Researchers Detect New North Korea-Linked MacOS Malware on Crypto Trading Site
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Security researchers have discovered a new cryptocurrency-related macOS malware believed to be the product of North Korean hackers at the Lazarus Group.
As tech-focused publication Bleeping Computer reported on Dec. 4, malware researcher Dinesh Devadoss encountered a malicious software on a website called “unioncrypto.vip,” that advertised a “smart cryptocurrency arbitrage trading platform.” The website did not cite any download links, but hosted a malware package under the name “UnionCryptoTrader.”
Linkage to North Korean hackers
According to the researchers, the malware can retrieve a payload from a remote location and run it in memory, which is not common for macOS, but more typical for Windows. This feature makes it difficult to detect the malware and carry out forensic analysis. Per VirusTotal, an online service for analyzing and detecting viruses and malware, only 10 antivirus engines flagged it as malicious at press time.
After conducting an analysis of the newly detected malware, security researcher Patrick Wardle determined “clear overlaps” with malware found by MalwareHunterTeam in mid-October, which purportedly led to the Lazarus group. At the time, the researchers detected that Lazarus had created another malware targeting Apple Macs that masquerades behind a fake cryptocurrency firm.
Recent North Korea-related developments
In recent months, there has been plenty of news about North Korea-related developments. In late November, United States prosecutors announced the arrest of Virgil Griffith, who allegedly traveled to North Korea to deliver a presentation on how to use crypto and blockchain technology to circumvent sanctions.
Following the arrest, Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin declared his solidarity with Virgil Griffith, having supported a petition to free the blockchain developer.
The United Nations Security Council's Sanctions Committee on North Korea accused the country of using a Hong Kong-based blockchain firm as a front to launder money.