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Friday, 24 August 2018 08:37

Attackers use macOS malware to infiltrate banks, crypto exchanges

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Attackers use macOS malware to infiltrate banks, crypto exchanges Pixabay

The Lazarus group, an advanced persistent threat actor that is claimed to have North Korean links, has broken into a number of banks and cryptocurrency exchanges and fintech companies over the last few months, the security firm Kaspersky Lab claims.

The firm said it had found in one such case, the attack vector was a cryptocurrency trading application that had been compromised by malware known as Fallchill which has been referred to by US CERT and other researchers as well.

The application, created by a third party, was unknowingly downloaded by an employee from a website that appeared to be kosher.

In order to broaden the scope of infiltration, the attackers had developed malware for the macOS platform as well the usual Windows malware.

"A version for Linux is apparently coming soon, according to the website. It’s probably the first time we see this APT group using malware for macOS," Kaspersky said.

The application that was compromised is known as Celas Trade Pro and is sold by Celas Limited.

Kaspersky said the attacks on the financial sector by the Lazarus group were not surprising. However, it noted, there were some notable points about this latest attack, the main one being that a new platform, macOS, had been used.

"From all angles, the Celas story looks like the threat actor has found an elaborate way to create a legitimate looking business and inject a malicious payload into a 'legitimate looking' software update mechanism," the company said. "Sounds logical: if one cannot compromise a supply chain, why not make a fake one?

"This should be a lesson to all of us and a wake-up call to businesses relying on third-party software. Do not automatically trust the code running on your systems. Neither a good-looking website, nor a solid company profile nor digital certificates guarantee the absence of backdoors."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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