The active espionage actor group Pawn Storm didn’t shy away from continuing their brazen attacks in the second half of 2017. Pawn Storm’s attacks usually are not isolated incidents. We can often relate them to earlier attacks by carefully looking at the technical indicators and motives.Read More
Pawn Storm is an active and aggressive espionage actor group that has been operating since 2004. The group uses different methods and strategies to gain information from their targets, which are covered in our latest research. However, they are particularly known for dangerous credential phishing campaigns. In 2016, the group set up aggressive credential phishing attacks against the Democratic National Convention (DNC), German political party Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the parliament and government of Turkey, the parliament of Montenegro, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Al Jazeera, and many other organizations.
This blog post discusses how Pawn Storm abused Open Authentication (OAuth) in advanced social engineering schemes. High profile users of free webmail were targeted by campaigns between 2015 and 2016.Read More
The effectiveness of a zero-day quickly deteriorates as an attack tool after it gets discovered and patched by the affected software vendors. Within the time between the discovery of the vulnerability and the release of the fix, a bad actor might try to get the most out of his previously valuable attack assets. This is exactly what we saw in late October and early November 2016, when the espionage group Pawn Storm (also known as Fancy Bear, APT28, Sofacy, and STRONTIUM) ramped up its spear-phishing campaigns against various governments and embassies around the world. In these campaigns, Pawn Storm used a previously unknown zero-day in Adobe’s Flash (CVE-2016-7855, fixed on October 26, 2016 with an emergency update) in combination with a privilege escalation in Microsoft’s Windows Operating System (CVE-2016-7255) that was fixed on November 8, 2016.Read More
April last year, Pawn Storm reportedly compromised computers of the German Bundestag using data-stealing malware. This was the first documented political attack of Pawn Storm against Germany. One year later, this espionage actor group takes a swing once again.
In April 2016, we discovered that Pawn Storm started a new attack against the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the political party of the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.
The attack consisted of seemingly coordinated credential phishing attacks against the CDU and high profile users of two German freemail providers. A fake corporate webmail server of CDU was set up in Latvia for advanced credential phishing. Around the same time, three domains were created for credential phishing targeting high-profile individual users of two German free webmail providers. The main fake webmail server of CDU was set up in Latvia, but the free webmail credential phishing sites are on servers of the Virtual Private Server provider in the Netherlands we have discussed previously.Read More
Pawn Storm, the long-running cyber espionage campaign, added to its long list of targets several government offices (including the office of the prime minister and the Turkish parliament) and one of the largest newspapers in Turkey. Pawn Storm has been known to attack a diverse list of targets–including armed forces, diplomats, journalists, political dissidents, and software developers.Read More