Malware obfuscation techniques: four simple examples

Malware using obfuscation to avoid detection, and the possibilities are quite endless

Obfuscation is a technique that makes binary and textual data unreadable and/or hard to understand.
Software developers sometimes employ obfuscation techniques because they don’t want their programs being reverse-engineered or pirated.

Continue reading “Malware obfuscation techniques: four simple examples”

Mimikatz: a swiss-army knife for Windows credential gathering

Really useful for penetration testing purposes!

If a program has been written in order to keep in memory some credentials in clear text, this can be a security risk.

When you make a security assessment, it will be useful a tool that scans processes memory searching for cleartext passwords, like Mimikatz, a tool written by Benjamin Delpy and Vincent Le Toux.

Mimikatz supports both Windows 32-bit and 64-bit and allows you to gather various credential types, using various techniques:

mimikatz is a tool I’ve made to learn C and make somes experiments with Windows security.

It’s well known to extract plaintexts passwords, hash, PIN code and kerberos tickets from memory.
mimikatz can also perform pass-the-hash, pass-the-ticket, build Golden tickets, play with certificates or private keys, vault, … maybe make coffee?


  • Dump credentials from LSASS (Windows Local Security Account database)
  • MSV1.0: hashes & keys (dpapi)
  • Kerberos password, ekeys, tickets, & PIN
  • TsPkg (password)
  • WDigest (clear-text password)
  • LiveSSP (clear-text password)
  • SSP (clear-text password)
  • Generate Kerberos Golden Tickets (Kerberos TGT logon token ticket attack)
  • Generate Kerberos Silver Tickets (Kerberos TGS service ticket attack)
  • Export certificates and keys (even those not normally exportable).
  • Dump cached credentials
  • Stop event monitoring.
  • Bypass Microsoft AppLocker / Software Restriction Polcies
  • Patch Terminal Server
  • Basic GPO bypass

Usage example

An interesting tutorial on Windows OS Hub about the extraction of cleartext credentials from LSASS process:

Yes, two simple commands:

mimikatz # privilege::debug
mimikatz # sekurlsa::logonPasswords full

and also a brief video demo:

Both examples shouldn’t works on system that have installed the KB2871997:

One of the credentials stored by LSASS is the user’s clear-text password. This update prevents every Microsoft SSP in LSASS, besides WDigest, from storing the user’s clear-text password. WDigest still stores the user’s clear-text password because it cannot function without the user’s password (Microsoft does not want to break existing customer setups by shipping an update to disable this).

However, because WDigest (used for credential storage) is used by many products (e.g. IIS), Microsoft left the Wdigest provider enabled which is why mimikatz can still obtain clear text password.
An attacker can simply re-enabling the credential storing in LSASS with this command:

reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Security\Providers\WDigest /v UseLogonCredential /t REG_DWORD /d 1

(Obviously must be run as an administrator, but if you are using mimikatz is assumed that the privileges have been already gained!)

More information and downloads

Malware analysis, my own list of tools and resources

A constantly updated list — Last update: August 2, 2018

During my daily activities of analysis and research, often I discover new useful tools.
I collected them in this list (periodically updated).



  • AnalyzePE — Wrapper for a variety of tools for reporting on Windows PE files.
  • chkrootkit — Linux rootkit detector.
  • Rootkit Hunter — Detect Linux rootkits.
  • Detect-It-Easy — A program for determining types of files.
  • hashdeep — Compute digest hashes with a variety of algorithms.
  • Loki — Host based scanner for IOCs.
  • MASTIFF — Static analysis framework.
  • MultiScanner — Modular file scanning/analysis framework
  • nsrllookup — A tool for looking up hashes in NIST’s National Software Reference Library database.
  • PEV — A multiplatform toolkit to work with PE files, providing feature-rich tools for proper analysis of suspicious binaries.
  • — Python script for searching in database.
  • TrID — File identifier.
  • YARA — Pattern matching tool for analysts.

Online scanners and sandboxes

  • NVISO ApkScan — Dynamic analysis of APKs
  • APK Analyzer — Dynamic analysis of APKs
  • AndroTotal — Online analysis of APKs against multiple mobile antivirus apps
  • AVCaesar —Online scanner and malware repository
  • Cryptam — Analyze suspicious office documents
  • Cuckoo Sandbox — Open source sandbox and automated analysis system
  • Malwr — Free analysis with an online Cuckoo Sandbox instance
  • DeepViz — Multi-format file analyzer with machine-learning classification
  • detux — A sandbox developed to do traffic analysis of Linux malwares and capturing IOCs
  • Document Analyzer — Analysis of DOC and PDF files
  • DRAKVUF — Dynamic malware analysis system.
  • File Analyzer — Free dynamic analysis of PE files
  • — Unpacks, scans and analyzes firmware packages
  • Hybrid Analysis — Online malware analysis tool
  • IRMA — An asynchronous and customizable analysis platform for suspicious files
  • Joe Sandbox — Deep malware analysis.
  • Jotti — Online AV scanner
  • Limon — Sandbox for Analyzing Linux Malwares
  • Malheur — Automatic sandboxed analysis of malware behavior
  • MASTIFF Online — Online static malware analysis
  • — Scan a file, hash or IP address for malware
  • PDF Examiner — Analyse suspicious PDF files
  • SEE — “Sandboxed Execution Environment”, a framework for building test automation in secured environments
  • URL Analyzer — Dynamic analysis of URL files
  • VirusTotal — Online analysis of malware samples and URLs
  • NoDistribute — Scan files with over 35 anti-viruses.
    The results of the scans are never distributed.


