Borat RAT: Multiple threat of ransomware, DDoS and spyware

Thought Sacha Baron Cohen was a terrible threat actor? Get a load of this: encrypts/steals data, records audio/video and controls keyboard


A new remote access trojan (RAT) dubbed "Borat" doesn't come with many laughs but offers bad actors a menu of cyberthreats to choose from.

RATs are typically used by cybercriminals to get full control of a victim's system, enabling them to access files and network resources and manipulate the mouse and keyboard. Borat does all this and also delivers features to enable hackers to run ransomware, distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) and other online assaults and to install spyware, according to researchers at cybersecurity biz Cyble.

"The Borat RAT provides a dashboard to Threat Actors (TAs) to perform RAT activities and also has an option to compile the malware binary for performing DDoS and ransomware attacks on the victim's machine," the researchers wrote in a blog post, noting the malware is being made available for sale to hackers.

Borat – named after the character made famous by actor Sacha Baron Cohen in two comedy films – comes with the standard requisite of RAT features in a package that includes such functions as builder binary, server certificate and supporting modules.

It's the other options that make it more interesting. Bad actors can use the malware to deliver ransomware that will encrypt files on a victim's system and demand a ransom, including the ability to create a ransom note on the targeted machine. There also is code in Borat that will decrypt the files in the system once the ransom is paid.

Additionally, the RAT includes code for launching a DDoS attack, in which a website or server is overwhelmed by a wave of messages, slowing down responses and services to legitimate users and sometimes forcing the site to shut down. Often it takes paying the threat actor money to shut off the DDoS attack.

On top of that, there is a range of remote surveillance capabilities that enable hackers to spy on the system and its user, including a keylogger that monitors and stores keystrokes from a victim's machine. They keystrokes are saved in a file and later exfiltrated from the system.

Borat will determine if a connected microphone is included on the system and, if so, will record the audio from the computer, with the recorded audio stored in another file named "micaudio.wav." In similar fashion, if a webcam is found on the system, the malware can start recording from the camera.

In addition, there is a remote desktop function.

"This malware takes the remote desktop of the infected machine," the researchers wrote. "It then gives the Threat Actor (TA) the necessary rights to perform activities such as controlling the victim's machine, mouse, keyboard, and capturing the screen. Controlling the victim's machine can allow TAs to perform several activities such as deleting critical files, executing ransomware in the compromised machine, etc."

The RAT grabs information from the victim's machine, such as the name and version of the operating system and the model of the machine, and will steal cookies, bookmarks and saved login credentials from systems running Chrome and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browsers.

The malware also steals Discord tokens. The token and the collected information is then sent to a compromised command-and-control (C2) server.

Borat uses process hollowing, a technique where the threat actors can inject malicious code into legitimate processes on the system. There also is reverse proxy code, which enables the RAT to perform its work anonymously and the hackers to hide their identity while communicating with the C2 servers.

To further rattle victims, Borat can run such tasks as playing audio, showing and hiding the desktop or taskbar, enabling or disabling the webcam light, turning off the monitor or showing a blank screen.

The Cyble researchers wrote that Borat is a "potent and unique combination" of threats, "making it a triple threat to any machine compromised by it. With the capability to record audio and control the webcam and conduct traditional info stealing behavior, Borat is clearly a threat to keep an eye on." ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Now Windows Follina zero-day exploited to infect PCs with Qbot
    Data-stealing malware also paired with Black Basta ransomware gang

    Miscreants are reportedly exploiting the recently disclosed critical Windows Follina zero-day flaw to infect PCs with Qbot, thus aggressively expanding their reach.

    The bot's operators are also working with the Black Basta gang to spread ransomware in yet another partnership in the underground world of cyber-crime, it is claimed.

    This combination of Follina exploitation and its use to extort organizations makes the malware an even larger threat for enterprises. Qbot started off as a software nasty that raided people's online bank accounts, and evolved to snoop on user keystrokes and steal sensitive information from machines. It can also deliver other malware payloads, such as backdoors and ransomware, onto infected Windows systems, and forms a remote-controllable botnet.

    Continue reading
  • NSO claims 'more than 5' EU states use Pegasus spyware
    And it's like, what ... 12, 13,000 total targets a year max, exec says

    NSO Group told European lawmakers this week that "under 50" customers use its notorious Pegasus spyware, though these customers include "more than five" European Union member states.

