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.

Operational Security

6/5/2018
11:05 AM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now
50%
50%

North Korean-Linked Group Stops Targeting US Ahead of Summit

Covellite, which has been linked to North Korea, has stopped targeting facilities in the US and other parts of North America ahead of a planned summit later this month.

President Trump's nuclear diplomacy with North Korea may have yielded an unexpected benefit for North America: reduced cyberattacks from at least one group associate with the North Korean regime.

Covellite, a group associated with attacks on electrical and other critical facilities, as well the theft of intellectual property, has ceased its activity in North America after being active since at least the middle of 2017, according to Dragos, a company that specializes in industrial control system (ICS) security.

This cyberespionage group has also targeted facilities in Asia and Europe.

Dragos has observed Covellite use phishing emails that contain malicious Microsoft Word documents, typically ones that look similar to resumes or invitations, to deliver malware and infect systems. These documents contain remote access tools (RATs), and once the payload is delivered, the malware allows the group to conduct industrial espionage and gain access to other parts of the network.

Now, however, the group's activities seem to be on hold, especially in North America, according to Dragos:

COVELLITE remains active but appears to have abandoned North American targets, with indications of activity in Europe and East Asia. Given the group's specific interest in infrastructure operations, rapidly improving capabilities, and history of aggressive targeting, Dragos considers this group a primary threat to the ICS industry.

In their May 31 report, Dragos researchers note that Covellite's malware and infrastructure is similar to another North Korean-backed group, which is alternatively called the Lazarus Group by some, and Hidden Cobra by others.


Now entering its fifth year, the 2020 Vision Executive Summit is an exclusive meeting of global CSP executives focused on navigating the disruptive forces at work in telecom today. Join us in Lisbon on December 4-6 to meet with fellow experts as we define the future of next-gen communications and how to make it profitable.

Lazarus or Hidden Cobra is the group that is behind several of the biggest malicious hacks, including the one that targeted Sony Pictures four years ago. (See Cybercrime Is North Korea's Biggest Threat.)

While Covellite and Lazarus do share some technical similarities, it's not clear if the two groups work in conjunction. In fact, despite the fact that Covellite has backed away from attacking US targets, the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security issued a joint warning last week about two different strains of malware stemming from the Hidden Cobra group that is targeting industries including media, aerospace and finance as well a critical infrastructure. (See FBI & DHS Warn About 2 North Korea Malware Threats .)

Maybe not every cyberespionage group got the memo that the US and North Korea summit is still scheduled for June 12.

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7029
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability was discovered in the System Management Interface Web component of Avaya Aura Communication Manager and Avaya Aura Messaging. This vulnerability could allow an unauthenticated remote attacker to perform Web administration actions with the privileged ...
CVE-2020-17489
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
An issue was discovered in certain configurations of GNOME gnome-shell through 3.36.4. When logging out of an account, the password box from the login dialog reappears with the password still visible. If the user had decided to have the password shown in cleartext at login time, it is then visible f...
CVE-2020-17495
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
django-celery-results through 1.2.1 stores task results in the database. Among the data it stores are the variables passed into the tasks. The variables may contain sensitive cleartext information that does not belong unencrypted in the database.
CVE-2020-0260
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
There is a possible out of bounds read due to an incorrect bounds check.Product: AndroidVersions: Android SoCAndroid ID: A-152225183
CVE-2020-16170
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
The Temi application 1.3.3 through 1.3.7931 for Android has hard-coded credentials.