US Intelligence Reveals Malware, Blames North Korea – Disposable mail news


The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), US Cyber Command, and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) recently discovered a hacking operation that is supposed to originate from North Korea.
To inform the public, the agencies issued a security statement which contains the information of the 6 malware that the North Korean Hackers are currently using.

US Cyber Command’s subordinate unit, Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF), on its official twitter account published that the North Korean hackers are spreading the malware via phishing campaigns.
The tweet says, “Malware attributed to #NorthKorea by @FBI_NCIJTF just released here: https://www.virustotal.com/gui/user/CYBERCOM_Malware_Alert …. This malware is currently used for phishing & remote access by #DPRK cyber actors to conduct illegal activity, steal funds & evade sanctions. #HappyValentines @CISAgov @DHS @US_CYBERCOM.”

According to the US Cyber Command, the malware allows the North Korean hackers to sneak their way into infected systems and steal money. The funds stolen are then transferred back to North Korea, all of it done to avoid the economic sanctions imposed upon it.
It is not the first time that the news of the North Korean government using hackers to steal money and cryptocurrency to fund its nuclear plans and missile programs, and avoid the economic sanctions have appeared.
According to the reports of the US agencies, the 6 malware are Bistromath, Slickshoes, Crowdedflounder, Hotcroissant, Artfulpie, and Buffet line. The official website and twitter account of DHS, US Cyber Command, have complete details about the malware.

The US Alleges Lazarous Group for the Attack 


Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) claims that the attack was carried away by the North Korean hacker group Lazarus. The group also works under an alias, Hidden Cobra, and is one of the largest and most active hackers’ groups in North Korea.
According to the DOJ (Department of Justice), Lazarus was also involved in the 2014 Sony hack, 2016 Bangladesh Bank Attack, and planning the 2017 WannaCry ransomware outbreak.

A new ‘Name and Shame’ approach 


Earlier, the US used to avoid issuing statements when it faced cybersecurity attacks. However, in the present times, it has adopted a new name and shame approach to deal with this issue. The US cybercommand, as observed, publishes about the malware publicly on its Twitter handle, along with the nation responsible. This didn’t happen earlier.


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Kaspersky Lab reports North Korean Hacker group Lazarus stealing cryptocurrencies using the Telegram messenger – Disposable mail news

A group of hackers calling themselves Lazarus modified their previous scheme to steal cryptocurrency which was used in 2018. Hackers use more effective tactics and act more carefully. According to Kaspersky Lab, now, not only users of the macOS operating system are at risk but also users of Windows.

Presumably, Lazarus hackers use malware that runs in memory and not on hard drives allowing it to remain undetected. The researchers believe that the group uses Telegram to spread the virus.

The new Lazarus attack was named Operation APpleJeus Sequel, which follows APpleJeus attack conducted in 2018. Principle of cryptocurrency theft remains the same as before: fake cryptocurrency companies are used to attract investors. The websites of these companies contain links to fraudulent

Telegram trading groups, through which malware that infects Windows computers is distributed.
Once the system is infected, attackers can gain remote access to it and steal the cryptocurrencies stored on the device. So far, researchers have been able to identify many victims of the new fraud across Europe and in China. A representative of Kaspersky Lab reports that it is known about the victims from Russia, China, Poland and the UK. At the same time, they include both individual traders and companies whose activities are related to cryptocurrency.

Kaspersky noted that currently, hackers from Lazarus have suspended their campaign using the messenger, but researchers suggested that in the future, attackers will use even more advanced methods.

Earlier, a closed UN report reported that North Korea finances the development of weapons through digital and Fiat currencies stolen from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges. Last fall, Group-IB said that a North Korean group of hackers stole $571 million in cryptocurrencies.


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Malware Against Crypto-Currency Businesses; Microsoft and Apple are Targets Alike – Disposable mail news

“AppleJeus” operation was the first time “macOS” users were made victims by Lazarus. Herein, a manipulated application was used to target potential victims. Apparently, Lazarus used customized malware, especially for macOS users.

Per leading sources, the malware had been so fabricated that it released the current and the next-stage payload automatically without any manual actions required. For attacking Windows users a multi-stage infection procedure was fabricated.

Reportedly, compromising “crypto-currency” related business was the major objective of “AppleJeus” and Lazarus at large. The macOS malware employed the source course only to structure “macOS” installers. Allegedly, “QtBitcoinTrader” was used.

However, the hackers at Lazarus altered the macOS malware. For starters, it no more has an encryption/decryption network communication routine as per reports.

