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Workshop Information: Understanding and Analyzing Weaponized Carrier Files

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  • Workshop Information: Understanding and Analyzing Weaponized Carrier Files

    Title: Understanding and Analyzing Weaponized Carrier Files

    Instructor: Ryan Chapman

    Abstract: Weaponized carrier files, such as PDF and Office docs, are used in various attack campaigns in order to compromise victims. In this workshop, we'll cover the file formats, associated weaponization methods, and analysis techniques of the attack code used with these types of files. We'll pull apart PDF object streams, deobfuscate JavaScript code, and analyze PDf-based attacks. For Office docs, we'll review the OLE file format; take a gander at VBA-based macros; extract, deobufscate, and debug the VBA code; and identify indicators of compromise. We'll be using a Windows-based malware VM along with tools such as oledump, PDFStreamDumper, the MS VBA Editor, and more!

    Level: Intermediate

    Pre-Requisites: This workshop will cover the file formats for both PDF and Office (e.g. docx) files. If you've never analyzed such a file for maliciousness, fear not! We'll be covering the basics. If you have programming/scripting experience, great. If not, don’t worry. If you have worked to deobfuscate code, fantastic. If not, meh.

    Required Materials: You will want to bring a laptop equipped with the following:
    - The laptop will probably need at least 4GB of RAM, as you'll need to be able to run your host OS (doesn't matter which, I and my room proctors can help with any of them) along with a Windows 10 VM.
    - Please try to have a USB port available. I will have USB 3.0 drives with me the day of the workshop. These drives will be FAT-formatted (nothing fancy) and contain the files required for the workshop. I will also pop the files on to a cloud-based file sharing service well ahead of the workshop for folks whom like to setup early.
    - VM software! You'll need software to run a VM, such as VMware or VirtualBox. Doesn't matter if you're on a Mac with VMware Fusion, Windows, Linux, whatever. As long as you can run a VM (and take at least one snapshot), we're solid!
    - If you do not have a Windows 10 malware analysis machine, please check out, as you can grab a trial of Windows that will work just fine for this workshop
    - Speaking of MS products, you're going to want (in order to follow along with VBA file debugging), a copy (evaluation version works fine) of MS Office. Version doesn't really matter, but the more recent the better. Again, check out the MS Evaluation center for a copy of Office that you can use:
    - Python! You'll want to have Python installed (2.7.x preferred). I'll have an offline installer available should you need it (make sure you have that USB port available!)
    -- I'll be providing some Python-based scripts for analysis, along with some tools such as PDFStreamDumper ahead of the workshop. I will provide direct links to the files as provided by the developers. I will also be providing carrier file samples ahead of time and on the workshop USB.