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DanaBot's Latest Move: Deploying Latrodectus

BY eSentire Threat Response Unit (TRU)

December 7, 2023 | 7 MINS READ


Threat Intelligence

Threat Response Unit

TRU Positive/Bulletin

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We have discovered some of the most dangerous threats and nation state attacks in our space – including the Kaseya MSP breach and the more_eggs malware.

Our Security Operations Centers are supported with Threat Intelligence, Tactical Threat Response and Advanced Threat Analytics driven by our Threat Response Unit – the TRU team.

In TRU Positives, eSentire’s Threat Response Unit (TRU) provides a summary of a recent threat investigation. We outline how we responded to the confirmed threat and what recommendations we have going forward.

Here’s the latest from our TRU Team…

What did we find?

In December 2023, this blog post was revised based on insights from Proofpoint's researcher, known as @Myrtus0x0. The malware under investigation has been identified as 'Latrodectus', which is believed to have been developed by the creators of IcedID.

In early November 2023, the eSentire Threat Response Unit (TRU) detected the presence of DanaBot, a sophisticated banking Trojan renowned for its ability to pilfer banking credentials, personal information, and hVNC (hidden Virtual Network Computing) feature (Figure 1).

This malware was being employed to deliver IcedID, a banking Trojan that has been active since 2017 and is widely recognized for its various capabilities. Notably, since 2020, IcedID has been linked to ransomware attacks, including those involving Egregor, Maze, and Conti.

Figure 1: DanaBot advertisement on a Russian hacking forum

In a recent case, we assess with high confidence that the initial infection for DanaBot occurred via a drive-by download. The user was likely searching for a Webex installer and visited an imposter website serving the payload. The archive payload is named Webex.zip (MD5: 4be85751a07081de31f52329c2e2ddc8).

The archive contains the following files:

Upon execution of webex.exe, it will side-load the malicious DLL (sqlite3.dll), decrypt and decompress the contents of rash.docx file, perform injection into explorer.exe via Process Doppelgänging, and decrypt and run the final payload. In our case, it’s DanaBot (MD5: 6ad1d4e1ca3f1784840364700f5a8a14).

We have observed DanaBot dropping the following files on the infected system under %TEMP% folder:

Upon execution of the IDAT loader, two folders are created under %AppData%:

The persistence for DanaBot is created via Startup folder (T1547.001) for webex.exe binary.

IcedID Technical Analysis

After the IcedID payload decryption, it creates a copy of itself under “%AppData%\ Custom_update\ Update_{8-hexidecimal-characters}”. The 8 hexadecimal characters are determined by the function in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Hexadecimal value generation

The payload retrieves the volume serial number of the infected machine via GetVolumeInformationW API and multiplies the result with the seed value 0x19660D. The returned result is then used as a part of the DLL filename appended after “Update_” as 8 hexadecimal characters.

The function then proceeds and enters the loop where it performs the multiplication with the seed value with the result of each seeded value returned from the mw_seed function; it then grabs the first byte from each calculated result and builds a 14-byte unique HWID string that is sent to C2.

IcedID uses a CRC-32 hashing algorithm to calculate the hashes for the APIs used in the binary (Figures 3-4).

Figure 3: CRC-32 API hashing function
Figure 4: CRC-32 calculated API hashes

The string decryption (Figure 5) is performed based on the following algorithm:

Figure 5: String decryption function

We wrote the script to decrypt the strings with IDAPython. You can access the script here.

The decrypted strings can be accessed here.

IcedID creates the hardcoded mutex “runnung". If the payload fails to create a mutex or if the mutex already exists (indicated by the error code 183, which typically means ERROR_ALREADY_EXISTS), then the payload enters an infinite loop delay using NtDelayExecution (1000 milliseconds of delay) (Figure 6).

This prevents multiple instances of infections on the same infected machine.

Figure 6: IcedID enters an infinite loop of delays if the mutex already exists

The campaign ID is generated using the hardcoded string in the binary; in our binary, it’s “Novik”, and FNV hashing algorithm.

Figure 7: FNV hashing algorithm

Here is the implementation of the algorithm in Python:

def mw_fnv(input_str):
    v3 = 0x811C9DC5
    for char in input_str:
        v3 = (v3 ^ ord(char)) * 0x1000193
        v3 &= 0xFFFFFFFF  
    return v3
fnv_hash = mw_fnv("Novik") # input your hardcoded string here

Upon successful infection, IcedID runs the following reconnaissance commands on the infected host:

The results then are converted into base64-encoded strings and appended to the following tags accordingly:

Figure 8 shows the function responsible for the following:

Figure 8: HTTP Request Handler Function

The payload enumerates through the list of running processes using APIs such as CreateToolhelp32Snapshot, Process32First, and Process32Next and appends the results to the following tags:

The persistence is achieved via the scheduled task named “Updater”. The task runs at every log on with the following command:

Previously, we mentioned IcedID deploying the VNC module. There are a few interesting strings in the payload that we observed:

What did we do?

Our team of 24/7 SOC Cyber Analysts detected malicious network connections originating from the rundll32.exe process, isolated the affected machine, and informed the impacted customer.

What can you learn from this TRU Positive?

Recommendations from our Threat Response Unit (TRU) Team:

Indicators of Compromise















IcedID C2


IcedID C2




DanaBot C2


DanaBot C2



eSentire Unit
eSentire Threat Response Unit (TRU)

The eSentire Threat Response Unit (TRU) is an industry-leading threat research team committed to helping your organization become more resilient. TRU is an elite team of threat hunters and researchers that supports our 24/7 Security Operations Centers (SOCs), builds threat detection models across the eSentire XDR Cloud Platform, and works as an extension of your security team to continuously improve our Managed Detection and Response service. By providing complete visibility across your attack surface and performing global threat sweeps and proactive hypothesis-driven threat hunts augmented by original threat research, we are laser-focused on defending your organization against known and unknown threats.

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