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Extreme Hacking | Sadik Shaikh | Cyber Suraksha Abhiyan


IDPS & SandBox & AntiVirus STEALTH KILLER.

MorphAES is the world’s first polymorphic shellcode engine, with metamorphic properties and capability to bypass sandboxes, which makes it undetectable for an IDPS, it’s cross-platform as well and library-independent.


  • Polymorphism (AES encryption)
  • Metamorphism (logic and constants changing)
  • Platform independent (Linux/BSD/Windows)
  • IDPS stealthing (the total number of possible signatures is more the number of atoms in the universe for one given code)
  • Sandbox evasion (special assembly instructions)
  • Realism (no null bytes)
  • Can produce executables
  • Input code can have arbitrary length
  • Possibility for a NOP sled

Dependencies for the morpher:

  • Python 2.7 – main engine
  • Python Crypto 2.6 – for encryption

Dependencies for the code execution:

  • 64-bit Intel AES-NI – for decryption

Nonetheless, there are some limitations (aka white-hat aspects):

  • Metamorphism is not very robust and can be detected using regular expressions (but can be improved pretty easily)
  • Unicode null bytes might still work (but who cares?)
  • It will only work on 64-bit Intel processors with AES-NI support, but since all the user’s PCs (like Pentium, Celeron, i3, i5, i7) and the industry’s servers (like Xeon) have it, it’s more a specification, rather than a limitation, thus a 32-bit implementation is unpractical
  • Almost any shellcode is guaranteed to work however, an arbitrary code doesn’t
  • Windows/BSD PoC and executables are in progress…

How it works

  1. Shellcode padding with NOPs (since AES is a block cipher) and adding an optional NOP sled
  2. Shellcode encryption with a random key using AES-128-ECB (not the best, but the simplest) – polymorphism
  3. Constants randomization, logic changes, instructions modification and rewriting – metamorphism


For Linux:

sudo apt-get install python python-crypto

Execute the Python script and enter your shellcode or nothing for a default Linux shell. You can specify your own execution address as well.

It is possible to build and execute on Windows/BSD/Mac as well, but I’m still testing it.

You can also use the Linux PoC in assembly:

as shellcode.s -o shellcode.o
ld shellcode.o -o shellcode

Every file is commented and explained


At this point, it should be pretty obvious that, the hashes would be different every time, but let’s compare SSDEEPes of 2 Linux executables of the same shellcode:

  • 96:GztTHyKGQh3lo6Olv4W4zS/2WnDf74i4a4B7UEoB46keWJl09:Gzty6VOlvqSTDflmNroh,
  • 96:GQtT23yKmFUh3lo6OlOnIrFS4rkoPPf74i4a4B7UEoB46keWJ5:GQtCGWVOlOWFSsPflmNroh,

Well, there’s something in common, but globally those are 2 different signatures, now what about the shellcode itself:

  • 48:eip2bR2LRNtRPORDGRopRBXR3cRzER2vRU9BnH6ksr:Srn+,
  • 48:6RjNeR2IRN7RPWRDeRokRB5R3xRz3R28RUxFT2+75eFK9iKMAdXAJKo:O9Tdwoo,

Almost totally different signatures for the same morphed shellcode!

At the publication date, the executable was detected as a shellcode only by 2 out of 53 antiviruses (AVG and Ikarus) on virustotal, but now, it just fails to analyze.

malware’s with cuckoo2 doesn’t see anything suspicious.

On the reverser’s perspective, IDA won’t see anything either.

Radare2 would show the real instructions only if assembled by the assembler itself however, it doesn’t detect any crypto or suspicious activity for the executable.

Although I didn’t test it personally, I think that FortiSandbox, Sophos Sandstorm, Blue Coat, GateWatcher and their derivatives might fail badly…

To put it in the nutshell

Basically, it can transform a script kid’s code (or a known one) into a zero-day.

IDPS will fail because it’s almost impossible to make a signature and difficult to make a regular expression or heuristic analysis.

Most of the sandboxes don’t use Intel’s AES-NI instructions directly so they will not execute the code, so “everything is fine” for them, whereas it’s not.

The only way to defeat this type of shellcode is to use an appropriate sandboxing or/and an AI.

Notice that, the whole execution is done by a pure assembly, no Python (or shitty OpenSSL) is needed for the shellcode’s execution since, I use built-in assembly instructions only, thus it’s system-independent (surely, you will have to assemble it for each one by adapting the instructions/opcodes, but they are still same).


git clone
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