APT28

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.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

ID: G0007
Associated Groups: SNAKEMACKEREL, Swallowtail, Group 74, Sednit, Sofacy, Pawn Storm, Fancy Bear, STRONTIUM, Tsar Team, Threat Group-4127, TG-4127
Contributors: Emily Ratliff, IBM, Richard Gold, Digital Shadows
Version: 2.1

Associated Group Descriptions

Name Description
SNAKEMACKEREL [28]
Swallowtail [10]
Group 74 [26]
Sednit This designation has been used in reporting both to refer to the threat group and its associated malware JHUHUGIT. [6] [5] [34] [2]
Sofacy This designation has been used in reporting both to refer to the threat group and its associated malware. [4] [5] [3] [13] [2][26]
Pawn Storm [5] [13]
Fancy Bear [3] [34] [13] [2][26][10][23]
STRONTIUM [34] [13]
Tsar Team [13][26][26]
Threat Group-4127 [5]
TG-4127 [5]

Techniques Used

Domain ID Name Use
PRE-ATT&CK T1328 Buy domain name APT28 registered domains imitating NATO and OSCE security websites and Caucasus information resources.[4]
PRE-ATT&CK T1346 Obtain/re-use payloads APT28 reused the SOURFACE downloader as the payload of a lure document.[4]
Enterprise T1134 Access Token Manipulation APT28 has used CVE-2015-1701 to access the SYSTEM token and copy it into the current process as part of privilege escalation.[12]
Enterprise T1119 Automated Collection APT28 used a publicly available tool to gather and compress multiple documents on the DCCC and DNC networks.[1]
Enterprise T1067 Bootkit APT28 has deployed a bootkit along with Downdelph to ensure its persistence on the victim. The bootkit shares code with some variants of BlackEnergy.[13]
Enterprise T1059 Command-Line Interface APT28 uses cmd.exe to execute commands and custom backdoors.[9][11]
Enterprise T1092 Communication Through Removable Media APT28 uses a tool that captures information from air-gapped computers via an infected USB and transfers it to network-connected computer when the USB is inserted.[14]
Enterprise T1122 Component Object Model Hijacking APT28 has used COM hijacking for persistence by replacing the legitimate MMDeviceEnumerator object with a payload.[15][11]
Enterprise T1090 Connection Proxy 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.[4][16][1]
Enterprise T1003 Credential Dumping APT28 regularly deploys both publicly available and custom password retrieval tools on victims.[17][1]
Enterprise T1024 Custom Cryptographic Protocol APT28 installed a Delphi backdoor that used a custom algorithm for C2 communications.[11]
Enterprise T1002 Data Compressed APT28 used a publicly available tool to gather and compress multiple documents on the DCCC and DNC networks.[1]
Enterprise T1213 Data from Information Repositories APT28 has collected information from Microsoft SharePoint services within target networks.[18]
Enterprise T1005 Data from Local System APT28 has retrieved internal documents from machines inside victim environments, including by using Forfiles to stage documents before.[19][1]
Enterprise T1025 Data from Removable Media An APT28 backdoor may collect the entire contents of an inserted USB device.[14]
Enterprise T1001 Data Obfuscation 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.[4]
Enterprise T1074 Data Staged APT28 has stored captured credential information in a file named pi.log.[14]
Enterprise T1140 Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information An APT28 macro uses the command certutil -decode to decode contents of a .txt file storing the base64 encoded payload.[20][9]
Enterprise T1173 Dynamic Data Exchange APT28 has delivered JHUHUGIT and Koadic by executing PowerShell commands through DDE in Word documents.[21][22][9]
Enterprise T1114 Email Collection APT28 has collected emails from victim Microsoft Exchange servers.[1]
Enterprise T1203 Exploitation for Client Execution APT28 has exploited Microsoft Office vulnerability CVE-2017-0262 for execution.[23]
Enterprise T1211 Exploitation for Defense Evasion APT28 has used CVE-2015-4902 to bypass security features.[16][14]
Enterprise T1068 Exploitation for Privilege Escalation APT28 has exploited CVE-2014-4076, CVE-2015-2387, CVE-2015-1701, CVE-2017-0263 to escalate privileges.[16][14][23]
Enterprise T1210 Exploitation of Remote Services APT28 exploited a Windows SMB Remote Code Execution Vulnerability to conduct lateral movement.[4][24][25]
