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Permanent link APT group: Lazarus Group, Hidden Cobra, Labyrinth Chollima

NamesLazarus Group (Kaspersky)
Labyrinth Chollima (CrowdStrike)
Group 77 (Talos)
Hastati Group (SecureWorks)
Whois Hacking Team (McAfee)
NewRomanic Cyber Army Team (McAfee)
Zinc (Microsoft)
Hidden Cobra (Trend Micro)
Nickel Academy (SecureWorks)
Appleworm (?)
APT-C-26 (Qihoo 360)
ATK 3 (Thales)
T-APT-15 (Tencent)
SectorA01 (ThreatRecon)
CountryNorth Korea North Korea
SponsorState-sponsored, Bureau/Unit 211
MotivationInformation theft and espionage, Sabotage and destruction, Financial crime
First seen2007
Description(Malwarebytes) Lazarus Group is commonly believed to be run by the North Korean government, motivated primarily by financial gain as a method of circumventing long-standing sanctions against the regime. They first came to substantial media notice in 2013 with a series of coordinated attacks against an assortment of South Korean broadcasters and financial institutions using DarkSeoul, a wiper program that overwrites sections of the victims’ master boot record.

In November 2014, a large scale breach of Sony Pictures was attributed to Lazarus. The attack was notable due to its substantial penetration across Sony networks, the extensive amount of data exfiltrated and leaked, as well of use of a wiper in a possible attempt to erase forensic evidence. Attribution on the attacks was largely hazy, but the FBI released a statement tying the Sony breach to the earlier DarkSeoul attack, and officially attributed both incidents to North Korea.

Fast forward to May 2017 with the widespread outbreak of WannaCry, a piece of ransomware that used an SMB exploit as an attack vector. Attribution to North Korea rested largely on code reuse between WannaCry and previous North Korean attacks, but this was considered to be thin grounds given the common practice of tool sharing between regional threat groups. Western intelligence agencies released official statements to the public reaffirming the attribution, and on September 6, 2018, the US Department of Justice charged a North Korean national with involvement in both WannaCry and the Sony breach.

Lazarus Group has 3 subgroups:
1. Subgroup: Andariel, Silent Chollima
2. Subgroup: BeagleBoyz
3. Subgroup: Bluenoroff, APT 38, Stardust Chollima