In another case, the .NET malware was disguised as Wallet updaters like “wfcwallet.com” and “www.chainfun365.com”. Herein, the multi-stage infection took place but in a different way.

Later on files of the likes of “rasext,dll” and “msctfp.dat” are uploaded onto the target’s system. Allegedly, the Remote Access Connection Manager was also into play.

Per sources, there was another case where a highly altered form of the macOS malware was at work. Similar to other cases, the fake website and application were being called by the attacker. The apparent differences as per reports in the attack are as follows:
o The malicious application was hosted via “GitHub”.
o The post-installation script of the macOS malware was different as well.
o This version used “ADVobfuscator” to hide its code.
o The author of this modified macOS malware utilized “Object-C” and not QT framework.

In a different attack, the post-install script was the same as the previous attack; the author here had used “SWIFT” for the development of the malware. The method of data collection was changed and then the conduct authentication began. According to sources, the “auth_signature and auth_timestamp” parameters were used to deliver the second payload. The current system time of the device is acquired by the malware and then it’s combined with the “12GWAPCT1F011S14” hard-coded string and an “MD5 hash” is created. The hash is used as the “auth_signature” parameter and the time is used as the value of the “auth_timestamp” parameter. These values can be reproduced as well and finally, the second payload is uploaded.

Apart from all the macOS cases, there was a Windows incident as well. Per sources, a version of the “UnionCryptoTrader” was found. Allegedly, the “Telegram messenger” was at play. The infection procedure was pretty much the same as one of the previous cases with an add-on. A final backdoor payload was done. This version showed numerous exchange rates for crypto-currency.

Reportedly, the Windows malware uploads the encrypted “msctfp.dat file” and loads all the configuration values. Later an extra command is executed as per the contents of the file. Finally, the malware communicates with the C2 server, a post request is sent.

Several parameters are sent and according to the response code from the C2 server, the “POST” request is sent through along with the encrypted data and a random value that could be used to identify individual victims.

Innumerable fake websites were found still in action. The fake websites were crypto-currency oriented but could easily be identified as fake if looked at with a keen eye.

Part 2 of the “AppleJeus” had its victims spread across, Poland, China, Russia, and the US with most of them related to businesses involving crypto-currency.

Lazarus group has been quite a matter of talk for a very long time. It especially continues to be a matter of concern for the cyber-world.

The AppleJeus and other malware that exist and would exist in the future are evolving by the hour. Crypto-currency associated businesses are the key and foremost objects of Lazarus and other threat actors and hence need to be more vigilant than ever.


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Operation AppleJeus Sequel | Securelist – 10 minute mail

The Lazarus group is currently one of the most active and prolific APT actors. In 2018, Kaspersky published a report on one of their campaigns, named Operation AppleJeus. Notably, this operation marked the first time Lazarus had targeted macOS users, with the group inventing a fake company in order to deliver their manipulated application and exploit the high level of trust among potential victims. As a result of our ongoing efforts, we identified significant changes to the group’s attack methodology. To attack macOS users, the Lazarus group has developed homemade macOS malware, and added an authentication mechanism to deliver the next stage payload very carefully, as well as loading the next-stage payload without touching the disk. In addition, to attack Windows users, they have elaborated a multi-stage infection procedure, and significantly changed the final payload. We assess that the Lazarus group has been more careful in its attacks following the release of Operation AppleJeus and they have employed a number of methods to avoid being detected.

For more information, please contact: [email protected]

Life after Operation AppleJeus

After releasing Operation AppleJeus, the Lazarus group continued to use a similar modus operandi in order to compromise cryptocurrency businesses. We found more macOS malware similar to that used in the original Operation AppleJeus case. This macOS malware used public source code in order to build crafted macOS installers. The malware authors used QtBitcoinTrader developed by Centrabit.

Original AppleJeus WbBot case MacInstaller case
DMG file hash 48ded52752de9f9b73c6bf9ae81cb429 3efeccfc6daf0bf99dcb36f247364052 c2ffbf7f2f98c73b98198b4937119a18
PKG file hash dab34d94ca08ba5b25edadfe67ae4607 cb56955b70c87767dee81e23503086c3 8b4c532f10603a8e199aa4281384764e
PKG file name CelasTradePro.pkg WbBot.pkg BitcoinTrader.pkg
Packaging time 2018-07-12 14:09:33 2018-11-05 6:11:38 2018-12-19 0:15:19
Malicious mach-o hash aeee54a81032a6321a39566f96c822f5 b63e8d4277b190e2e3f5236f07f89eee bb04d77bda3ae9c9c3b6347f7aef19ac
C2 server www.celasllc[.]com/checkupdate.php https://www.wb-bot[.]org/certpkg.php https://www.wb-bot[.]org/certpkg.php
XOR key Moz&Wie;#t/6T!2y 6E^uAVd-^yYkB-XG 6E^uAVd-^yYkB-XG
RC4 key [email protected]%Df324V$Yd SkQpTUT8QEY&Lg+BpB SkQpTUT8QEY&Lg+BpB
2nd payload path /var/zdiffsec /var/pkglibcert /var/pkglibcert
2nd payload argument bf6a0c760cc642 bf6a0c760cc642 bf6a0c760cc642