Enterprise T1083 File and Directory Discovery APT28 has used Forfiles to locate PDF, Excel, and Word documents during. The group also searched a compromised DCCC computer for specific terms.[19][1]
Enterprise T1107 File Deletion APT28 has intentionally deleted computer files to cover their tracks, including with use of the program CCleaner.[1]
Enterprise T1158 Hidden Files and Directories APT28 has saved files with hidden file attributes.[26][26]
Enterprise T1070 Indicator Removal on Host APT28 has cleared event logs, including by using the commands wevtutil cl System and wevtutil cl Security.[3][1]
Enterprise T1056 Input Capture APT28 has used tools to perform keylogging.[14][1]
Enterprise T1037 Logon Scripts An APT28 loader Trojan adds the Registry key HKCU\Environment\UserInitMprLogonScript to establish persistence.[27]
Enterprise T1040 Network Sniffing APT28 deployed the open source tool Responder to conduct NetBIOS Name Service poisoning, which captured usernames and hashed passwords that allowed access to legitimate credentials.[4][24]
Enterprise T1027 Obfuscated Files or Information APT28 encrypted a .dll payload using RTL and a custom encryption algorithm. APT28 has also obfuscated payloads with base64, XOR, and RC4.[16][20][9][26][28]
Enterprise T1137 Office Application Startup APT28 has used the Office Test persistence mechanism within Microsoft Office by adding the Registry key HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office test\Special\Perf to execute code.[29]
Enterprise T1075 Pass the Hash APT28 has used pass the hash for lateral movement.[14]
Enterprise T1120 Peripheral Device Discovery APT28 uses a module to receive a notification every time a USB mass storage device is inserted into a victim.[14]
Enterprise T1086 PowerShell APT28 downloads and executes PowerShell scripts.[9]
Enterprise T1057 Process Discovery An APT28 loader Trojan will enumerate the victim's processes searching for explorer.exe if its current process does not have necessary permissions.[27]
Enterprise T1105 Remote File Copy APT28 has downloaded additional files, including by using a first-stage downloader to contact the C2 server to obtain the second-stage implant.[16][27][28]
Enterprise T1091 Replication Through Removable Media APT28 uses a tool to infect connected USB devices and transmit itself to air-gapped computers when the infected USB device is inserted.[14]
Enterprise T1014 Rootkit APT28 has used a UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) rootkit known as LoJax.[10][30]
Enterprise T1085 Rundll32 APT28 executed CHOPSTICK by using rundll32 commands such as rundll32.exe “C:\Windows\twain_64.dll”. APT28 also executed a .dll for a first stage dropper using rundll32.exe. An APT28 loader Trojan saved a batch script that uses rundll32 to execute a DLL payload.[3][16][9][27][11]
Enterprise T1113 Screen Capture APT28 has used tools to take screenshots from victims.[17][1]
Enterprise T1064 Scripting An APT28 loader Trojan uses a batch script to run its payload. The group has also used macros to execute payloads.[27][26][31][28]
Enterprise T1193 Spearphishing Attachment APT28 sent spearphishing emails containing malicious Microsoft Office attachments.[20][8][9][1][23][28]
Enterprise T1192 Spearphishing Link APT28 sent spearphishing emails which used a URL-shortener service to masquerade as a legitimate service and to redirect targets to credential harvesting sites.[1][11]
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.[4]
Enterprise T1221 Template Injection APT28 used weaponized Microsoft Word documents abusing the remote template function to retrieve a malicious macro.[32]
Enterprise T1099 Timestomp APT28 has performed timestomping on victim files.[3]
Enterprise T1199 Trusted Relationship Once APT28 gained access to the DCCC network, the group then proceeded to use that access to compromise the DNC network.[1]
Enterprise T1204 User Execution APT28 attempted to get users to click on Microsoft Office attachments containing malicious macro scripts.[20][28]
Enterprise T1078 Valid Accounts APT28 has used legitimate credentials to maintain access to a victim network and exfiltrate data. The group also used credentials stolen through a spearphishing email to login to the DCCC network.[33][1]

