Office Document & BASE64? PowerShell!

Published: 2019-05-28
Last Updated: 2019-05-28 19:12:43 UTC
by Didier Stevens (Version: 1)
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Nowadays, when you analyze a Word document with VBA macros, and you find BASE64 strings, 99/100 it's PowerShell malware.

A reader submitted a malware sample, and her/his analysis, asking for some shortcuts/quick tips.

Taking a quick look at the sample with gives me this output:

First, it's clear that this Word document contains VBA macros (M/m indicators).

And when I see streams that hint to forms and/or objects (stream 17 to 25), I take a closer look, because often the real payload is hidden there. First I focus on the largest stream of these streams: stream 20 in this case.

And indeed, I see a long string that looks like BASE64 encoded UNICODE. Most likely a PowerShell script.

I have a couple of options to extract this string. Like using option -S to extract strings:

Or piping this into

That can also do the decoding:

You can find the reader's analysis here.

Didier Stevens
Senior handler
Microsoft MVP

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