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
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-16632
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-15
A XSS Vulnerability in /uploads/dede/action_search.php in DedeCMS V5.7 SP2 allows an authenticated user to execute remote arbitrary code via the keyword parameter.
CVE-2021-32073
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-15
DedeCMS V5.7 SP2 contains a CSRF vulnerability that allows a remote attacker to send a malicious request to to the web manager allowing remote code execution.
CVE-2021-33033
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
The Linux kernel before 5.11.14 has a use-after-free in cipso_v4_genopt in net/ipv4/cipso_ipv4.c because the CIPSO and CALIPSO refcounting for the DOI definitions is mishandled, aka CID-ad5d07f4a9cd. This leads to writing an arbitrary value.
CVE-2021-33034
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
In the Linux kernel before 5.12.4, net/bluetooth/hci_event.c has a use-after-free when destroying an hci_chan, aka CID-5c4c8c954409. This leads to writing an arbitrary value.
CVE-2019-25044
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
The block subsystem in the Linux kernel before 5.2 has a use-after-free that can lead to arbitrary code execution in the kernel context and privilege escalation, aka CID-c3e2219216c9. This is related to blk_mq_free_rqs and blk_cleanup_queue.