Hackers Deliver HotRat as Hidden Scripts in cracked software

The use of illegal software has been under circulation ever since there have been torrents and cracked software. Recent reports show that threat actors have been relying on cracked software to deploy HotRat malware into victims’ systems.

HotRat malware is capable of stealing login credentials, cryptocurrency wallets, screen capturing, keylogging, and installing additional malware. Hackers used an AutoHotKey script to trigger the HotRat malware in the affected systems.

HotRat Delivery and Installation

Threat actors hijacked software cracks available on the internet and turned them into an AutoHotKey script that displays the same icon as the cracked software.

Once the crack is installed on the system, the script triggers the original software installation initially to provide the illusion of the targeted software.

HotRat Installation Process (Source: Avast)

Simultaneously, the script also executes a PowerShell script “powerpoint.xml” that disables the consent admin that allows all the operations to be performed without the admin’s consent.

It also uninstalls Avira AV and Windows Defender alert settings.

In addition to this, a VBS Loader is executed every two minutes for maintaining the persistence of the malware. This is achieved by creating a Task Scheduler on the victim system. This scheduled task gradually injects the HotRat payload after deactivating the AVs.

HotRat deployment (Source: Avast)

Indicators of Compromise

C2 Servers


DNS Records

  • fon1(.)sells-it.net
  • foxn1(.)sells-it.net
  • srxy123(.)is-a-geek.com
  • websites(.)theworkpc.com
  • dynsys(.)is-a-guru.com
  • rec(.)casacam.net
  • samaerx(.)ddnsfree.com

List of Software that were misused by attackers

  • Adobe Illustrator 2023 v27.1.0.189 (x64) Pre-Multilingual Pre-Activated
  • Adobe Master Collection CC 2022 v25.08.2022 (x64) Multilingual Pre-Activated
  • Adobe Photoshop 2021 v22.0.0.35 (x64) Multilingual (Pre-Activated)
  • Advanced System Care
  • Age of Empires IV Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Allavsoft Video Downloader Converter + keygen
  • Battlefield 3 Premium Edition + all DLC
  • CCleaner (All Editions) 6.08.10255 (x64) + Patch
  • Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 ( 3.3.1 direct play portable)
  • CyberLink Screen Recorder Deluxe
  • Disk Drill Enterprise v50734
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Technician v15.8.1.0 Build 20221128 + Fix {Cracks}
  • Far Cry 4 gold edition – v1.10 + all dlcs
  • IDM 6.41 build 4 incl Patch 3.12.2022 (CrackingPatching)
  • IObit Driver Booster Pro v10.2.0.110 + Fix {Crack
  • IObit Uninstaller Pro v12.3.0.8 + Fix {CracksHash}
  • KMSpico 10.1.8 FINAL + Portable (Office and Windows 10 Activator)
  • Microsoft Office 2022 LTSC v3109(x64) Pre-Cracked (CrackingPatching)
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2021 v2108 Build 14326.20144 (x86+x64) Incl. Activator
  • Nitro Pro Enterprise v13.70.2.40 (x64) + Fix {Crack}
  • PlayerFab v7.0.3.1 (x64) + Fix Crack
  • Proxima Photo Manager Pro 4.0 Release 7 Multilingual
  • ResumeMaker Professional Deluxe v20.2.0.4060 Pre-Cracked Crack
  • Revo Uninstaller Pro 5.0.8 Multilanguage
  • ScreenRecorder_4.3.1.25422_Deluxe
  • SkylumLuminarNeo1.6.1(10826)x64Sky
  • Sniper Elite 4 Deluxe Edition v1.5.0 All DLCs Multiplayer Dedicated Server
  • The Sims 4 (v1.94.147.1030 & ALL DLC’s)
  • Tiktok 18+ Plus PC Download (Latest Version) V1.3.5 For Pc
  • Topaz Video AI v3.0.5 (x64) + Fix {Crack}
  • Vmware Workstation pro v17.0.1 build 21139696 (x64) + fix {crackshash}
  • Wondershare Filmora X (x64) Multilingual
  • Wondershare UniConverter v14.1.9.124 (x64) + Fix Crack

A Complete report about the initial installation, deployment, and execution has been published on Avast.

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