Menu
Russian spy group adopts new tools to hack defense contractor networks

Russian spy group adopts new tools to hack defense contractor networks

Pawn Storm uses air-gap defeating malware

A Russian cyberespionage group known as Pawn Storm has adopted new tools in an ongoing attack campaign against defense contractors with the goal of defeating network isolation policies.

Pawn Storm, also known as Sofacy, after its primary malware tool, has been active since at least 2007 and has targeted governmental, security and military organizations from NATO member countries, as well as media organizations, Ukrainian political activists and Kremlin critics.

Since August, the group has been engaged in an ongoing attack campaign focused on defense contractors, according to security researchers from Kaspersky Lab.

During this operation, the group has used a new version of a backdoor program called AZZY and a new set of data-stealing modules. One of those modules monitors for USB storage devices plugged into the computer and steals files from them based on rules defined by the attackers.

The Kaspersky Lab researchers believe that this module's goal is to defeat so-called network air gaps, network segments where sensitive data is stored and which are not connected to the Internet to limit their risk of compromise.

However, it's fairly common for employees in organizations that use such network isolation policies to move data from air-gapped computers to their workstations using USB thumb drives.

Pawn Storm joins other sophisticated cyberespionage groups, like Equation and Flame, that are known to have used malware designed to defeat network air gaps.

"Over the last year, the Sofacy group has increased its activity almost tenfold when compared to previous years, becoming one of the most prolific, agile and dynamic threat actors in the arena," the Kaspersky researchers said in a blog post. "This activity spiked in July 2015, when the group dropped two completely new exploits, an Office and Java zero-day."

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments