At South Korean security companies that sell anti-malware software and security solutions, the North Korean state-sponsored hackers group recently posed as Samsung recruiters to target their employees with fake job offers.
It is being reported that this state-sponsored North Korean hackers group has been tracked as “Zinc,” aka Lazarus and this hackers group is well-known for targeting security researchers, as seen in past campaigns.
The emails sent with fake job offers to the security researchers include malicious PDF that claims to be job information for a role at Samsung. Here, the malicious PDF was malformed by the hackers in such a way, that whenever the victim will try to open the malicious PDF it will not open in a standard PDF reader.
At this point, when the victim is unable to open the job offer PDF, they raise complain, and then hackers play their key role by sending them a link to a Secure PDF Reader app.
Since they offer PDFTron, which is a Secure PDF Reader app through Google Drive, but, Google claims that the PDFTron package provided by the hackers was a modified version of PDFTron, as it’s modified to install a backdoor trojan on the victim’s systems.
Actions Performed After Compromise
Here below, we have mentioned all the actions that could be performed by the hackers on the compromised systems:-
- Conduct cryptocurrency mining
- Conduct port scanning of other targets on the Internet
- Launch attacks against other targets on the Internet
- Host malware
- Host unauthorized content on the Internet
- Launch DDoS bot
- Send spam
Here, we have mentioned all the vulnerabilities that were exploited:-
- Weak or no password for a user account or no authentication for APIs
- Vulnerability in third-party software in the Cloud instance was exploited
- Other issues
- Misconfiguration of Cloud instance or in third-party software
- Leaked credentials (keys published in GitHub projects)
Google TAG (Threat Analysis Group) attributed all these attacks to the North Korean hacker’s group, Zinc APT, and in late 2020 and throughout 2021, this same group also targeted security researchers on Twitter and other social networks.
Security Resources of Google Cloud
Here are the security resources offered by Google Cloud:-
- A variety of access control options.
- Service accounts to authenticate apps.
- Policy Intelligence tools.
- Through Assured Workloads pre-defined configurations.
- Conditional alerts in the Cloud Console.
- Enforcing and monitoring password requirements for their users.
- Recommendations for creating password-based online apps.
- For configuring Cloud environments best security practices.
Here are a few recommendations offered by the security experts:-
- Audit published projects to ensure certs and credentials are not accidentally exposed.
- Code downloaded by clients should undergo hashing authentication.
- Use multiple layers of defense to combat theft of credentials and authentication cookies.
This time instead of targeting the South Korean anti-malware companies, the hackers have targeted their employees. Since hacking their employees could provide them extra benefits or access to other key means, and by exploiting them they can easily execute a supply chain attack.