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StealC Delivered via Deceptive Google Sheets

BY eSentire Threat Response Unit (TRU)

August 15, 2023 | 5 MINS READ


Threat Intelligence

Threat Response Unit

TRU Positive/Bulletin

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Adversaries don’t work 9-5 and neither do we. At eSentire, our 24/7 SOCs are staffed with Elite Threat Hunters and Cyber Analysts who hunt, investigate, contain and respond to threats within minutes.

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 early August 2023, our Security Operations Center (SOC) received a credential theft alert from our eSentire MDR for Endpoint service. During the investigation, we identified the source of the infection to be a malicious ad that the user encountered while looking to download Google Sheets. This ad redirected the user to a malicious page serving a downloader for StealC infostealer malware.

StealC first appeared on Russian hacking forums in January 2023; it’s written in the C programming language, and during the development process, the StealC developer relied on popular stealers such as Raccoon, Vidar, Redline, and Mars stealers.

Figure 1: Stealer advertisement

As mentioned above, StealC was distributed via a malicious page serving a fake warning message prompting the user to download a security update to be able to use the store, as shown below.

Figure 2: Fake warning message

Looking at the source code of the page, we noticed that the threat actor(s) implemented the source code obfuscation. We found a similar implementation of the code obfuscation here.

Each base64-encoded string appears to include a random alphanumeric prefix and suffix, with a numerical value in between. The JavaScript code iterates through the array using the forEach method.

For each value, it decodes the base64-encoded string with atob, removes non-digit characters with the regular expression /\D/g and parses the remaining number then subtracts “15662724” (evidence suggests this is a random value generated each time upon the page refresh), and converts it back to a character using String.fromCharCode.

Figure 3: Obfuscated source code

The deobfuscated code is shown below, and the obfuscation can also be bypassed by inspecting the elements in browsers If the user-agent contains “Chrome” or “Firefox”, the user will be served with a payload (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Deobfuscated source code

The payload download code is shown below:

Figure 5: Download code

The code redirects the user to hxxps://sheetsdataaccess[.]com/download/app/download.php?file=download, which then retrieves the payload from hxxps://l6j4zw.dm.files[.]1drv.com as shown below.

Figure 6: URL hosting the payload

We were able to extract the following configuration from the initial downloaded payload:

        "fake_error_text":"Runtime Error 0x80248007",



The configuration retrieves the encrypted file from update-vinc.in[.]net, decrypts it, and injects it into the csc.exe process. The downloaded payload is compiled with Rust.

Interestingly, Kaspersky has the signature for the binary as “RustyPita,” which aligns with our observations. The configuration also includes features such as AntiVM (using WMI query “SELECT * FROM MSAcpi_ThermalZoneTemperature”, querying the registry keys for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\ACPI\DSDT\VBOX__ (VirtualBox)), file size pump, fake error caption, and persistence via Startup.

The final payload, StealC, contains the obfuscated base64-encoded strings encrypted using the RC4 algorithm. In our sample, the key is “3345342759455992320894587”.

Figure 7: StealC encrypted strings

Upon successful execution, StealC retrieves the DLL dependencies such as nss3.dll, msvcp140.dll, mozglue.dll, and freebl3.dll from the command-and-control server and places them under the C:\ProgramData folder.

Below is the configuration for the stealer and an example of the information exfiltrated by the attacker.

Figure 8: Configuration and gathered information from the infected machine

Further researching, we found another malicious website that is currently down using a similar landing page kit and impersonating Google Business Profile. The C2 IP suggests that TrueBot malware is involved (94.142.138[.]61).

Figure 9: Website impersonating Google Business Profile

What did we do?

What can you learn from this TRU Positive?

Recommendations from our Threat Response Unit (TRU):

Indicators of Compromise







StealC C2


Payload hosting URL




Server hosting the encrypted payload



eSentire Threat Response Unit (TRU)
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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