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NavRAT Uses US-North Korea Summit As Decoy For Attacks In South Korea

- May 31, 2018 - 1 Comment

This blog post is authored by Warren Mercer and Paul Rascagneres with contributions from Jungsoo An.

Executive Summary

Talos has discovered a new malicious Hangul Word Processor (HWP) document targeting Korean users. If a malicious document is opened, a remote access trojan that we’re calling “NavRAT” is downloaded, which can perform various actions on the victim machine, including command execution, and has keylogging capabilities.

The decoy document is named “미북 정상회담 전망 및 대비.hwp” (Prospects for US-North Korea Summit.hwp). The HWP file format is mainly used in South Korea. An Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) object is embedded within the document in order to execute malicious shellcode on the victim systems. The purpose is to download and execute an additional payload hosted on a compromised website: NavRAT.

This is a classic RAT that can download, upload, execute commands on the victim host and, finally, perform keylogging. However, the command and control (C2) infrastructure is very specific. It uses the legitimate Naver email platform in order to communicate with the attackers via email. The uploaded file(s) are sent by email, and the downloaded files are retrieved from an email attachment. We have already observed malware using free email platforms for abuse, but this is the first time we have identified a malware that uses Naver — which is known for its popularity in South Korea.

One of the most interesting questions we still have is regarding attribution — and who is behind this malware. Previously, we published several articles concerning Group123 (hereherehere, here and here). We currently assess with medium confidence that this campaign and NavRAT are linked to Group123.

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1 Comments

  1. Good informative post. Thanks.