STARWHALE is Windows Script File (WSF) backdoor that has been used by MuddyWater, possibly since at least November 2021; there is also a STARWHALE variant written in Golang with similar capabilities. Security researchers have also noted the use of STARWHALE by UNC3313, which may be associated with MuddyWater.[1][2]

ID: S1037
Associated Software: CANOPY
Platforms: Windows
Version: 1.0
Created: 18 August 2022
Last Modified: 14 October 2022

Associated Software Descriptions

Name Description


Techniques Used

Domain ID Name Use
Enterprise T1071 .001 Application Layer Protocol: Web Protocols

STARWHALE has the ability to contact actor-controlled C2 servers via HTTP.[1][2]

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

STARWHALE can establish persistence by installing itself in the startup folder, whereas the GO variant has created a HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\OutlookM registry key.[2][1]

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

STARWHALE has the ability to execute commands via cmd.exe.[1]

.005 Command and Scripting Interpreter: Visual Basic

STARWHALE can use the VBScript function GetRef as part of its persistence mechanism.[1]

Enterprise T1543 .003 Create or Modify System Process: Windows Service

STARWHALE has the ability to create the following Windows service to establish persistence on an infected host: sc create Windowscarpstss binpath= "cmd.exe /c cscript.exe c:\\windows\\system32\\w7_1.wsf humpback_whale" start= "auto" obj= "LocalSystem".[1]

Enterprise T1132 .001 Data Encoding: Standard Encoding

STARWHALE has the ability to hex-encode collected data from an infected host.[2]

Enterprise T1005 Data from Local System

STARWHALE can collect data from an infected local host.[2]

Enterprise T1074 .001 Data Staged: Local Data Staging

STARWHALE has stored collected data in a file called stari.txt.[1]

Enterprise T1041 Exfiltration Over C2 Channel

STARWHALE can exfiltrate collected data to its C2 servers.[2]

Enterprise T1027 Obfuscated Files or Information

STARWHALE has been obfuscated with hex-encoded strings.[2]

Enterprise T1082 System Information Discovery

STARWHALE can gather the computer name of an infected host.[1][2]

Enterprise T1016 System Network Configuration Discovery

STARWHALE has the ability to collect the IP address of an infected host.[2]

Enterprise T1033 System Owner/User Discovery

STARWHALE can gather the username from an infected host.[1][2]

Enterprise T1204 .002 User Execution: Malicious File

STARWHALE has relied on victims opening a malicious Excel file for execution.[2]

Groups That Use This Software

ID Name References
G0069 MuddyWater