Application security, Threat Intelligence, Incident Response, Malware, Network Security, TDR, Vulnerability Management

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

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.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.