    The surveillance-ware maker's General Counsel Chaim Gelfand refused to answer specific questions about the company's customers during a European Parliament committee meeting on Thursday. 

    Instead, he frequently repeated the company line that NSO exclusively sells its spyware to government agencies — not private companies or individuals — and only "for the purpose of preventing and investigating terrorism and other serious crimes."

    Continue reading
  • DeadBolt ransomware takes another shot at QNAP storage
    Keep boxes updated and protected to avoid a NAS-ty shock

    QNAP is warning users about another wave of DeadBolt ransomware attacks against its network-attached storage (NAS) devices – and urged customers to update their devices' QTS or QuTS hero operating systems to the latest versions.

    The latest outbreak – detailed in a Friday advisory – is at least the fourth campaign by the DeadBolt gang against the vendor's users this year. According to QNAP officials, this particular run is encrypting files on NAS devices running outdated versions of Linux-based QTS 4.x, which presumably have some sort of exploitable weakness.

    The previous attacks occurred in January, March, and May.

    Continue reading
  • Emotet malware gang re-emerges with Chrome-based credit card heistware
    Crimeware groups are re-inventing themselves

    The criminals behind the Emotet botnet – which rose to fame as a banking trojan before evolving into spamming and malware delivery – are now using it to target credit card information stored in the Chrome web browser.

    Once the data – including the user's name, the card's numbers and expiration information – is exfiltrated, the malware will send it to command-and-control (C2) servers that are different than the one that the card stealer module uses, according to researchers with cybersecurity vendor Proofpoint's Threat Insight team.

    The new card information module is the latest illustration of Emotet's Lazarus-like return. It's been more than a year since Europol and law enforcement from countries including the United States, the UK and Ukraine tore down the Emotet actors' infrastructure in January 2021 and – they hoped – put the malware threat to rest.

    Continue reading
  • Unpatched Exchange server, stolen RDP logins... How miscreants get BlackCat ransomware on your network
    Microsoft details this ransomware-as-a-service

    Two of the more prolific cybercriminal groups, which in the past have deployed such high-profile ransomware families as Conti, Ryuk, REvil and Hive, have started adopting the BlackCat ransomware-as-as-service (RaaS) offering.

    The use of the modern Rust programming language to stabilize and port the code, the variable nature of RaaS, and growing adoption by affiliate groups all increase the chances that organizations will run into BlackCat – and have difficulty detecting it – according to researchers with the Microsoft 365 Defender Threat Intelligence Team.

    In an advisory this week, Microsoft researchers noted the myriad capabilities of BlackCat, but added the outcome is always the same: the ransomware is deployed, files are stolen and encrypted, and victims told to either pay the ransom or risk seeing their sensitive data leaked.

    Continue reading
  • 'Prolific' NetWalker extortionist pleads guilty to ransomware charges
    Canadian stole $21.5m from dozens of companies worldwide

    A former Canadian government employee has pleaded guilty in a US court to several charges related to his involvement with the NetWalker ransomware gang.

    On Tuesday, 34-year-old Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins admitted he conspired to commit computer and wire fraud, intentionally damaged a protected computer, and transmitted a demand in relation to damaging a protected computer. 

    He will also forfeit $21.5 million and 21 laptops, mobile phones, gaming consoles, and other devices, according to his plea agreement [PDF], which described Vachon-Desjardins as "one of the most prolific NetWalker Ransomware affiliates" responsible for extorting said millions of dollars from dozens of companies worldwide.

    Continue reading
  • Google: How we tackled this iPhone, Android spyware
    Watching people's every move and collecting their info – not on our watch, says web ads giant

    Spyware developed by Italian firm RCS Labs was used to target cellphones in Italy and Kazakhstan — in some cases with an assist from the victims' cellular network providers, according to Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG).

    RCS Labs customers include law-enforcement agencies worldwide, according to the vendor's website. It's one of more than 30 outfits Google researchers are tracking that sell exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed groups. And we're told this particular spyware runs on both iOS and Android phones.

    We understand this particular campaign of espionage involving RCS's spyware was documented last week by Lookout, which dubbed the toolkit "Hermit." We're told it is potentially capable of spying on the victims' chat apps, camera and microphone, contacts book and calendars, browser, and clipboard, and beam that info back to base. It's said that Italian authorities have used this tool in tackling corruption cases, and the Kazakh government has had its hands on it, too.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022