  • Balbuzard — Analysis tool for reversing obfuscation
  • de4dot — .NET deobfuscator and unpacker
  • FLOSS — Tool to automatically deobfuscate strings from malware binaries
  • NoMoreXOR — Guess a 256 byte XOR key using frequency analysis
  • PackerAttacker — Hidden code extractor for Windows malware
  • unpacker — Automated malware unpacker for Windows malware
  • unxor — Guess XOR keys using known-plaintext attacks
  • VirtualDeobfuscator — Reverse engineering tool for virtualization wrappers
  • JS Beautifier — JavaScript unpacking and deobfuscation
  • JS Deobfuscator — Deobfuscation tool for Javascript
  • XORBruteForcer — A Python script for brute forcing single-byte XOR keys

Reverse Engineering and Debugging

  • angr — Platform-agnostic binary analysis framework
  • bamfdetect — Identifies and extracts information from bots and malware
  • BARF — Open source multiplatform Binary Analysis and Reverse engineering Framework.
  • binnavi — Binary analysis IDE for reverse engineering
  • Capstone — Disassembly framework for binary analysis and reversing
  • codebro — Web based code browser with basic code analysis.
  • dnSpy — .NET assembly editor, decompiler and debugger
  • Evan’s Debugger (EDB) — Modular debugger with a Qt GUI
  • Fibratus — Windows kernel exploration and tracing tool
  • GDB — The GNU debugger
  • GEF — GDB Enhanced Features, for exploiters and reverse engineers
  • hackers-grep — Uility to search for strings in PE executables
  • IDA Pro — Windows disassembler and debugger
  • Immunity Debugger — Debugger for malware analysis
  • ltrace — Dynamic analysis tool for Linux executables
  • strace — Dynamic analysis tool for Linux executables
  • objdump — Static analysis tool for Linux binaries
  • OllyDbg — Debugger for Windows executables
  • PANDA — Platform for Architecture-Neutral Dynamic Analysis
  • PEDA — Python Exploit Development Assistance for GDB
  • pestudio —Static analysis tool for Windows executables
  • plasma — Interactive disassembler for x86/ARM/MIPS
  • PPEE (puppy) — PE file inspector.
  • Process Monitor — Advanced monitoring tool for Windows programs
  • Pyew — Python tool for malware analysis
  • Rdare2 — Reverse engineering framework
  • ROPMEMU — Framework to analyze, dissect and decompile complex code-reuse attacks
  • SMRT — Sublime Malware Research Tool, a plugin for Sublime Text 3 focused on malware analyis.
  • Triton — A dynamic binary analysis (DBA) framework
  • Udis86 — Disassembler library and tools
  • Vivisect — Python tool for malware analysis
  • X64dbg — Debugger for windows

Memory Forensics

  • Volatility — Advanced memory forensics framework.
  • DAMM — Differential Analysis of Malware in Memory, built on Volatility
  • evolve — Web interface for the Volatility Memory Forensics Framework
  • FindAES — Find AES encryption keys in memory
  • Muninn — A script to automate portions of analysis using Volatility, and create a readable report
  • Rekall — Memory analysis framework (from a Volatility fork).
  • TotalRecall — Script based on Volatility for automating various malware analysis tasks
  • WinDbg — Kernel debugger for Windows systems

Packet Analysis

  • PacketTotal — Online engine for analyzing .pcap files and visualizing the network traffic within, useful for malware analysis and incident response. My review
  • NetworkTotal — Online analysis of pcap files to detect viruses, worms, trojans and malware.
  • Network Miner — A Network Forensic Analysis Tool (NFAT) for Windows
  • Wireshark — Widely-used network protocol analyzer.

Website Analysis

  • — Tool to retrieve metadata from websites
  • Dig — Online dig and other network tools
  • dnstwist — Domain name permutation engine for detecting typo squatting, phishing and corporate espionage
  • IPinfo — Gather information about an IP or domain by searching online resources
  • TekDefense Automator — OSINT tool for gathering information about URLs, IPs, or hashes
  • Machinae — OSINT tool for gathering information about URLs, IPs, or hashes
  • mailchecker — Cross-language temporary email detection library
  • SenderBase — Search for IP, domain or network owner
  • SpamCop — IP based spam block list
  • SpamHaus — Block list based on domains and IPs
  • Sucuri SiteCheck — Website Malware and Security Scanner
  • URLQuery — URL Scanner
  • Malzilla — Analyze malicious web pages.
  • Whois — DomainTools free online whois search
  • ZScalar Zulu — Zulu URL Risk Analyzer
  • Firebug — Firefox extension for web development.
  • Java Decompiler — Decompile and inspect Java apps
  • Java IDX Parser — Parses Java IDX cache files
  • JSDetox — JavaScript malware analysis tool
  • jsunpack-n — Javascript unpacker that emulates browser functionality
  • Krakatau — Java decompiler, assembler, and disassembler
  • RABCDAsm — ActionScript Bytecode Disassembler
  • swftools — Adobe Flash decompiler.
  • xxxswf — Analysis tool for Flash files
  • Spidermonkey — Mozilla’s JavaScript engine, for debugging malicious JS
  • PunkSpider — Web application vulnerability search engine. My review


FLOSS: FireEye Labs Obfuscated String Solver — Automatically extract obfuscated strings from…

Malware authors pack their software to resist reverse engineering and enable their operations to survive longer.

However, many features of packing are easy to automatically identify during static or dynamic analysis.

Continue reading “FLOSS: FireEye Labs Obfuscated String Solver — Automatically extract obfuscated strings from…”