Watch out - that amazing job offer could actually just be a crypto-stealing scam, Microsoft warns

ID theft
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The BlueNoroff cybercrime campaign appears to be going from strenght to strenght after Microsoft spotted yet another criminal campaign it attributed to the North Korean hackers.

Redmond’s security pros recently found BlueNoroff (a part of the Lazarus Group advanced persistent threat, which it calls Sapphire Sleet) impersonating skills assessment portals and using them to steal people’s sensitive data or have them download malware

"Sapphire Sleet typically finds targets on platforms like LinkedIn and uses lures related to skills assessment," the Microsoft Threat Intelligence team said on X. "The threat actor then moves successful communications with targets to other platforms."

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Distributing malware

BlueNoroff, but also Lazarus as a whole, is a threat actor that’s been seen using fake job ads and targeting professionals in the cryptocurrency industry for years now. With that in mind, the latest campaign that includes skills assessment portals is a “shift in the persistent actor’s tactics,” Microsoft said.

Late last week, security researchers from Jamf warned of a new macOS malware, called ObjCShellz, which was developed and distributed by BlueNoroff. It greatly overlaps with another macOS malware known as RustBucket. 

Microsoft said BlueNoroff usually distributed malware by sending malicious attachments or embedded links to pages hosted on GitHub. However, Microsoft’s quick reactions to remove these threats forced Sapphire Sleet to create a new network of websites used to distribute the malware, the researchers claim.

"Several malicious domains and subdomains host these websites, which entice recruiters to register for an account," the company added. "The websites are password-protected to impede analysis."

Lazarus Group is suspected to be under the direct command of the North Korean government. Its goals are not always the same, but are usually linked to stealing cryptocurrencies from targets in the West. The money, some sources are saying, are being used to sustain the government and build the nuclear weapons program

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.