Researchers Warn of Nerbian RAT Targeting Entities in Italy, Spain, and the U.K

rata nerbia News

A previously undocumented remote access trojan (RAT) written in the Go programming language has been spotted disproportionately targeting entities in Italy, Spain, and the U.K.

Called Nerbian RAT by enterprise security firm Proofpoint, the novel malware leverages COVID-19-themed lures to propagate as part of a low volume email-borne phishing campaign that started on April 26, 2022.

“The newly identified Nerbian RAT leverages multiple anti-analysis components spread across several stages, including multiple open-source libraries,” Proofpoint researchers said in a report shared with The Hacker News.

“It is written in operating system (OS) agnostic Go programming language, compiled for 64-bit systems, and leverages several encryption routines to further evade network analysis. “

The messages, amounting to less than 100 in number, purport to be from the World Health Organization about safety measures related to COVID-19, urging potential victims to open a macro-laced Microsoft Word document to access the “latest health advice. “

Nerbian RAT

Enabling the macros displays COVID-19 guidance, including steps for self-isolation, while in the background, the embedded macro triggers an infection chain that delivers a payload called “UpdateUAV.exe”, which acts as dropper for Nerbian RAT (“MoUsoCore.exe”) from a remote server.

The dropper also makes use of the open-source Chacal “anti-VM framework” to make reverse engineering difficult, using it to carry out anti-reversing checks and terminating itself should it encounter any debuggers or memory analysis programs.

The remote access trojan can log keystrokes and capture screenshots. It then executes arbitrary commands before sending the data back to the server.

While both the dropper and the RAT are said to have been developed by the same author, the identity of the threat actor remains unknown as yet.

Proofpoint also cautioned against the possibility that the dropper might be modified to deliver other payloads in future attacks. However, in the current state, the dropper can retrieve only the Nerbian RAT.

“Malware authors continue to operate at the intersection of open-source capability and criminal opportunity,” Sherrod DeGrippo, vice president of threat research and detection at Proofpoint, said in a statement.

Rate author