Researchers warn of a remote access trojan called DCRat (aka DarkCrystal RAT) that is available for sale on Russian cybercrime forums.

Cybersecurity researchers from BlackBerry are warning of a remote access trojan called DCRat (aka DarkCrystal RAT) that is available for sale on Russian cybercrime forums. The DCRat backdoor is very cheap, it appears to be the work of a lone threat actor that goes online with the monikers of “boldenis44,” “crystalcoder,” and Кодер (“Coder”). Prices for the backdoor start at 500 RUB ($5) for a two-month license, 2,200 RUB ($21) for a year, and 4,200 RUB ($40) for a lifetime subscription.

“Sold predominantly on Russian underground forums, DCRat is one of the cheapest commercial RATs we’ve ever come across. The price for this backdoor starts at 500 RUB (less than 5 GBP/US$6) for a two-month subscription, and occasionally dips even lower during special promotions. No wonder it’s so popular with professional threat actors as well as script kiddies.” reads the report published by BlackBerry.

The author implemented an effective malware and continues to efficiently maintain it. The researchers pointed out that the price for this malware is a fraction of the standard price such RAT on Russian underground forums.

DCRat first appeared in the threat landscape in 2018, but a year later it was redesigned and relaunched.

DCRat is written in .NET and has a modular structure, affiliates could develop their own plugins by using a dedicated integrated development environment (IDE) called DCRat Studio.

The modular architecture of the malware allows to extend its functionalities for multiple malicious purposes, including surveillance, reconnaissance, information theft, DDoS attacks, and arbitrary code execution.

The DCRat consists of three components:

  • A stealer/client executable
  • A single PHP page, serving as the command-and-control (C2) endpoint/interface
  • An administrator tool

“All DCRat marketing and sales operations are done through the popular Russian hacking forum lolz.guru, which also handles some of the DCRat pre-sales queries. DCRat support topics are made available here to the wider public, while the main DCRat offering thread is restricted to registered users only.” continues the report.

The malware is under active development, the author announces any news and updates through a dedicated Telegram channel that had approximately 3k subscribers.

dcrat
DCRat Telegram announcing discounts and price specials (source BlackBerry)

During recent months, the researchers ofter observed DCRat clients being deployed with the use of Cobalt Strike beacons through the Prometheus TDS (traffic direction system).

DCRat also implements a kill switch, which would render all instances of the DCRat administrator tool unusable, irrespective of subscriber license validity.

The Administrator tool allows subscribers to sign in to an active C2 server, configure (and generate) builds of the DCRat client executable, execute commands on infected systems

Experts concluded that the RAT is maintained daily, which means that the author is working on this project full-time.

“There are certainly programming choices in this threat that point to this being a novice malware author who hasn’t yet figured out an appropriate pricing structure. Choosing to program the threat in JPHP and adding a bizarrely non-functional infection counter certainly point in this direction. It could be that this threat is from an author trying to gain notoriety, doing the best with the knowledge they have to make something popular as quickly as possible.” concludes the report that also includes Indicators of Compromise (IoCs). “While the author’s apparent inexperience might make this malicious tool seem less appealing, some could view it as an opportunity. More experienced threat actors might see this inexperience as a selling point, as the author seems to be putting in a lot of time and effort to please their customers.”

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