North Korea’s APT37 Focusing on Southern Counterpart with New M2RAT Malware | Tower Tech

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February 15, 2023ravie lakshmananMenace Intelligence/Malware

North Korea-linked menace actor tracked as APT37 has been linked to a bit of recent malware referred to as M2RAT in assaults directed at its southern counterpart, suggesting a unbroken evolution of the group’s traits and ways.

APT37, additionally tracked underneath the nicknames Reaper, RedEyes, Ricochet Chollima, and ScarCruft, is linked to North Korea’s Ministry of State Safety (MSS) versus the Lazarus and Kimsuky menace teams which can be a part of the Basic Reconnaissance Workplace. (RGB).

In accordance with Google-owned Mandiant, MSS is tasked with “home counterespionage and international counterintelligence actions,” and APT37’s assault campaigns mirror the company’s priorities. Traditionally, operations have focused people equivalent to defectors and human rights activists.

“APT37’s major assessed mission is covert intelligence gathering in assist of the DPRK’s strategic navy, political and financial pursuits,” the menace intelligence agency mentioned.

The menace actor is understood to depend on customized instruments equivalent to Chinotto, RokRat, BLUELIGHT, GOLDBACKDOOR, and Dolphin to reap delicate data from compromised hosts.

North Korea

“The principle characteristic of this RedEyes Group assault case is that it used a Hangul EPS vulnerability and used steganography strategies to distribute malicious code,” the AhnLab Safety Emergency Response Heart (ASEC) mentioned in a report printed on Tuesday.

The an infection chain noticed in January 2023 begins with a decoy Hangul doc, which exploits a now-patched flaw in phrase processing software program (CVE-2017-8291) to activate a shellcode that downloads a picture from a distant server.

The JPEG file makes use of steganographic strategies to cover a transportable executable which, when launched, downloads the M2RAT implant and injects it into the legit explorer.exe course of.

Though persistence is achieved by modifying the Home windows Registry, M2RAT capabilities as a backdoor able to keylogging, display screen seize, course of execution, and data stealing. Like Dolphin, it is usually designed to siphon knowledge from detachable drives and linked smartphones.

“It is very tough to defend in opposition to these APT assaults, and the RedEyes group particularly is understood to primarily goal people, so it may be tough for non-corporate people to acknowledge the harm,” ASEC mentioned.

This isn’t the primary time that CVE-2017-8291 has been weaponized by North Korean menace actors. In late 2017, Lazarus Group was noticed concentrating on South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges and customers to deploy the Destover malware, based on Recorded Future.

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North Korea’s APT37 Targeting Southern Counterpart with New M2RAT Malware