DarkHotel APT group targeting the Hospitality Industry in China

Threat Level – Amber | Vulnerability Report
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DarkHotel, a South Korean advanced persistent threat (APT), has been targeting premium hotels in Macao, China, since November 2021. The APT group is active since 2007 and has been actively targeting critical sectors such as hotels, government, automotive, and pharmaceutical industries, focusing on surveillance and data theft, with company and industry leaders identified as targets.

The group carried out the attack with a spear phishing email that seemed to be from the “Macao Government Tourism Office” and was directed to management personnel of luxury hotels, including front office and HR employees. The emails featured an Excel sheet bait demanding the completion of a form for a guest query, and if the victim enables macros in order to read the document, the macros activate the download and execution of malware payloads. The malware function is meant to generate a scheduled task for persistence and the execution of VBS and PowerShell scripts for establishing a connection to a hard-coded command-and-control (C2) server disguised as a web server.

The Mitre TTPs used by DarkHotel are:

TA0001 – Initial Access

TA0003 – Persistence

TA0007 – Discovery

TA0005 – Defense Evasion

TA0002 – Execution

TA0011 – Command and Control

T1566.001: Phishing: Spearphishing Attachment

T1204.002: User Execution: Malicious File

T1059.005: Command and Scripting Interpreter: Visual Basic

T1070.004: Indicator Removal on Host: File Deletion

T1106: Native API

T1012: Query Registry

T1053: Scheduled Task

T1064: Scripting

T1071: Standard Application Layer Protocol

T1059.001: Command and Scripting Interpreter: PowerShell


Actor Details

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