Russian Espionage Group Updates Custom Malware Suite

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Aug 17, 2014
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The advanced persistent threat (APT) known as Turla is targeting government organizations using custom malware, including an updated trio of implants that give the group persistence through overlapping backdoor access.

Russia-tied Turla (a.k.a. Ouroboros, Snake, Venomous Bear or Waterbug) is a cyber-espionage group that’s been around for more than a decade. It’s known for its complex collection of malware and interesting command-and-control (C2) implementations. It targets governmental, military and diplomatic targets.

Accenture researchers observed a recent campaign against a foreign government in Europe that ran between June and October, which featured three legacy weapons, all with significant updates. They worked together as a kind of multi-layered threat toolkit.

One of the updated tools is the HyperStack remote procedure call (RPC)-based backdoor (named after the filename that its authors gave it). Accenture has tied it to the group for the first time, thanks to its use alongside the other two tools seen in the campaign: Known Turla second-stage remote-access trojans (RATs), Kazuar and Carbon.

“The RATs transmit the command-execution results and exfiltrate data from the victim’s network, while the RPC-based backdoors [including HyperStack] use the RPC protocol to perform lateral movement and issue and receive commands on other machines in the local network,” according to an Accenture analysis, released on Wednesday. “These tools often include several layers of obfuscation and defense-evasion techniques.”
 
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