Agent Tesla Malware Spotted Using New Delivery & Evasion Techniques

Security researchers on Tuesday uncovered new supply and evasion procedures adopted by Agent Tesla distant accessibility trojan (RAT) to get all-around defense obstacles and watch its victims.

Commonly distribute through social engineering lures, the Windows adware not only now targets Microsoft’s Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) in an endeavor to defeat endpoint security program, it also employs a multi-phase installation procedure and can make use of Tor and Telegram messaging API to connect with a command-and-control (C2) server.

Cybersecurity company Sophos, which observed two variations of Agent Tesla — version 2 and edition 3 — at present in the wild, claimed the alterations are nevertheless one more indicator of Agent Tesla’s continual evolution designed to make a sandbox and static examination far more challenging.

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“The variations we see in between v2 and v3 of Agent Tesla appear to be targeted on strengthening the good results price of the malware in opposition to sandbox defenses and malware scanners, and on offering extra C2 possibilities to their attacker buyers,” Sophos researchers famous.

A .Internet dependent keylogger and facts stealer, Agent Tesla has been deployed in a variety of assaults because late 2014, with supplemental functions included in excess of time that will allow it to check and collect the victim’s keyboard enter, choose screenshots, and exfiltrate qualifications belonging to a assortment of software such as VPN clientele, FTP and e-mail consumers, and world-wide-web browsers.

Very last May, during the peak of the pandemic, a variant of the malware was located to unfold via COVID-themed spam campaigns to steal Wi-Fi passwords alongside other facts – these as Outlook electronic mail credentials – from concentrate on devices.

Then in August 2020, the next variation of Agent Malware elevated the range of applications focused for credential theft to 55, the effects of which were then transmitted to an attacker-controlled server via SMTP or FTP.

While the use of SMTP to send data to a mail server managed by the attacker was noticed way back in 2018, 1 of the new variations recognized by Sophos was also uncovered to leverage Tor proxy for HTTP communications and messaging app Telegram’s API to relay the information to a non-public chat room.

In addition to this, Agent Tesla now makes an attempt to modify code in AMSI in a bid to skip scans of destructive payloads fetched by the first-stage downloader, which then grabs obfuscated foundation64-encoded code from Pastebin (or Hastebin) that functions as the loader for the Agent Tesla malware.

AMSI is an interface typical that lets applications and companies to be built-in with any current antimalware solution which is current on a Windows equipment.

Additionally, to reach persistence, the malware copies by itself to a folder and sets that folder’s attributes to “Hidden” and “Procedure” in get to conceal it from watch in Home windows Explorer, the researchers spelled out.

“The most popular delivery method for Agent Tesla is malicious spam,” Sophos threat researchers Sean Gallagher and Markel Picado explained.

“The email accounts used to spread Agent Tesla are generally legitimate accounts that have been compromised. Corporations and men and women need to, as usually, handle email attachments from mysterious senders with caution, and validate attachments in advance of opening them.”

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