ValleyRAT Seeks Vulnerable Computers to Give Remote Access to Hackers

trojan horse

ValleyRAT is a newly discovered malware that has become a concern within the cybersecurity community. This article explores what ValleyRAT is, its capabilities, potential damage, and how it infiltrates computers.

Understanding ValleyRAT

ValleyRAT belongs to the category of Remote Access Trojans (RATs), which are malicious software programs used by cybercriminals to gain remote control over victims' computers. These tools open the door for a range of illicit activities.

ValleyRAT, developed in C++ and compiled in Chinese, exhibits the typical functionalities of a basic RAT. It employs various commands to execute actions crucial for its malicious operations.

ValleyRAT’s Capabilities

One of ValleyRAT's key capabilities is its ability to drop and execute Dynamic Link Library (DLL) files and other file types on compromised systems. This allows the malware to run code or applications of its choice, potentially including additional malicious payloads like ransomware or cryptocurrency miners.

ValleyRAT can establish persistence by setting itself to start automatically at system startup. This ensures that the malware remains active and concealed on the infected system, even after a reboot, granting cybercriminals continued control.

The malware can retrieve valuable information about the compromised system, such as a list of running processes. This data is valuable for identifying potential targets or vulnerabilities.

ValleyRAT can control its operation on the compromised system, enabling it to stop execution or restart as needed. This adaptability helps the malware evade detection or respond to changing circumstances.

Potential Damage

Cybercriminals wielding ValleyRAT can cause significant harm, including data theft for identity fraud and financial gain, deploying additional malware for system disruption, manipulating the compromised system for broader cyberattacks, and incurring financial losses from remediation and potential fraudulent activities.

ValleyRAT is not alone; other malware with RAT capabilities, such as Aphrobyte Plus, PySilon, and SuperBear, pose similar threats to cybersecurity.

Infiltration Methods

ValleyRAT's method of distribution has evolved over time. Initially, it used email campaigns with hyperlinks leading to compressed executable files. Later campaigns continued to use email but leveraged popular freemail services to distribute hyperlinks facilitating ValleyRAT installation.

In a notable deviation, one campaign used a Rust language-based loader to distribute ValleyRAT alongside a legitimate tool called EasyConnect, manipulated through DLL search order hijacking. Additionally, an atypical campaign in May 2023 employed PDFs resembling resumes containing hyperlinks that installed ValleyRAT upon activation.

Prevention and Protection

To protect your computer from malware like ValleyRAT, exercise caution when clicking links or downloading files from unknown or suspicious websites. Stick to reputable sources for software downloads and content. Be vigilant about unexpected and irrelevant emails, especially those with attachments or links. Avoid engaging with pop-up ads on suspicious webpages.

Regularly update your operating system, software applications, and antivirus/anti-malware programs. If you suspect your computer is infected, run a scan with a trusted anti-malware program to identify and remove threats.

By staying informed and practicing good cybersecurity hygiene, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to threats like ValleyRAT and other malicious software.

September 22, 2023

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