labs

September 2021

Protecting an organization from today's cyber threats is not a simple but rather extensive task. The threat landscape is constantly changing, requiring a flexible approach to defense. The threats, techniques, and vulnerabilities that cybercriminals exploit may be unknown to organizations that provide protection to their users. This is a prime example of the exploitation of a critical vulnerability. An exploit that was found in the wild.
Microsoft MSHTML Remote Code Execution Vulnerability As we roll into autumn and the season changes, so does the threat landscape. The emergence of new CVE signals another arms race with both sides vying for effectively leveraging the exploit and understanding how to mitigate the effects respectively.

August 2021

The Trystero Project The "Trystero Project" is our code name for an experiment that we're actively conducting to measure the security efficacy of the two largest mail providers, Google (Workspace, aka GSuite) and Microsoft (O365), against real-world emerging malware. The name and icons are sourced from Crying of Lot 49, a novel written by American author Thomas Pynchon and published in 1965. Why e-mail security?

July 2021

Email-borne pathogens frequently commence with the inclusion of a malicious document. This long-running trend continues to pose a serious threat to the security of organizations and users. Criminals are constantly improving their methods and looking for new ways to compromise victims. Payload trends change over time, with Ransomware being one that is capturing many headlines.

June 2021

A few days ago, we found an interesting document in the wild that aims to download spyware applications. The sample in question shows low detection rates across multiple antivirus engines, which rouses our suspicion. The email containing the attachment document was allegedly sent from a logistics campaign.

April 2021

It's no secret that today, targeted attacks and phishing attacks are the primary means of spreading malware. The purpose of which is to collect user data, theft banking data, and espionage. Threat Actors are constantly working to improve the tools they use. In this article, I will try to show you how the Hanictor group is improving their toolbox.

March 2021

What we all need now and again is some exciting news, and since we have some, we wanted to make an article to share it! Earlier this month, our friends at Abuse.ch officially announced in a tweet that their MalwareBazaar project has integrated with InQuest’s Deep File Inspection (DFI) analysis stack.

February 2021

The staff at InQuest have been busy running a variety of different research experiments in the realm of bleeding-edge maldoc discovery to ensure the efficacy of detection for our customers and generate threat intelligence. One such experiment is our Twitter bot that tweets about malicious stage-2 RTFs referenced from documents found within the InQuest Labs Corpus. Another additional research project includes the mass curation and password cracking attempts of encrypted files.

November 2020

To validate an e-mail security stack's capability in blocking current real-world threats harvested from the wild, InQuest gathers unique malware daily and validates the common cloud e-mail providers (GSuite, O365). Collectively (stacked on top of one another), the providers' default security stacks are capable of detecting between 85% and 95% of these novel attacks. The samples capable of bypassing these stacks are candidates for the InQuest Email Security Assessment.

September 2020

InQuest Labs is one year old! Let's take a look at how the site has grown over the last year, the new API documentation, and what's in store for the future of Labs!

July 2020

While we come across fresh and evasive document carriers on a regular basis, it's not every day we see one with great polish. On July 20th we broke down the individual components of a malicious Office document and drove some collaboration within the Twitter Thread.

June 2020

So you want to add a little spice to your indicators of compromise. After all, an IoC without context or attribution is very much like when you learn what hot is. There are many tools available for us to determine how “hot” an IoC is without burning ourselves. We will be focusing mainly on what we can access publicly and use for free.

May 2020

Beyond the capability of identifying, extracting, and exposing malicious content from hundreds of file types. InQuest Deep File Inspection (DFI) utilizes machine vision and optical character recognition (OCR) to identify the social engineering component of a variety of malware lures. This is one of the myriads of techniques that we employ to detect novel malware that may leverage previous unseen pivots.

March 2020

In this quick, end of the week post, we wanted to touch on the ubiquitous COVID-19 (aka Corona Virus). Sharing an interesting lure, related malware, and some IOCs for colleagues to dig into while society on a whole is relegated to solitude in our homes. Our posting here is in no way comprehensive. There is a myriad of malware campaigns, disinformation operations, and general scamming revolving around the very concerning topic. Our goal is to further awareness and share some knowledge in the process.

October 2019

Earlier this year, we here at InQuest launched our new InQuest Labs data portal. Labs is an amazing resource, with a plethora of useful tools and intelligence offerings. Much could be written about the site, and much has been...but not about this part right here: Base64 Regular Expression Generator.

September 2019

Introduction In this blog, we discuss Adobe Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) identifiers (IDs) and how they can be used as both pivot and detection anchors. Defined as a standard for mapping graphical asset relationships, XMP allows for tracking of both parent-child relationships and individual revisions. There are three categories of identifiers: original document, document, and instance.

August 2019

InQuest has just released a new analysis suite for the researcher and hobbyist. Welcome to InQuest Labs! Our CTO, Pedram Amini, presented Worm Charming: Harvesting Malware Lures for Fun and Profit at Blackhat USA 2019. During this talk, Pedram detailed the harvesting mechanism that drives the DFI portion of InQuest Labs. Capable of ingesting malware at scale, samples are fed through a lightweight and less featured version of Deep File Inspection to extract embedded logic, semantic content, metadata, and IOCs such as URLs, domains, IPs, e-mails, and file names.