APT28: A Window into Russia's Cyber Espionage Operations?

The role of nation-state actors in cyber attacks was perhaps most
widely revealed in February 2013 when Mandiant released the
which detailed a professional cyber espionage group based
in China. Today we release a new report: APT28: A Window Into
Russia’s Cyber Espionage Operations?

This report focuses on a threat group that we have designated as
APT28. While APT28’s malware is fairly well known in the cybersecurity
community, our report details additional information exposing ongoing,
focused operations that we believe indicate a government sponsor based
in Moscow.

In contrast with the China-based threat actors that FireEye tracks,
APT28 does not appear to conduct widespread intellectual property
theft for economic gain. Instead, APT28 focuses on collecting
intelligence that would be most useful to a government. Specifically,
FireEye found that since at least 2007, APT28 has been targeting
privileged information related to governments, militaries and security
organizations that would likely benefit the Russian government.

In our report, we also describe several malware samples containing
details that indicate that the developers are Russian language
speakers operating during business hours that are consistent with the
time zone of Russia’s major cities, including Moscow and St.
Petersburg. FireEye analysts also found that APT28 has systematically
evolved its malware since 2007, using flexible and lasting platforms
indicative of plans for long-term use and sophisticated coding
practices that suggest an interest in complicating reverse engineering efforts.

We assess that APT28 is most likely sponsored by the Russian
government based on numerous factors summarized below:

Table for APT28

FireEye is also releasing indicators to help organizations detect
APT28 activity. Those indicators can be downloaded at https://github.com/fireeye/iocs.

As with the APT1 report, we recognize that no single entity
completely understands the entire complex picture of intense cyber
espionage over many years. Our goal by releasing this report is to
offer an assessment that informs and educates the community about
attacks originating from Russia. The complete report can be downloaded
here: /content/dam/legacy/resources/pdfs/apt28.pdf.

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