NEWS Report

ESET discovers new Lazarus DreamJob campaign

ESET

Operation DreamJob is the name for a series of campaigns where the group uses social engineering techniques to compromise its targets, with fake job offers as the lure.

ESET researchers have discovered a new Lazarus Operation DreamJob campaign targeting Linux users. ESET Research was able to reconstruct the full chain, from the ZIP file that delivers a fake HSBC job offer as a decoy up until the final payload: the SimplexTea Linux backdoor distributed through an OpenDrive cloud storage account. 

It is the first time for this major North Korea–aligned threat actor to be using Linux malware as part of this operation. Similarities with this newly discovered Linux malware corroborate the theory that the infamous North Korea–aligned group is behind the 3CX supply-chain attack. 

“This latest discovery provides corroborating evidence and reinforces our high level of confidence that the recent 3CX supply-chain attack was in fact conducted by Lazarus – a link that was suspected from the very beginning and demonstrated by several security researchers since,” said Peter Kálnai, ESET researcher who investigated Lazarus activities. 

3CX is an international VoIP software developer and distributor that provides phone system services to many organizations. According to its website, 3CX has more than 600,000 customers and 12 million users in various sectors, including aerospace, healthcare, and hospitality. It provides client software to use its systems via a web browser, mobile app, or a desktop application. 3CX itself was compromised and its software was used in a supply-chain attack driven by external threat actors to distribute additional malware to specific 3CX customers.


“This compromised software, deployed on various IT infrastructures, allows the download and execution of any kind of payload, which can have devastating impacts. The stealthiness of a supply-chain attack makes this method of distributing malware very appealing from an attacker’s perspective, and Lazarus has already used this technique in the past,” explains Kálnai. “It is also interesting to note that Lazarus can produce and use native malware for all major desktop operating systems: Windows, macOS, and Linux,” added Marc-Etienne M.Léveillé , ESET researcher who helped with the research.

Operation DreamJob is the name for a series of campaigns where Lazarus uses social engineering techniques to compromise its targets, with fake job offers as the lure. On March 20, a user in the country of Georgia submitted to VirusTotal a ZIP archive called HSBC job offer.pdf.zip. Given other DreamJob campaigns by Lazarus, this payload was probably distributed through spearphishing or direct messages on LinkedIn. The archive contains a single file: a native 64-bit Intel Linux binary written in Go and named HSBC job offer․pdf.

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