Malware Analysis Report (AR20-045E)

MAR-10271944-2.v1 – North Korean Trojan: ARTFULPIE

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This report is provided "as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained herein. The DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this bulletin or otherwise.

This document is marked TLP:WHITE--Disclosure is not limited. Sources may use TLP:WHITE when information carries minimal or no foreseeable risk of misuse, in accordance with applicable rules and procedures for public release. Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction. For more information on the Traffic Light Protocol (TLP), see



This Malware Analysis Report (MAR) is the result of analytic efforts between Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Defense (DoD). Working with U.S. Government partners, DHS, FBI, and DoD identified Trojan malware variants used by the North Korean government. This malware variant has been identified as ARTFULPIE. The U.S. Government refers to malicious cyber activity by the North Korean government as HIDDEN COBRA. For more information on HIDDEN COBRA activity, visit https[:]//www[.]

DHS, FBI, and DoD are distributing this MAR to enable network defense and reduce exposure to North Korean government malicious cyber activity.

This MAR includes malware descriptions related to HIDDEN COBRA, suggested response actions and recommended mitigation techniques. Users or administrators should flag activity associated with the malware and report the activity to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) or the FBI Cyber Watch (CyWatch), and give the activity the highest priority for enhanced mitigation.

This report looks at an implant that performs downloading and in-memory loading and execution of a DLL from a hardcoded url.

For a downloadable copy of IOCs, see MAR-10271944-2.v1.stix.

Submitted Files (1)

606c6000f36dc69fefc6df828e1ac9c5529a71a62b99f5df55463606c4c9689c (mega.exe.exe)

IPs (1)





Name mega.exe.exe
Size 83968 bytes
Type PE32 executable (GUI) Intel 80386, for MS Windows
MD5 2d92116440edef4190279a043af6794b
SHA1 eb2eb432445b3dcf6483e7d5f670acb94a8bab70
SHA256 606c6000f36dc69fefc6df828e1ac9c5529a71a62b99f5df55463606c4c9689c
SHA512 ef849cb69d785bdcef98127abed65e0acc749f9748753d04105818e68ec5e37e068f8c4a7146b5238c5a6bf75712b198935c356b0fe0bb08eeef54ca7082d32f
ssdeep 1536:FNtzOnGK/pmGC4ISgyCOkaPeFAuf+jXQ1JsWODjgncdw1DCaAqGgo:FNqpmGC7S1rJPQAFXKqDjgWwBCaAq3o
Entropy 6.334481
Avira HEUR/AGEN.1031247
ByteHero Trojan.Win32.Heur.098
Symantec Heur.AdvML.B
YARA Rules

No matches found.

ssdeep Matches

No matches found.

PE Metadata
Compile Date 2019-06-14 05:41:48-04:00
Import Hash 8079a02c54cad285e36d60589737d1e3
PE Sections
MD5 Name Raw Size Entropy
33371b670b629e6e418f34546c9b5eda header 1024 2.672349
d7c48cf554eae1f467a10903d05d84fc .text 51712 6.635530
4b19a4f766cd6f95bd6b36fab052c916 .rdata 24064 4.908608
9ccfa1efb02e96faf15883c5d135e6f9 .data 2560 1.986341
c970c10a1e848ee974b87923ecbe6a2f .rsrc 512 4.706155
51b1d3e64f81f0cc54f348474457a1d4 .reloc 4096 6.403055
Microsoft Visual C++ ?.?
606c6000f3... Connected_To

The sample is a downloader/loader that performs the following steps:

Downloads the hardcoded URL hxxp[:]//193[.]56[.]28[.]103:88/xampp/thinkmeter[.]dll into memory using the user-agent string: "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/5.0)".

Loads the .dll into its own address space manually (fully in memory).

Calls the .dll’s entry-point.



  • 88 TCP
Relationships Connected_From 606c6000f36dc69fefc6df828e1ac9c5529a71a62b99f5df55463606c4c9689c

Relationship Summary

606c6000f3... Connected_To Connected_From 606c6000f36dc69fefc6df828e1ac9c5529a71a62b99f5df55463606c4c9689c


CISA recommends that users and administrators consider using the following best practices to strengthen the security posture of their organization's systems. Any configuration changes should be reviewed by system owners and administrators prior to implementation to avoid unwanted impacts.

  • Maintain up-to-date antivirus signatures and engines.
  • Keep operating system patches up-to-date.
  • Disable File and Printer sharing services. If these services are required, use strong passwords or Active Directory authentication.
  • Restrict users' ability (permissions) to install and run unwanted software applications. Do not add users to the local administrators group unless required.
  • Enforce a strong password policy and implement regular password changes.
  • Exercise caution when opening e-mail attachments even if the attachment is expected and the sender appears to be known.
  • Enable a personal firewall on agency workstations, configured to deny unsolicited connection requests.
  • Disable unnecessary services on agency workstations and servers.
  • Scan for and remove suspicious e-mail attachments; ensure the scanned attachment is its "true file type" (i.e., the extension matches the file header).
  • Monitor users' web browsing habits; restrict access to sites with unfavorable content.
  • Exercise caution when using removable media (e.g., USB thumb drives, external drives, CDs, etc.).
  • Scan all software downloaded from the Internet prior to executing.
  • Maintain situational awareness of the latest threats and implement appropriate Access Control Lists (ACLs).

Additional information on malware incident prevention and handling can be found in National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-83, "Guide to Malware Incident Prevention & Handling for Desktops and Laptops".

Contact Information

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Document FAQ

What is a MIFR? A Malware Initial Findings Report (MIFR) is intended to provide organizations with malware analysis in a timely manner. In most instances this report will provide initial indicators for computer and network defense. To request additional analysis, please contact CISA and provide information regarding the level of desired analysis.

What is a MAR? A Malware Analysis Report (MAR) is intended to provide organizations with more detailed malware analysis acquired via manual reverse engineering. To request additional analysis, please contact CISA and provide information regarding the level of desired analysis.

Can I edit this document? This document is not to be edited in any way by recipients. All comments or questions related to this document should be directed to the CISA at 1-888-282-0870 or

Can I submit malware to CISA? Malware samples can be submitted via three methods:

CISA encourages you to report any suspicious activity, including cybersecurity incidents, possible malicious code, software vulnerabilities, and phishing-related scams. Reporting forms can be found on CISA's homepage at


February 14, 2020: Initial Version

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