Home Cyber Crime US seizes domains used by APT29 in recent USAID phishing attacks

US seizes domains used by APT29 in recent USAID phishing attacks


Bear with superimposed Russian flag

The US Division of Justice has seized two Web domains utilized in current phishing assaults impersonating the U.S. Company for Worldwide Growth (USAID) to distribute malware and achieve entry to inside networks.

The 2 domains seized by the DOJ are theyardservice[.]com and worldhomeoutlet[.]com and had been used to obtain knowledge exfiltrated from victims of the focused phishing assaults and ship additional instructions malware to execute on contaminated machines.

Microsoft first disclosed these assaults final Thursday and acknowledged that they had been performed by a Russian state-affiliated hacking group referred to as NOBELIUM (APT29, Cozy Bear, and The Dukes). This group is believed to be affiliated with the Russian Overseas Intelligence Service (SVR), a Russian intelligence service.

To conduct the phishing assaults, NOBELIUM compromised a Contact Contact account for USAID utilizing for e-mail campaigns. Utilizing this account, the menace actors impersonated USAID in phishing emails despatched to roughly 3,000 e-mail accounts at greater than 150 completely different organizations, together with authorities companies and human rights organizations.

Phishing attack impersonating USAID
Phishing assault impersonating USAID

Focused recipients who obtained these emails and clicked on the enclosed hyperlinks can be prompted to obtain HTML attachments that may install four new malware created by the menace actors.

The put in malware would finally result in putting in distant entry software program, corresponding to Cobalt Strike beacons that supplied full entry to victims’ computer systems, and in the end the community.

“Upon a recipient clicking on a spear-phishing e-mail’s hyperlink, the sufferer pc was directed to obtain malware from a sub-domain of theyardservice[.]com. Utilizing that preliminary foothold, the actors then downloaded the Cobalt Strike software to take care of persistent presence and presumably deploy extra instruments or malware to the sufferer’s community,” says the Division Of Justice.

“The actors’ occasion of the Cobalt Strike software obtained C2 communications through different subdomains of theyardservice[.]com, in addition to the area worldhomeoutlet[.]com. It was these two domains that the Division seized pursuant to the courtroom’s seizure order.”

In indicators of compromise (IOCs) for this campaign shared by Microsoft, there are a complete of thirty-four domains utilized in some capability in the course of the assaults, which incorporates the 2 domains seized by the FBI.

This operation was performed by the FBI Washington Subject Workplace and should enable legislation enforcement to achieve a greater understanding of who was breached throughout this assault and notify victims.

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