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A North Korean cyberespionage group named Konni has been linked to a series of targeted attacks aimed at the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) with New Year lures to compromise Windows systems with malware.

“This activity cluster demonstrates the patient and persistent nature of advanced actors in waging multi-phased campaigns against perceived high-value networks,” researchers from Lumen Technologies’ Black Lotus Labs said in an analysis shared with The Hacker News.

The Konni group’s tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) are known to overlap with threat actors belonging to the broader Kimsuky umbrella, which is also tracked by the cybersecurity community under the monikers Velvet Chollima, ITG16, Black Banshee, and Thallium.

The most recent attacks involved the actor gaining access to the target networks through stolen credentials, exploiting the foothold to load malware for intelligence gathering purposes, with early signs of the activity documented by MalwareBytes as far back as July 2021.

Subsequent iterations of the phishing campaign are believed to have unfolded in three waves — the first commencing on October 19, 2021 to harvest credentials from MID personnel, followed by leveraging COVID-19 themed lures in November to install a rogue version of the Russian-mandated vaccination registration software that served as a loader for additional payloads.

images from Hacker News