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[FireEye]Remote Symbol Resolution
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Remote Symbol Resolution



The following blog discusses a couple of common techniques that
  malware uses to obscure its access to the Windows API. In both forms
  examined, analysts must calculate the API start address and resolve
  the symbol from the runtime process in order to determine functionality.


After introducing the techniques, we present an     href="">open source tool
  we developed that can be used to resolve addresses from a process
  running in a virtual machine by an IDA script. This gives us an
  efficient way to quickly add readability back into the disassembly. 




When performing an analysis, it is very common to see malware try to
  obscure the API it uses. As a malware analyst, determining which API
  is used is one of the first things we must resolve in order to
  determine the capabilities of the code.


Two common obfuscations we are going to look at in this blog are
  encoded function pointer tables and detours style hook stubs. In both
  of these scenarios the entry point to the API is not directly visible
  in the binary.


For an example of what we are talking about, consider the code in
  Figure 1, which was taken from a memory dump of xdata crypto
  ransomware sample C6A2FB56239614924E2AB3341B1FBBA5.


  Figure 1: API obfuscation code from a crypto
    ransomware sample


In Figure 1, we see one numeric value being loaded into eax, XORed
  against another, and then being called as a function pointer. These
  numbers only make sense in the context of a running process. We can
  calculate the final number from the values contained in the memory
  dump, but we also need a way to know which API address it resolved to
  in this particular running process. We also have to take into account
  that DLLs can be rebased due to conflicts in preferred base address,
  and systems with ASLR enabled.


Figure 2 shows one other place we can look to see where the values
  were initially set.


  Figure 2: Crypto malware setting obfuscated
    function pointer from API hash


In this case, the initial value is loaded from an API hash lookup –
  again not of immediate value. Here we have hit a crossroad, with
  multiple paths we can take to resolve the problem. We can search for a
  published hash list, extract the hasher and build our own database, or
  figure out a way to dynamically resolve the decoded API address.


Before we choose which path to take, let us consider another sample.
  Figure 3 shows code from Andromeda sample, 3C8B018C238AF045F70B38FC27D0D640.


  Figure 3: API redirection code from an Andromeda sample


This code was found in a memory injection. Here we can see what
  looks to be a detours style trampoline, where the first instruction
  was stolen from the actual Windows API and placed in a small stub with
  an immediate jump taken back to the original API + x bytes.


In this situation, the malware accesses all of the API through these
  stubs and we have no clear resolution as to which stub points where.
  From the disassembly we can also see that the stolen instructions are
  of variable length.


In order to resolve where these functions go, we would have to:

  • enumerate all of the stubs
  • calculate how many bytes
        are in the first instruction
  • extract the jmp address

  • subtract the stolen byte count to find the API entrypoint

  • resolve the calculated address for this specific process
  • rename the stub to a meaningful value


In this sample, looking for cross references on where the value is
  set does not yield any results.


Here we have two manifestations of essentially the same problem. How
  do we best resolve calculated API addresses and add this information
  back into our IDA database?


One of the first techniques used was to calculate all of the final
  addresses, write them to a binary file, inject the data into the
  process, and examine the table in the debugger (Figure 4). Since the
  debugger already has a API address look up table, this gives a crude
  yet quick method to get the information we need.


  Figure 4: ApiLogger from iDefense MAP injecting
    a data file into a process and examining results in debugger


From here we can extract the resolved symbols and write a script to
  integrate them into our IDB. This works, but it is bulky and involves
  several steps.


Our Tool


What we really want is to build our own symbol lookup table for a
  process and create a streamlined way to access it from our scripts.


The first question is: How can we build our own lookup table of API
  addresses to API names? To resolve this information, we need to follow
  some steps:

  • enumerate all of the DLLs loaded into a process
  • for
        each DLL, walk the export table and extract function name and
  • calculate API entrypoint based on DLL base address and
        export RVA
  • build a lookup table based on all of this


While this sounds like a lot of work, libraries are already
  available that handle all of the heavy lifting. Figure 5 shows a
  screenshot of a     href="">remote lookup
  tool we developed for such occasions.


  Figure 5: Open source remote lookup application


In order to maximize the benefits of this type of tool, the tool
  must be efficient. What is the best way to interface with this data?
  There are several factors to consider here, including how the data is
  submitted, what input formats are accepted, and how well the tool can
  be integrated with the flow of the analysis process.


The first consideration is how we interface with it. For maximum
  flexibility, three methods were chosen. Lookups can be submitted:

  • individually via textbox
  • in bulk by file or

  • over the network by a remote client


In terms of input formats, it accepts the following:

  • hex memory address
  • case insensitive API name

  • dll_name@ordinal
  • dll_name.export_name


The tool output is in the form of a CSV list that includes address,
  name, ordinal, and DLL.


With the base tool capabilities in place, we still need an efficient
  streamlined way to use it during our analysis. The individual lookups
  are nice for offhand queries and testing, but not in bulk. The bulk
  file lookup is nice on occasion, but it still requires data
  export/import to integrate results with your IDA database.


What is really needed is a way to run a script in IDA, calculate the
  API address, and then resolve that address inline while running an IDA
  script. This allows us to rename functions and pointers on the fly as
  the script runs all in one shot. This is where the network client
  capability comes in.


Again, there are many approaches to this. Here we chose to integrate
  a network client into a beta of IDA Jscript (Figure 6). IDA Jscript is
  an open source IDA scripting tool with IDE that includes syntax
  highlighting, IntelliSense, function prototype tooltips, and debugger.


  Figure 6: Open source IDA Jscript decoding and
    resolving API addresses


In this example we see a script that decodes the xdata pointer
  table, resolves the API address over the network, and then generates
  an IDC script to rename the pointers in IDA.


After running this script and applying the results, the decompiler
  output becomes plainly readable (Figure 7).


  Figure 7: Decompiler output from the xdata
    sample after symbol resolution


Going back to the Andromeda sample, the API information can be
  restored with the brief idajs script shown in Figure 8.


  Figure 8: small idajs script to remotely resolve
    and rename Andromeda API hook stubs


For IDAPython users, a python remote lookup client is also available.




It is common for malware to use techniques that mask the Windows API
  being used. These techniques force malware analysts to have to extract
  data from runtime data, calculate entry point addresses, and then
  resolve their meaning within the context of a particular running process.


In previous techniques, several manual stages were involved that
  were bulky and time intensive.


This blog introduces a small simple open source tool that can
  integrate well into multiple IDA scripting languages. This combination
  allows analysts streamlined access to the data required to quickly
  bypass these types of obfuscations and continue on with their analysis.


We are happy to be able to open source the remote lookup application
  so that others may benefit and adapt it to their own needs. Sample
  network clients have been provided for Python, C#, D, and VB6.


Download a copy of
    the tool

Source: Remote Symbol Resolution


[FireEye]Remote Symbol Resolution
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