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Experts Discover New macOS Backdoor, Link Attack Campaign to Vietnamese Hackers

the backdoor is highly resourced and resolute

 

Cybersecurity experts at Trend Micro found a macOS backdoor, which the experts believe is used by Vietnamese criminal actors named "oceanlotus." Famous as APT32 or "APT-C-00," the backdoor is highly resourced and resolute. Experts say that Ocenlotus targets government agencies and corporate organizations located explicitly in Southeast Asia. At the beginning of 2020, the criminal group launched Covid-19 espionage attack campaigns targeting China. 

After analyzing different C&C domains used by the sample, Trend Micro suggests that organizations not download any suspicious link or open any unknown attachment, keep systems updated, and ensure employee cybersecurity to stay safe. Compared to Oceanlotus' earlier malware variants, the current sample presents correlations in coding and dynamic behavior. The similarity in behavior hints at the sample's link to the criminal group. A file incorporated in the attack campaign shows a Vietnamese name. According to this information, experts believe that the new malware targeted Vietnamese users. 

The new sample pretends to work as a word document, but it is an app packed into a Zip archive in reality. The app uses special characters to avoid detection. According to TrendMicro, the operating system views the app bundle as an unsupported directory. It means that it uses the "open" command is used to administer the file. The cybersecurity experts found two files in the app bundle. A word file that is shown during the execution process and shell script which does malicious tasks routinely. 

According to security week, "the shell script is responsible for deleting the file quarantine attribute for the files in the bundle and for removing the file quarantine attribute of files in the system, copying the Word document to a temp directory and opening it, extracting the second-stage binary and changing its access permissions, then deleting the malware app bundle and the Word document from the system. The second stage payload is responsible for dropping a third-stage payload, creating persistence, changing the timestamp of the sample using the touch command, and deleting itself. Featuring encrypted strings, the third-stage payload contains two main functions: collecting and sending operating system information to the command and control (C&C) servers, receiving additional communication information, and performing backdoor activities."
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