New ValleyRAT Variant Links To China-Based Cyber Threat

ValleyRAT persists on systems by manipulating autorun keys and concealing file attributes, ensuring readiness for nefarious operations.

by Ashish Khaitan June 11th, 2024

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ValleyRAT, a notorious remote access trojan (RAT) with origins traced back to early 2023, has resurfaced with a vengeance.

Designed with the malicious intent to infiltrate and seize control over systems, this Chinese threat actor-backed malware continues to evolve, presenting new challenges to cybersecurity experts worldwide.

According to Zscaler ThreatLabz’s research, a new campaign orchestrated by a China-based threat actor unleashed the latest iteration of ValleyRAT. This threat campaign, characterized by its multi-stage approach, utilizes various tactics to ensnare unsuspecting victims.

ValleyRAT and the Intricate Attack Chain

Source: ValleyRAT Infection Chain

At the heart of this campaign lies ValleyRAT’s intricate attack chain. It begins with an initial stage downloader leveraging an HTTP File Server (HFS) to procure essential files for subsequent stages. Employing anti-virus checks, DLL sideloading, and process injection techniques, the downloader and loader meticulously navigate through defenses, ensuring seamless execution.

Understanding the intricacies of this RAT and the makers behind it, the campaign’s technical analysis unveils the sophisticated mechanisms employed by ValleyRAT. From XOR and RC4 decryption to dynamic API resolving, every step is meticulously crafted to obfuscate its malicious intentions. The malicious DLLs and shellcodes deployed in subsequent stages further attest to the threat actor’s ingenuity.

Persistence is key for ValleyRAT’s longevity on compromised systems. By manipulating autorun keys and concealing file attributes, the malware ensures its survival, ready to execute its nefarious operations at a moment’s notice.

Evolution of ValleyRAT

The latest variant of ValleyRAT boasts significant enhancements. From refined device fingerprinting capabilities to revamped bot ID generation processes, the malware is more adept at blending into its environment and evading detection.

Moreover, the introduction of new commands expands its arsenal, empowering threat actors with greater control over infected systems.

Mitigating ValleyRAT’s threat requires a multi-faceted approach. Leveraging advanced threat detection mechanisms like Zscaler Cloud Sandbox is essential.

Additionally, staying vigilant and leveraging threat intelligence to identify and thwart emerging threats is paramount in safeguarding against ValleyRAT’s onslaught.

As ValleyRAT continues to evolve, so must our defenses. With each iteration, online threats becomes more complex, necessitating proactive measures to counter emerging threats effectively.

By staying informed and leveraging cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions, organizations can fortify their defenses and mitigate the risks posed by ValleyRAT and similar threats.


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