Attacks/Breaches

2/9/2018
12:20 PM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail

8 Nation-State Hacking Groups to Watch in 2018

The aliases, geographies, famous attacks, and behaviors of some of the most prolific threat groups.
2 of 9

Fancy Bear
Also known as: Fancy Bear, APT28, Sofacy, Strontium, Sednit
Believed to operate out of: Russia
Usual targets: Fancy Bear's targets are primarily based in Europe and tend to include government ministries, though past attacks have targeted global embassies and the United States. The group has been known to target based on policies and it's interested in anything related to NATO, says Brian Bartholomew, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. These days, he says Fancy Bear has its eyes on the Olympics.
Behavior: Its strength is spearphishing, says Bartholomew, adding that this is the main tactic for most threat groups. Fancy Bear has splintered into different subgroups, each of which is responsible for a different part of the attack. One subset focuses on phishing as many targets as possible. Once they're on a system, the next subset uses toolsets to maintain persistence. 
Fancy Bear has also been known to leverage social media in its attacks, and spread disinformation campaigns, Bartholomew says. For example, it's believed to have hacked the anti-doping administration and tried to feed altered data to journalists, says Bartholomew. Some don't attribute this to Sofacy, he notes, but 'we're pretty certain it is them.' The group's toolkit is constantly evolving, but it does use a core backdoor called XAgent, says Alexis Dorais-Joncas, security intelligence team lead at ESET. 
Tied to: Attacks on the Democratic National Committee, International Association of Athletics Federations, and German Parliament; influencing the 2016 US presidential election.
'I think what's so surprising about their activity is, despite continued accusations and exposures, they had not let up,' says Hultquist, who expects increased activity during the Olympics and elections. 'They've shown disregard for global norms and willingness to cross lines we never thought we'd see crossed.'
(Image: Harvepino via Shutterstock)

Fancy Bear

Also known as: Fancy Bear, APT28, Sofacy, Strontium, Sednit

Believed to operate out of: Russia

Usual targets: Fancy Bear's targets are primarily based in Europe and tend to include government ministries, though past attacks have targeted global embassies and the United States. The group has been known to target based on policies and it's interested in anything related to NATO, says Brian Bartholomew, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. These days, he says Fancy Bear has its eyes on the Olympics.

Behavior: Its strength is spearphishing, says Bartholomew, adding that this is the main tactic for most threat groups. Fancy Bear has splintered into different subgroups, each of which is responsible for a different part of the attack. One subset focuses on phishing as many targets as possible. Once they're on a system, the next subset uses toolsets to maintain persistence.

Fancy Bear has also been known to leverage social media in its attacks, and spread disinformation campaigns, Bartholomew says. For example, it's believed to have hacked the anti-doping administration and tried to feed altered data to journalists, says Bartholomew. Some don't attribute this to Sofacy, he notes, but "we're pretty certain it is them." The group's toolkit is constantly evolving, but it does use a core backdoor called XAgent, says Alexis Dorais-Joncas, security intelligence team lead at ESET.

Tied to: Attacks on the Democratic National Committee, International Association of Athletics Federations, and German Parliament; influencing the 2016 US presidential election.

"I think what's so surprising about their activity is, despite continued accusations and exposures, they had not let up," says Hultquist, who expects increased activity during the Olympics and elections. "They've shown disregard for global norms and willingness to cross lines we never thought we'd see crossed."

(Image: Harvepino via Shutterstock)

2 of 9
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Jeff.schilling
100%
0%
Jeff.schilling,
User Rank: Author
2/9/2018 | 1:38:49 PM
Would have Added the Shadow Brokers to this list
I enjoyed this list, but feel like is was mostly focused on outed Russian and NKorean actors over the last year.  I would have definitely added the Shadow Brokers to this list.  The stolen tools they put out on the open market appear to be legite nation-state level tools that were easily weaponized, allegedly by one or more of the groups listed here, in WannaCry and NOTPetya.  Would definitely keep your threat research team focused on if any more of the tools they may have are dropped on the open market.  
6 Security Trends for 2018/2019
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  10/15/2018
6 Reasons Why Employees Violate Security Policies
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading,  10/16/2018
Getting Up to Speed with "Always-On SSL"
Tim Callan, Senior Fellow, Comodo CA,  10/18/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Latest Comment: Too funny!
Current Issue
Flash Poll
The Risk Management Struggle
The Risk Management Struggle
The majority of organizations are struggling to implement a risk-based approach to security even though risk reduction has become the primary metric for measuring the effectiveness of enterprise security strategies. Read the report and get more details today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-10839
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Qemu emulator <= 3.0.0 built with the NE2000 NIC emulation support is vulnerable to an integer overflow, which could lead to buffer overflow issue. It could occur when receiving packets over the network. A user inside guest could use this flaw to crash the Qemu process resulting in DoS.
CVE-2018-13399
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
The Microsoft Windows Installer for Atlassian Fisheye and Crucible before version 4.6.1 allows local attackers to escalate privileges because of weak permissions on the installation directory.
CVE-2018-18381
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Z-BlogPHP 1.5.2.1935 (Zero) has a stored XSS Vulnerability in zb_system/function/c_system_admin.php via the Content-Type header during the uploading of image attachments.
CVE-2018-18382
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Advanced HRM 1.6 allows Remote Code Execution via PHP code in a .php file to the user/update-user-avatar URI, which can be accessed through an "Update Profile" "Change Picture" (aka user/edit-profile) action.
CVE-2018-18374
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
XSS exists in the MetInfo 6.1.2 admin/index.php page via the anyid parameter.