Masquerading: Right-to-Left Override

Created the Friday 10 February 2023. Updated 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

Adversaries may abuse the right-to-left override (RTLO or RLO) character (U+202E) to disguise a string and/or file name to make it appear benign. RTLO is a non-printing Unicode character that causes the text that follows it to be displayed in reverse. For example, a Windows screensaver executable named March 25 \u202Excod.scr will display as March 25 rcs.docx. A JavaScript file named photo_high_re\u202Egnp.js will be displayed as photo_high_resj.png.

Adversaries may abuse the RTLO character as a means of tricking a user into executing what they think is a benign file type. A common use of this technique is with Spearphishing Attachment/Malicious File since it can trick both end users and defenders if they are not aware of how their tools display and render the RTLO character. Use of the RTLO character has been seen in many targeted intrusion attempts and criminal activity. RTLO can be used in the Windows Registry as well, where regedit.exe displays the reversed characters but the command line tool reg.exe does not by default.



Additional Resources

External Links

The resources provided below are associated links that will give you even more detailed information and research on current evasion technique. It is important to note that, while these resources may be helpful, it is important to exercise caution when following external links. As always, be careful when clicking on links from unknown sources, as they may lead to malicious content.


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