A total of 7 subgroups of SectorA have been found to date. In 2019, the activities of the SectorA01 group were most prominent, followed by the activities of the SectorA05 and SectorA02 groups. SectorA groups conduct hacking activities to collect political and diplomatic information related to specific country or to earn foreign currency.
A total of 11 subgroups of SectorC have been found to date. In 2019, the activities of the SectorC01 group were most prominent, followed by the activities of the SectorC08 and SectorC02 groups. SectorC groups conduct extensive hacking activities around the world, and their activities are mainly found in SectorC’s neighboring countries.
At the end of October, a person deeply involved in the pro-democracy side of the Hong Kong protests received a spear phishing email from someone claiming to be a law student at a top foreign university, requesting for feedback on his supposed thesis which includes recommendations on how to end the Hong Kong unrest. The email contained a link to a Google drive ZIP file.
Multiple organizations in Kuwait have been targeted since 2018 by a threat actor we track as SectorD01, whose primary targets appear to be located in the Middle East but also observed by us to target North America, Europe, South Asia and East Asia in other campaigns. In this analysis we will briefly go through some of the tools used by this threat actor in the campaign which are named Sakabota, Diezen, Gon, Hisoka, Netero, and EYE, and explain how these tools are linked to each other and to other activity in the region.
“Hagga” is the username of a Pastebin account used since December last year by a pervasive known group of threat actors which targets thousands of users around the world both for cyber espionage and cyber crime purposes using malspam. Their activities were first discovered in 2017, and the ThreatRecon Team tracks both this group and the members behind “Hagga” collectively as the SectorH01 group.
SectorJ04 is a Russian-based cybercrime group that began operating about five years ago and conducted hacking activities for financial profit using malware such as banking trojans and ransomware against national and industrial sectors located across Europe, North America and West Africa.
From March to July this year, the ThreatRecon team noticed a spear phishing campaign by the SectorE02 group going on against the Government of Pakistan and organizations there related to defense and intelligence. Spear phishing emails are sent to their victims via Excel XLS files, which asks their victims to enable macros which will end up executing the downloader.
Since 2013, there has been a hacking group receiving support from the national level which conducts cyber espionage campaigns against countries in the South China Sea. We refer to this group as SectorF01. From 2017, their activities have increased significantly. They mainly carry out these campaigns against government agencies and diplomatic, military, and research institutions in neighboring countries, and surveillance activities against opposing forces in their own countries.
Unlike other state sponsored threat actors, SectorC08 appears to be only concerned with a single target: Ukraine. Artifacts of their likely activity have been found as far back as 2013 and up till today their modus operandi in their initial stages of operation has not changed much.
SectorB06 is a state sponsored threat actor group active especially within Asia. They have been exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office’s Equation Editor which Microsoft removed in January 2018, which in this case seems to be a highly obfuscated version of CVE-2017-11882. The malware we analyzed in this case are sent seemingly only after they already have a basic foothold in their target organizations.