Software

ID Name References Techniques
S0045 ADVSTORESHELL [34] [23] Command-Line Interface, Commonly Used Port, Component Object Model Hijacking, Data Compressed, Data Encoding, Data Encrypted, Data Staged, Execution through API, Exfiltration Over Command and Control Channel, File and Directory Discovery, File Deletion, Input Capture, Modify Registry, Obfuscated Files or Information, Peripheral Device Discovery, Process Discovery, Query Registry, Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder, Rundll32, Scheduled Transfer, Standard Application Layer Protocol, Standard Cryptographic Protocol, System Information Discovery
S0351 Cannon [31] [32] Exfiltration Over Command and Control Channel, File and Directory Discovery, Process Discovery, Remote File Copy, Screen Capture, Standard Application Layer Protocol, System Information Discovery, System Owner/User Discovery, System Time Discovery, Uncommonly Used Port, Winlogon Helper DLL
S0160 certutil [20] Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information, Install Root Certificate, Remote File Copy
S0023 CHOPSTICK [4] [34] [23] Command-Line Interface, Communication Through Removable Media, Connection Proxy, Domain Generation Algorithms, Fallback Channels, File and Directory Discovery, Input Capture, Modify Registry, Query Registry, Remote File Copy, Replication Through Removable Media, Screen Capture, Security Software Discovery, Standard Application Layer Protocol, Standard Cryptographic Protocol, Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion
S0137 CORESHELL [4] Binary Padding, Custom Cryptographic Protocol, Data Encoding, Obfuscated Files or Information, Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder, Remote File Copy, Rundll32, Standard Application Layer Protocol, System Information Discovery
S0243 DealersChoice [8] Exploitation for Client Execution, Scripting, Standard Application Layer Protocol
S0193 Forfiles [19] Data from Local System, File and Directory Discovery, Indirect Command Execution
S0135 HIDEDRV [13] Process Injection, Rootkit
S0044 JHUHUGIT [6] [34] [23] Clipboard Data, Component Object Model Hijacking, Data Encoding, Exploitation for Privilege Escalation, Fallback Channels, File Deletion, Logon Scripts, New Service, Obfuscated Files or Information, Process Discovery, Process Injection, Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder, Remote File Copy, Rundll32, Scheduled Task, Screen Capture, Scripting, Standard Application Layer Protocol, System Information Discovery, System Network Configuration Discovery
S0250 Koadic [9] Bypass User Account Control, Clipboard Data, Command-Line Interface, Credential Dumping, Data from Local System, Mshta, Network Service Scanning, Network Share Discovery, Process Injection, Regsvr32, Remote Desktop Protocol, Remote File Copy, Rundll32, Scripting, Service Execution, Standard Cryptographic Protocol, System Network Configuration Discovery, System Owner/User Discovery, Windows Management Instrumentation
S0162 Komplex [35] [36] Custom Cryptographic Protocol, File Deletion, Hidden Files and Directories, Launch Agent, Process Discovery, Standard Application Layer Protocol, System Owner/User Discovery
S0397 LoJax [30] Modify Registry, NTFS File Attributes, Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder, Rootkit, System Firmware
S0002 Mimikatz [34] Account Manipulation, Credential Dumping, Credentials in Files, DCShadow, Pass the Hash, Pass the Ticket, Private Keys, Security Support Provider, SID-History Injection
S0138 OLDBAIT [4] Credential Dumping, Masquerading, Obfuscated Files or Information, Standard Application Layer Protocol
S0174 Responder [24] LLMNR/NBT-NS Poisoning and Relay, Network Sniffing
S0136 USBStealer [13] Automated Collection, Automated Exfiltration, Communication Through Removable Media, Data from Removable Media, Data Staged, Exfiltration Over Physical Medium, File and Directory Discovery, File Deletion, Masquerading, Obfuscated Files or Information, Peripheral Device Discovery, Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder, Replication Through Removable Media, Timestomp
S0191 Winexe [19] Service Execution
S0314 X-Agent for Android [37] Location Tracking, Repackaged Application
S0161 XAgentOSX [35] [10] Execution through API, File and Directory Discovery, File Deletion, Input Capture, Peripheral Device Discovery, Process Discovery, Screen Capture, Standard Application Layer Protocol, System Information Discovery, System Owner/User Discovery
S0117 XTunnel [13] [10] Binary Padding, Command-Line Interface, Connection Proxy, Credentials in Files, Fallback Channels, Network Service Scanning, Obfuscated Files or Information, Remote File Copy, Standard Cryptographic Protocol
S0251 Zebrocy [9] [31] [23] [32] [11] Automated Collection, Command-Line Interface, Custom Command and Control Protocol, Data Encoding, Data Encrypted, Data Staged, Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information, Exfiltration Over Command and Control Channel, File and Directory Discovery, File Deletion, Hooking, Logon Scripts, Network Share Discovery, Peripheral Device Discovery, Process Discovery, Query Registry, Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder, Remote File Copy, Screen Capture, Software Packing, Standard Application Layer Protocol, Standard Cryptographic Protocol, System Information Discovery, System Network Configuration Discovery, System Network Connections Discovery, System Owner/User Discovery, System Time Discovery, Uncommonly Used Port, Windows Management Instrumentation

References

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  1. Lee, B, et al. (2018, February 28). Sofacy Attacks Multiple Government Entities. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
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  6. Microsoft. (2017, March 14). Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 - Critical. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
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  11. ESET. (2018, September). LOJAX First UEFI rootkit found in the wild, courtesy of the Sednit group. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
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