Kimsuki hackers use commodity RATs with custom Gold Dragon malware

Commodity RAT
xRAT is an open-source remote access and administration tool available for free on GitHub.
The malware provides a range of features such as keylogging, remote shell, file manager actions, reverse HTTPS proxy, AES-128 communication, and automated social engineering.

A sophisticated threat actor may choose to use commodity RATs because, for basic reconnaissance operations, these tools are perfectly adequate and don’t require much configuration.

This allows threat actors to focus their resources on developing later-stage malware that requires more specialized functionality depending on the defense tools/practices present on the target.

Also, commodity RATs blend in with activity from a broad spectrum of threat actors, making it harder for analysts to attribute malicious activity to a particular group.

Gold Dragon backdoor
Gold Dragon is a second-stage backdoor that Kimsuky typically deploys after a file-less PowerShell-based first-stage attack that leverages steganography.

It has been documented in a 2020 report by Cybereason and a 2021 analysis by researchers at Cisco Talos, so this is not a novel malware.

However, as ASEC explains in its report, the variant they spotted in this latest campaign features additional functions such as the exfiltration of basic system information.

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