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Russia- Linked Sandworm Enacted Ukrainian Telecoms for Injecting Malicious Code

Sandworm, a Russian-based APT group of hackers discovered new version of the malware, UAC-0113 to deploy botnet, Colibri Loader and Warzone RAT.


It was discovered that a Russian-based hacker known as Sandworm, impersonating Ukrainian telecommunications, targeted its entities and injected malware into them, leading to software infections throughout the country. 
 
The Sandworm is a group of hackers that are closely connected with the foreign military intelligence service of the Russian government called the GRU as a military unit 7445. It is an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) group, which was responsible for several cyberattacks including on Ukrainian energy infrastructure. 
 
The recorded future was spying over the operations of government as well as private sectors. As per the report of “recorded future”, the rise in activities of Sandworm has been noticed since August 2022, tracked by the Computer emergency response team of Ukraine (CERT-UA). It is obvious from the frequency with which the Sandworm has been observed employing DNS domains for control and command infrastructure that it is a ruse to attack Ukrainian computers. 
 
Recorded Future further added in the report that, the APT group found a new infrastructure of UAC-0113, which imitates the operators such as Datagroup, and EuroTrans Telecom, which were responsible for placing DarkCrystal RAT, previously. 
 
The Recorded Future’s report entails “Identified staging infrastructure continues the trend of masquerading as telecommunication providers operating within Ukraine and delivers malicious payloads via an HTML smuggling technique that deploy Colibri Loader and Warzone RAT malware.” 
 
This new infrastructure of Advanced persistent threat group UAC-0113 distributed the commodity malicious ISO Colibri Loader and Warzone RAT by using HTML smuggling. This smuggling technique uses legalized features of HTML and JavaScript to inject malicious codes under security controls. 
 
The super-hacker team of Russia, Sandworm, is popularly known for its cyberattacks on the Ukrainian electrical grid in 2015 and 2016. In further research, it was also found responsible for the dropping of a botnet known as “Cyclops Blink”, which subjugated internet-connected firewall devices, etc from WatchGuard and ASUS. 
 
This APT group had also captured U.S. software under its cyberattacks, due to which the U.S government announced a reward of $10 million for providing the information of the hackers behind this Russian threat actor group. 
 
There are several examples of domains being used as masquerade such as the domain “datagroup[.]ddns[.]net”, tracked by CERT-UA, in June. It impersonated the data group as its online portal. Another example of deception is Kyivstar, in which the domain “kyiv-star[.]ddns[.net” was used by Sandworm against Ukrainian telecom services.
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