According to researchers from various security companies, the North Korean advanced persistent threat (APT) actor dubbed ScarCruft is using weaponized Microsoft Compiled HTML Help (CHM) files to download additional malware. This development is illustrative of the group's continuous efforts to refine and retool its tactics to sidestep detection. "The group is constantly evolving its tools, techniques, and procedures while experimenting with new file formats and methods to bypass security vendors," Zscaler researchers Sudeep Singh and Naveen Selvan said in a new analysis published Tuesday. ScarCruft, also tracked under the names APT37, Reaper, RedEyes, and Ricochet Chollima, has exhibited an increased operational tempo since the start of the year, targeting various South Korean entities for espionage purposes. It is known to be active since at least 2012. Last month, ASEC disclosed a campaign that employed HWP files that take advantage of a security flaw in the Hangul word processing software to deploy a backdoor referred to as M2RAT. But new findings reveal the threat actor is also using other file formats such as CHM, HTA, LNK, XLL, and macro-based Microsoft Office documents in its spear-phishing attacks against South Korean targets. These infection chains often serve to display a decoy file and deploy an updated version of a PowerShell-based implant known as Chinotto, which is capable of executing commands sent by a server and exfiltrating sensitive data.
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