Changing of the TidePool: Operation Ke3chang malware evolves as APT threat reappears

The APT dubbed Operation Ke3chang has resurfaced—this time, targeting Indian embassies and leveraging what appears to be an evolved family of malware.
The APT dubbed Operation Ke3chang has resurfaced—this time, targeting Indian embassies and leveraging what appears to be an evolved family of malware.

Operation Ke3chang, the advanced persistent threat (APT) that in 2013 was discovered targeting Europe-based Ministries of Foreign Affairs, not only apparently remains active but also seems to be leveraging a new family of malware called TidePool.

Palo Alto Networks reported yesterday that researchers within its Unit 42 research team recently uncovered a malware-based cyberespionage campaign launched against Indian embassies, worldwide. Victims are infected via spoofed phishing emails containing attachments of TidePool, a malicious program featuring a code base and certain behaviors that largely overlap with Ke3chang's previous malware of choice, a program called BS2005.

According to Unit 42, TidePool is a remote access trojan (RAT) that allows attackers to read, write and delete files, as well as silently run commands. The malware opens by default in Microsoft Word and exploits a Microsoft Office vulnerability that allows remote attackers to execute code via crafted EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) images. Like BS2005, malware appears to be Chinese in origin.

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