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New version of Citadel Trojan prevents Virtual Machine Analysis


Security Researchers from S21sec, has spotted two major changes in the latest version of Citadel Trojan. The two major changes 'Anti-emulator' and 'Encryption change' try to make malware analysts' life harder.

The anti-emulator: When it starts, a built-in detective checks if it is running in a virtual machine or in sandboxed environment (CWSandbox, VMware, Virtualbox).

If it detects their presence, it starts to behave differently. Details were not disclosed, and the technology is very tricky.

According to researchers, It simply scans through the resources of the currently running processes and looks for specific patterns for instance inside the "CompanyName" field, such as 'vmware','sandbox','virtualbox','geswall'.

While running in the VM, The Trojan creates a fake domain name and attempts to connect to it. This strategy should fool the researchers into believing that the (C&C) command and control server cannot be reached and that the bot is dead.

This is not the only change brought to Citadel. Experts have found that the RC4 is slightly different compared to previous versions, an internal hash being added to the algorithm.
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