Deconstructing Amadey’s Newest Multi-Stage Assault and Malware Distribution

Authored by By Yashvi Shah 

McAfee Labs have recognized a rise in Wextract.exe samples, that drop a malware payload at a number of phases.  

Wextract.exe is a Home windows executable file that’s used to extract recordsdata from a cupboard (.cab) file. Cupboard recordsdata are compressed archives which are used to package deal and distribute software program, drivers, and different recordsdata. It’s a authentic file that’s a part of the Home windows working system, and it’s situated within the System32 folder of the Home windows listing. Nonetheless, like different executable recordsdata, it may be susceptible to exploitation by malicious actors who may use it as a disguise for malware. 

Some frequent ways in which malicious actors use a faux or modified model of wextract.exe embody: 

  1. Malware Distribution: Malicious actors can use a faux model of the wextract.exe to ship malware onto a sufferer’s laptop. They’ll disguise the malware as a authentic file and use the faux wextract.exe to extract and execute the malicious code. 
  2. Info stealing: A faux or modified wextract.exe can be utilized to steal delicate info from a sufferer’s laptop. Malicious actors can modify the code to incorporate keyloggers or different data-stealing strategies. 
  3. Distant Entry: Malicious actors can use a faux wextract.exe to realize distant entry to a sufferer’s laptop. They’ll use the modified wextract.exe to create a backdoor or set up a distant connection to the sufferer’s laptop, permitting them to hold out numerous malicious actions. 
  4. Ransomware Supply: Malicious actors can use a faux or modified “wextract.exe” to put in ransomware on a sufferer’s system. For instance, they might create a faux Home windows Installer package deal that seems to be a authentic software program replace or utility but in addition features a modified “wextract.exe” that encrypts the sufferer’s recordsdata and demands a ransom fee for his or her decryption.  

McAfee Labs collected malicious wextract.exe samples from the wild, and its conduct was analyzed.  

This weblog gives an in depth technical evaluation of malicious “wextract.exe” that’s used as a supply mechanism for a number of forms of malwares, together with Amadey and Redline Stealer. It additionally gives detailed info on the strategies utilized by the malware to evade detection by safety software program and execute its payload. As soon as the malware payloads are executed on the system, they set up communication with a Command and Management (C2) server managed by the attacker. This communication permits the attacker to exfiltrate knowledge from the sufferer’s system, together with delicate info comparable to login credentials, monetary knowledge, and different private info.

Determine 1: Attribute of the file 


The file is a 32-bit Moveable Executable file, which is 631.50 Kb in dimension. The unique title of the file is WEXTRACT.EXE.MUI. The file description is “Самоизвлечение CAB-файлов Win32”, written in Russian, and means “Self-Extracting Win32 CAB Recordsdata”. The authorized copyright mentions Microsoft Company. Plenty of static strings of this file had been discovered to be written in Russian. 

Usually, the useful resource part (.rsrc) accommodates sources utilized by this system, comparable to icons, bitmaps, strings, and dialog bins. Attackers leverage the useful resource part of a PE file to enhance the success of their assaults by evading detection, enhancing persistence, and including performance. 

The useful resource part of this pattern has multiples recordsdata, out of which CABINET useful resource holds 75.75% of the entire file, which makes the mentioned useful resource suspicious. 

Determine 2: Sources within the file 


A CAB (Cupboard) file is a compressed archive file format that’s typically used to compress and package deal a number of recordsdata right into a single file for distribution or set up. A CAB file within the useful resource part of a PE file can be utilized for numerous functions comparable to storing further program recordsdata or knowledge, together with language-specific sources, or compressing and storing generally used sources to cut back the dimensions of the executable.  

The CABINET holds two executables, cydn.exe and vona.exe. 

Determine 3: CABINET in useful resource part 


Likewise, underneath RCDATA, there may be one other attribute known as “RUNPROGRAM”, which begins cydn.exe.  RUNPROGRAM within the useful resource part of a malware file sometimes refers to a useful resource that accommodates directions for the malware to execute a selected program or command. When the malware is executed, it would load the useful resource containing the “RUNPROGRAM” command and try and execute the desired program or command. This method is commonly utilized by malware authors to execute further malicious applications or instructions on the contaminated system. For instance, the “RUNPROGRAM” useful resource could accommodates directions to obtain and execute further malware, or to launch a malicious script or command that may carry out numerous malicious actions comparable to stealing delicate knowledge, creating backdoors, or disabling safety software program. 

Determine 4: RUNPROGRAM attribute stating “cydn.exe” 


Like RUNPROGRAM, POSTRUNPROGRAM additionally holds the instruction to run the executable after RUNPROGRAM is executed. Therefore, as soon as cydn.exe is executed, vona.exe will likely be executed. 

