Darkhotel is a suspected South Korean threat group that has targeted victims primarily in East Asia since at least 2004. The group's name is based on cyber espionage operations conducted via hotel Internet networks against traveling executives and other select guests. Darkhotel has also conducted spearphishing campaigns and infected victims through peer-to-peer and file sharing networks.[1][2][3]

ID: G0012
Associated Groups: DUBNIUM
Contributors: Harry, CODEMIZE
Version: 2.1
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 19 October 2022

Associated Group Descriptions

Name Description


Techniques Used

Domain ID Name Use
Enterprise T1547 .001 Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder

Darkhotel has been known to establish persistence by adding programs to the Run Registry key.[1]

Enterprise T1059 .003 Command and Scripting Interpreter: Windows Command Shell

Darkhotel has dropped an mspaint.lnk shortcut to disk which launches a shell script that downloads and executes a file.[2]

Enterprise T1140 Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information

Darkhotel has decrypted strings and imports using RC4 during execution.[2][6]

Enterprise T1189 Drive-by Compromise

Darkhotel used embedded iframes on hotel login portals to redirect selected victims to download malware.[1]

Enterprise T1573 .001 Encrypted Channel: Symmetric Cryptography

Darkhotel has used AES-256 and 3DES for C2 communications.[6]

Enterprise T1203 Exploitation for Client Execution

Darkhotel has exploited Adobe Flash vulnerability CVE-2015-8651 for execution.[4]

Enterprise T1083 File and Directory Discovery

Darkhotel has used malware that searched for files with specific patterns.[6]

Enterprise T1105 Ingress Tool Transfer

Darkhotel has used first-stage payloads that download additional malware from C2 servers.[4]

Enterprise T1056 .001 Input Capture: Keylogging

Darkhotel has used a keylogger.[1]

Enterprise T1036 .005 Masquerading: Match Legitimate Name or Location

Darkhotel has used malware that is disguised as a Secure Shell (SSH) tool.[4]

Enterprise T1027 Obfuscated Files or Information

Darkhotel has obfuscated code using RC4, XOR, and RSA.[2][6]

Enterprise T1566 .001 Phishing: Spearphishing Attachment

Darkhotel has sent spearphishing emails with malicious RAR and .LNK attachments.[2][6]

Enterprise T1057 Process Discovery

Darkhotel malware can collect a list of running processes on a system.[2]

Enterprise T1091 Replication Through Removable Media

Darkhotel's selective infector modifies executables stored on removable media as a method of spreading across computers.[1]

Enterprise T1518 .001 Software Discovery: Security Software Discovery

Darkhotel has searched for anti-malware strings and anti-virus processes running on the system.[2][4]

Enterprise T1553 .002 Subvert Trust Controls: Code Signing

Darkhotel has used code-signing certificates on its malware that are either forged due to weak keys or stolen. Darkhotel has also stolen certificates and signed backdoors and downloaders with them.[1][2]

Enterprise T1082 System Information Discovery

Darkhotel has collected the hostname, OS version, service pack version, and the processor architecture from the victim’s machine.[2][6]

Enterprise T1016 System Network Configuration Discovery

Darkhotel has collected the IP address and network adapter information from the victim’s machine.[2][6]

Enterprise T1124 System Time Discovery

Darkhotel malware can obtain system time from a compromised host.[7]

Enterprise T1080 Taint Shared Content

Darkhotel used a virus that propagates by infecting executables stored on shared drives.[1]

Enterprise T1204 .002 User Execution: Malicious File

Darkhotel has sent spearphishing emails in an attempt to lure users into clicking on a malicious attachments.[2][6]

Enterprise T1497 Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion

Darkhotel malware has employed just-in-time decryption of strings to evade sandbox detection.[7]

.001 System Checks

Darkhotel malware has used a series of checks to determine if it's being analyzed; checks include the length of executable names, if a filename ends with .Md5.exe, and if the program is executed from the root of the C:\ drive, as well as checks for sandbox-related libraries.[7][4]

.002 User Activity Based Checks

Darkhotel has used malware that repeatedly checks the mouse cursor position to determine if a real user is on the system.[7]