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DBatLoader: Abusing Discord to Deliver Warzone RAT

Oct 21 2021


67% of the malware downloads Netskope blocks come from popular cloud applications being abused by attackers. One of the services commonly abused by threat actors is Discord, which is abused to host malware such as TroubleGrabber using public attachment URLs.

In this blog post, we will analyze a recent DBatLoader (a.k.a. ModiLoader) sample that uses this technique on Discord to deliver a malware known as Warzone (a.k.a. Ave Maria), a Remote Access Trojan created in 2018. 

This malware is actively being sold on the internet, through a dedicated website:

Screenshot of Warzone RAT website
Warzone RAT website.

It offers a long list of capabilities, such as:

  • Remote Desktop
  • WebCam Live Stream
  • Download/Upload Files
  • Password Grabber (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, Outlook, etc.)
  • Offline/Online Keylogger
Listing of Warzone features, according to their website.
Warzone features, according to their website.

The malware is being sold under many prices, depending on the selected plan:

Screenshot of Warzone RAT prices.
Warzone RAT prices.

The website even includes a knowledge base that contains information about the usage of Warzone RAT.

Screenshot of Warzone RAT knowledge base.
Warzone RAT knowledge base.


It all starts with the first stage of DBatLoader, which is known for abusing cloud services, like Google Drive and Discord, to retrieve its second stage, both of which are developed in Delphi.

Screenshot of the first stage of DBatLoader.
First stage of DBatLoader.

The sample is signed with a revoked certificate from “Afia Wave Enterprises”.

Screenshot of DBatLoader digital signature.
DBatLoader digital signature.

Once running, the malware allocates and executes a shellcode, which is responsible for downloading the second stage.

Screenshot showing DBatLoader shellcode.
DBatLoader shellcode.

Later, the second stage is downloaded from Discord, which is eventually decrypted and executed in memory.

Screenshot showing DBatLoader downloading its second stage from Discord.
DBatLoader downloading its second stage from Discord.

Looking at the decrypted file strings, we can see references to a few batch scripts that are usually created and executed by this malware to accomplish small tasks, like disabling Windows Defender. However, this sample doesn’t contain the routines to run these files.

Screenshot showing strings related to batch scripts.
Strings related to batch scripts.

The loader then copies itself to “%AppData%” as “windows explorer.exe” and creates a very simple persistence technique through Windows Registry.

Screenshot of DBatLoader persistence mechanism.
DBatLoader persistence mechanism.

The final payload is encrypted and stored in DBatLoader’s resources, named “YAK”.

Screenshot of Warzone RAT encrypted payload.
Warzone RAT encrypted payload.

After decrypting these bytes, the payload is executed using a technique known as Process Hollowing. Simply put, the code is injected through the following steps:

  1. The target process is created in a suspended state with CreateProcessA;
  2. The original process’ code section is removed with NtUnmapViewOfSection;
  3. New space is allocated in the process with VirtualAllocEx;
  4. The malicious code is written using WriteProcessMemory;
  5. Finally, the code is resumed with SetThreatContext and ResumeThread.
Screenshot of Warzone RAT being injected through Process Hollowing.
Warzone RAT being injected through Process Hollowing.

This is a very common process injection technique, used by many malware such as Astaroth, Cobalt Strike, and Trickbot. After injecting Warzone RAT, DBatLoader exits the process without further actions. 

The final payload can be dumped from memory using a debugger or the pe-sieve tool.

Screenshot of Warzone RAT strings.
Warzone RAT strings.

As we mentioned earlier in this blog post, Warzone provides full access to the infected machine and is also able to steal passwords from many browsers and email clients.

Screenshot of part of the Warzone RAT function that grabs passwords from browsers.
Part of the Warzone RAT function that grabs passwords from browsers.

The malware communicates to its C2 server via TCP using sockets, through the port 1990 in this case.

Screenshot of Warzone RAT C2 communication.
Warzone RAT C2 communication.

This information is encrypted and stored within the PE file in a section named “.bss”. The first 4 bytes of the section are the key length, followed by the key and the encrypted data.

Screenshot of Warzone RAT encrypted configuration.
Warzone RAT encrypted configuration.

The data is encrypted with RC4 and, once we understood this structure, we created a python script that is able to parse and decrypt the C2 address from Warzone.

Screenshot of decrypted data from Warzone.
Decrypted data from Warzone.


Using Discord to host malicious payloads isn’t something new, as we saw in TroubleGrabber in 2020. However, we should expect more malware to abuse not only Discord but other cloud services as well, as it can be more reliable and harder to detect. Netskope is actively monitoring attackers abusing cloud apps for malware delivery.


Netskope Threat Labs is actively monitoring this campaign and has ensured coverage for all known threat indicators and payloads. 

  • Netskope Threat Protection
    • Win32.Trojan.Modiloader
    • Win32.Trojan.WarzoneRAT
  • Netskope Advanced Threat Protection provides proactive coverage against this threat.
    • Gen.Malware.Detect.By.StHeur indicates a sample that was detected using static analysis
    • Gen.Malware.Detect.By.Sandbox indicates a sample that was detected by our cloud sandbox


SHA256 Hashes

DBatLoader First Stage07915b1a44803fc9bd86d2d9ddad19434440b3d73f5c77f3400c84a935dd0255
DBatLoader Second Stage8f1d0ba030b897786c9ad6b68bb9165e539371648a8a60e2a6f1136647b5104e
Warzone RATe89c137a4faa31d639492b045a78dd115468f9191143c302d165aefe85b3c06a

The full list of IOCs, the script that decrypts Warzone configuration, and a Yara rule can be found in our Github repository.

author image
Gustavo Palazolo
Gustavo Palazolo is an expert in malware analysis, reverse engineering and security research, working many years in projects related to electronic fraud protection. He is currently working on the Netskope Research Team, discovering and analyzing new malware threats.

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