RiskIQ collaborated with Proofpoint Cyber Security on research for a report published today investigating the activities of North Korea’s Lazarus Group, which highlights the group’s recent focus on cryptocurrency investors and exchanges. Earlier this year, the activities of the Lazarus group in South Korea were discussed and analyzed, as they managed to compromise accounts on various South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges. More recently, they were seen targeting a United Kingdom-based cryptocurrency exchange. In this blog, we will show and explain our analysis of the infrastructure used in the cyber attack described in the Proofpoint report.
The Start: Lazarus Group's IDN Phishing for Infections
In early November, Proofpoint uncovered a large active phishing campaign that sent out messages about fake Bitcoin Gold (BTG) wallet software. The actors abused IDN registration attempting to impersonate the official bitcoingold.org website using sender IDN domains and the decoded notations. Below are four examples of domain names registered for this campaign:
|IDN version||Decoded version|
The domains shown above appeared in our crawl data, meaning we had a full copy of the webpage and any metadata present on it. We’ll take a look at xn--bitcingold-hcb.org which, in our data, looked identical to the genuine site:
The information above is really valuable to our investigation. As RiskIQ stores host pairs for sites that point to each other in a parent or child relationship. We can call upon this data set for the official Bitcoingold website and see at least two of the fake websites in its parent Host Pair set:
Note: We filtered on parent relationships to see hosts that pointed to bitcoingold.org, not hosts bitcoingold linked to itself.
The invoked script redirects the user to the file download:
The file downloaded here was seen with the following SHA256 hash: eab612e333baaec0709f3f213f73388607e495d8af9a2851f352481e996283f1
Besides Bitcoingold, the Lazarus group performed the same kind of IDN ‘attack’ against the Electrum Bitcoin wallet website. The actors created the IDN website, xn--electrm-s2a.org, to serve as a fake software installation page similar to the Bitcoingold clone:
Interestingly, Lazarus left some information in the source of the page that shows that they used the ‘HTTrack’ website copier tool, as well as the date (Friday, November 17th at 03:27:29 GMT as per our crawl data) they copied the Electrum website:
Defenders with access to internet data collected by crawlers can detect unknown threats at the source and track how they change and spread. Correlating threat data extracted from a broad set of data sources across channels reveals the risk posed to an organization by a single piece of infrastructure—and how it’s used within a broader context. As can be seen from the above analysis, RiskIQ’s crawling infrastructure, indexed web data sets, and analyst-focused analysis platform allows organizations to quickly and effectively identify the scale of these strategic compromises and provide visibility that improves an organization’s ability to defend their network.
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Indicators of Compromise (IOCs)
The following IOCs are those found by pivoting around the known hosts from the phishing emails and expanding our list this way. We have some suspected hosts that are potentially related to this campaign, but we don’t have proof (yet), these are not listed, but we will keep an eye out for any confirmed activity.
Below list does not include IOCs obtained from Proofpoint’s malware analysis, those are available in their report or from the full list of IOCs is available in our RiskIQ Community Project: https://community.riskiq.com/projects/03e1e06f-4644-3b0e-7721-682b928d2001?guest=true&_ga=2.250911174.117879041.1513562791-1318539965.1474487244