These three macOS installers use a similar post installer script in order to implant a mach-o payload, as well as using the same command-line argument when executing the fetched second-stage payload. However, they have started changing their macOS malware. We recognized a different type of macOS malware, MarkMakingBot.dmg (be37637d8f6c1fbe7f3ffc702afdfe1d), created on 2019-03-12. It doesn’t have an encryption/decryption routine for network communication. We speculate that this is an intermediate stage in significant changes to their macOS malware.

Change of Windows malware

During our ongoing tracking of this campaign, we found that one victim was compromised by Windows AppleJeus malware in March 2019. Unfortunately, we couldn’t identify the initial installer, but we established that the infection started from a malicious file named WFCUpdater.exe. At that time, the actor used a fake website: wfcwallet[.]com

Fig. 1 Binary infection procedure used in WFCWallet case

The actor used a multi-stage infection like before, but the method was different. The infection started from .NET malware, disguised as a WFC wallet updater (a9e960948fdac81579d3b752e49aceda). Upon execution, this .NET executable checks whether the command line argument is “/Embedding” or not. This malware is responsible for decrypting the WFC.cfg file in the same folder with a hardcoded 20-byte XOR key (82 d7 ae 9b 36 7d fc ee 41 65 8f fa 74 cd 2c 62 b7 59 f5 62). This mimics the wallet updater connected to the C2 addresses:

  • wfcwallet.com (resolved ip: 108.174.195.134)
  • www.chainfun365.com (resolved ip: 23.254.217.53)

After that, it carries out the malware operator’s commands in order to install the next stage permanent payload. The actor delivered two more files into the victim’s system folder: rasext.dll and msctfp.dat. They used the RasMan (Remote Access Connection Manager) Windows service to register the next payload with a persistence mechanism. After fundamental reconnaissance, the malware operator implanted the delivered payload by manually using the following commands:

  • cmd.exe /c dir rasext.dll
  • cmd.exe /c dir msctfp.dat
  • cmd.exe /c tasklist /svc | findstr RasMan
  • cmd.exe /c reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetservicesRasManThirdParty /v DllName /d rasext.dll /f

In order to establish remote tunneling, the actor delivered more tools, executing with command-line parameters. Unfortunately, we have had no chance to obtain this file, but we speculate that Device.exe is responsible for opening port 6378, and the CenterUpdater.exe tool was used for creating tunneling to a remote host. Note that the 104.168.167.16 server is used as a C2 server. The fake website hosting server for the UnionCryptoTrader case will be described next.

%APPDATA%LenovodevicecenterDevice.exe 6378

%APPDATA%LenovodevicecenterCenterUpdater.exe 127.0.0.1 6378 104.168.167.16 443

Change of macOS malware

JMTTrading case

While tracking this campaign, we identified more heavily deformed macOS malware. At the time, the attacker called their fake website and application JMTTrading. Other researchers and security vendors found it too, and published IoCs with abundant technical details. Malware Hunter Team tweeted about this malicious application, Vitali Kremez published a blog about the Windows version of the malware, and Object-See published details about the macOS malware. We believe these reports are sufficient to understand the technical side. Here, we would like to highlight what’s different about this attack.

  • The actor used GitHub in order to host their malicious applications.
  • The malware author used Object-C instead of QT framework in their macOS malware.
  • The malware implemented a simple backdoor function in macOS executable.
  • The malware encrypted/decrypted with a 16-byte XOR key (X,%`PMk–Jj8s+6=) similar to the previous case.
  • The Windows version of the malware used ADVobfuscator, a compiled time obfuscator, in order to hide its code.
  • The post-install script of macOS malware differed significantly from the previous version.

