A North Korean threat actor is targeting users in Russia with a New Year’s Eve-themed phony screensaver file, the Record reports. Researchers at Cluster25 spotted the activity, and say the campaign “started at least from August 2021 aimed at Russian targets operating in the diplomatic sector.” The researchers note that the threat actor used a ZIP file in this spear phishing attack, as opposed to a document with malicious macros.
“On December 20th emails crafted to infect the Russian embassy located in Indonesia have been detected,” the researchers write. “[T]hese emails used the New Year Eve 2022 festivity as a decoy theme. Contrary to its past actions, the North Korean APT group this time did not use malicious documents as attachments; instead, they attached a .zip file type named ‘поздравление.zip’, which means ‘congratulation’ in Russian, containing an embedded executable representing the first stage of the infection. The emails were spoofed using a *@mid.ru account as a sender to pretend that it was sent from the Russian Embassy in Serbia.” The Russian word is the one traditionally used in New Year’s greetings; the English equivalent would be “happy New Year,” or “season’s greetings.”
After infecting the computer, the malware opens a fullscreen New Year’s Eve-themed image in order to make the victim think they’ve downloaded a benign screensaver.
“The sample has the behavior of a trojan malware, and it is intended to resemble the legitimate scrnsave.scr Windows application,” the researchers write. “When executed, it drops under the %TEMP% directory an image named Happy.jpg (which is embedded in the resource section) and opens it as a foreground window to trick the victim into believing that it is a legitimate Russian themed happy holidays screensaver.”
Nation-state actors continue to use social engineering attacks to compromise their targets, because these attacks are extremely effective and easy to carry out. New-school security awareness training can enable your employees to recognize targeted social engineering attacks.
The Record has the story.