Determine 5: POSTRUNPROGRAM stating “vona.exe” 

As soon as WEXTRACT.exe is executed, each cydn.exe and vona.exe is dropped within the TEMP folder. The TEMP folder is a generally used location for malware to retailer momentary recordsdata and different knowledge, as it’s sometimes writable by any person account and isn’t normally topic to strict safety restrictions. This could make it simpler for the malware to function with out elevating suspicion or triggering safety alerts. 

Determine 6: Recordsdata dropped in TEMP folder 

Stage 2: Evaluation of cydn.exe 

The file confirmed excessive file ratio of the useful resource part, with the entropy of seven.810. Entropy is a measure of the randomness or unpredictability of the info within the file. It’s typically used as an indicator of whether or not a file is more likely to be malicious or not. 

Within the case of a PE file, excessive entropy can point out that the file accommodates a big quantity of compressed or encrypted knowledge, or that it has been obfuscated or packed in a means that makes it tougher to investigate. This could be a frequent method utilized by malware authors to evade detection by antivirus software program. 


Determine 7: File ratio and entropy of the useful resource part 


Like the earlier file, cydn.exe additionally had two executables archived in its useful resource part, named aydx.exe and mika.exe. The “RUNPROGRAM” attribute instructions to run aydx.exe and the “POSTRUNPROGRAM” attribute instructions to execute mika.exe as soon as aydx.exe is executed. These files are additionally dropped in TEMP folder. 

Determine 8: aydx.exe and mika.exe packed in useful resource part 


Determine 9: Executables dropped in one other TEMP folder 

The order of file execution is as follows: First, Wextract.exe and cydn.exe, which have already been mentioned, are adopted by aydx.exe, after which by mika.exe and vona.exe. 


Determine 10: Execution circulate 

Stage 3: Evaluation of aydx.exe 

Aydx.exe is a 32-bit Moveable Executable file, which is 405Kb and is compiled in C/C++. As soon as executed, it makes an attempt to make a request to IP handle: 

Determine 11: Malware attempting to connect with IPv4 

This IP handle is linked with Redline Stealer connecting on port quantity 4138. 

Evaluation of mika.exe 

Mika.exe is 32-bit Moveable Executable, complied in .NET and is simply 11 KB in dimension. The unique title of the file is “Healer.exe”. This exe file makes no web exercise however does one thing within the goal machine which assists malwares from additional phases to hold out their execution.  

The intent of mika.exe is to show off Home windows Defender in all attainable methods. As soon as mika.exe was executed, that is how the Defender settings of the system appeared like: 

Determine 12: Actual-time safety turned off 

This setting was irreversible and couldn’t be turned again to on by way of settings of Home windows. Following this, logs from Procmon had been analyzed and there have been entries relating to Home windows defender, comparable to: 

Determine 13: Procmon logs 

To validate this, Registry was analysed and all of the adjustments had been discovered there. The adjustments in Registry had been discovered to be in actual order as of Procmon logs. In Home windows, the registry is a hierarchical database that shops configuration settings and choices for the working system, in addition to for functions and units. It’s used to retailer details about the {hardware}, software program, person preferences, and system settings on a Home windows laptop. Following keys are added underneath Actual-Time Safety: 

  • DisableBehaviourMonitoring 
  • DisableIOAVProtection 
  • DisableOnAccessProtection 
  • DisableRealtimeMonitoring 
  • DisableScanOnRealitimeEnable 

Determine 14: Keys added in Registry 

By doing so malware is limiting all the traditional customers from turning the Home windows Defender on. When attackers disable Home windows Defender via the registry, the change is more likely to persist even when the person or administrator tries to re-enable it via the Home windows Defender settings. This enables the attacker to keep up management over the system for an extended interval. This helps malwares of additional phases to simply execute themselves with none hinderances. This may be leveraged by all of the malwares, no matter their correspondence to this very marketing campaign. 

Stage 4: Evaluation of vona.exe 

Vona.exe, a variant of the Amadey malware household, is compiled in C/C++ and is 236 KB in dimension. That is the final file to be executed from the present cluster.  When executed, a extremely intensive course of tree shortly appeared. 

Determine 15: Course of tree of vona.exe 


Stage 5: Evaluation of mnolyk.exe 

An instantaneous youngster strategy of vona.exe is mnolyk.exe, one other Amadey element, is dropped in a folder in TEMP folder. 


Determine 16: mnolyk.exe dropped in TEMP folder 

Mnolyk.exe makes lively connections to IP addresses and 

Malicious DLLs are downloaded from, that are executed later within the marketing campaign. The goal was made to seek for two completely different DLLs, particularly cred.dll and clip.dll. 

Determine 17: Malicious dlls downloaded 


From, numerous exe recordsdata are downloaded to the TEMP folder, and later executed. Exes downloaded are: 


Determine 18: fuka.exe 



Determine 19: nikas.exe 


Determine 20: igla.exe 


Determine 21: nocr.exe 


Determine 22: lebro.exe 


Following the execution of mnolyk.exe, a sequence of schtasks.exe and cacls.exe had been executed. 