UnionCryptoTrader case

We also identified another macOS targeted attack that took place very recently. The malicious application name in this case is UnionCryptoTrader. After compiling a threat intelligence report for our customers, one security researcher (@dineshdina04) discovered an identical case, and Objective-See published a very detailed blog on the macOS malware used in this attack. The Objective-See blog goes into sufficient detail to explain the malware’s functionality, so we will just summarize the attack:

  • The post-install script is identical to that used in the JMTTrading case.
  • The malware author used SWIFT to develop this macOS malware.
  • The malware author changed the method for collecting information from the infected system.
  • The malware starts to conduct authentication using auth_signature and auth_timestamp parameters in order to deliver the second-stage payload more carefully. The malware acquires the current system time and combines it with the “12GWAPCT1F0I1S14” hardcoded string, and produces an MD5 hash of the combined string. This hash is used as the value of the auth_signature parameter and the current time is used as the value of the auth_timestamp parameter. The malware operator can reproduce the auth_signature value based on the auth_timestamp at the C2 server side.
  • The malware loads the next stage payload without touching the disk.

Windows version of UnionCryptoTrader

We also found a Windows version of the UnionCryptoTrader (0f03ec3487578cef2398b5b732631fec). It was executed from the Telegram messenger download folder:

C:Users[user name]DownloadsTelegram DesktopUnionCryptoTraderSetup.exe

We also found the actor’s Telegram group on their fake website. Based on these, we assess with high confidence that the actor delivered the manipulated installer using the Telegram messenger. Unfortunately, we can’t get all the related files as some payloads were only executed in memory. However, we can reassemble the whole infection procedure based on our telemetry. The overall infection procedure was very similar to the WFCWallet case, but with an added injection procedure, and they only used the final backdoor payload instead of using a tunneling tool.

Fig. 2 Binary infection procedure

The UnionCryptoTrader Windows version has the following window showing a price chart for several cryptocurrency exchanges.

Fig. 3 Windows version of UnionCryptoTrader

The Windows version of UnionCryptoTrader updater (629b9de3e4b84b4a0aa605a3e9471b31) has similar functionality to the macOS version. According to the build path (Z:Loaderx64ReleaseWinloaderExe.pdb), the malware author called this malware a loader. Upon launch, the malware retrieves the victim’s basic system information, sending it in the following HTTP POST format, as is the case with the macOS malware.

If the response code from the C2 server is 200, the malware decrypts the payload and loads it in memory. Finally, the malware sends the act=done value and return code. The next stage payload (e1953fa319cc11c2f003ad0542bca822), downloaded from this loader, is similar to the .NET downloader in the WFCWallet case. This malware is responsible for decrypting the Adobe.icx file in the same folder. It injects the next payload into the Internet Explorer process, and the tainted iexplore.exe process carries out the attacker’s commands. The final payload (dd03c6eb62c9bf9adaf831f1d7adcbab) is implanted manually as in the WFCWallet case. This final payload was designed to run only on certain systems. It seems that the malware authors produced and delivered malware that only works on specific systems based on previously collected information. The malware checks the infected system’s information and compares it to a given value. It seems the actor wants to execute the final payload very carefully, and wants to evade detection by behavior-based detection solutions.

Fig. 4 Malware execution flow

This Windows malware loads the encrypted msctfp.dat file in a system folder, and loads each configuration value. Then it executes an additional command based on the contents of this file. When the malware communicates with the C2 server, it uses a POST request with several predefined headers.

For the initial communication, the malware first sends parameters:

  • cgu: 64bits hex value from configuration
  • aip: MD5 hash value from configuration
  • sv: hardcoded value(1)

If the response code from the C2 server is 200, the malware sends the next POST request with encrypted data and a random value. The malware operator probably used the random value to identify each victim and verify the POST request.

  • imp: Random generated value
  • dsh: XORed value of imp
  • hb_tp: XORed value(key: 0x67BF32) of imp
  • hb_dl: Encrypted data to send to C2 server
  • ct: hardcoded value(1)

Finally, the malware downloads the next stage payload, decrypting it and possibly executing it with the Print parameter. We speculate that the DLL type payload will be downloaded and call its Print export function for further infection. We can’t get hold of the final payload that’s executed in memory, but we believe its backdoor-type malware is ultimately used to control the infected victim.

Infrastructures

We found several fake websites that were still online when we were investigating their infrastructure. They created fake cryptocurrency-themed websites, but they were far from perfect and most of the links didn’t work.

Fig. 5 Website of cyptian.com

Fig. 6 Website of unioncrypto.vip

We found an identical Cyptian web template on the internet. We speculate that the actor used free web templates like this to build their fake websites. Moreover, there is a Telegram address(@cyptian) on the Cyptian website. As we mentioned previously, the actor delivered a manipulated application via Telegram messenger. This Telegram address was still alive when we investigated, but there were no more activities at that time. According to the chat log, the group was created on December 17, 2018 and some accounts had already been deleted.

