Pisloader is a malware family that is notable due to its use of DNS as a C2 protocol as well as its use of anti-analysis tactics. It has been used by APT18 and is similar to another malware family, HTTPBrowser, that has been used by the group. [1]

ID: S0124
Platforms: Windows
Version: 1.1
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 30 March 2020

Techniques Used

Domain ID Name Use
Enterprise T1071 .004 Application Layer Protocol: DNS

Pisloader uses DNS as its C2 protocol.[1]

Enterprise T1547 .001 Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder

Pisloader establishes persistence via a Registry Run key.[1]

Enterprise T1059 .003 Command and Scripting Interpreter: Windows Command Shell

Pisloader uses cmd.exe to set the Registry Run key value. It also has a command to spawn a command shell.[1]

Enterprise T1132 .001 Data Encoding: Standard Encoding

Responses from the Pisloader C2 server are base32-encoded.[1]

Enterprise T1083 File and Directory Discovery

Pisloader has commands to list drives on the victim machine and to list file information for a given directory.[1]

Enterprise T1105 Ingress Tool Transfer

Pisloader has a command to upload a file to the victim machine.[1]

Enterprise T1027 Obfuscated Files or Information

Pisloader obfuscates files by splitting strings into smaller sub-strings and including "garbage" strings that are never used. The malware also uses return-oriented programming (ROP) technique and single-byte XOR to obfuscate data.[1]

Enterprise T1082 System Information Discovery

Pisloader has a command to collect victim system information, including the system name and OS version.[1]

Enterprise T1016 System Network Configuration Discovery

Pisloader has a command to collect the victim's IP address.[1]

Groups That Use This Software

ID Name References
G0026 APT18