SeroXen RAT on the market | AT&T Alien Labs

This weblog was collectively written with Alejandro Prada and Ofer Caspi.

Government abstract

SeroXen is a brand new Distant Entry Trojan (RAT) that confirmed up in late 2022 and is rising in popularity in 2023. Marketed as a official device that provides entry to your computer systems undetected, it’s being bought for less than $30 for a month-to-month license or $60 for a lifetime bundle, making it accessible.

Key takeaways:

  • SeroXen is a fileless RAT, performing effectively at evading detections on static and dynamic evaluation.
  • The malware combines a number of open-source tasks to enhance its capabilities. It’s a mixture of Quasar RAT, r77-rootkit and the command line NirCmd.
  • Tons of of samples have proven up since its creation, being hottest within the gaming group. It is just a matter of time earlier than it’s used to focus on firms as a substitute of particular person customers.


Quasar RAT is a official open-source distant administration device. It’s provided on github web page to offer person help or worker monitoring. It has been traditionally related to malicious exercise carried out by menace actors, APT teams (like on this Mandiant report from 2017), or authorities assaults (on this report by Unit42 in 2017).

It was first launched in July 2014 as “xRAT” and renamed to “Quasar” in August 2015. Since then, there have been launched updates to the code till v1.4.1 in March 2023, which is probably the most present model. As an open-source RAT device with updates 9 years after its creation, it’s no shock that it continues to be a standard device utilized by itself or mixed with different payloads by menace actors as much as this present day.

In a evaluation of the newest samples, a brand new Quasar variant was noticed by Alien Labs within the wild: SeroXen. This new RAT is a modified department of the open-source model, including some modifications options to the unique RAT. They’re promoting it for month-to-month or lifetime charge. Determine 1 comprises a number of the options marketed on their web site.

SeroXen features

Determine 1. SeroXen options introduced on its web site.

This new RAT first confirmed up on a Twitter account, established in September 2022. The individual promoting the RAT gave the impression to be an English-speaking teenager. The identical Twitter deal with revealed a evaluation of the RAT on YouTube. The video approached the evaluation from an attacking/Pink Crew perspective, encouraging individuals to purchase the device as a result of it’s well worth the cash. They had been claiming to be a reseller of the device.

In December 2022, a selected area was registered to market/promote the device, seroxen[.]com. The RAT was distributed through a month-to-month license for $30 USD or a lifetime license of $60 USD. It was round that point that the malware was first noticed within the wild, showing with 0 detections on VirusTotal.

After a couple of months, on the first of February, the YouTuber CyberSec Zaado revealed a video alerting the group in regards to the capabilities of the RAT from a defensive perspective. In late February, the RAT was marketed on social media platforms resembling TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and a number of other cracking boards, together with hackforums. There have been some conversations on gaming boards complaining about being contaminated by malware after downloading some video video games. The artifacts described by the customers matched with SeroXen RAT.

The menace actor up to date the area identify to seroxen[.]internet by the top of March. This area identify was registered on March twenty seventh, 2023, after seroxen[.]com was decommissioned. The menace actor used GoDaddy for registration and Cloudflare for internet hosting the web site. These domains are solely used for promoting and advertising functions, and never for Command and Management (C&C) communications.

SeroXen website

Determine 2: SeroXen web site

Primarily based on the packed variations uploaded to VT, it seems that the RAT is getting used for focusing on online game customers. A number of lure injector cheat recordsdata have been noticed with names invoking standard videogames resembling Fortnite, Valorant, Roblox or Warzone2. The menace actor used Discord for the distribution of a number of the samples.

SeroXen timeline

Determine 3. SeroXen timeline.

Probably the most related introduced options is that it’s a absolutely undetectable model. That is at the moment true from a static evaluation perspective, for the reason that RAT is packaged into an obfuscated PowerShell batch file. The file’s measurement sometimes ranges between 12-14 megabytes, as we will see in pattern 8ace121fae472cc7ce896c91a3f1743d5ccc8a389bc3152578c4782171c69e87 uploaded to VT on Could 21. On account of its comparatively massive measurement, sure antivirus might select to not analyze it, probably bypassing detection. This pattern at the moment has 0 detections on VT, however a number of the crowdsourced Sigma Guidelines do detect the exercise as suspicious.

Because the malware is fileless and executed solely in reminiscence after going by way of a number of decryptions and decompression routines, it’s harder to detect by antiviruses. As well as, its rootkit hundreds a contemporary copy of ntdll.dll, which makes it more durable to detect by Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) options that hook into it to detect course of injections.

Relating to the dynamic evaluation, it’s value noting that some sandbox environments may fail to detect the RAT resulting from its utilization of a number of methods to evade virtualization and sandbox detection mechanisms and string encryption subsequent payloads.

