APT trends report Q2 2021

APT trends report Q2 2021

For more than four years, the Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) at Kaspersky has been publishing quarterly summaries of advanced persistent threat (APT) activity. The summaries are based on our threat intelligence research and provide a representative snapshot of what we have published and discussed in greater detail in our private APT reports. They are designed to highlight the significant events and findings that we feel people should be aware of.

This is our latest installment, focusing on activities that we observed during Q2 2021.

Readers who would like to learn more about our intelligence reports or request more information on a specific report are encouraged to contact [email protected].

The most remarkable findings

Investigating the recent Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities we and our colleagues from AMR found an attacker deploying a previously unknown backdoor, “FourteenHi”, in a campaign that we dubbed ExCone, active since mid-March. During our investigation we revealed multiple tools and variants of FourteenHi, configured with infrastructure that FireEye reported as being related to the UNC2643 activity cluster. Moreover, we saw ShadowPad detections coincide with FourteenHi variant infections, possibly hinting at a shared operator between these two malware families.

FourteenHi abuses the popular VLC media player to execute its loader. It is capable of performing basic backdoor functions. Further investigation also revealed scripts used by the actor to gain situational awareness post-exploitation, as well as previous use of the infrastructure to operate Cobalt Strike Beacon.

Although we couldn’t directly attribute this activity to any known threat actor, we found older, highly similar 64-bit samples of the backdoor used in close proximity with ShadowPad malware, mostly known for its operations involving supply-chain attacks as an infect ..

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