The use of Microsoft SQL queries to retrieve next-stage payloads has been relatively rare as a form of malware distribution. Using this tactic, new Microsoft Office macros are found acting as a staged downloader called “WhiteShadow.” WhiteShadow has been resurfacing in multiple campaigns with evolving evasion techniques.
Below is an example of one such campaign:
When recipients open malicious attached documents and activate macros, WhiteShadow operates by executing SQL queries against attacker-controlled Microsoft SQL Server databases.
Once retrieved, the macro decodes the string and writes it to disk as a PKZip archive of a Windows executable. Once extracted by the macro, the executable is run on the system to start installing malware, which is determined by the actor based on the script configuration stored in the malicious Microsoft Office attachments.
Series of malicious email campaigns distributing Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel attachments containing the WhiteShadow downloader Visual Basic macro have been retrieved. Below is a visual infection chain of WhiteShadow.
IP(s) / Hostname(s)
Malware Hash (MD5/SHA1/SH256)