The Chinese government is leveraging TAIDOOR malware to launch remote access trojan attacks, according to a warning from The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Defense (DoD).

Taidoor is installed on a target’s system as a service dynamic link library (DLL) and is comprised of two files, a related CISA report says. The first file is a loader, which is started as a service. The loader decrypts the second file, and executes it in memory, which is the main Remote Access Trojan (RAT), the report adds.

To mitigate potential Taidoor attacks and associated risks, the CISA recommends the following 13 steps:

  1. Maintain up-to-date antivirus signatures and engines.
  2. Keep operating system patches up-to-date.
  3. Disable File and Printer sharing services. If these services are required, use strong passwords or Active Directory authentication.
  4. Restrict users’ ability (permissions) to install and run unwanted software applications. Do not add users to the local administrator’s group unless required.
  5. Enforce a strong password policy and implement regular password changes.
  6. Exercise caution when opening e-mail attachments even if the attachment is expected and the sender appears to be known.
  7. Enable a personal firewall on agency workstations, configured to deny unsolicited connection requests.
  8. Disable unnecessary services on agency workstations and servers.
  9. 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).
  10. Monitor users’ web browsing habits; restrict access to sites with unfavorable content.
  11. Exercise caution when using removable media (e.g., USB thumb drives, external drives, CDs, etc.).
  12. Scan all software downloaded from the Internet prior to executing.
  13. Maintain situational awareness of the latest threats and implement appropriate Access Control Lists (ACLs).

According to the Taidoor warning, the CISA encourages users and administrators to review Malware Analysis Report MAR-10292089-1.v1, U.S. Cyber Command’s VirusTotal page, and CISA’s Chinese Malicious Cyber Activity page for more information.