The following groups may be associated with the Lazarus Group: Covellite, Reaper, APT 37, Ricochet Chollima, ScarCruft and Wassonite.
ObservedSectors: Aerospace, Engineering, Financial, Government, Media, Technology and BitCoin exchanges.
Countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, USA, Vietnam and Worldwide (WannaCry).
Tools used3Rat Client, Andaratm, AppleJeus, ARTFULPIE, Aryan, ATMDtrack, AuditCred, BADCALL, Bankshot, BanSwift, BISTROMATH, Bitsran, BLINDINGCAN, BlindToad, Bookcode, BootWreck, Brambul, BUFFETLINE, Castov, CheeseTray, CleanToad, ClientTraficForwarder, Concealment Troy, Contopee, COPPERHEDGE, Dacls RAT, DarkComet, DeltaCharlie, Destover, Dozer, DoublePulsar, Dtrack, Duuzer, DyePack, ELECTRICFISH, EternalBlue, FALLCHILL, Fimlis, Gh0st RAT, HARDRAIN, Hawup, Hermes, HOPLIGHT, HotelAlfa, HOTCROISSANT, Hotwax, HtDnDownLoader, Http Dr0pper, HTTP Troy, Joanap, Jokra, KEYMARBLE, KillDisk, Koredos, Lazarus, MATA, Mimikatz, Mydoom, NachoCheese, NestEgg, NukeSped, OpBlockBuster, PEBBLEDASH, PhanDoor, PowerBrace, PowerRatankba, PowerShell RAT, PowerSpritz, PowerTask, ProcDump, Proxysvc, PSLogger, Quickcafe, Ratankba, RatankbaPOS, RawDisk, Recon, RedShawl, Rifdoor, Rising Sun, Romeos, RomeoAlfa, RomeoBravo, RomeoCharlie, RomeoDelta, RomeoEcho, RomeoFoxtrot, RomeoGolf, RomeoHotel, RomeoMike, RomeoNovember, RomeoWhiskey, SHARPKNOT, SheepRAT, SierraAlfa, SierraCharlie, SLICKSHOES, TAINTEDSCRIBE, Tdrop, Tdrop2, Troy, TYPEFRAME, VHD, Volgmer, WannaCry, WbBot, WolfRAT, Wormhole, Yort.
Operations performed2007Operation “Flame”
Target: South Korean government.
Method: Disruption and sabotage.
Jul 2009Operation “Troy”
North Korean hackers are suspected of launching a cyber-attack on some of the most important government offices in the US and South Korea in recent days, including the White House, the Pentagon, the New York Stock Exchange and the presidential Blue House in Seoul.
The attack took out some of South Korea’s most important websites, including those of the Blue House, the defense ministry, the national assembly, Shinhan bank, Korea Exchange bank and the top internet portal Naver.
Target: Government, financial and media institutions in South Korea and USA.
Method: DdoS attacks.
Mar 2011Attack on South Korean banks and media
Recent Distributed Denial of Service (DdoS) attacks on a number South Korean websites have been in news for the past week. The threat responsible for carrying out these attacks is Trojan.Koredos.
Target: South Korean organizations.
Method: DdoS attacks and destruction of infected machines.
Mar 2013Operation “Ten Days of Rain” / ”DarkSeoul”
Computer networks running three major South Korean banks and the country’s two largest broadcasters were paralyzed Wednesday in attacks that some experts suspected originated in North Korea, which has consistently threatened to cripple its far richer neighbor.
The attacks, which left many South Koreans unable to withdraw money from A.T.M.’s and news broadcasting crews staring at blank computer screens, came as the North’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, as threatening to destroy government installations in the South, along with American bases in the Pacific.
Target: Three broadcasting stations and a bank in South Korea.
Method: Infecting with viruses, stealing and wiping information.
May 2013South Korean Financial Companies Targeted by Castov
In the past few months we have been actively monitoring an exploit kit, called Gongda, which is mainly targeting South Korea. Interestingly, we have come across a piece of malware, known as Castov, being delivered by this exploit kit that targets specific South Korean financial companies and their customers. The cybercriminals in this case have done their research on the South Korean online financial landscape.
Jun 2013DarkSeoul Cyberattacks Against South Korea Continue on Anniversary of Korean War
Yesterday, June 25, the Korean peninsula observed a series of cyberattacks coinciding with the 63rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War. While multiple attacks were conducted by multiple perpetrators, one of the distributed denial-of-service (DdoS) attacks observed yesterday against South Korean government websites can be directly linked to the DarkSeoul gang and Trojan.Castov.
Nov 2014Operation “Blockbuster”: Breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment
The attack on Sony Pictures became public knowledge on November 24, 2014, when Sony employees turned on their computers to be greeted with the sight of a neon red skeleton and the words “Hacked by GOP”, which stood for “Guardians of the Peace”. The message also threatened to release data later that day if an unspecified request was not met. Over the following weeks, huge swathes of information stolen from Sony were released, including: personal information about employees and their families; email correspondence between employees at the company; information about company salaries, unreleased Sony films, and other information.
Target: Sony Pictures Entertainment (released the “Interview” movie, ridiculing the North Korean leader).
Method: Infecting with malware, stealing and wiping data of the company’s employees, correspondence, copies of unreleased films.
Jun 2015Using the Palo Alto Networks AutoFocus threat intelligence platform, we identified several samples of malicious code with behavior similar to the aforementioned Operation Troy campaign dating back to June 2015, over two years after the original attacks in South Korea. Session data revealed a live attack targeting the transportation and logistics sector in Europe.
Mar 2017The Blockbuster Sequel
This recently identified activity is targeting Korean speaking individuals, while the threat actors behind the attack likely speak both Korean and English. This blog will detail the recently discovered samples, their functionality, and their ties to the threat group behind Operation Blockbuster.
May 2017WannaCry ransomware
ThaiCERT's whitepaper:
< WannaCry Ransomware.pdf?dl=0>
Jun 2017We analyzed a new RATANKBA variant (BKDR_RATANKBA.ZAEL–A), discovered in June 2017, that uses a PowerShell script instead of its more traditional PE executable form—a version that other researchers also recently identified.
