A subgroup within the notorious Lazarus Group, known as Sapphire Sleet, has adopted a new approach by creating deceptive infrastructure that mimics skills assessment portals for their social engineering endeavors, according to Microsoft.
This shift in tactics is part of Sapphire Sleet’s broader history of engaging in cryptocurrency theft through social engineering. The group typically identifies targets on professional networks like LinkedIn, utilizing lures related to skills assessments before progressing to other communication platforms.
Microsoft highlighted that previous campaigns involved sending malicious attachments or embedding links in legitimate websites, but the rapid detection of these methods may have prompted Sapphire Sleet to establish its network of websites for malware distribution. In their modus operandi, Sapphire Sleet employs various malicious domains and subdomains hosting websites designed to attract recruiters, urging them to register accounts. Notably, these websites are password-protected, adding an additional layer to impede analysis. The Microsoft Threat Intelligence team emphasized the group’s use of skills assessment lures, revealing the adaptability and persistence of the threat actor in navigating security measures.
Sapphire Sleet’s evolution to create its infrastructure underscores the ongoing cat-and-mouse game between cybercriminals and cybersecurity experts. The detection and deletion of malicious payloads sent directly or embedded in legitimate sites appear to have prompted Sapphire Sleet’s development of a more resilient and independent network. Microsoft’s insights shed light on the dynamic nature of cyber threats, with threat actors continuously refining their techniques to bypass security measures.
The company’s analysis serves as a valuable resource for understanding the evolving strategies employed by sophisticated cybercriminals and reinforces the importance of robust cybersecurity measures to counter these threats effectively.