TrickBot operators employ Linux variants in attacks after recent takedown

Pierluigi Paganini October 28, 2020

A few days after the TrickBot takedown, Netscout researchers spotted a new TrickBot Linux variant that was used by its operators.

A few days ago, Microsoft’s Defender team, FS-ISACESETLumen’s Black Lotus LabsNTT, and Broadcom’s cyber-security division Symantec joined the forces and announced a coordinated effort to take down the command and control infrastructure of the infamous TrickBot botnet.

Microsoft has taken down 120 of the 128 servers that were composing the Trickbot infrastructure.

Microsoft announced to have taken down 62 of the original 69 TrickBot C&C servers, seven servers that could not be brought down last week were Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Microsoft also revealed that operators tried to resume the operations, The company brought down 58 of the 59 servers the operators attempted to bring online after the recent takedown.

According to a new report published by researchers from security firm Netscout, TrickBot’s operators have started to use a new variant of their malware in an attempt to Linux systems and expand the list of its targets.

TrickBot is a popular banking Trojan that has been around since October 2016, its authors have continuously upgraded it by implementing new features.

At the end of 2019, researchers spotted a new TrickBot backdoor framework dubbed Anchor that was using the DNS protocol for C2 communications.

Stage 2 Security researcher Waylon Grange first spotted the new Linux variant of Anchor_DNS in July and called it “Anchor_Linux.”

“The actors behind Trickbot, a high profile banking trojan, have recently developed a Linux port of their new DNS command and control tool known as Anchor_DNS.” explained Grange.

“Often delivered as part of a zip, this malware is a lightweight Linux backdoor. Upon execution it installs itself as a cron job, determines the public IP [address] for the host and then begins to beacon via DNS queries to its C2 server.”

Researchers from Netscout now published an analysis of the variant detailing the communication flow between the bot and the C2 server.

The client sends “c2_command 0” to the server along with information about the compromised system and the bot ID, the server, in turn, responds with the message “signal /1/” back to the bot.

Trickbot Linux

The infected host responds by sending the same message back to the C2, which in turn sends the command to be executed by the bot. Once executed the command, the bot sends the result of the execution to the C2 server.

“The complexity of Anchor’s C2 communication and the payloads that the bot can execute reflect not only a portion of the Trickbot actors’ considerable capabilities, but also their ability to constantly innovate, as evidenced by their move to Linux.” concludes the report. “It is important to note that Trickbot operators aren’t the only adversaries to realize the value of targeting other operation systems”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Trickbot)

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