ScarCruft surveilling North Korean defectors and human rights activists

The ScarCruft group (also known as APT37 or Temp.Reaper) is a nation-state sponsored APT actor we first reported in 2016. ScarCruft is known to target North Korean defectors, journalists who cover North Korea-related news and government organizations related to the Korean Peninsula, between others. Recently, we were approached by a news organization with a request for technical assistance during their cybersecurity investigations. As a result, we had an opportunity to perform a deeper investigation on a host compromised by ScarCruft. The victim was infected by PowerShell malware and we discovered evidence that the actor had already stolen data from the victim and had been surveilling this victim for several months. The actor also attempted to send spear-phishing emails to the victims’ associates working in businesses related to North Korea by using stolen login credentials.

Based on the findings from the compromised machine, we discovered additional malware. The actor utilized three types of malware with similar functionalities: versions implemented in PowerShell, Windows executables and Android applications. Although intended for different platforms, they share a similar command and control scheme based on HTTP communication. Therefore, the malware operators can control the whole malware family through one set of command and control scripts.

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Source: Kaspersky