Analysis of malicious PDF files

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As I mentioned before, one of the ways to hide information in a PDF file is trough the encoding/compression of streams, thanks to filters (/Filter parameter), being /FlateDecode the most used. The bad guys have been using it some time ago to hide obfuscated Javascript code with some vulnerable functions (Collab.collectEmailInfo, util.printf, getAnnots, getIcon, spell.customDictionaryOpen), or using heap-spraying to exploit another vulnerability not related with Javascript, like the /JBIG2Decode filter one.

To help in the analysis of these malicious files I’ve written a mini Python tool, using Spidermonkey to execute the found Javascript code and showing the shellcode to be launched. Automating the execution of obfuscated Javascript code is not a simple issue because there are many ways of doing it and everyday a new one arises, so I’ve tried to do an approximation to the problem, thanks to the malicious samples that I’ve seen. In the case the script won’t be able to go till the end it’s possible to specify the parameter -w to write to disk the Javascript code, helping to carry out a later manual analysis.

In order to execute the script the Spidermonkey library (and Pyrex) is required.

The downloaded file contains the script and a malicious PDF sample with a shellcode that tries to download and execute some malicious code from an URL. The domain doesn’t resolve anymore so there’s no problem with that. If you execute it with the sample file you should see the following output:

This output has five sections where you can find trigger events (/OpenAction and /AA), suspicious actions (/JS, /Launch, /SubmitForm and /ImportData), vulnerable elements, escaped bytes and URLs, which can be useful to get an idea of the file risk.

It will probably have several bugs or maybe you want to comment on it, so, please, let me know! 😉

Jose Miguel Esparza
S21sec e-crime

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