Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

5/13/2019
06:20 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Korean APT Adds Rare Bluetooth Device-Harvester Tool

ScarCruft has evolved into a skilled and resourceful threat group, new research shows.

ScarCruft, an advanced persistent threat group known for attacking organizations with links to the Korean peninsula, has become more dangerous.

An analysis of recent data associated with the group shows that it has acquired new tools and is testing new exploits in preparation for future campaigns, Kaspersky Lab said Monday.

Telemetry associated with ScarCruft shows that the threat actor has also developed an interest in attacking mobile devices and has increasingly begun adapting legitimate tools and services in its espionage campaigns.

One of the new tools that ScarCruft has developed is a rare Bluetooth device-harvester designed to collect the names and addresses of Bluetooth devices, device type, whether it is connected, and whether it requires authentication. The malware leverages the Windows Bluetooth API to fingerprint Bluetooth devices, Kaspersky Lab said.

Victims of the ongoing campaign include investment firms and trading companies in Russia and Vietnam that appear to have links to the North Korean government. Entities in North Korea and Hong Kong also have been targeted in its latest campaign.

"ScarCruft has shown itself to be a highly-skilled and active group," Kaspersky Lab said in a report. "Based on ScarCruft's recent activities, we strongly believe that this group is likely to continue to evolve."

Security researchers consider ScarCruft—also known as Reaper and Group 123—to be one of the most active APT groups in the Asian region. It is a Korean-language speaking group that is likely state-sponsored and focused on collecting information pertaining to North Korea and on businesses with connections to the reclusive country.

The group also has been targeting diplomatic missions around the world according to Kaspersky Lab. ScarCruft's victims have included organizations in China, India, South Korea, Kuwait, and Nepal.

ScarCruft attracted some attention early last year for employing an Adobe Flash zero-day exploit in an attack campaign dubbed Operation Daybreak that targeted more than two-dozen high-profile organizations. At the time, Kaspersky Lab researchers believed the threat group had purchased the exploit in the dark market using cryptocurrency, rather than developing the exploit on its own. The researchers assessed then that the group did not have the ability to develop a zero-day exploit.

Continued Evolution

But ScarCruft has ramped up its activities over the past year and has developed into a resourceful and skilled adversary, according to Kaspersky. Like most other threat groups these days, ScarCruft's typical attack strategy is to gain an initial foothold at a targeted organization using spear-phishing emails or watering-hole attacks. During the initial infection stage, ScarCruft downloads a dropper capable of bypassing Windows User Account Control on the compromised system.

The dropper then executes the next payload, which takes advantage of code that organizations normally use for penetration testing in order to escalate privileges. "In order to evade detection at the network level, the malware uses steganography, hiding the malicious code in an image file," Kaspersky Lab said in its report.

ScarCruft also installs ROKRAT, a backdoor that is designed to harvest information from computers and devices on the compromised network and to send the stolen data to either Box, Dropbox, Yandex.Disk, and pCloud.

At least one of ScarCruft's recent victims was an organization that another Korean-speaking threat group called DarkHotel had already previously compromised. Campaigns of the two groups have overlapped previously as well, suggesting that both groups are interested in the same targets despite having very different tools, techniques, and procedures.

"This leads us to believe that one group regularly lurks in the shadow of the other," the Kaspersky Lab report said.

Related Content:

 

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/28/2020
GDPR Enforcement Loosens Amid Pandemic
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  5/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Can you smell me now?
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-11019
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
In FreeRDP less than or equal to 2.0.0, when running with logger set to "WLOG_TRACE", a possible crash of application could occur due to a read of an invalid array index. Data could be printed as string to local terminal. This has been fixed in 2.1.0.
CVE-2020-11038
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
In FreeRDP less than or equal to 2.0.0, an Integer Overflow to Buffer Overflow exists. When using /video redirection, a manipulated server can instruct the client to allocate a buffer with a smaller size than requested due to an integer overflow in size calculation. With later messages, the server c...
CVE-2020-11039
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
In FreeRDP less than or equal to 2.0.0, when using a manipulated server with USB redirection enabled (nearly) arbitrary memory can be read and written due to integer overflows in length checks. This has been patched in 2.1.0.
CVE-2020-11041
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
In FreeRDP less than or equal to 2.0.0, an outside controlled array index is used unchecked for data used as configuration for sound backend (alsa, oss, pulse, ...). The most likely outcome is a crash of the client instance followed by no or distorted sound or a session disconnect. If a user cannot ...
CVE-2020-1798
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
HUAWEI P30 smartphones with versions earlier than 10.1.0.135(C00E135R2P11) have an improper authentication vulnerability. A logic error occurs when handling NFC work, an attacker should establish a NFC connection to the target phone, and then do a series of operations on the target phone. Successful...