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Contents

Network detection methods used
1. Specific network properties
1.1. Check if MAC address is specific
1.2. Check if adapter name is specific
1.3. Check if provider’s name for network shares is specific
2. Check if network belongs to security perimeter
3. NetValidateName result based anti-emulation technique
4. Cuckoo ResultServer connection based anti-emulation technique
Signature recommendations
Countermeasures
Credits


Network detection methods

Evasion techniques in this group are related to network in this or that sense. Either network-related functions are used or network parameters are checked — if they are different from that of usual host OS then virtual environment is likely detected.


1. Specific network properties

Vendors of different virtual environments hard-code some values (MAC address) and names (network adapter) for their products — due to this fact such environments may be detected via checking properties of appropriate objects.


1.1. Check if MAC address is specific

Functions used:

  • GetAdaptersAddresses(AF_UNSPEC, ...)
  • GetAdaptersInfo

Code sample (function GetAdaptersAddresses)

int pafish_check_mac_vendor(char * mac_vendor) {
    unsigned long alist_size = 0, ret;
    ret = GetAdaptersAddresses(AF_UNSPEC, 0, 0, 0, &alist_size);

    if (ret == ERROR_BUFFER_OVERFLOW) {
        IP_ADAPTER_ADDRESSES* palist = (IP_ADAPTER_ADDRESSES*)LocalAlloc(LMEM_ZEROINIT,alist_size);
        void * palist_free = palist;

        if (palist) {
            GetAdaptersAddresses(AF_UNSPEC, 0, 0, palist, &alist_size);
            char mac[6]={0};
            while (palist){
                if (palist->PhysicalAddressLength == 0x6) {
                    memcpy(mac, palist->PhysicalAddress, 0x6);
                    if (!memcmp(mac_vendor, mac, 3)) {  /* First 3 bytes are the same */
                        LocalFree(palist_free);
                        return TRUE;
                    }
                }
                palist = palist->Next;
            }
            LocalFree(palist_free);
        }
    }

    return FALSE;
}

Credits for this code sample: pafish project


Code sample (function GetAdaptersInfo)

BOOL check_mac_addr(TCHAR* szMac)
{
    BOOL bResult = FALSE;
    PIP_ADAPTER_INFO pAdapterInfo;
    ULONG ulOutBufLen = sizeof (IP_ADAPTER_INFO); 
    pAdapterInfo = (PIP_ADAPTER_INFO) MALLOC(sizeof(IP_ADAPTER_INFO));

    if (pAdapterInfo == NULL)
    {
        _tprintf(_T("Error allocating memory needed to call GetAdaptersinfo.\n"));
        return -1;
    }

    // Make an initial call to GetAdaptersInfo to get the necessary size into the ulOutBufLen variable
    if (GetAdaptersInfo(pAdapterInfo, &ulOutBufLen) == ERROR_BUFFER_OVERFLOW) 
    {
        FREE(pAdapterInfo);
        pAdapterInfo = (PIP_ADAPTER_INFO) MALLOC(ulOutBufLen);
        if (pAdapterInfo == NULL) {
            printf("Error allocating memory needed to call GetAdaptersinfo\n");
            return 1;
        }
    }

    // Now, we can call GetAdaptersInfo
    if (GetAdaptersInfo(pAdapterInfo, &ulOutBufLen) == ERROR_SUCCESS)
    {
        // Convert the given mac address to an array of multibyte chars so we can compare.
        CHAR szMacMultiBytes [4];
        for (int i = 0; i < 4; i++) {
            szMacMultiBytes[i] = (CHAR)szMac[i];
        }
        while(pAdapterInfo)
        {
            if (pAdapterInfo->AddressLength == 6 && !memcmp(szMacMultiBytes, pAdapterInfo->Address, 3))
            {
                bResult = TRUE;
                break;
            }
            pAdapterInfo = pAdapterInfo->Next;
        }
    }

    return bResult;
}

Credits for this code sample: al-khaser project


Detections table

Check if MAC address starts from one of the following values:
Detect MAC address starts with Bytes
Parallels 00:1C:42 \x00\x1C\x42
VirtualBox 08:00:27 \x08\x00\x27
VMWare 00:05:69 \x00\x05\x69
00:0C:29 \x00\x0C\x29
00:1C:14 \x00\x1C\x14
00:50:56 \x00\x50\x56
Xen 00:16:E3 \x00\x16\xE3


