Rovnix.D: the code injection story

Detailed analysis of Rovnix.D reveal updates to the code injection technique employed, allowing multiple injections with a variety of payloads.

Detailed analysis of Rovnix.D reveal updates to the code injection technique employed, allowing multiple injections with a variety of payloads.

In one of my previous blog posts I described the bootkit functionality included in modifications found in new Rovnix.D samples (Rovnix bootkit framework updated). However, further detailed analysis uncovered some interesting updates to the code injection technique employed. During the Rovnix.D code analysis process we found algorithms for multiple code injections with a range of payloads. In previous versions Rovnix worked with a single payload, and the Rovnix developer concentrated on the sales framework for that specific payload. In the new version we see multiple code injections into user-mode processes launched from hidden storage, opening up more ways  in which the botnet can be leased. But right now we aren’t aware of large botnets based on Rovnix.D, and the C&C indicates that the number of currently active bots is 8,417.

This C&C really seems to be much the same as the test panel for Carberp versions with bootkit functionality (Evolution of Win32/Carberp: going deeper). The small numbers of active bots suggest that the botmaster is not currently using an effective scheme for distributing the new Rovnix.D modification, and may be searching for a buyer or testing the botnet for future leasing. The communication interface with infected machines has two options: one to update the configuration file, and one to send a new payload to an infected machine. In the control panel this functionality is displayed like this:

The control panel interface seems basic and even incomplete, because at this moment only minimum functionality for controlling bots has been implemented. In the next part of this blog I am going deeper into technical details with code injection process.

Code injection technique

The structure of _PAYLOAD_CONFIGURATION_BLOCK has already been described in one of our previous publications about the Rovnix bootkit (Rovnix Reloaded: new step of evolution). The payload configuration block is stored in the malicious driver module right after the section header. In Rovnix.D the marker for the beginning of payload configuration block was changed from JFA to JF .


[Rovnix.D variant (left)  and Rovnix.B variant (right)]

Before the injection of a new or additional payload, as the first step the malicious driver parses the payload configuration block. The code for this action looks like this:

The full call graph for extracting the payload routine from the malicious driver is presented here:

 The ExtractPayloads() routine extracts the payload after driver initialization stage, but itworks with an encrypted payload already stored in the malicious driver. Rovnix.D is able to downloading other payloads and install them into hidden storage for multiple injections into user-mode processes.



A list of payloads for injection is kept in the configuration file INJECTS.SYS, itself in the hidden storage partition. The current version of the malicious driver sees the release of support for a full cycle of operations using the hidden file system (FAT16 modification):

  • Create file
  • Read/Write file
  • Request file information (size, time of creation and etc)
  • Request file access information

At this moment functionality for working with directories is not supported and always returns the status STATUS_NOT_IMPLEMENTED.

The payload can send requests to the malicious driver using the DeviceIoControl() function with the following codes:

  • 0x8E040 request information about file system
  • 0x8E0C0 add new payload to hidden storage
  • 0x8E100 add/delete inject of payload to/from context of active user-mode process
  • 0x8E080 execute other malicious driver from hidden storage

The reconstructed  double-linked list with payloads has a  structure like this:

For payload injection, mechanisms are used based on a queue of asynchronous procedure calls and looking at the list of payloads when creating a new process (code injection technique based on PsSetCreateProcessNotifyRoutine() callback). A call graph of functions in the process injection workflow is presented in this flow graph:

The code of function QueueAPC()decompiled from the malicious driver looks like this:

So the malicious payload can communicate with kernel-mode components and send the buffers with new components to the hidden file storage for the following injection into user-mode processes or for loading a new unsigned driver.

Decompiled code for implementing code injection via themalicious driver using the buffer received from the user-mode payload looks like this:

The algorithm for injection can check names of processes for the injection to follow and uses different process names for the injection of different payloads.

Rovnix is a really interesting bootkit and this is not the end of the story. We continue to track new samples and to reverse-engineer Rovnix components. Eugene Rodionov and I will be disclosing more details in September, in our presentation Defeating anti-forensics in contemporary complex threats at the 2012 Virus Bulletin conference at Dallas.

Special thanks to my colleague Maxim Grigoryev.

Aleksandr Matrosov, Security Intelligence Team Lead

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