North Korea is likely behind attacks exploiting a Korean word processing program

FireEye said forensic details match those of other cyberattacks attributed to the country

North Korea is likely behind cyberattacks that have focused on exploiting a word processing program widely used in South Korea, security firm FireEye said Thursday in a report.

The proprietary program, called Hangul Word Processor, is used primarily in the south by the government and public institutions.

The vulnerability, CVE-2015-6585, was patched three days ago by its developer Hancom.

FireEye's conclusion is interesting because only a handful of attacks have been publicly attributed to the secretive nation, which is known to have well-developed cyber capabilities.

One of the most prominent instances was the devastating attack in November 2014 against Sony Pictures, which lost sensitive corporate data and email and saw many of its computers rendered inoperable.

In a rare move, the FBI blamed North Korea for the Sony hack based on an analysis of malware suspected to have been developed by the country and used in other attacks.

FireEye said its attribution wasn't conclusive, but the targeting of a proprietary South Korean software program combined with targets in the country led it to "assess that this activity may be associated with North Korea-based threat actors."

If the malicious HWP file is opened, it installs a backdoor which FireEye nicknamed "Hangman." It's used for downloading files and probing file systems.

Once Hangman has collected data, it sends it to command-and-control servers over an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection. The IP addresses of those servers are hard-coded into Hangman and have been linked to other suspected North Korea-related attacks.

Hangman is also similar to another backdoor FireEye calls Peachpit, which may have been developed by North Korea, the report said. 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?