Quickly Reversing The SolarWinds Backdoor

A Quick look into how you might approach reverse engineering the SolarWinds Backdoor.

This is a brief writeup on how to get your hands dirty with reversing the SolarWinds backdoor, some of the tooling required, and where to find it within the backdoored DLL.

The SolarWinds compromise was a sophisticated supply-chain attack, in which it is highly likely the attackers had access to the build-process of SolarWinds Orion - the company’s flagship product.

The sample we’ll be looking at has a SHA-256 hash of 019085a76ba7126fff22770d71bd901c325fc68ac55aa743327984e89f4b0134.

  1. Choose your analysis environment, we recommend using a VM, such as FireEye’s Threat Intelligence “ThreatPursuit-VM” which can be found here.
  2. We have provided the malware for analysis here, download the backdoored SolarWinds DLL from here: solarwinds_implant.zip. The password is infected. You may need to disable Windows Defender, or any other anti-malware solution, if enabled in your analysis environment.
  3. Next, as we’re dealing with a .NET binary, we’ll use dnSpy (or any other .NET reflector) to decompile the bytecode back to source. Grab the latest release here, and extract to a location of your choice.
  4. Start dnSpy, and open the malware - File -> Open. Next, you’ll see it opened in the left pane. We can observe several classes within the SolarWinds code, this is expected as the attackers embedded the backdoor code within legitimate SolarWinds-written code - they are likely to of have had presence in SolarWind’s entire build process nvekw.png
  5. Now, we’ll locate the backdoor code. Go to the SolarWinds.Orion.Core.BusinessLayer namespace from the listing.
  6. Next, you’ll see a bunch of classes. Select the OrionImprovementBusinessLayer class from the listing.
  7. Sick, we’ve successfully identified the malicous code. l8rbghqemf.png
  8. Have fun reversing, we highly recommended taking a look at begin.re, and Malware Unicorn’s RE101 if you want to learn more.


FireEye released a whole host of YARA rules (and more), to detect this specific threat. This can be found here.

Boring Stuff

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