A North Korean cyber-espionage group has exploited an ActiveX zero-day to infect South Korean targets with malware or steal data from compromised systems, local media and security researchers have reported. The perpetrators of these attacks are known as the Andariel Group. According to a report authored by South Korean cyber-security firm AhnLab, the Andariel Group is a smaller unit of the larger and more well-known Lazarus Group —North Korea’s cyber-espionage apparatus, believed to be a unit of its military. IT security commented below.
Andy Norton, Director of Threat Intelligence at Lastline:
“Given the precarious political situation with North Korea, the fragile peace talks and negotiations around nuclear disarmament, a campaign of continued cyber intelligence gathering should not be a shock to anyone who understands that the cyber theatre facilitates asynchronous warfare. This watering hole attack was placed on significant military and research institutes of North Korean entities and would of potentially impacted visitors to those niche interest sites.”
Chris Doman, Security Researcher at AlienVault:
“Whilst ActiveX is rarely enabled in browsers in the West, it’s required by the South Korean government for many South Korean websites.
That has resulted in attackers targeting the South regularly exploiting the insecure framework.
This isn’t directly related to the report by US-CERT on North Korean attacks earlier this week, which is by a related set of attackers but instead refers to years-old activity.”