North Korea

  1. 3CX Supply Chain Compromise Leads to ICONIC Incident

    [Update: Following additional analysis of shellcode used in ICONIC, in conjunction with other observations from the wider security community, Volexity now attributes the activity described in this post to the Lazarus threat actor. Specifically, in addition to other claims of similarity, the shellcode sequence {E8 00 00 00 00 59 49 89 C8 48 81 C1 58 06 00 00} appears to have been only used in the ICONIC loader and the APPLEJEUS malware, which is known to be linked to Lazarus. The original post has been left as written.] On Wednesday, March 29, 2023, Volexity became aware of a supply chain compromise by a suspected North Korean threat actor, which Volexity tracks as UTA0040*. Endpoints with the 3CX Desktop application installed received a malicious update of this software that was signed by 3CX and downloaded from their servers. This was part of the default automatic update process and would […]

  2. ₿uyer ₿eware: Fake Cryptocurrency Applications Serving as Front for AppleJeus Malware

    Over the last few months, Volexity has observed new activity tied to a North Korean threat actor it tracks that is widely referred to as the Lazarus Group. This activity notably involves a campaign likely targeting cryptocurrency users and organizations with a variant of the AppleJeus malware by way of malicious Microsoft Office documents. Volexity’s analysis of this campaign uncovered a live cryptocurrency-themed website with contents stolen from another legitimate website. Further technical analysis of the deployed AppleJeus malware uncovered a new variation of DLL side-loading that Volexity has not seen previously documented as in the wild. This blog outlines new techniques used by the Lazarus Group, analyzes recent AppleJeus malware variants, shares indicators from other versions of this malware, as well as outlines links between this activity and historic campaigns. The end of the post includes detection and mitigation opportunities for individuals or organizations likely to be targeted by […]

  3. SharpTongue Deploys Clever Mail-Stealing Browser Extension “SHARPEXT”

    Volexity tracks a variety of threat actors to provide unique insights and actionable information to its Threat Intelligence customers. One frequently encountered—that often results in forensics investigations on compromised systems—is tracked by Volexity as SharpTongue. This actor is believed to be North Korean in origin and is often publicly referred to under the name Kimsuky. The definition of which threat activity comprises Kimsuky is a matter of debate amongst threat intelligence analysts. Some publications refer to North Korean threat activity as Kimsuky that Volexity tracks under other group names and does not map back to SharpTongue. Volexity frequently observes SharpTongue targeting and victimizing individuals working for organizations in the United States, Europe and South Korea who work on topics involving North Korea, nuclear issues, weapons systems, and other matters of strategic interest to North Korea. SharpTongue’s toolset is well documented in public sources; the most recent English-language post covering this toolset […]

  4. North Korean BLUELIGHT Special: InkySquid Deploys RokRAT

    In a recent blog post, Volexity disclosed details on a portion of the operations by a North Korean threat actor it tracks as InkySquid. This threat actor compromised a news portal to use recently patched browser exploits to deliver a custom malware family known as BLUELIGHT. This follow-up post describes findings from a recent investigation undertaken by Volexity in which the BLUELIGHT malware was discovered being delivered to a victim alongside RokRAT (aka DOGCALL).  RokRAT is a backdoor previously attributed to use by ScarCruft/APT37, which is also known as InkySquid. It should be noted that Volexity identified some overlap between the findings discussed in this post and this Korean-language article. Analysis Volexity is often asked to analyze systems of users frequently targeted by state-sponsored threat actors based on some tip-off or concern that the systems may be compromised. In this case, it was a system belonging to an individual who is […]

  5. North Korean APT InkySquid Infects Victims Using Browser Exploits

    Volexity recently investigated a strategic web compromise (SWC) of the website of the Daily NK (www.dailynk[.]com), a South Korean online newspaper that focuses on issues relating to North Korea. Malicious code on the Daily NK website was observed from at least late March 2021 until early June 2021. This post provides details on the different exploits used in the SWC, as well as the payload used, which Volexity calls BLUELIGHT. Volexity attributes the activity described in this post to a threat actor Volexity refers to as InkySquid, which broadly corresponds to activity known publicly under the monikers ScarCruft and APT37. SWC Activity In April 2021, through its network security monitoring on a customer network, Volexity identified suspicious code being loaded via www.dailynk[.]com to malicious subdomains of jquery[.]services. Examples of URLs observed loading malicious code include the following: hxxps://www.dailynk[.]com/wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.min.js?ver=3.5.1 hxxps://www.dailynk[.]com/wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery-migrate.min.js?ver=3.3.2 These URLs lead to legitimate files used as part of the […]