Aug 2017The Blockbuster Saga Continues
Unit 42 researchers at Palo Alto Networks have discovered new attack activity targeting individuals involved with United States defense contractors.
Late 2017Several financial sector and a casino breaches using KillDisk wiping malware in Latin America and USA.
2017/2018Cryptocurrency attacks on South Korean exchanges.
Jan 2018F-Secure’s investigation revealed that a system administrator from the target organization received a phishing document via their personal LinkedIn account. The document masqueraded as a legitimate job advert for a role in a blockchain technology company that matched the employee’s skills.
Mar 2018APT attack on Turkish Financial Sector.
Target: Turkish Financial Sector.
Method: Spear-phishing with Bankshot implant.
Apr 2018Operation “GhostSecret”
Target: The impacted organizations are in industries such as telecommunications, health, finance, critical infrastructure, and entertainment.
Method: Spear-phishing with Destover-like implant.
Apr 2018The first artefacts we found relating to MATA were used around April 2018. After that, the actor behind this advanced malware framework used it aggressively to infiltrate corporate entities around the world.
Aug 2018Operation “AppleJeus”
Target: Cryptocurrency exchange.
Method: Fake installer and macOS malware.
Summer 2018Our investigation into the Dtrack RAT actually began with a different activity. In the late summer of 2018, we discovered ATMDtrack, a piece of banking malware targeting Indian banks. Further analysis showed that the malware was designed to be planted on the victim’s ATMs, where it could read and store the data of cards that were inserted into the machines.
Oct 2018Operation “Sharpshooter”
Target: 87 organizations in many different sectors (majority Government and Defense) across the globe, predominantly in the United States.
Method: Rising Sun implant to gather intelligence.
Nov 2018More Attacks on Cryptocurrency Businesses
Target: Some of the documents (for instance one entitled “sample document for business plan evaluation of venture company”) were prepared in Korean, presumably to target South Korean businesses. Another contains a business overview of what seems to be a Chinese technology consulting group named LAFIZ (“we couldn’t confirm if it’s a legitimate business or another fake company made up by Lazarus,” Kaspersky Lab researchers said). Yet another provided information for coin listings with a translation in Korean, researchers said.
Method: Documents containing weaponized macros, “carefully prepared to attract the attention of cryptocurrency professionals.” It utilizes PowerShell to control Windows systems and macOS malware for Apple users.
Mar 2019The infamous Lazarus threat actor group has been found targeting an Israeli defense company, according to new research outlined by a cybersecurity firm ClearSky. The campaign is carried out with an intention to steal military and commercial secrets.
Mar 2019Operation “AppleJeus sequel”
As a result of our ongoing efforts, we identified significant changes to the group’s attack methodology.
Apr 2019“Hoplight” Malware Campaign
Known as “Hoplight,” the malware is a collection of nine files, though most of those are designed to work as obfuscation layers to keep admins and security software from spotting the attack.
May 2019North Korean Tunneling Tool: ELECTRICFISH
This report provides analysis of one malicious 32-bit Windows executable file. The malware implements a custom protocol that allows traffic to be funneled between a source and a destination Internet Protocol (IP) address. The malware continuously attempts to reach out to the source and the designation system, which allows either side to initiate a funneling session. The malware can be configured with a proxy server/port and proxy username and password. This feature allows connectivity to a system sitting inside of a proxy server, which allows the actor to bypass the compromised system’s required authentication to reach outside of the network.
May 2019Hackers associated with the APT Lazarus/HIDDEN COBRA group were found to be breaking into online stores of large US retailers and planting payment skimmers as early as May 2019.
Sep 2019Operation “In(ter)caption”
At the end of last year, we discovered targeted attacks against aerospace and military companies in Europe and the Middle East, active from September to December 2019. A collaborative investigation with two of the affected European companies allowed us to gain insight into the operation and uncover previously undocumented malware.
Oct 2019Dacls, the Dual platform RAT
Dec 2019The Deadly Planeswalker: How The TrickBot Group United High-Tech Crimeware & APT
2020Operation “North Star”
In this 2020 campaign McAfee ATR discovered a series of malicious documents containing job postings taken from leading defense contractors to be used as lures, in a very targeted fashion.
2020Operation “Dream Job”
Upon infection, the attackers collected intelligence regarding the company’s activity, and also its financial affairs, probably in order to try and steal some money from it.
Mar 2020Lazarus on the hunt for big game
Apr 2020New Mac variant of Lazarus Dacls RAT distributed via Trojanized 2FA app
Jun 2020Covid-19 Relief: North Korea Hackers Lazarus Planning Massive Attack on US, UK, Japan, Singapore, India, South Korea?
Aug 2020North Korean hackers are targeting Israel's defense sector, Israel Ministry of Defense claims
Counter operationsDec 2017Microsoft and Facebook disrupt ZINC malware attack to protect customers and the internet from ongoing cyberthreats
Sep 2018North Korean Regime-Backed Programmer Charged With Conspiracy to Conduct Multiple Cyber Attacks and Intrusions
Sep 2019Treasury Sanctions North Korean State-Sponsored Malicious Cyber Groups
Mar 2020Treasury Sanctions Individuals Laundering Cryptocurrency for Lazarus Group
Jul 2020EU imposes the first ever sanctions against cyber-attacks

Last change to this card: 17 September 2020

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Thailand Computer Emergency Response Team (ThaiCERT)
Electronic Transactions Development Agency

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