Security researchers from Z-Lab at CSE Cybsec observed series of malware submitted to the online sandbox and a sample submitted to Virus Total that was attributed by some experts to the Russian APT28 group.
The APT28 group (aka Fancy Bear, Pawn Storm, Sednit, Sofacy, and Strontium) active since 2007 and they involved in various attacks including the 2016 Presidential election.
Researchers from Z-Lab along with researcher with twitter handle @DrunkBinary obtained a collection of samples that appear to be the new version of APT28 backdoor tracked as X-Agent.
APT28 Group – Multi-stage Attack
The attack appears to be multi-stage one, it first drops an initial dropper malware that written in Delphi programming language and the second one is the payload downloaded from the Internet.
To avoid eavesdropping connection to the server made through HTTPS protocol and the hacker group having C2C servers in Europe and another one in China.
The malware connected with command and control with the name marina-info[.]net that refers to the Italian Military corp, Marina Militare.
Same Malware Behind the Samples
Researchers uncovered four samples used in the campaign and all the four appears to be the same malware sample. The sample contains two files “.lnk” file and a “jpg” file.
But the jpg file is executable, once it executed it connects with IP 188.8.131.52 and periodically send operating system details.
Once it information sent to the C2 server it drops another file “upnphost[.]exe” which is the final payload.
This file was retrieved from the threat intelligence platforms and was flagged as an APT28 sample. Another characteristic in common is the Delphi programming language which is rare to find a malware written in Delphi language.
Here you can find the analysis Analysis report, IoCs and Yara Rules.