1.2. Check if adapter name is specific

Functions used:

  • GetAdaptersAddresses(AF_UNSPEC, ...)
  • GetAdaptersInfo

Code sample (function GetAdaptersAddresses)

int pafish_check_adapter_name(char * name) {
    unsigned long alist_size = 0, ret;
    wchar_t aux[1024];

    mbstowcs(aux, name, sizeof(aux)-sizeof(aux[0]));
    ret = GetAdaptersAddresses(AF_UNSPEC, 0, 0, 0, &alist_size);

    if (ret == ERROR_BUFFER_OVERFLOW) {
        IP_ADAPTER_ADDRESSES *palist = (IP_ADAPTER_ADDRESSES *)LocalAlloc(LMEM_ZEROINIT, alist_size);
        void * palist_free = palist;
        if (palist) {
            if (GetAdaptersAddresses(AF_UNSPEC, 0, 0, palist, &alist_size) == ERROR_SUCCESS) {
                while (palist) {
                    if (wcsstr(palist->Description, aux)) {
                        LocalFree(palist_free);
                        return TRUE;
                    }
                    palist = palist->Next;
                }
            }
            LocalFree(palist_free);
        }
    }

    return FALSE;
}

Credits for this code sample: pafish project


Code sample (function GetAdaptersInfo)

BOOL check_adapter_name(TCHAR* szName)
{
    BOOL bResult = FALSE;
    PIP_ADAPTER_INFO pAdapterInfo;
    ULONG ulOutBufLen = sizeof(IP_ADAPTER_INFO);
    pAdapterInfo = (PIP_ADAPTER_INFO)MALLOC(sizeof(IP_ADAPTER_INFO));

    if (pAdapterInfo == NULL)
    {
        _tprintf(_T("Error allocating memory needed to call GetAdaptersinfo.\n"));
        return -1;
    }

    // Make an initial call to GetAdaptersInfo to get the necessary size into the ulOutBufLen variable
    if (GetAdaptersInfo(pAdapterInfo, &ulOutBufLen) == ERROR_BUFFER_OVERFLOW)
    {
        FREE(pAdapterInfo);
        pAdapterInfo = (PIP_ADAPTER_INFO)MALLOC(ulOutBufLen);
        if (pAdapterInfo == NULL) {
            printf("Error allocating memory needed to call GetAdaptersinfo\n");
            return 1;
        }
    }

    if (GetAdaptersInfo(pAdapterInfo, &ulOutBufLen) == ERROR_SUCCESS)
    {
        while (pAdapterInfo)
        {
            if (StrCmpI(ascii_to_wide_str(pAdapterInfo->Description), szName) == 0)
            {
                bResult = TRUE;
                break;
            }
            pAdapterInfo = pAdapterInfo->Next;
        }
    }

    return bResult;
}

Credits for this code sample: al-khaser project


Detections table

Check adapter name to be the following:
Detect Name
VMWare Vmware


1.3. Check if provider's name for network shares is specific

Functions used (see note about native functions):

  • WNetGetProviderName(WNNC_NET_RDR2SAMPLE, ...)

Code sample

int vbox_network_share() {
    unsigned long pnsize = 0x1000;
    char provider[pnsize];

    int retv = WNetGetProviderName(WNNC_NET_RDR2SAMPLE, provider, &pnsize);
    if (retv == NO_ERROR) {
        if (lstrcmpi(provider, "VirtualBox Shared Folders") == 0)
            return TRUE;
        else
            return FALSE;
    }

    return FALSE;
}

Credits for this code sample: pafish project


Detections table

Check provider's name for network shares to be the following:
Detect Name
VirtualBox VirtualBox Shared Folders


2. Check if network belongs to security perimeter

Malware makes a request to https[:]//www.maxmind.com/geoip/v2.1/city/me which normally requires some kind of authentication or API key. To get around this requirement, the malware makes the request look as if it’s coming from the site itself by setting the HTTP Referrer to https[:]//www.maxmind.com/en/locate-my-ip-address and User-Agent to Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/6.0). This trick allows the sample to retrieve the information about IP address of the machine it’s running on.

