IR 305: PacketTotal (15 pts + 30 pts extra)

What You Need for This Project


This project uses traffic captured from a real malware attack. It may set off virus scanners and possibly even infect old, unpatched Windows machines.

Don't do this project on a real Windows machine in normal use. Use your Windows virtual machine instead.


To practice these skills, which are essential for a security analyst:

Choosing a Machine to Use

When working with malware, use a virtual machine with no antivirus software, and one that isn't used for other tasks such as shopping or emailing.

In this case we are using a fairly old Windows malware sample, so it's OK to use a Mac or Linux machine.

Don't use a regular Windows machine for this project, especially one used for other work, such as company machine at a workplace. However, using Windows as the host for a virtual machine is fine.

Downloading the Malware Traffic Sample

On your analysis machine, in a Web browser, go to:

On this page, click the link.

Unzipping the Sample

Double-click the file. It is a password-protected Zip file. Use this password, which is standard in the malware analysis community:


Using PacketTotal

In a Web browser, go to

On the File tab, click the "Choose file" button, as shown below.

Navigate to the 2017-12-23-traffic-analysis-exercise.pcap file you unzipped and double-click it.

A "Begin PCAP Analysis" box pops up, as shown below, warning that the packet capture file will be made public after analysis.

That's a problem for real network data, but not for us, so check the box and click Analyze.

Malicious Activity

The "Malicious Activity" tab appears, as shown below, with two types of alerts: "SURICATA DNS malformed request data" and "ET POLICY DNS Query to .onion proxy Domain".

The first one may be malware traffic, but there's no further detail available here.

The second one indicates use of Tor, which is probably malicious activity also.

Suspicious Activity

Click the "Suspicious Activity" tab.

There are two alerts here too. The first one looks serious: a known malware hash value.

Highlight the VirusTotal URL from the alert, highlighted in the image below, copy it, and open that page.

The file is detected as a Trojan, as shown below.

In VirusTotal, click the Behavior tab.

On the left side, under the word "DETECTION", click Lastline. There are three sandbox reports available, as outlined in red in the image below.

Flag IR 305.1: Run Key (5 pts)

Read through the sandbox reports.

Find the registry Run key set by this malware, as shown below. The flag is covered by a green box in the image below.

Analyzing an EXE

In PacketTotal, click the "Extracted Executable Files" tab. There are two executables, as shown below.

In the "File ID" column, click the little down-arrow on the right side of the second blue button (outlined in red in the image below) to download the Windows XP executable.

Check the box to verify that you are a human.

Click Verify.

Click "Download Potentially Malicious File".

A file downloads, named "extract-1513991782.382514-HTTP-FOSLGGC6wGdwbGkB3.raw".

Upload that file to VirusTotal.

Examine its behavior in the sandboxes.

Flag IR 305.2: BMP File (10 pts)

Find the files written by this malware. Find the filename of the BMP file written to the root of C:, covered by a green box in the image below. That's the flag.

Flag IR 305.3: IP Address (10 pts extra)


Download this file:

Unzip it with the password infected

Analyze it with tools of your choice. A file was downloaded from a server using port 443 for unencrypted traffic. What is the server's IP address? That's the flag.

Flag IR 305.4: File Name (10 pts extra)

Continue analyzing the sample from IR 305.3. A large file was downloaded that is a Windows exectuable file, but has a deceptive non-EXE file extension.

What is that file's name? That's the flag.

Flag IR 305.5: Scheduled Task (10 pts extra)

Continue analyzing the file you found in IR 305.4.

This malware creates a scheduled task in the C:\Windows\Tasks folder.

What is the name of that task? That's the flag.

Posted 9-17-18
Filename fixed 10-29-18
Ported to new flag system 10-3-19
Extra credit sections added 10-5-19