behind this campaign used fileless delivery as a way to bypass security measures, and this technique is used by actors for a variety of objectives and motivations," said researchers.

"This campaign highlights that reliance on antivirus software alone is insufficient for cyber defense, and the use of legitimate code to hide malware from antivirus technology is effective and growing exponentially."

Featured Resources

Accelerating AI modernisation with data infrastructure

Generate business value from your AI initiatives

Free Download

Recommendations for managing AI risks

Integrate your external AI tool findings into your broader security programs

Free Download

Modernise your legacy databases in the cloud

An introduction to cloud databases

Free Download

Powering through to innovation

IT agility drive digital transformation

Free Download

Recommended

LockBit 2.0 ransomware disguised as PDFs distributed in email attacks
Security

LockBit 2.0 ransomware disguised as PDFs distributed in email attacks

27 Jun 2022
Best free malware removal tools 2022
Security

Best free malware removal tools 2022

22 Jun 2022
A guide to cyber security certification and training
Careers & training

A guide to cyber security certification and training

16 Jun 2022
What is shoulder surfing?
social engineering

What is shoulder surfing?

10 Jun 2022

Most Popular

The UK's best cities for tech workers in 2022
Business strategy

The UK's best cities for tech workers in 2022

24 Jun 2022
LockBit 2.0 ransomware disguised as PDFs distributed in email attacks
Security

LockBit 2.0 ransomware disguised as PDFs distributed in email attacks

27 Jun 2022
Salaries for the least popular programming languages surge as much as 44%
Development

Salaries for the least popular programming languages surge as much as 44%

23 Jun 2022