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Unveiling Parallax RAT: A Journey from Infection to Lateral Movement

BY eSentire Threat Response Unit (TRU)

November 22, 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 October 2023, our 24/7 SOC was notified about a suspicious VBS script “gatheringNetworkInfo.vbs” running NetSupport RAT from %windir%\system32 path on the Domain Controller. NetSupport RAT (Remote Access Trojan) is a type of software that allows unauthorized remote access and control over a victim's computer or network. It typically provides attackers with a wide range of capabilities, including remote control, data theft, and surveillance, making it a significant security threat.

The VBS script was running from the scheduled task that was imported from an XML file with the command shown below:

Figure 1: Scheduled task creation

The XML file contains the command to run the VBS script from the Windows\system32 folder.

A snippet of the task.xml file:


The VBS script is responsible for launching client32.exe, which is NetSupportRAT from c:\programdata\VMware\VMware Tools\ folder, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: gatheringNetworkInfo.vbs

Tracing back, the eSentire Threat Response Unit (TRU) identified patient zero, which was infected with Parallax RAT. Parallax RAT (MD5: 9a82d1499ef3649d2603780fe30db0b5) was downloaded by the user while searching for a Fortinet VPN client using Bing search, where they clicked on an advertisement to an imposter page for the software.

Parallax RAT was used to deploy PsExec, a light-weight telnet-replacement that enables threat actors to execute processes on other systems, on patient zero. PsExec allowed for lateral movement to the Domain Controller within a two-hour window of the execution of the RAT. The threat actor(s) attempted to run NetSupport RAT via PsExec, as shown in the command below:

Figure 3: Run NetSupportRAT via PsExec

The RAT achieved persistence on the host via the Startup folder and was renamed “webdav.exe.exe”.

The threat actor(s) also extracted NetSupport RAT from “Driver.zip” (MD5: 06a27959b25a8ea9196ffb72200e94aa) archive via the following command on patient zero:

Figure 4: Extracting NetSupportRAT

The configuration of the NetSupport RAT client is shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Snippet of NetSupport RAT configuration

Parallax RAT

Parallax RAT initially surfaced on hacking forums in 2019 (Figure 6). Allegedly, the malware developer coded the RAT using MASM (Microsoft Macro Assembler). Parallax RAT boasts a wide range of capabilities, such as keylogging, password theft (Firefox x64 x86, Chrome, Thunderbird, Outlook), screenshot capture, the ability to upload and execute files, exfiltration of files from File Manager, and remote control. The latest version of Parallax RAT is 1.0.7.

Figure 6: Advertisement from Parallax RAT developers on hacking forum

In 2020, the developers of the Parallax RAT project decided to shut it down for personal reasons (Figure 7). However, despite the project being closed, Parallax RAT has been successfully cracked, and the malicious tool is now freely available in the wild.

Figure 7: Announcement of the Parallax Rat project closure in 2020
Figure 8: Parallax RAT client (1)
Figure 9: Parallax RAT client (2)

If “Enable Install” is checked, the RAT installs the persistence mechanism in the Registry Run Key under “HKU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run” to launch the RAT under %AppData% folder.

Figure 10: Parallax RAT client (3)

Parallax RAT employs RC4 encryption to obscure the names of loaded DLL libraries and its configuration. Additionally, it utilizes unconditional jump instructions as an anti-disassembly technique (Figure 11).

Figure 11: Anti-disassembly via unconditional jump

What did we do?

Our team of 24/7 SOC Cyber Analysts detected exploitation attempts, notified the affected clients, and isolated the affected hosts to contain the infection.

What can you learn from this TRU positive?

Recommendations from our Threat Response Unit (TRU) Team:

Indicators of Compromise



Parallax RAT Download URL


Parallax RAT


NetSupport RAT


NetSupportRAT C2


NetSupportRAT C2


Parallax RAT C2


Parallax RAT C2


Parallax RAT C2


Parallax RAT 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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