Lazarus Group used a new form of malware in an attempt to compromise a crypto exchange, according to an October 31 report from Elastic Security Labs.the new malware “KANDYKORN” and the loader program that loads it into memory “SUGARLOAD,” as the loader file has a novel “.sld” extension in its name. Elastic did not name the exchange that was targeted.
Crypto exchanges have suffered a rash of private-key hacks in 2023, most of which have been traced to the North Korean cybercrime enterprise, Lazarus Group.According to Elastic, the attack began when Lazarus members posed as blockchain engineers and targeted engineers from the unnamed crypto exchange. The attackers made contact on Discord, claiming they had designed a profitable arbitrage bot that could profit from discrepancies between prices of cryptos on different exchanges.
The attackers convinced the engineers to download this “bot.” The files in the program’s ZIP folder had disguised names like “config.py” and “pricetable.py” that made it appear to be an arbitrage bot. Once the engineers ran the program, it executed a “Main.py” file that ran some ordinary programs as well as a malicious file called “Watcher.py.” Watcher.py established a connection to a remote Google Drive account and began downloading content from it to another file named testSpeed.py. The malicious program then ran testSpeed.py a single time before deleting it in order to cover its tracks. headtopics.com
During the single-time execution of testSpeed.py, the program downloaded more content and eventually executed a file that Elastic calls “SUGARLOADER.” This file was obfuscated using a “binary packer,” Elastic stated, allowing it to bypass most malware detection programs. However, they were able to discover it by forcing the program to stop after its initialization functions had been called, then snapshotting the process’ virtual memory.