Russian Threat Actor Targets Ukraine Government And Military With Spear Phishing Emails

Russian Threat ActorRussia’s APT28 (also known as “Fancy Bear” or “BlueDelta”) is using spear phishing to compromise Ukrainian government and military entities, according to researchers at Recorded Future. The phishing emails are designed to exploit vulnerabilities in the open-source webmail software Roundcube.

“The BlueDelta campaign used spear phishing techniques, sending emails with attachments exploiting vulnerabilities (CVE-2020-35730, CVE-2020-12641, and CVE-2021-44026) in Roundcube to run reconnaissance and exfiltration scripts, redirecting incoming emails and gathering session cookies, user information, and address books,” the researchers write. “The attachment contained JavaScript code that executed additional JavaScript payloads from BlueDelta-controlled infrastructure. The campaign displayed a high level of preparedness, quickly weaponizing news content into lures to exploit recipients. The spear phishing emails contained news themes related to Ukraine, with subject lines and content mirroring legitimate media sources.”

APT28 is a threat actor associated with Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.

“The BlueDelta activity, identified by Insikt Group, appears to have been operational since November 2021,” the researchers write. “The campaign overlaps with activity attributed by CERT-UA to APT28 (also known as Forest Blizzard and Fancy Bear), which multiple Western governments attribute to the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU). In this operation, BlueDelta primarily targeted Ukrainian organizations, including government institutions and military entities involved in aircraft infrastructure.”

The threat actor is targeting both public- and private-sector entities in Ukraine.

“BlueDelta has demonstrated a long-standing interest in gathering intelligence on entities in Ukraine and across Europe, primarily among government and military/defense organizations,” the researchers write. “The most recent activity very likely represents a continued focus on these entities and specifically those within Ukraine. We assess that BlueDelta activity is likely intended to enable military intelligence-gathering to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and believe that BlueDelta will almost certainly continue to prioritize targeting Ukrainian government and private sector organizations to support wider Russian military efforts.”

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