Malware Attack on South Korean Entities Was Work of Andariel Group

A malware marketing campaign targeting South Korean entities that arrived to light-weight earlier this year has been attributed to a North Korean nation-condition hacking group identified as Andariel, as soon as once more indicating that Lazarus attackers are next the developments and their arsenal is in constant advancement.

“The way Home windows instructions and their alternatives were utilized in this campaign is pretty much equivalent to past Andariel action,” Russian cybersecurity organization Kaspersky claimed in a deep-dive posted Tuesday. Victims of the attack are in the manufacturing, residence network services, media, and construction sectors.

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Specified as element of the Lazarus constellation, Andariel is acknowledged for unleashing assaults on South Korean companies and organizations utilizing specially tailor-made approaches established for utmost effectivity. In September 2019, the sub-group, alongside with Lazarus and Bluenoroff, was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for their malicious cyber action on crucial infrastructure.

Andariel is believed to have been energetic since at minimum Might 2016.

Malware Attack

North Korea has been guiding an progressively orchestrated work aimed at infiltrating desktops of economical establishments in South Korea and around the world as well as staging cryptocurrency heists to fund the funds-strapped place in an endeavor to circumvent the stranglehold of financial sanctions imposed to stop the improvement of its nuclear weapons method.

The results from Kaspersky make on a previous report from Malwarebytes in April 2021, which documented a novel an infection chain that dispersed phishing emails weaponized with a macro embedded in a Word file that is executed upon opening in order to deploy malicious code concealed in the variety of a bitmap (.BMP) picture file to drop a remote entry trojan (RAT) on targeted systems.

According to the newest evaluation, the threat actor, other than installing a backdoor, is also stated to have shipped file-encrypting ransomware to one of its victims, implying a economic motive to the assaults. It truly is worth noting that Andariel has a track report of making an attempt to steal bank card information and facts by hacking into ATMs to withdraw cash or provide client info on the black market.

Prevent Ransomware Attacks

“This ransomware sample is tailor made made and especially developed by the threat actor behind this attack,” Kaspersky Senior Safety Researcher Seongsu Park mentioned. “This ransomware is managed by command line parameters and can possibly retrieve an encryption essential from the C2 [server] or, alternatively, as an argument at launch time.”

The ransomware is intended to encrypt all data files in the machine with the exception of process-critical “.exe,””.dll,””.sys,””.msiins,” and “.drv” extensions in return for spending a bitcoin ransom to obtain accessibility to a decrypt software and unique important to unlock the scrambled files.

Kaspersky’s attribution to Andariel stems from overlaps in the XOR-based decryption schedule that have been incorporated into the group’s strategies as early as 2018 and in the submit-exploitation commands executed on victim devices.

“The Andariel team has continued to concentration on targets in South Korea, but their instruments and tactics have evolved considerably,” Park said. “The Andariel team supposed to unfold ransomware by means of this attack and, by executing so, they have underlined their location as a fiscally inspired condition-sponsored actor.”

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