APT28 is a threat group that has been attributed to Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff by a July 2018 U.S. Department of Justice indictment. This group reportedly compromised the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2016 in an attempt to interfere with the U.S. presidential election. APT28 has been active since at least 2004.          
Associated Group Descriptions
|Sednit||This designation has been used in reporting both to refer to the threat group and its associated malware JHUHUGIT.    |
|Sofacy||This designation has been used in reporting both to refer to the threat group and its associated malware.     |
|Pawn Storm|| |
|Fancy Bear||   |
|STRONTIUM||  |
|PRE-ATT&CK||T1328||Buy domain name|
|Enterprise||T1134||Access Token Manipulation|
|Enterprise||T1527||Application Access Token|
|Enterprise||T1043||Commonly Used Port|
|Enterprise||T1092||Communication Through Removable Media|
|Enterprise||T1122||Component Object Model Hijacking|
APT28 used other victims as proxies to relay command traffic, for instance using a compromised Georgian military email server as a hop point to NATO victims. The group has also used a tool that acts as a proxy to allow C2 even if the victim is behind a router. APT28 has also used a machine to relay and obscure communications between CHOPSTICK and their server.
|Enterprise||T1024||Custom Cryptographic Protocol|
|Enterprise||T1213||Data from Information Repositories|
|Enterprise||T1005||Data from Local System|
|Enterprise||T1025||Data from Removable Media|
APT28 added "junk data" to each encoded string, preventing trivial decoding without knowledge of the junk removal algorithm. Each implant was given a "junk length" value when created, tracked by the controller software to allow seamless communication but prevent analysis of the command protocol on the wire.
|Enterprise||T1140||Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information|
|Enterprise||T1173||Dynamic Data Exchange|
|Enterprise||T1203||Exploitation for Client Execution|
|Enterprise||T1211||Exploitation for Defense Evasion|
|Enterprise||T1068||Exploitation for Privilege Escalation|
|Enterprise||T1210||Exploitation of Remote Services|
|Enterprise||T1083||File and Directory Discovery|
|Enterprise||T1158||Hidden Files and Directories|
|Enterprise||T1070||Indicator Removal on Host|
|Enterprise||T1027||Obfuscated Files or Information|
|Enterprise||T1137||Office Application Startup|
|Enterprise||T1075||Pass the Hash|
|Enterprise||T1120||Peripheral Device Discovery|
|Enterprise||T1105||Remote File Copy|
|Enterprise||T1091||Replication Through Removable Media|
APT28 executed CHOPSTICK by using rundll32 commands such as
|Enterprise||T1071||Standard Application Layer Protocol||
APT28 used SMTP as a communication channel in various implants, initially using self-registered Google Mail accounts and later compromised email servers of its victims. Later implants such as CHOPSTICK use a blend of HTTP and other legitimate channels, depending on module configuration.
|Enterprise||T1528||Steal Application Access Token||
APT28 has used several malicious applications to steal user OAuth access tokens including applications masquerading as "Google Defender" "Google Email Protection," and "Google Scanner" for Gmail users. They also targeted Yahoo users with applications masquerading as "Delivery Service" and "McAfee Email Protection".
APT28 has used legitimate credentials to gain initial access, maintain access, and exfiltrate data from a victim network. The group has specifically used credentials stolen through a spearphishing email to login to the DCCC network. The group has also leveraged default manufacturer's passwords to gain initial access to corporate networks via IoT devices such as a VOIP phone, printer, and video decoder.
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- Mercer, W., et al. (2017, October 22). "Cyber Conflict" Decoy Document Used in Real Cyber Conflict. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
- ESET. (2016, October). En Route with Sednit - Part 2: Observing the Comings and Goings. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
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- Hacquebord, F.. (2017, April 25). Two Years of Pawn Storm: Examining an Increasingly Relevant Threat. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
- MSRC Team. (2019, August 5). Corporate IoT – a path to intrusion. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
- ESET. (2018, September). LOJAX First UEFI rootkit found in the wild, courtesy of the Sednit group. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
- Falcone, R., Lee, B. (2018, November 20). Sofacy Continues Global Attacks and Wheels Out New ‘Cannon’ Trojan. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
- Microsoft. (2017, March 14). Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 - Critical. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
- Falcone, R. (2016, July 20). Technical Walkthrough: Office Test Persistence Method Used In Recent Sofacy Attacks. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
- Lee, B., Falcone, R. (2018, December 12). Dear Joohn: The Sofacy Group’s Global Campaign. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
- Hacquebord, F.. (2017, April 25). Pawn Storm Abuses Open Authentication in Advanced Social Engineering Attacks. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
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- Robert Falcone. (2017, February 14). XAgentOSX: Sofacy's Xagent macOS Tool. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- Dani Creus, Tyler Halfpop, Robert Falcone. (2016, September 26). Sofacy's 'Komplex' OS X Trojan. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
- Bryan Lee and Rob Downs. (2016, February 12). A Look Into Fysbis: Sofacy’s Linux Backdoor. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- CrowdStrike Global Intelligence Team. (2016). Use of Fancy Bear Android Malware in Tracking of Ukrainian FIeld Artillery Units. Retrieved February 6, 2017.