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Without doubt, one of the hottest and most stressful regions on the planet currently is Eastern Europe. The military conflict that has been ongoing for more than 4 months has unfortunately claimed many victims and is fueling an economic and food crisis in several nations spanning across the globe. This far reaching tension also bleeds into cyberspace.

The tools used by threat actors aimed at Ukraine and neighboring countries are constantly changing. In many cases, the context of successful attacks is the use of documents in email attachments. We will consider some of the novelties of attackers that target Ukrainian government organizations. When these tools shattered like grains of sand, we named it GlowSand.

The first document, the analysis of which we would like to provide, we discovered on June 25 in InQuest Labs.

File TypeOffice Open XML document
Sha 256 a93ff0e6c42aa3f011a53108dc9b224dc85d9e0930f81e3b3010801089126e4e 

When the document is opened, the user will receive the following table, appearing to be a military payroll.

Figure 1: File Content

Payroll allegedly intended for military unit A4267, which is a real military unit which is located in the west of Ukraine. Detection on VirusTotal is very shallow. 

Figure 2: VirusTotal Detection
Figure 3: External Relationship

The image shows that the document contains the download address of the further payload. The malware download server is configured in such a way that it only allows downloading files for Ukrainian IP addresses.


With the right client setup, we were able to get 4 files.

File TypeOffice Open XML document
sha 2561a1ac565ba08ac51eb6ef27d0fe47a03372112f476ad3008f6ead30dbdcee565
File TypeOffice Open XML document
sha 2566c1799a8141219b8933cdee57b27dfbf2561e48c3e4ec77ead685330e9c8aa23
File TypeOffice Open XML document
Sha 256c9939f994e25e1e935f101ee8bc4ce033aad8bea96d192dc700deb1d04ef7c66
File TypeOffice Open XML document

After loading one of these files, the first stage document starts the next stage. We noticed that the payload changes every few hours. We were able to find one such shift. In total, we were able to obtain 3 document files.

Figure 4: Malicous Macro

The obfuscated macro is decoded at runtime and is divided into two parts. The first part creates a file in the directory “C:\Users\Admin\deprive.pdf”  This file shows extremely low VirusTotal detection at the time of analysis.

Figure 5: Deprive.pdf VT Detection
File TypeJava Script
Sha 2566e7e381a1f7c739e4961957c1984b9eb8c0dee6cf7f15cd0a35c129d1147b013
Figure 6: Part 1 Deobfuscated

This code creates a new task in Task Scheduler called “HotStart”; and every 5 minutes will run the script  “C:\Users\Admin\deprive.pdf”. Thus, the attacker has achieved persistence on the target host.                      

Figure 7: Part 2 Deobfuscated

With a request txxp://[.]ru?fields=query The script gets the IP address of the domain. 


Next, the following data is sent to the remote server.


If the threat actors are interested in the system on which they were able to execute this code, they will later send further code to deploy the infrastructure.

>The actor constantly changes their tools to either low detection or lightweight recon of system information before retrieving the main payload. This is clearly seen in the following .lnk file.

File Type.lnk file
Sha 256d965892ede4f74fa62248b381160ed6f0cd9158bf4788de40b57815f9108bc15 

A file containing a link to hxxp://a0681546.xsph[.]ru/death/quickly.xml  launches when the file is opened.  The server on which this quickly.xml is located is also configured in such a way that it responds to requests with Ukrainian IP addresses.

Figure 8: quickly.xml

The next-stage payload retrieved from hxxp://zvonishu[.]ru/get.php is geofenced to deliver only to Ukrainian based systems. This domain is less than a month old and was created on 2022-05-25 and currently hosted on IP 95.179.216[.]77. Pivoting via reverse DNS we’re able to identify the following likely related and also recently registered domains: 

akashito[.]ru 2022-05-18
bilitora[.]ru 2022-02-28
billyhot[.]ru 2022-02-28
bilotrast[.]ru 2022-06-05
dodortar[.]ru 2022-02-28
dogvilla[.]ru 2022-04-29
fingerso[.]ru 2022-05-26
ginyou[.]ru 2022-05-20
hikortaf[.]ru 2022-02-28
hitmomas[.]ru 2022-05-20
kopratiso[.]ru 2022-02-28
kudrashi[.]ru 2022-05-18
migrotu[.]ru 2022-05-26
milotraf[.]ru 2022-04-29
mitlight[.]ru 2022-05-20
nikotod[.]ru 2022-04-14
nitikora[.]ru 2022-02-28
qiwardos[.]ru 2022-02-28
vosemart[.]ru 2022-05-20
zvonishu[.]ru 2022-05-26

The next-stage payload takes a screenshot and gathers identifying machine information to post back to the same server and assuming conditions are met, downloads the next stage of the malware:

Figure 9: System Enumeration

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