The command line for schtasks.exe is “C:WindowsSystem32schtasks.exe” /Create /SC MINUTE /MO 1 /TN mnolyk.exe /TR “C:UserstestAppDataLocalTemp5eb6b96734mnolyk.exe” /F 

  • “/Create” – That is the command to create a brand new scheduled process. 
  • “/SC MINUTE” – This parameter units the scheduling interval for the duty to “MINUTE”. The duty will run each minute. 
  • “/MO 1” – This parameter units the repeat depend to “1”. The duty will run solely as soon as. 
  • “/TN” – This parameter specifies the title of the duty. The title must be specified after the “/TN” parameter. 

So, your complete command line “schtasks.exe /Create /SC MINUTE /MO 1 /TN” would create a scheduled process that runs as soon as each minute. The title of the duty specified is the trail to mnolyk.exe. 


There have been a number of situations of cacls.exe created. One in every of them is defined right here together with its parameter. The command line is “CACLS  ”mnolyk.exe” /P “take a look at:R” /E” 

  • “CACLS” – That is the command to alter the ACL of a file. 
  • “mnolyk.exe” – That is the file for which the ACL will likely be modified. 
  • “/P take a look at:R” – This parameter specifies the permission change for a person named “take a look at”. The “:R” on the finish signifies that the “take a look at” person will likely be granted “Learn” permission. 
  • “/E” – This parameter specifies that the ACL change will likely be made to the file’s efficient ACL. The efficient ACL is the precise set of permissions which are utilized to the file. 

So, your complete command line “CACLS mnolyk.exe /P take a look at:R /E” would grant the “take a look at” person or group “Learn” permission to the “mnolyk.exe” file. Therefore the person “take a look at” can neither write nor delete this file. If instead of “/P take a look at:R”, “/P take a look at:N” was talked about, which is talked about in one of many command line, it could give “None” permission to the person. 


Stage 6: Analyzing fuka.exe, nikas.exe, igla.exe, nocr.exe and lebro.exe 


Fukka.exe, a variant of the Redline Stealer malware household, is 175 KB and is compiled in .NET. The unique title of the file is Samarium.exe. It reveals some community exercise with IP 

Determine 23: Community exercise of fuka.exe 


Nikas.exe is 248 KB executable file compiled in C/C++. It disables computerized updates for Home windows and checks the standing of all of the sub-fields of Actual-Time Safety that had been beforehand modified by mika.exe. No community exercise was discovered throughout replication. 


Igla.exe is 520 KB file, compiled in C/C++. The unique title of the file is WEXTRACT.EXE.MUI. Like we noticed in cydn.exe, this PE has additionally two extra exes packed in its useful resource part, bvPf.exe and cmkmka.exe. As soon as igla.exe is executed, bvPf.exe is executed, adopted by cmkmka.exe. 

Determine 24: RUNPROGRAM attribute in igla.exe 


Determine 25: POSTRUNPROGRAM attribute in igla.exe 



bvPf.exe is 306 KB in dimension and is compiled in C/C++.  The unique filename is nightskywalker.exe. The file is dropped in a folder in TEMP folder of the system. 

The exe has tried connecting to, however server didn’t reply, and no communication occurred. 


cmkmka.exe is 32-bit PE file, 283.5 KB in dimension. It additional launches AppLaunch.exe which communicates to C2. 

It communicates to the IP handle: which is an lively C2 for Redline Stealer and connects to the port 4132. 


Determine 26: Knowledge exfiltration 


The blue-colored content material within the knowledge signifies the data being transmitted from the Command and Management (C2) server, which is offering directions to the malware relating to the precise knowledge that must be retrieved together with their corresponding paths. These paths embody person profiles of various internet browsers, numerous crypto pockets paths, and different associated knowledge. 

As a response, all the info residing on the specified paths is distributed again to the C2 server of the malware. This consists of all of the profiles of various internet browsers, info associated to crypto wallets, and even user-related knowledge from the Home windows working system. This course of permits the C2 server to gather an unlimited quantity of delicate info from the contaminated system, which might be exploited by the attackers for malicious functions. 


Nocr.exe, a element of Redline Stealer, is a 175 KB .NET binary. The unique title of the file is Alary.exe.  It communicates to the IP handle 


Lebro.exe, a element of Amadey, is a 235 KB file, compiled in C/C++. Lebro.exe is chargeable for executing nbveek.exe, which is a subsequent stage of the malware. The file is once more dropped in TEMP folder. 

