Multiple Agency Malware Analysis Reports on Hidden Cobra


Today, the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Defense (DOD) released multiple malware analysis reports (also known as MAR reports) that have attributed malicious cyber activity to the North Korean government also known as HIDDEN COBRA/LAZARUS.

Why is Hidden Cobra Significant?

HIDDEN COBRA has been linked to multiple high profile attacks which have caused massive infrastructure disruptions, as well as financially motivated attacks in various parts of the world. Notable attacks were the 2014 Sony Pictures attack and the 2016 Bangladeshi heist that almost netted 1 Billion (USD) for the attackers. Had it not been for a misspelling in an instruction that caused The Federal Reserve Bank of New York to flag and to block thirty transactions; HIDDEN COBRA would have pulled off a heist unseen like any other. Although HIDDEN COBRA failed at their attempt, they were still able to net around 81 million dollars. The most recent and most notable attack attributed to HIDDEN COBRA was the Wannacry Ransomware attack, which resulted in massive disruption and damage worldwide to numerous organizations especially manufacturers. Various estimates of the impact were estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars to even some estimates claiming billions. Other verticals targeted are critical infrastructures, entertainment, finance, healthcare and telecommunication sectors, across multiple countries in the past.

Contained within these sample sets are (39) unique samples. The names associated with these reports by CISA are: HOPLIGHT, BISTROMATH, SLICKSHOES, CROWDEDFLOUNDER, HOTCROISSANT, ARTFULPIE, AND BUFFETLINE.

What is the Severity of Impact?

The severity should be regarded as low, due to the fact that these campaigns have been observed limited to targeted attacks.

It Appears that Some Malware Variants (such as HOPLIGHT) have Been Reported Before. Is this Incorrect?

No. These are primarily updates to previous reports; associated to a specific malware family.

What is the status of AV/IPS and Web Filtering coverage?

FortiGuard Labs has deployed coverage to ensure protections were in place immediately after the announcement by the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). CISA in coordination with the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA), shared the samples ahead of the announcement with CTA partners to ensure that customers of CTA members were immediately protected in real time.

Customers running the latest definition sets are protected by the following (AV) signatures):


















All network IOC's are blocked by the Web Filtering client.