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.  
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
The Year in Security 2018
This Dark Reading Tech Digest explores the biggest news stories of 2018 that shaped the cybersecurity landscape.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Data breach fears and the need to comply with regulations such as GDPR are two major drivers increased spending on security products and technologies. But other factors are contributing to the trend as well. Find out more about how enterprises are attacking the cybersecurity problem by reading our report today.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-6345
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-15
The function number_format is vulnerable to a heap overflow issue when its second argument ($dec_points) is excessively large. The internal implementation of the function will cause a string to be created with an invalid length, which can then interact poorly with other functions. This affects all s...
CVE-2018-7603
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-15
In Drupal's 3rd party module search auto complete prior to versions 7.x-4.8 there is a Cross Site Scripting vulnerability. This Search Autocomplete module enables you to autocomplete textfield using data from your website (nodes, comments, etc.). The module doesn't sufficiently filter user-entered t...
CVE-2019-3554
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-15
Wangle's AcceptRoutingHandler incorrectly casts a socket when accepting a TLS 1.3 connection, leading to a potential denial of service attack against systems accepting such connections. This affects versions of Wangle prior to v2019.01.14.00
CVE-2019-3557
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-15
The implementations of streams for bz2 and php://output improperly implemented their readImpl functions, returning -1 consistently. This behavior caused some stream functions, such as stream_get_line, to trigger an out-of-bounds read when operating on such malformed streams. The implementations were...
CVE-2019-0030
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-15
Juniper ATP uses DES and a hardcoded salt for password hashing, allowing for trivial de-hashing of the password file contents. This issue affects Juniper ATP 5.0 versions prior to 5.0.3.