SecurityXploded Blog

Malicious binary abusing Maths sin function

Couple of days ago one of my friend sent me a malicious binary. The binary was using an interesting technique for self decryption and execution. The technique itself is not new and not widely known because of its dependency on the operating system but it was interesting to see how it was executing its payload.

When I passed the exe to ExeScan, I got the following information.

As you can see in the image, ExeScan reports that the binary is armadillo packed but I am not sure because I have not seen such type of stuff in armadillo packer or maybe I am missing some versions of armadillo. Any way lets proceed to analysis.

When I opened the binary in IDA, I saw that there are only two functions and just four or five API calls. You can see the same in the picture below.


Both functions are relatively small and one of the functions is using a loop in which it is calling maths sin function. So it is a clear indication that at some point binary will execute its payload through sin function. The loop is very big and manually it will take hours to reach the execution point. I kept the tracing for 1 hour and didn’t get anything. So it is sure that there is some magic value for the sin function that will lead us to payload execution. I hooked the sin function to get the magic parameter, let the binary run and note down the last argument to sin function and exactly that argument will be our magic value because after that execution goes somewhere else instead of returning to the big loop.

Hooking Code:

Now we know the magic value (7FF0059A) but we don’t know how it is executing its payload. If we pass the magic value to the sin function and follow the execution inside the sin function then at some point we will see the following code.

77C550D5                     56                      PUSH ESI
77C550D6                     E8 D585FFFF             CALL msvcrt.77C4D6B0 
77C550DB                     85C0                    TEST EAX,EAX
77C550DD                     59                      POP ECX
77C550DE                     75 08                   JNZ SHORT msvcrt.77C550E8
77C4D6B0                     8BFF                    MOV EDI,EDI        ; sample.004021D0
77C4D6B2                     55                      PUSH EBP
77C4D6B3                     8BEC                    MOV EBP,ESP
77C4D6B5                     A1 DC23C677             MOV EAX,DWORD PTR DS:[77C623DC]    
77C4D6BA                     85C0                    TEST EAX,EAX
77C4D6BC                     74 03                   JE SHORT msvcrt.77C4D6C1
77C4D6BE                     5D                      POP EBP
77C4D6BF                   - FFE0                    JMP EAX             
77C4D6C1                     33C0                    XOR EAX,EAX
77C4D6C3                     5D                      POP EBP
77C4D6C4                     C3                      RETN

From the above code we see the following important information:

77C550D6                     E8 D585FFFF                   CALL msvcrt.77C4D6B0

Inside function (77C4D6B0) we see an interesting instruction

77C4D6B5                     A1 DC23C677                   MOV EAX,DWORD PTR DS:[77C623DC]

77C623DC is a static pointer and the instruction is moving value at the pointer into EAX register and after few instructions we see the following instruction.

77C4D6BF                   - FFE0                          JMP EAX

So it means before coming to this function our binary is also setting the static pointer (77C623DC) with its desired address then above instruction transfer the execution to that address.

If we look into the main function of the binary, we see the following instructions:

0040169E                  .  68 80174000                 PUSH sample.00401780
004016A3                  .  FF15 EC204000               CALL DWORD PTR DS:[<&msvcrt.__setusermatherr>

So actually “setusermatherr” function is capable of setting the static pointer (77C623DC) with the desired value. we can see the same in picture below.

In the case of our binary it will set the value at static pointer with 00401780 address.(argument to setusermatherr).

After that normal malware stuff starts which I am not interested in :).

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