Should have used FQDN in your malware, North Korea

Bad technology habits are universal, even among the strange and isolated yet apparently elite hacker dev community of North Korea.

From the FBI statement this morning assigning blame for the Sony hack directly on the hermit kingdom:

  • Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed. For example, there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks.
  • The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the U.S. government has previously linked directly to North Korea. For example, the FBI discovered that several Internet protocol (IP) addresses associated with known North Korean infrastructure communicated with IP addresses that were hardcoded into the data deletion malware used in this attack.

Devs can be really lazy, hardcoding an IP address where they should put an FQDN, though I suppose for their purposes, North Korea didn’t really care to cover their tracks (perhaps pointing the A record at someone else).

All kidding aside, this is really going to shake things up in IT environments small and large. I’m not sure if this is the first State-sponsored cyberattack on a private corporation on another nation’s soil, but it’s going to be the first one widely remembered.

Time to start implementing that which was once considered exotic and too burdensome….doing things like encrypting your data even when it’s at rest on the SAN’s spindles, off-lining your CA, encrypting its contents,and storing it on a USB stick inside a safe, governance procedures & paper-based chain-of-custody forms for your organization’s private keys.

Assume breach, in other words.

Author: Jeff Wilson

20 yr Enterprise IT Pro | Master of Public Admin | BA in History | GSEC #42816 | Blogging on technology & trust topics at our workplaces, at our homes, and the spaces in between.

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