Drawing on three years of investigatory work, researchers have assembled a detailed playbook on PKPLUG, a suspected Chinese threat actor targeting Asians with an assortment of malware used for cyber espionage purposes.

The authors of this playbook – members of Palo Alto Networks threat research group Unit 42 – were able to connect PKPLUG to attacks that were documented as far back as six years ago. Customized malware programs associated with this threat group include the PlugX remote access trojan, the Android malware HenBox, the Windows backdoor Farseer, the 9002 RAT. PKPLUG is also tied to the publicly available Poison Ivy RAT and Zupdax backdoor.

Unit 42 is not entirely certain that PKPLUG is a single threat actor or several groups sharing the same TTPs. However, the researchers have assessed with high confidence that it has Chinese nation-state backing.

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