According to Kaspersky, the Sofacy APT is particularly interested in military, defense and diplomatic entities in the far east, but overlap with other APT’s operations makes hard the attribution.
Last week, during the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit (SAS) held in Cancun, researchers from Kaspersky illustrated the results of their investigation on the recent activities conducted by the dreaded Sofacy APT group.
According to Kaspersky researcher Kurt Baumgartner, the Sofacy APT is particularly interested in military, defense and diplomatic entities in the far east.
The researchers explained that the Russian APT group’s activity overlaps with cyber espionage campaigns conducted by other threat actors.
Baumgartner pointed out that the Zerbrocy malware used by Sofacy APT was discovered on machines that had also been infected with the Mosquito backdoor associated with Russian Turla APT. Baumgartner also explained that Sofacy SPLM malware has infected the same systems that were compromised by Danti China-linked APT.
In similar circumstances, the Kaspersky researchers found that the systems infected by the SPLM malware (aka CHOPSTICK and X-Agent) had been previously infected with other Turla malware.
Kaspersky noticed that the overlaps were frequent on systems belonging to government, technology, and military organizations in Central Asia.
Another case of evident overlap was between Sofacy and the Longhorn threat actor, a group that researchers at Symantec reportedly linked to the CIA due to the use of Vault 7 tools. At least a server belonging to a military and aerospace conglomerate in China was infected by Sofacy backdoors and Longhorn malware.
Of course, even in presence of overlap, it is difficult to attribute the infection to a specific actor because APT groups use to plant false flags.
Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer.
Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US.
Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines.
Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.