The RAT employs anti-debugging methods by leveraging Home windows Administration Instrumentation (WMI) to establish the system’s producer. This permits it to establish virtualization environments resembling VMware and abort the execution to delay and make the evaluation more durable. The RAT additionally checks for the presence of debuggers and makes use of pings make the threads sleep.

At present, most little one processes and recordsdata dropped throughout the execution of the RAT have a low detection price.

Execution evaluation

When the malicious payload is delivered to the sufferer, generally by way of a phishing mail or a Discord channel – the sufferer usually receives a ZIP file containing a benign file in plain sight, and the closely obfuscated batch file is hidden and routinely executed when launched. The bat file format is all the time very comparable and appears just like the contents of Determine 4, adopted by base64 encoded textual content later within the file.

SeroXen bat script

Determine 4. Obfuscated bat script.

In the course of the bat execution, the script extracts two separate binaries from the base64 encoded textual content, AES decrypts, and GZIP decompresses it to supply two separate byte arrays. These byte arrays are then used with .NET reflection to carry out an in-memory load of the meeting from its bytes, find the binary’s entry level, and carry out an Invoke on each.

All through the decryption course of, the attackers had the necessity to create a official trying folder to drop a bootleg model of the System Configuration Utility msconfig.exe that’s required later. For this function, the script creates the folder “C:Home windows System32”, with an area after Home windows and deletes it as quickly because the utility is working. If it wasn’t for this file quickly dropped into disk, the RAT could be absolutely fileless.

The execution of one of many above-mentioned binaries results in one other obfuscated binary carrying an embedded useful resource. This useful resource is hidden behind anti-sandboxing and debugger methods, solely to result in extra obfuscation and encryption methods that result in the ultimate payload. This payload has been constructed utilizing the Github venture Costura, which permits SeroXen to pack the code’s dependencies into the .NET meeting so it might run self-contained.

SeroXen payload

Determine 5. Payload embedded assets.

The extraction of the assets results in the ultimate payloads. That is within the type of two .NET assemblies: CSStub2.InstallStager.exe, and CSStub2.UninstallStager.exe. And a Win32 binary known as CSStub2.$sxr-nircmd.exe, which corresponds to the unmodified command-line utility NirCmd.

The payload InstallStager.exe is a compilation of the open-source rootkit named r77-rootkit – a fileless ring 3 rootkit written in .NET. This rootkit helps each x32 and x64 Home windows processes and has the next options:

  • Fileless persistence: The rootkit is saved as obfuscated knowledge within the registry and is spawned with PowerShell through Job Scheduler to be injected into the winlogon.exe course of.
  • Youngster course of hooking.
  • Choice to embed further malware to be executed with the rootkit – on this case NirCmd and/or Quasar. The added malware might be decompressed and decrypted earlier than it’s injected into different processes.
  • In reminiscence course of injection: the rootkit injects itself and extra malware(s) into all processes. Injection is finished from reminiscence: no recordsdata are wanted to be saved on disk.
  • Hooking: Hooks a number of capabilities from ntdll.dll to cover its presence.
  • Speaking through NamedPipe: The rootkit can obtain a command from any working course of.
  • Antivirus / EDR evasion: The rootkit makes use of a number of evasion methods:
    • AMSI bypass: PowerShell inline script patches “amsi.dll!AmsiScanBuffer” to all the time return “AMSI_RESULT_CLEAN”.
    • DLL unhooking: Removes EDR hooks by loading a contemporary copy of “ntdll.dll” from disk to keep away from course of hollowing detection
  • Hiding entities: Hiding all entities begins with a configurable prefix, which in SeroXen’s case its “$sxr”. This prefix hardens the visualization of the assault on the system, however eases attribution of the malware household throughout the evaluation. The prefix is used to cover recordsdata, directories, NamedPipes, scheduled duties, processes, registry keys/values, and companies.

R77 technical documentation offers a tenet of the place can the prefix be discovered:

Config parameter




The prefix for name-based hiding (e.g. processes, recordsdata, and many others…).



Identify for the scheduled activity that begins the r77 service for 32-bit processes.



Identify for the scheduled activity that begins the r77 service for 64-bit processes.



Identify for the named pipe that notifies the 32-bit r77 service about new little one processes.

L”\.pipe” HIDE_PREFIX L”childproc32″


Identify for the named pipe that notifies the 64-bit r77 service about new little one processes.

L”\.pipe” HIDE_PREFIX L”childproc64″


Identify for the named pipe that receives instructions from exterior processes.

L”\.pipe” HIDE_PREFIX L”management”


The 2 most important elements on this venture are the InstallStager service and the Rootkit. The InstallStager service is chargeable for:

  • Making a registry key to retailer the malware code and writes it as encrypted knowledge.
  • Making a scheduled activity to execute the malware utilizing PowerShell. PowerShell will decompress and decrypt the ultimate payload (Service) that might be injected into the winlogon.exe course of and executed through dllhost.exe utilizing course of hollowing methods.