Fig. 7 Telegram account

Conclusion

We were able to identify several victims in this Operation AppleJeus sequel. Victims were recorded in the UK, Poland, Russia and China. Moreover, we were able to confirm that several of the victims are linked to cryptocurrency business entities.

Fig. 8 Infection map

The actor altered their macOS and Windows malware considerably, adding an authentication mechanism in the macOS downloader and changing the macOS development framework. The binary infection procedure in the Windows system differed from the previous case. They also changed the final Windows payload significantly from the well-known Fallchill malware used in the previous attack. We believe the Lazarus group’s continuous attacks for financial gain are unlikely to stop anytime soon.

Fig. 9 Timeline of Operation AppleJeus

Since the initial appearance of Operation AppleJeus, we can see that over time the authors have changed their modus operandi considerably. We assume this kind of attack on cryptocurrency businesses will continue and become more sophisticated.

Appendix I – Indicators of Compromise

File Hashes (malicious documents, Trojans, emails, decoys)

macOS malware

  • c2ffbf7f2f98c73b98198b4937119a18 MacInstaller.dmg
  • 8b4c532f10603a8e199aa4281384764e BitcoinTrader.pkg
  • bb04d77bda3ae9c9c3b6347f7aef19ac .loader
  • 3efeccfc6daf0bf99dcb36f247364052 4_5983241673595946132.dmg
  • cb56955b70c87767dee81e23503086c3 WbBot.pkg
  • b63e8d4277b190e2e3f5236f07f89eee .loader
  • be37637d8f6c1fbe7f3ffc702afdfe1d MarkMakingBot.dmg
  • bb66ab2db0bad88ac6b829085164cbbb BitcoinTrader.pkg
  • 267a64ed23336b4a3315550c74803611 .loader
  • 6588d262529dc372c400bef8478c2eec UnionCryptoTrader.dmg
  • 55ec67fa6572e65eae822c0b90dc8216 UnionCryptoTrader.pkg
  • da17802bc8d3eca26b7752e93f33034b .unioncryptoupdater
  • 39cdf04be2ed479e0b4489ff37f95bbe JMTTrader_Mac.dmg
  • e35b15b2c8bb9eda8bc4021accf7038d JMTTrader.pkg
  • 6058368894f25b7bc8dd53d3a82d9146 .CrashReporter

Windows malware

  • a9e960948fdac81579d3b752e49aceda WFCUpdater.exe
  • 24B3614D5C5E53E40B42B4E057001770 UnionCryptoTraderSetup.exe
  • 629B9DE3E4B84B4A0AA605A3E9471B31 UnionCryptoUpdater.exe
  • E1953FA319CC11C2F003AD0542BCA822 AdobeUpdator.exe, AdobeARM.exe
  • f221349437f2f6707ecb2a75c3f39145 rasext.dll
  • 055829E7600DBDAE9F381F83F8E4FF36 UnionCryptoTraderSetup.exe
  • F051A18F79736799AC66F4EF7B28594B Unistore.exe

File path

  • %SYSTEM%system32rasext.dll
  • %SYSTEM%system32msctfp.dat
  • %APPDATA%LenovodevicecenterDevice.exe
  • %APPDATA%LenovodevicecenterCenterUpdater.exe
  • %APPDATA%LocalunioncryptotraderUnionCryptoUpdater.exe
  • $APPDATA%adobeAdobeUpdator.exe
  • C:Programdataadobeadobeupdator.exe
  • %AppData%LocalCommsUnistore.exe

Domains and IPs

Domains

  • www.wb-bot.org
  • www.jmttrading.org
  • cyptian.com
  • beastgoc.com
  • www.private-kurier.com
  • www.wb-invest.net
  • wfcwallet.com
  • chainfun365.com
  • www.buckfast-zucht.de
  • invesuccess.com
  • private-kurier.com
  • aeroplans.info
  • mydealoman.com
  • unioncrypto.vip

IPs

  • 104.168.167.16
  • 23.254.217.53
  • 185.243.115.17
  • 104.168.218.42
  • 95.213.232.170
  • 108.174.195.134
  • 185.228.83.32
  • 172.81.135.194

URLs

  • https://www.wb-bot[.]org/certpkg.php
  • http://95.213.232[.]170/ProbActive/index.do
  • http://beastgoc[.]com/grepmonux.php
  • https://unioncrypto[.]vip/update


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