Home Security New RAT spread through macros in Microsoft Word documents
New RAT spread through macros in Microsoft Word documents Courtesy Proofpoint

A new remote access trojan named Parasite HTTP uses macros in Microsoft Word documents to spread and is modular, allowing for the addition of new capabilities.

Researchers from security firm ProofPoint said Parasite HTTP was a professionally coded modular remote administration tool for Windows written in C. It had no dependencies apart from the operating system itself.

They said the malware had an impressive number of techniques for sandbox detection, anti-debugging, anti-emulation and other protections.

Uptil now, the malware had only been observed in a single email campaign with the intended recipients being in the IT, healthcare and retail industries.

The message that arrived purported to be a resume with the following subjects: advertised position, would like to apply, or application. The attachments had names like my_cv.doc, resume_.doc, cvnew.doc, cv.doc and new_resume.doc.

word doc parasite http

A Word document used to spread Parasite HTTP.

Parasite HTTP was being advertised on an underground forum, Proofpoint said. The plugins advertised were for:

  • User management;
  • Browser password recovery;
  • FTP password recovery;
  • IM password recovery;
  • Email password recovery;
  • Windows licence keys recovery;
  • Hidden VNC; and
  • Reverse Socks5 proxy.

"Threat actors and malware authors continuously innovate in their efforts to evade defences and improve infection rates," Proofpoint said.

"Parasite HTTP provides numerous examples of state-of-the-art techniques used to avoid detection in sandboxes and via automated anti-malware systems.

"For consumers, organisations, and defenders, this represents the latest escalation in an ongoing malware arms race that extends even to commodity malware like Parasite.

"While we have currently only observed Parasite HTTP in a small campaign, we expect to see features like those used in Parasite continue to propagate across other malware variants."

Screenshots: courtesy Proofpoint


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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