AHK – the new AutoIT
Gabriel Cirlig & Stefan Tanase, Ixia
AutoHotkey is an open-source scripting language for Windows, originally aimed at providing easy ways for users of most levels of computer skill to automate tasks in Windows applications—through keyboard shortcuts, fast macro-creation, and software automation. But its list of features doesn’t stop there. It can set up Windows Event Hooks, inject VBScript/JScript, and even inject DLLs in other process’ memory. Being a reputable tool, it has gathered over the years a sizeable community that has been able to push its interpreter (an 800KB binary blob) into the whitelists of most of the antivirus vendors.
However, it has also attracted the attention of the wrong type of crowd. Malware authors have started using this scripting engine to fly under the radar and drop a varied range of payloads without triggering any antivirus (AV) alarms.
In this talk I will be focusing on presenting ways that this tool can be used for malicious purposes, from droppers to keyloggers that use covert channels such as DNS to exfiltrate data. A brief article that presents the first part can be found here as well.
Software developer turned rogue, went from developing apps for small businesses to 2M+ DAU Facebook games while keeping an eye for everything shiny and new. For about three years Gabriel has been tinkering at Ixia’s threat intelligence system as his full time passion while playing around with whatever random hardware comes into his hands. With a background in electronics engineering and various programming languages, Gabriel likes to dismantle and hopefully put back whatever he gets his hands on.
Stefan is an experienced security researcher based in Bucharest, Romania. Having spent the last 10 years of his career combating the world’s most sophisticated cyber threats, Stefan joined Ixia in 2017 as a Principal Security Researcher. Through innovative research projects and effective public speaking engagements, he actively contributes to keeping internet users safe. While Stefan specializes in collecting threat intelligence and monitoring the cybercrime ecosystem, he has a real passion for digital rights and internet privacy.