The response is returned in JSON format and contains information about the country, city, and, most importantly, the organization associated with the IP address. If some “bad” strings are found in the response, malware knows that it’s launched inside some kind of a security perimeter/organization.


Examples


“Bad strings” from malware sample (fixed capitalization):

Amazon
anonymous
BitDefender
BlackOakComputers
Blue Coat
BlueCoat
Cisco
cloud
Data Center
DataCenter
DataCentre
dedicated
ESET, Spol
FireEye
ForcePoint
Fortinet
Hetzner
hispeed.ch
hosted
Hosting
Iron Port
IronPort
LeaseWeb
MessageLabs
Microsoft
MimeCast
NForce
Ovh Sas
Palo Alto
ProofPoint
Rackspace
security
Server
Strong Technologies
Trend Micro
TrendMicro
TrustWave
VMVault
Zscaler


3. NetValidateName result based anti-emulation technique

Initially this technique was designed for bypassing AV detection. It’s not an evasion technique itself — instead it abuses interesting side-effects after the function is called.

The main idea is to use the determined result of NetValidateName API function call with invalid argument as Server name (for example “123”) for calculating jump address dynamically. This jump usually points into the middle of some instruction to bypass heuristic analysis of AV software. But this technique also has (at least) one side-effect.

If default NetBIOS settings are set in the operating system (NetBIOS over TCP/IP is enabled) the return code is always equal to ERROR_BAD_NETPATH (0x35).
If NetBIOS over TCP/IP is switched off then return code is ERROR_NETWORK_UNREACHABLE (0x4CF).

Thus jump address will be calculated incorrectly and it will lead the sample to crash. Therefore, this technique can be used to break emulation in sandboxes where NetBIOS over TCP/IP is switched off for preventing junk traffic generation by the OS.

Note: NetBIOS over TCP/IP is switched off not to generate additional network requests when resolving server IP via DNS. Switching this option off cancels lookup requests in local network.


Code sample (function GetAdaptersAddresses)

void EntryPoint(void)
{
    HANDLE NetApi32 = LoadLibraryW(L"netapi32.dll");
    TD_NetValidateName NetValidateName = (TD_NetValidateName)GetProcAddress(NetApi32, "NetValidateName");
    DWORD Result = NetValidateName(L"123", L"", L"", L"", 1);

    __asm
    {
        call dword ptr ds:[GetLastError]
        add eax, offset TrueEntryPoint
        sub eax, 0xCB  // ERROR_ENVVAR_NOT_FOUND
        call eax
    }
}


4. Cuckoo ResultServer connection based anti-emulation technique

This technique can be used for detecting Cuckoo Sandbox virtual environment. Malware enumerates all established outgoing TCP connections and checks if there is a connection to a specific TCP port (2042) that is used by the Cuckoo ResultServer.


Signature recommendations

Signature recommendations are general for each technique: hook the function used and track if it is called. It’s pretty hard to tell why application wants to get adapter name, for example. It doesn’t necessarily mean applying evasion technique. So the best what can be done in this situation is intercepting target functions and tracking their calls.


Countermeasures

  • versus checking network parameters: change them for virtual environment;
  • versus checking security perimeter: emulate network responses in an appropriate manner;
  • versus NetValidateName result based technique: turn on NetBIOS over TCP/IP;
  • versus Cuckoo ResultServer connection based technique: change ResultServer port in the Cuckoo configuration.


Credits

Credits go to open-source project from where code samples were taken:

Though Check Point tool InviZzzible has them all implemented, due to modular structure of the code it would require more space to show a code sample from this tool for the same purposes. That’s why we’ve decided to use other great open-source projects for examples throughout the encyclopedia.


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