Malicious documents have been discovered in the inboxes of several organizations involved in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The initial target of the email was email@example.com, but several other organizations also involved with the event were included in the BCC line of the email. The email contained a document titled “Organized by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Pyeongchang Olympics.doc” written out in Korean, which upon opening initialized a macro that opens a PowerShell script containing malware. The script was hidden in the document as an image file by using an open source steganography tool. Upon analysis of the PowerShell script, it was determined that the code allowed a set schedule to occur at certain times to initialize certain tasks and establish an encrypted channel from the victim’s computer to the attacker’s server, which was located remotely.
As of right now, no perpetrator has been discovered, but researchers believe that the attackers’ motive was mainly to gather intelligence about any information regarding the Olympics and the organizations behind the event. Despite no confirmed suspect, it is found to be suspicious that these attacks have occurred in the wake of Russia’s hacks of Olympic emails. A Russian hacking organization associated with the Russian government had hacked and released emails associated with the International Olympic Committee in what is believed to be a response to the Olympic ban Russia was given, keeping them from participating in the 2018 Olympics taking place in Pyeongchang.
Going by the name Fancy Bear, the hacker group gathered fame from attacking the World Anti-Doping Agency back in 2016 in response to their country being banned from the Olympics after several Russian Olympians were discovered to be using banned substances. Fancy Bear posted medical information on their website of non-Russian athletes who were also taking substances in the pretense that allowing countries to have athletes take prescription medications such as anti-inflammatory medication as a double standard.
The hacks on the Winter Olympics came in the form of phishing campaigns to target very specific people, including Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren and Colorado lawyer Richard Young. Both worked together in investigating Russian cheating techniques. With the Olympics only a month away, more attacks from Russia and other countries with motive to disrupt the games are expected, and the International Olympic Committee is keeping a close eye on possible breaches and attack vectors.
Article was originally posted on CIP report produced by PERATON