The Thai authorities with the support of the ThaiCERT and security first McAfee have seized a server used by North Korean Hidden Cobra APT as part of the Op GhostSecret campaign.

The Thai authorities with the support of the ThaiCERT have seized a server used by North Korean hackers in the attack against Sony Picture.

The server was located in a Thai university and allegedly used as part of a North Korean hacking campaign conducted by the Hidden Cobra APT group.

According to the authorities, the server was used by the Hidden Cobra APT group as command and control in the GhostSecret campaign.

The identification of the server was the result of the investigation conducted by experts at McAfee that analyzed the Operation GhostSecret searching for infrastructures involved worldwide.

“Our investigation into this campaign reveals that the actor used multiple malware implants, including an unknown implant with capabilities similar to Bankshot. From March 18 to 26 we observed the malware operating in multiple areas of the world. This new variant resembles parts of the Destover malware, which was used in the 2014 Sony Pictures attack.” reads the report published by McAfee.

“Further investigation into the control server infrastructure reveals the SSL certificate d0cb9b2d4809575e1bc1f4657e0eb56f307c7a76, which is tied to the control server 203[.]131[.]222[.]83, used by the February 2018 implant. This server resides at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand. The same entity hosted the control server for the Sony Pictures implants. This SSL certificate has been used in Hidden Cobra operations since the Sony Pictures attack.”

Op GhostSecret North Korea Hidden Cobra APT

According to a security advisory published by the ThaiCERT, the operation GhostSecret kicked off in February 2018. McAfee identified three IP addresses (203.131.222.95, 203.131.222.109, and 203.131.222.83) belonging to Thammasat University that are associated with the Thai activity.

Researchers at McAfee reported the IP addresses of the command and control servers involved in the GhostSecret.

GhostSecret operation first targeted the Turkish financial sector in February 2018, during the period from 14 to 18 March 2018 it targeted entities in more than 17 countries, including Thailand and according to the experts it is still active.

According to McAfee, the Operation GhostSecret is a global data reconnaissance campaign targeting critical infrastructure, entertainment, finance, healthcare, and telecommunications worldwide. The hackers behind Operation GhostSecret leverage multiple implants, tools, and malware variants associated with the state-sponsored cyber group Hidden Cobra.

McAfee has also discovered a new Destover malware implant variant with capabilities similar to the Bankshot malware and that resembles parts of the Destover malware.

Furthermore, the experts at the Advanced Threat Research team have discovered an undocumented implant tracked as Proxysvc that operated undetected since mid-2017.

ThaiCERT along with local authorities and McAfee researchers are currently analyzing the content of the seized server.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  GhostSecret, North Korea)

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