LABScon23 Replay | macOS Components Used in North Korean Crypto-Heists

In this unique talk, Proofpoint’s Greg Lesnewich takes us on a tour of recent North Korean APTs targeting macOS devices and offers researchers new techniques for hunting this increasingly active cluster through similarity analysis of Mach-O binaries and linked dynamic libraries.

While many state-aligned threats have dipped their toes into macOS Malware, North Korea has invested serious time and effort into compromising Apple’s desktop operating system. Its operations in macOS environments include both espionage and financial gain. macOS malware analysis is an exciting space, but most blogs on the subject deal with functionality and capability, rather than how to find more similar samples. Analysts are forced to rely on string searching, based on disassembler output or a strings dump; in contrast, executables for Windows have “easy” pivots such as import hashing or rich headers that help analysts to find additional samples without much effort.

This talk introduces some of those easy pivots for Mach-O files, using North Korean samples as an initial case study; along the way, Greg takes us on a tour of the North Korean clusters using Mach-O samples, how those clusters intersect, how their families relate to one another, and shows how some simple pivots can link a group’s families together.

About the Presenter

Greg Lesnewich is senior threat researcher at Proofpoint, working on tracking malicious activity linked to the DPRK (North Korea). Greg has a background in threat intelligence, incident response, and managed detection, and previously built a threat intelligence program for a Fortune 50 financial organization.

About LABScon 2023

This presentation was featured live at LABScon 2023, an immersive 3-day conference bringing together the world’s top cybersecurity minds, hosted by SentinelOne’s research arm, SentinelLabs.

Keep up with all the latest on LABScon 2024 here.