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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Events

Why experience is the new battleground for partners

Join us for an exclusive webinar, in association with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) and learn about the latest industry insights and how technology services continue to evolve to deliver differentiated value, and how partners can be successful in 2021 and beyond.

Featured

Slideshows

Channel kicks 2021 into gear as After Hours returns to Auckland

Channel kicks 2021 into gear as After Hours returns to Auckland

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar with a bumper crowd of partners, distributors and vendors descending on The Pantry at Park Hyatt in Auckland to kick-start 2021.

Channel kicks 2021 into gear as After Hours returns to Auckland
The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Show Comments