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Security Research

Spike in DanaBot Malware Activity

DENNIS SCHWARZ - Sr. Staff Security Researcher
November 05, 2021 - 6 Lesezeit: Min

Key Points

  • Two large software supply chain attacks distributed the DanaBot malware.
  • DanaBot is a malware-as-a-service platform discovered in 2018 that focuses on credential theft and banking fraud.
  • DanaBot’s popularity has waned in recent years, but these campaigns may signal a return of the malware and its affiliates to the threat landscape.


The DanaBot malware had a spike in new activity recently, including being distributed via two large software supply chain attacks and being used in a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on a Russian language electronics forum.

DanaBot, first discovered by Proofpoint in May 2018, is a malware-as-a-service platform where threat actors, known as “affiliates” and identified by “affiliate IDs”, purchase access to the platform from another threat actor who develops the malware and command and control (C2) panel, sets up and maintains the shared C2 infrastructure, and provides sales and customer support. Affiliates then distribute and use the malware as they see fit--mostly to steal credentials and commit banking fraud.

While it was a prominent banking malware for a number of years and despite a new major update being spotted at the end of 2020 (as documented by Proofpoint, ESET, and LEXFO), DanaBot has been relatively quiet in the recent threat landscape.

Large Software Supply Chain Attack (October 22, 2021)

As reported by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), GitHub, the developer, and others the NPM JavaScript package for “UAParser.js” was compromised on Friday, October 22, 2021 and used to distribute a cryptocurrency miner and DanaBot. UAParser.js is a “JavaScript library to detect Browser, Engine, OS, CPU, and Device type/model from User-Agent data with relatively small footprint.” Based on its NPM stats, it has 7 million weekly downloads.

The DanaBot malware was downloaded from:


The packed/crypted loader component has a SHA-256 hash of:


The loader downloads a main component which has a SHA-256 of:


The main component was configured with the following configuration:

Figure 1

Figure 1: DanaBot malware configuration used in supply chain attack

The malware was also configured with a backup TOR C2:


As highlighted in Figure 1 above, the affiliate ID for this sample was 40. Based on Zscaler ThreatLabz tracking, this is a new affiliate to the DanaBot ecosystem. At the time of the incident, the affiliate had only configured the malware’s credential stealing component to be active--the person-in-the-browser and webinject bank fraud component was not activated. 

While the post-infection intentions of the threat actor aren’t known, given the focus on credentials, the size of the attack, and the crimeware landscape being dominated by initial access brokers selling access to ransomware affiliates, this outcome can’t be ruled out.

Second Large Software Supply Chain Attack (November 4, 2021)

As reported by Twitter, GitHub, and others, another NPM package was compromised and used to distribute DanaBot. The package is called “COA” and it “is a parser for command line options that aim to get maximum profit from formalization your program API”. Based on NPM stats, it had almost 9 million weekly downloads. The attack took place on  Thursday, November 4, 2021 and it was by the same DanaBot affiliate ID 40 threat actor as in the October 22, 2021 attack on “UAParser.js”.

The DanaBot loader component used in this campaign was distributed from:


It has a SHA-256 hash of:


and was used to download a DanaBot main component with the SHA-256 hash of:


Similar to the first incident, the threat actor had only configured the malware’s credential stealing component to be active.

DDoS Attack on Russian Language Electronics Forum

DanaBot affiliate ID 4 was also active last week. While this affiliate isn’t new, there hasn’t been a change to their component configurations for some time. On Wednesday October 20, 2021, the affiliate configured its DanaBot victims to download and execute a new executable with a SHA-256 hash of:


The downloaded executable is written in the Delphi programming language and its only functionality is to implement a bare-bones HTTP-based DDoS attack on a hardcoded IP address and host. The template used to generate the HTTP requests is shown in Figure 2:

Figure 2

Figure 2: HTTP request template used in DDoS attack

As highlighted in the “Host” header in Figure 2 above, the attack targets a Russian language forum focused on the discussion of electronics. The “User-Agent” header, hardcoded target, and simple functionality seems to imply that the payload was designed to settle a personal grudge instead of indicating a larger change in the threat actor’s tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).


While the popularity and activity of DanaBot has declined in recent years, the UAParser.js and COA software supply chain attacks shows that the malware is still an active threat. It is currently unclear whether these attacks were a one-off opportunity for a threat actor or whether this and other activity signals the return of DanaBot and its affiliates.

Cloud Sandbox Detection

Figure 3






Compromise Accounts


Supply Chain Compromise


User Execution


Credentials from Password Stores


OS Credential Dumping


Steal Web Session Cookie


Clipboard Data


Encrypted Channel


Fallback Channels


Exfiltration Over C2 Channel


Indicators of Compromise




October 22, 2021 affiliate ID 40 distribution URL


October 22, 2021 affiliate ID 40 loader component


October 22, 2021 affiliate ID 40 main component

October 22, 2021 affiliate ID 40 configured C2

October 22, 2021 affiliate ID 40 configured C2

October 22, 2021 affiliate ID 40 configured C2

October 22, 2021 affiliate ID 40 configured C2


October 22, 2021 affiliate ID 40 configured backup C2


November 4, 2021 affiliate ID 40 distribution URL


November 4, 2021 affiliate ID 40 loader component


November 4, 2021 affiliate ID 40 main component

November 4, 2021 affiliate ID 40 configured C2

November 4, 2021 affiliate ID 40 configured C2

November 4, 2021 affiliate ID 40 configured C2

November 4, 2021 affiliate ID 40 configured C2


Recent Affiliate ID 4 loader component


Recent Affiliate ID 4 main component

Affiliate ID 4 configured C2

Affiliate ID 4 configured C2

Affiliate ID 4 configured C2


Affiliate ID 4 configured backup C2

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