Attacks/Breaches
7/9/2013
02:15 PM
50%
50%

South Korean Bank Hackers Target U.S. Military Secrets

Wiper malware APT gang has been traced to four-year military espionage campaign.

What of the WhoIs Team, which also claimed credit for the March wiper attacks? McAfee said that a wiper file traced to that group shared similarities with wiper malware used in New Romantic Cyber Army Team attacks. Still, it's unclear if the WhoIs Team is simply the same group, or another gang using repurposed malware components.

Overall, McAfee said it has tied New Romantic Cyber Army Team to Operation Troy attacks that occurred from 2009 to 2013. Malware used by the group, for example, appeared to have been employed in the 2011 "Ten Days of Rain" DDoS attacks against 40 sites affiliated with South Korean government, including U.S. Forces Korea and the U.S. Air Force Base in Kunsan, South Korea, as well as in other attacks that occurred in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

On June 25, meanwhile, the same group launched an attack against South Korean government and news websites, in part by distributing a modified installation file for the SimDisk file-sharing and storage service. That malware was distributed via the official SimDisk website, which pushes automatic updates to client software. Attackers hacked into the site and made it push not just a copy of the legitimate software, SimDisk.exe, to users, but also a disguised Trojan downloader, SimDiskup.exe.

That downloader connected to the Tor network to obtain a Trojan application called Castov that included a JPEG file that "contains a timestamp used by Castov to synchronize attacks," said a Symantec Security Response blog post. That timestamp detailed when all Castov-infected clients should send DNS requests to a South Korean government website, thus creating a DDoS attack.

Is the New Romantic Cyber Army Team simply a front for hackers in the employ of Pyongyang? According to South Korean cybersecurity experts, the March 2013 wiper attacks were traced to an IP address in the North Korean capital, which was revealed after the attacker experienced a technical glitch.

But the Troy-wielding gang has often launched their attacks under the hacktivism banner -- and the March wiper attacks, which included stealing data and holding it ransom, would appear to fit that mold. But McAfee's Sherstobitoff said that's likely just a ruse. "The Dark Seoul adversaries show a consistent pattern of psychological warfare that includes throwing off investigators by blaming the attacks on hacktivism," he said. "Both the March and June events share this feature."

Regardless of nomenclature, the attackers appear to have a grudge against both South Korea and the United States. For example, the date of the most recent attacks, June 25, was the 63rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War. "Conducting DDoS attacks and hard disk wiping on key historical dates is not new for the Dark Seoul gang," said Symantec. "They previously conducted DDoS and wiping attacks on the U.S. Independence Day as well."

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: just wondering...Thanx
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.