GELCAPSULE Description

One would be surprised at how many high-profile hacking campaigns are hailing from North Korea considering how restricted the access to the Internet is over there. In the past, there used to be only one prominent hacking group originating from North Korea, and that was the Lazarus group. However, recently, there has been a new star on the horizon – the ScarCruft hacking group, which also is referred to as APT37 (Advanced Persistent Threat).

Self-Preservation Techniques

The ScarCruft hacking group has an expanding arsenal of hacking tools. Among them is the GELCAPSULE Trojan downloader. It has been determined that this threat is capable of recognizing whether it is being run in a sandbox environment. In case it is, as a method of self-preservation, the GELCAPSULE Trojan will halt its activity. This Trojan downloader also is known for its ability to stay under the radar of anti-virus solutions. Malware researchers have determined that the GELCAPSULE Trojan downloader is being used to deliver another one of the ScarCruft group tools – the SLOWDRIFT malware. This campaign is concentrated on the territory of South Korea mainly. Most of the targets of the ScarCruft hacking group tend to be high-ranking individuals.

Propagation Method

The propagation method chosen by the authors of the GELCAPSULE Trojan is via macro-laced files attached to bogus emails. To convince their targets to download and open the attached file, the ScarCruft hacking group made sure to tailor the message accompanying the infected attachment specifically.

Known to Deploy Three Additional Threats

Malware researchers studied the GELCAPSULE Trojan and were able to detect the additional malware, which this threat delivers to the compromised host. There have been three hacking tools in particular, which were identified - KARAE, ZUMKONG and POORAIM. After dissecting these threats, cybersecurity experts were able to detect what purpose they serve. The KARAE hacking tool is a basic Trojan backdoor that is used for delivering additional malware to the infected system. It also can collect information about the host and siphon it back to the attackers. ZUMKONG is classified as an infostealer that targets login credentials saved in popular Web browsers like Google Chrome and Internet Explorer specifically. The POORAIM threat is a backdoor Trojan, which serves to enable its operators to take screenshots of the desktops of the infected host, download, run, and browse files, and collect data. This hacking tool receives commands using a rather outdated method - the AOL messaging service.

The ScarCruft hacking group is gaining more and more traction, and the fact that the North Korean government is likely employing them means that they are a recognized name in the world of cybercrime, and we will continue to hear about their campaigns in the future certainly.