KONNI is a remote access tool that security researchers assess has been used by North Korean cyber actors since at least 2014. KONNI has significant code overlap with the NOKKI malware family, and has been linked to several suspected North Korean campaigns targeting political organizations in Russia, East Asia, Europe and the Middle East; there is some evidence potentially linking KONNI to APT37.[1][2][3][4][5]

ID: S0356
Platforms: Windows
Contributors: Doron Karmi, @DoronKarmi
Version: 2.0
Created: 31 January 2019
Last Modified: 13 April 2022

Techniques Used

Domain ID Name Use
Enterprise T1548 .002 Abuse Elevation Control Mechanism: Bypass User Account Control

KONNI has bypassed UAC by performing token impersonation as well as an RPC-based method, this included bypassing UAC set to "AlwaysNotify".[4][5]

Enterprise T1134 .002 Access Token Manipulation: Create Process with Token

KONNI has duplicated the token of a high integrity process to spawn an instance of cmd.exe under an impersonated user.[4][5]

.004 Access Token Manipulation: Parent PID Spoofing

KONNI has used parent PID spoofing to spawn a new cmd process using CreateProcessW and a handle to Taskmgr.exe.[5]

Enterprise T1071 .001 Application Layer Protocol: Web Protocols

KONNI has used HTTP POST for C2.[1][5]

Enterprise T1560 Archive Collected Data

KONNI has encrypted data and files prior to exfiltration.[5]

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

A version of KONNI has dropped a Windows shortcut into the Startup folder to establish persistence.[1]

.009 Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Shortcut Modification

A version of KONNI drops a Windows shortcut on the victim’s machine to establish persistence.[1]

Enterprise T1115 Clipboard Data

KONNI had a feature to steal data from the clipboard.[1]

Enterprise T1059 .001 Command and Scripting Interpreter: PowerShell

KONNI used PowerShell to download and execute a specific 64-bit version of the malware.[1][5]

.003 Command and Scripting Interpreter: Windows Command Shell

KONNI has used cmd.exe to execute arbitrary commands on the infected host across different stages of the infection chain.[1][4][5]

.007 Command and Scripting Interpreter: JavaScript

KONNI has executed malicious JavaScript code.[5]

Enterprise T1543 .003 Create or Modify System Process: Windows Service

KONNI has registered itself as a service using its export function.[5]

Enterprise T1555 .003 Credentials from Password Stores: Credentials from Web Browsers

KONNI can steal profiles (containing credential information) from Firefox, Chrome, and Opera.[1]

Enterprise T1132 .001 Data Encoding: Standard Encoding

KONNI has used a custom base64 key to encode stolen data before exfiltration.[4]

Enterprise T1005 Data from Local System

KONNI has stored collected information and discovered processes in a tmp file.[5]

Enterprise T1140 Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information

KONNI has used certutil to download and decode base64 encoded strings and has also devoted a custom section to performing all the components of the deobfuscation process.[4][5]

Enterprise T1573 .001 Encrypted Channel: Symmetric Cryptography

KONNI has used AES to encrypt C2 traffic.[6]

Enterprise T1546 .015 Event Triggered Execution: Component Object Model Hijacking

KONNI has modified ComSysApp service to load the malicious DLL payload.[4]

Enterprise T1048 .003 Exfiltration Over Alternative Protocol: Exfiltration Over Unencrypted Non-C2 Protocol

KONNI has used FTP to exfiltrate reconnaissance data out.[4]

Enterprise T1041 Exfiltration Over C2 Channel

KONNI has sent data and files to its C2 server.[1][5][6]

Enterprise T1083 File and Directory Discovery

A version of KONNI searches for filenames created with a previous version of the malware, suggesting different versions targeted the same victims and the versions may work together.[1]

Enterprise T1070 .004 Indicator Removal: File Deletion

KONNI can delete files.[1]

Enterprise T1105 Ingress Tool Transfer

KONNI can download files and execute them on the victim’s machine.[1][5]

Enterprise T1056 .001 Input Capture: Keylogging

KONNI has the capability to perform keylogging.[1]

Enterprise T1036 .004 Masquerading: Masquerade Task or Service

KONNI has pretended to be the xmlProv Network Provisioning service.[5]

.005 Masquerading: Match Legitimate Name or Location

KONNI has created a shortcut called "Anti virus service.lnk" in an apparent attempt to masquerade as a legitimate file.[1]

Enterprise T1112 Modify Registry

KONNI has modified registry keys of ComSysApp, Svchost, and xmlProv on the machine to gain persistence.[4][5]

Enterprise T1106 Native API

KONNI has hardcoded API calls within its functions to use on the victim's machine.[5]

Enterprise T1027 Obfuscated Files or Information

KONNI is heavily obfuscated and includes encrypted configuration files.[5]

.002 Software Packing

KONNI has been packed for obfuscation.[6]

Enterprise T1566 .001 Phishing: Spearphishing Attachment

KONNI has been delivered via spearphishing campaigns through a malicious Word document.[5]

Enterprise T1057 Process Discovery

KONNI has used the command cmd /c tasklist to get a snapshot of the current processes on the target machine.[4][5]

Enterprise T1113 Screen Capture

KONNI can take screenshots of the victim’s machine.[1]

Enterprise T1218 .011 System Binary Proxy Execution: Rundll32

KONNI has used Rundll32 to execute its loader for privilege escalation purposes.[4][5]

Enterprise T1082 System Information Discovery

KONNI can gather the OS version, architecture information, connected drives, hostname, RAM size, and disk space information from the victim’s machine and has used cmd /c systeminfo command to get a snapshot of the current system state of the target machine.[1][4][5]

Enterprise T1016 System Network Configuration Discovery

KONNI can collect the IP address from the victim’s machine.[1]

Enterprise T1049 System Network Connections Discovery

KONNI has used net session on the victim's machine.[5]

Enterprise T1033 System Owner/User Discovery

KONNI can collect the username from the victim’s machine.[1]

Enterprise T1204 .002 User Execution: Malicious File

KONNI has relied on a victim to enable malicious macros within an attachment delivered via email.[5]