New Pingback Malware Utilizing ICMP Tunneling to Evade C&C Detection


Researchers on Tuesday disclosed a novel malware that makes use of quite a lot of methods to remain underneath the radar and evade detection, whereas stealthily able to executing arbitrary instructions on contaminated techniques.

Known as ‘Pingback,’ the Home windows malware leverages Web Management Message Protocol (ICMP) tunneling for covert bot communications, permitting the adversary to make the most of ICMP packets to piggyback assault code, in response to an analysis revealed as we speak by Trustwave.

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Pingback (“oci.dll“) achieves this by getting loaded by a legit service known as MSDTC (Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator) — a part answerable for dealing with database operations which might be distributed over a number of machines — by making the most of a technique known as DLL search order hijacking, which includes utilizing a real software to preload a malicious DLL file.

Naming the malware as one of many plugins required for supporting Oracle ODBC interface in MSDTC is essential to the assault, the researchers famous. Whereas MSDTC is not configured to run robotically on startup, a VirusTotal sample submitted in July 2020 was discovered to put in the DLL file into the Home windows System listing and begin the MSDTC service to attain persistence, elevating the chance {that a} separate executable is essential to putting in the malware.


Upon profitable execution, Pingback resorts to utilizing the ICMP protocol for its important communication. ICMP is a community layer protocol primarily used for sending error messages and operational data, say, a failure alert when one other host turns into unreachable.

Particularly, Pingback takes benefit of an Echo request (ICMP message kind 8), with the message sequence numbers 1234, 1235, and 1236 denoting the kind of data contained within the packet — 1234 being a command or knowledge, and 1235 and 1236 being the acknowledgment for receipt of information on the opposite finish. A number of the instructions supported by the malware embody the aptitude to run arbitrary shell instructions, obtain and add recordsdata from and to the attacker’s host, and execute malicious instructions on the contaminated machine.

An investigation into the malware’s preliminary intrusion route is ongoing.

“ICMP tunneling just isn’t new, however this explicit pattern piqued our curiosity as a real-world instance of malware utilizing this method to evade detection,” the researchers stated. “ICMP is beneficial for diagnostics and efficiency of IP connections, [but] it may also be misused by malicious actors to scan and map a goal’s community surroundings. Whereas we’re not suggesting that ICMP needs to be disabled, we do recommend putting in monitoring to assist detect such covert communications over ICMP.”

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