CAPE - malware configuration and payload extraction

March 7, 2022
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CAPE is a malware sandbox. It was derived from Cuckoo with the goal of adding automated malware unpacking and config extraction - hence its name is an acronym: 'Config And Payload Extraction'. Automated unpacking allows classification based on Yara signatures to complement network (Suricata) and behavior (API) signatures.

There is a free community instance online which anyone can use:

https://capesandbox.com

Although config and payload extraction was the original stated goal, it was the development of the debugger in CAPE which first inspired the project: in order to extract configs or unpacked payloads from arbitrary malware families without relying on process dumps (which sooner or later the bad guys will thwart), instruction-level monitoring and control is necessary. The novel debugger in CAPE follows the principle of maximising use of processor hardware and minimising (almost completely) use of Windows debugging interfaces, allowing malware to be stealthily instrumented and manipulated from the entry point with hardware breakpoints programmatically set during detonation by Yara signatures or API calls. This allows instruction traces to be captured, or actions to be performed such as control flow manipulation or dumping of a memory region.

The debugger has allowed CAPE to continue to evolve beyond its original capabilities, which now include dynamic anti-evasion bypasses. Since modern malware commonly tries to evade analysis within sandboxes, for example by using timing traps for virtualisation or API hook detection, CAPE allows dynamic countermeasures to be developed combining debugger actions within Yara signatures....

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