SeroXen starting

Determine 6. Beginning payload after decryption utilizing course of hollowing.

Now the second and most important stage of the Rootkit is able to begin. The service kicks off the load of the rootkit’s DLL that’s embedded as a useful resource and saves its configuration as a registry key. (In SeroXen case it is [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE$sxrconfig]).

The service creates 3 listener threads:

  • NewProcessListener: Enumerates all working processes and injects the rootkit when new processes are created.
  • ChildProcessListener: Injects the rootkit to a newly created course of by one other course of and updates the callee through NamedPipe.

SeroXen child process

Determine 7. Youngster course of injection.

  • ControlPipeListener: Creates a NamedPipe to obtain instructions from any course of. Supported instructions are listed beneath:




The management code that uninstalls r77.


The management code that quickly pauses injection of latest processes.


The management code that resumes injection of latest processes.


The management code that injects r77 into a selected course of, if it isn’t but injected.


The management code that injects r77 into all processes that aren’t but injected.


The management code detaches r77 from a selected course of.


The management code detaches r77 from all processes.


The management code that executes a file utilizing ShellExecute.


The management code that executes an executable utilizing course of hollowing.


The management code that triggers a BSOD.


The management code that terminates the r77 service.


The DLL rootkit carries out course of injections, executes instructions acquired by different processes, and retains out of sight any signal of SeroXen being executed throughout the system.

SeroXen hooking

Determine 8. System perform hooking.

As a abstract of the execution course of:

SeroXen summary

Determine 9. SeroXen decryption move.

Since Seroxen is predicated on QuasarRAT, the C&C server makes use of the identical Frequent Identify of their TLS certificates. The functionalities provided by the menace actor for the C&C server intently mirror these discovered within the Quasar Github repository, together with help for TCP community streams (each IPv4 and IPv6), environment friendly community serialization, compression utilizing QuickLZ, and safe communication by way of TLS encryption.


Determine 10. Quasar Server Certificates.



The SeroXen developer has discovered a formidable mixture of free assets to develop a tough to detect in static and dynamic evaluation RAT. Using an elaborated open-source RAT like Quasar, with nearly a decade since its first look, makes an advantageous basis for the RAT. Whereas the mix of NirCMD and r77-rootkit are logical additions to the combination, since they make the device extra elusive and more durable to detect.

The Alien Labs workforce will proceed to observe the menace panorama for SeroXen samples and infrastructure.

Detection strategies

The next related detection strategies are in use by Alien Labs. They can be utilized by readers to tune or deploy detections in their very own environments or for aiding further analysis.


2035595: ET TROJAN Generic AsyncRAT Model SSL Cert

2027619: ET TROJAN Noticed Malicious SSL Cert (Quasar CnC)


Related indicators (IOCs)

The next technical indicators are related to the reported intelligence. An inventory of indicators can also be accessible within the OTX Pulse. Please notice, the heart beat might embrace different actions associated however out of the scope of the report.







Instance malware hash

Mapped to MITRE ATT&CK

The findings of this report are mapped to the next MITRE ATT&CK Matrix methods:

  • TA0002 : Execution 
  • T1053: Scheduled Job/Job 
  • T1053.005: Scheduled Job 
  • T1059: Command and Scripting Interpreter 
  • T1059.003: Home windows Command Shell 
  • TA0003: Persistence 
  • T1547: Boot or Logon Autostart Execution 
  • T1547.001 Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder 
  • TA0004: Privilege Escalation 
  • T1548: Abuse Elevation Management Mechanism 
  • T1548.002: Bypass Consumer Account Management 
  • TA0005: Protection Evasion 
  • T1112: Modify Registry 
  • T1553: Subvert Belief Controls 
  • T1553.002: Code Signing 
  • T1564: Conceal Artifacts 
  • T1564.001: Hidden Information and Directories 
  • T1564.003: Hidden Window 
  • TA0006: Credential Entry 
  • T1552: Unsecured Credentials 
  • T1552.001: Credentials In Information 
  • T1555: Credentials from Password Shops 
  • T1555.003: Credentials from Internet Browsers 
  • TA0007: Discovery 
  • T1016: System Community Configuration Discovery 
  • T1033: System Proprietor/Consumer Discovery 
  • T1082: System Data Discovery 
  • T1614: System Location Discovery 
  • TA0008: Lateral Motion 
  • T1021: Distant Providers 
  • T1021.001: Distant Desktop Protocol 
  • TA009: Assortment 
  • T1005: Knowledge from Native System 
  • T1056: Enter Seize 
  • T1056.001: Keylogging 
  • T1125: Video Seize 
  • TA0011: Command and Management 
  • T1090: Proxy 
  • T1095: Non-Utility Layer Protocol  
  • T1105: Ingress Software Switch 
  • T1571: Non-Normal Port 
  • T1573: Encrypted Channel: 
  • T1573.001: Symmetric Cryptography 


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