Determine 27: Dropping one other executable in TEMP folder 

Stage 7: Analyzing nbveek.exe 

The hashes of lebro.exe and nbveek.exe are identical, they’re the identical binaries, therefore it’s Amadey. It’s connecting to IP  


Determine 28: Community exercise of nbveek.exe 


The goal system executes a php file, and the content material of file consists of the command to obtain one other exe known as setupff.exe. This exe is downloaded to the TEMP folder. 

Earlier than setupff.exe is executed, once more the sequence of schtasks.exe and cacls.exe are executed which had been seen beforehand additionally. The identical parameters had been handed for nbveek.exe as they had been for mnolyk.exe. 


Setupff.exe is compiled in C/C++ and is 795 KB.  The file couldn’t execute and threw Home windows error. 

Stage 8: Remaining stage 

Later, one other occasion of setupff.exe was created which additional invokes a number of situations of rundll32.exe. Right here, the 2 dlls downloaded by mnolyk.exe, clip64.dll and cred64.dll, are executed via rundll32.exe. McAfee Labs detects these dlls to be Amadey maware. 

The community exercise reveals the dll to be connecting to This dll once more begins exfiltrating knowledge to C2: 


Determine 29:Knowledge exfiltration 


To conclude, the menace posed by the multi-stage assault that drops the Amadey botnet, and subsequently Redline Stealer, is critical and requires fixed vigilance from each customers and safety professionals. By utilizing the Amadey botnet as a supply mechanism for different malware, attackers can leverage these identical capabilities to evade detection and preserve persistence on contaminated computer systems. They’ll use Amadey to drop a variety of malware, comparable to spyware and adware, ransomware, and trojans, which can be utilized for a wide range of malicious functions, comparable to stealing delicate info, encrypting recordsdata for ransom, or taking management of a pc to be used in a bigger botnet. Our evaluation of varied samples of this assault has revealed that the Amadey botnet distributes malware from a number of households and isn’t restricted to Redline Stealer alone. 

At McAfee, we’re dedicated to offering our prospects with strong and efficient antivirus and anti-malware options that may detect and defend towards threats just like the Amadey botnet and different malware households. Our safety software program makes use of a mix of signature, machine studying, menace intelligence and behavioral-based detection strategies to establish and cease threats earlier than they will trigger harm. 


Indicators of Compromise (IOCs): 

File Sort  SHA-256  Product  Detection 
.exe  80fed7cd4c7d7cb0c05fe128ced6ab2b9b3d7f03edcf5ef532c8236f00ee7376  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  Downloader-FCND
.exe  d8e9b2d3afd0eab91f94e1a1a1a0a97aa2974225f4f086a66e76dbf4b705a800  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  PWS-FDON
.exe  1d51e0964268b35afb43320513ad9837ec6b1c0bd0e56065ead5d99b385967b5  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  Lockbit-FSWW 
.exe  850cd190aaeebcf1505674d97f51756f325e650320eaf76785d954223a9bee38  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  PWS-FDON 
.exe  6cbcf0bb90ae767a8c554cdfa90723e6b1127e98cfa19a2259dd57813d27e116  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  Downloader-FCND 
.exe  6cbcf0bb90ae767a8c554cdfa90723e6b1127e98cfa19a2259dd57813d27e116  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  Downloader-FCND 
.exe  8020580744f6861a611e99ba17e92751499e4b0f013d66a103fb38c5f256bbb2  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  AgentTesla-FCYU 
.exe  021ae2fadbc8bc4e83013de03902e6e97c2815ab821adaa58037e562a6b2357b  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  Lockbit-FSWW 
.exe  aab1460440bee10e2efec9b5c83ea20ed85e7a17d4ed3b4a19341148255d54b1  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  Lockbit-FSWW 
.exe  54ce28a037eea87448e65bc25f8d3a38ddd4b4679516cc59899b77150aa46fcc  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  GenericRXVK-HF 
.exe  0cca99711baf600eb030bbfcf279faf74c564084e733df3d9e98bea3e4e2f45f  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  AgentTesla-FCYU 
.exe  ad1d5475d737c09e3c48f7996cd407c992c1bb5601bcc6c6287eb80cde3d852b  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  Downloader-FCND 
.exe  ad1d5475d737c09e3c48f7996cd407c992c1bb5601bcc6c6287eb80cde3d852b  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  Downloader-FCND 
.exe  d40d2bfa9fcbf980f76ce224ab6037ebd2b081cb518fa65b8e208f84bc155e41  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  GenericRXVJ-QP 
.dll  cdd4072239d8a62bf134e9884ef2829d831efaf3f6f7f71b7266af29df145dd0  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  PWS-FDOE 
.dll  10ee53988bcfbb4bb9c8928ea96c4268bd64b9dfd1f28c6233185e695434d2f8  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  Trojan-FUUW 
.dll  3492ed949b0d1cbd720eae940d122d6a791df098506c24517da0cc149089f405  Whole Safety and LiveSafe  Trojan-FUUW 


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