Tampering with Digitally Signed VBA Projects

TL;DR Macro code in Office documents can be digitally signed, and Office can be configured to restrict macro execution to digitally signed documents. We found a method to alter digitally signed VBA projects to execute our own, arbitrary code under the right conditions, without invalidating the digital signature. When we recommend clients to harden their […]

Evidence of VBA Purging Found in Malicious Documents

TL;DR We have found malicious Office documents containing VBA source code only, and no compiled code. Documents like these are more likely to evade anti-virus detection due to a technique we dubbed “VBA Purging”. VBA Purging techniqueMalicious MS Office documents leveraging VBA, have their VBA code stored inside streams of Compound File Binary Format files. […]

Analyzing a Malicious Spreadsheet Dropping a DLL

Introduction This week, we received a suspicious spreadsheet which was used as a malware dropper in a phishing campaign. The spreadsheet writes a DLL file to disk and subsequently executes it. In this blog post, we perform the full analysis of the suspicious spreadsheet. Analyzing the document The analysis of this Excel file starts with […]

Malicious SYLK Files with MS Excel 4.0 Macros

Since about a week, we are seeing an increase of SYLK files submitted to VirusTotal. A SYLK file (SYmbolic LinK) is a pure text file format used to store Excel spreadsheets with extension .slk. Although SYLK files can’t contain VBA macros, they can still contain executable code, for example DDE commands or MS Excel 4.0 […]

Shortcomings of blacklisting in Adobe Reader and what you can do about it

A variation of a class of malicious PDFs appeared in the wild. In this blog post, we will show you how to protect your systems and how to analyze these PDFs. The PDFs embed a file type with extension .SettingContent-ms that can be used on Windows 10 to execute arbitrary code. We have observed on […]

Extracting a Windows Zero-Day from an Adobe Reader Zero-Day PDF

In May 2018, when ESET published a blog post covering PDFs with 2 zero days, our interest was immediately piqued. Promptly after our analysis of these PDFs, we send out an early warning to our customers. Now that Microsoft published a blog post with the detailed analysis of the zero days, we find it appropriate […]

YARA DDE rules: DDE Command Execution observed in-the-wild

The MS Office DDE YARA rules that we published yesterday detected several malicious documents samples since 10/10/2017. Remark: the malicious samples we mention were detected with our DDEAUTO rule (Office_DDEAUTO_field); as we feared, the second rule (Office_DDE_field) is generating some false positives and we will update it. The firstĀ sampleĀ uses PowerShell to download an executableĀ and run […]