Anti-Malware Research

MiniDuke – Even Older than we Thought

Bitdefender antimalware researchers have found yet another sample of the MiniDuke malware, only this one is dated June 20, 2011, the oldest found so far.

The malware sample is a small executable that drops and loads a .dll. The dll is a little bit different from more recent versions, it has many imports, just as if it was an ordinary program,  from kernel32.dll, user32.dll, gdi32.dll and comctl32.dll. Also, the method of computing the system fingerprint is a little different.

Interestingly, the current time/date was then fetched from (Department of the Navy site).

There is no Google search backup way to contact command and control servers (if connecting to Twitter fails, then nothing happens). So we can see that the use of Google search technique has been introduced after 2011.

There are also new (to us) Twitter indicatives: ObamaApril and Qae9XMs. In this earlier version the malware connects to directly, instead of via as in 2012/2013 versions.

Surprisingly enough, the Twitter account which was used is still active. Its last and single post is from Feb 21, 2012. tweet is uri!wp07VkkxYt3Ag/bdbNgi3smPJvX7+HLEw5H6/S0RsmHKtA== and this decodes to “”, another server that was probably hacked. However, no files have been found on that particular server. This is probably because the malware sample is so old that the command and control server is no longer active.

A removal tool covering all known variants (including this one) has been posted here:

MiniDuke Removal Tool (6158 downloads)

About the author


Razvan Stoica is a journalist turned teacher turned publicist and technology evangelist. When Bitdefender isn't paying him to bring complex subjects to wide audiences, he enjoys writing fiction, skiing and biking. Razvan Stoica started off writing for a science monthly and was the chief editor of a science fiction magazine for a short while before moving on to the University of Medicine in Bucharest where he lectured on the English language. Recruited by Bitdefender in 2004 to add zest to the company's online presence, he has fulfilled a bevy of roles within the company since. In his current position, he is primarily responsible for the communications and community-building efforts of the Bitdefender research and technology development arm.


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