HP Threat Research Blog Super Mario Oddity


February 8, 2019 Category: Uncategorized By: Matthew Rowen Comments: 3

Super Mario Oddity

A few days ago, I was investigating a sample piece of malware where our static analysis flagged a spreadsheet as containing a Trojan but the behavioural trace showed very little happening. This is quite common for various reasons, but one of the quirks of how we work at Bromium is that we care about getting malware to run and fully detonate within our secure containers. This enables our customers to understand the threats they are facing, and to take any other remedial action necessary without any risk to their endpoints or company assets. Running their malware actually makes our customers more secure.

A quick look at the macros in this spreadsheet revealed that it was coded to exit Excel immediately if the machine was not based in Italy (country 39): 


We often see malware samples failing to run based on location, but usually they look for signs of being in Russia. This is widely believed to help groups based there avoid prosecution by local authorities, but of course leads to false-flag usage too. My interest was piqued, so I modified the document to remove this check so it would open and then I could see if we could get the malware to detonate. The usual social engineering prompt is displayed on opening: