Ensiko: A Webshell With Ransomware Capabilities

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By Aliakbar Zahravi 

Ensiko is a PHP web shell with ransomware capabilities that targets various platforms such as Linux, Windows, macOS, or any other platform that has PHP installed. The malware has the capability to remotely control the system and accept commands to perform malicious activities on the infected machine.

It can also execute shell commands on an infected system and send the results back to the attacker via a PHP reverse shell. It is capable of scanning servers for the presence of other webshells, defacing websites, sending mass emails, downloading remote files, disclosing information about the affected server, brute-force attacks against file transfer protocol (FTP), cPanel, and Telnet, overwriting files with specified extensions, and more.

Technical Details

Webshell Authentication

The malware has the ability to be password-protected. For authentication, the malware displays a Not Found page with a hidden login form as seen in the next two figures:

ensiko01 1024x292 1Figure 1. Not Found page and hidden login form

ensiko02 640x267 1Figure 2. PHP code for password authentication

The password for this sample is “RaBiitch”, while the following figure shows captured network traffic for an authentication request to the web shell panel:

ensiko03 640x224 1Figure 3. Captured network traffic

ensiko04 640x358 1Figure 4. Appearance of Ensikology webshell

Webshell features

The following is a list of Ensiko’s capabilities:

Features Description
Priv Index Download ensikology.php from pastebin
Ransomeware Encrypt files using RIJNDAEL 128 with CBC mode
CGI Telnet Download CGI-telnet version 1.3 from pastebin;

CGI-Telnet is a CGI script that allows you to execute commands on your web server.

Reverse Shell PHP Reverse shell
Mini Shell 2 Drop Mini Shell 2 webshell payload in ./tools_ensikology/
IndoXploit Drop IndoXploit webshell payload in ./tools_ensikology/
Sound Cloud Display sound cloud
Realtime DDOS Map Fortinet DDoS map
Encode/Decode Encode/decode string buffer
Safe Mode Fucker Disable PHP Safe Mode
Dir Listing Forbidden Turn off directory indexes
Mass Mailer Mail Bombing
cPanel Crack Brute-force cPanel, ftp, and telnet
Backdoor Scan Check remote server for existing web shell
Exploit Details Display system information and versioning
Remote Server Scan Check remote server for existing web shell
Remote File Downloader Download file from remote server via CURL or wget
Hex Encode/Decode Hex Encode/Decode
FTP Anonymous Access Scaner Search for Anonymous FTP
Mass Deface Defacement
Config Grabber Grab system configuration such as “/etc/passwd”
SymLink link
Cookie Hijack Session hijacking
Secure Shell SSH Shell
Mass Overwrite Rewrite or append data to the specified file type.
FTP Manager FTP Manager
Check Steganologer Detects images with EXIF header
Adminer Download Adminer PHP database management into the ./tools_ensikology/
PHP Info Information about PHP’s configuration
Byksw Translate Character replacement
Suicide Self-delete

ensiko05 200x200 1Figure 5. Code listing Ensiko features (Click to enlarge)

Ransomware Analysis

The malware uses PHP RIJNDAEL_128 with CBC mode to encrypt files in a web shell directory and subdirectories and appends filenames with the “.bak” extension. The following code snippet demonstrates this behavior of the malware:

ensiko06 200x200 1Figure 6. Code showing encryption behavior (Click to enlarge)

ensiko07 200x200 1Figure 7. Encryption and decryption code (Click to enlarge)

ensiko08Figure 8. Webshell portion with ransomware key

ensiko09 200x200 1Figure 9. Log of files being encrypted (Click to enlarge)

ensiko10Figure 10. Encrypted files in directory

ensiko11 640x194 1Figure 11. POST request to affected server

The malware also drops an index.php file and sets it as the default page using a .htaccess file; the attacker is also notified of this action via email. The following code snippet shows this behavior:

ensiko12 640x116 1Figure 12. Code snippet for dropped .htaccess page

ensiko13Figure 13. The notification that appears when index.php is accessed

ensiko14 640x366 1Figure 14. Appearance of index.php page

ensiko15 640x326 1Figure 15. Encoded form of index.php

ensiko16 640x324 1Figure 16. Decoded appearance of index.php

Tool set

To carry out more tasks on an infected system, the malware can load various additional tools onto an infected system. Most of these tools are loaded from Pastebin. The malware creates a directory called tools_ensikology to store these tools.

ensiko17 640x467 1Figure 17. Tools loaded from Pastebin


There is a technique in which a malicious actor hides code within the exchangeable image file format (EXIF) headers of an image file and uses a PHP function called exif_read_data to extract and run this code on an affected server. The steganologer function identifies images with EXIF headers and labels them as a logger. In the following screenshot, test1.jpg and test2.jpg both have EXIF headers with hidden code and are identified s.

ensiko18Figure 18. Files with hidden code

ensiko19Figure 19. Code for identifying files with hidden executable code

Backdoor Scan

A backdoor scan checks a given remote host for the existence of a webshell from a hardcoded list.

ensiko20 640x291 1 ensiko21Figures 20 and 21. Code for finding other webshells on affected server

Remote server scan

Like a backdoor scan, the remote server scan function-checks the remote server for the presence of other web shells. However, instead of using a hardcoded list, it accepts manual input for files to be searched for:

ensiko22 640x374 1 ensiko23Figures 22 and 23. Interface and code for checking for other webshells

Mass Overwrite

The Mass Overwrite function can rewrite/append the content of all files with specified extensions and directories, including all subdirectories of a web shell.

ensiko24 640x322 1ensiko17 640x467 1Figures 24 and 25. User interface and code for overwriting files


Ensiko is a web shell used by an attacker that enables remote administration, file encryption, and many more features on a compromised web server. A common method to deploy web shell is exploiting web application vulnerabilities or *gaining access to an already compromised server. Additionally, Ensiko has ransomware capability to encrypt files on an infected web server using the RIJNDAEL encryption algorithm. It is also capable of scanning servers for the presence of other web shells, defacing websites, sending mass emails, downloading remote files, disclosing information about the affected server, gaining access to databases, running brute-force attacks against file transfer protocol (FTP), cPanel, and Telnet, overwriting files with specified extensions, and more.

Indicators of Compromise

SHA-256 Hash Trend Micro Detection Name
5fdbf87b7f74327e9132b5edb5c217bdcf49fe275945d502ad675c1dd46e3db5 Trojan.PHP.WEBSHELL.SBJKSJ


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