Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Cybercrime

Link Found Between GreyEnergy and Zebrocy Attacks

Researchers from Kaspersky Lab’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS CERT) have found significant overlaps in GreyEnergy and Zebrocy activity, both of which were previously linked to Russia.

Researchers from Kaspersky Lab’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS CERT) have found significant overlaps in GreyEnergy and Zebrocy activity, both of which were previously linked to Russia.

GreyEnergy is a threat actor that is believed to be a successor of the notorious BlackEnergy group and experts estimate that it has been around for more than three years. GreyEnergy has conducted espionage and reconnaissance activities against organizations in the energy and transportation sectors, mainly in Ukraine and Poland.

GreyEnergy uses a modular piece of malware that has a wide range of backdoor and data theft capabilities. While none of its modules specifically target ICS, the threat group has been observed attacking industrial workstations and SCADA systems.

Zebrocy, on the other hand, is a Trojan used by the Russia-linked cyberspy group known as Sofacy, APT28, Fancy Bear, Pawn Storm, Sednit and Strontium. Zebrocy has been used since 2017 against targets in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

According to Kaspersky, both GreyEnergy and Zebrocy were actively used at around the same time against the same organizations. Researchers have identified the same command and control (C&C) server IP addresses being used by both pieces of malware to download additional components. The IPs belonged to servers in Ukraine and Sweden, and they were used simultaneously by both threats in June 2018.

Furthermore, the security firm says both GreyEnergy and Zebrocy have been used to target a number of industrial companies in Kazakhstan. One of these targets received a spear-phishing document on June 21, 2018, and a Zebrocy spear-phishing document roughly one week later. These documents were similar and purported to come from Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy.

“Though no direct evidence exists on the origins of GreyEnergy, the links between a Sofacy subset known as Zebrocy and GreyEnergy suggest that these groups are related, as has been suggested before by some public analysis,” Kaspersky researchers explained.

In May 2018, the FBI’s attribution of the VPNFilter attack to Russia suggested that both Sofacy and TeleBots (aka Sandworm), another successor of BlackEnergy, had collaborated on the attack. Security firms contacted by SecurityWeek at the time said they had no reason to question the FBI’s assumption that there had been a link between Sofacy and Telebots, and Kaspersky noted at the time that the two threat actors had been known to overlap.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“The compromised infrastructure found to be shared by these two threat actors potentially points to the fact that the pair not only have the Russian language in common, but that they also cooperate with each other,” Maria Garnaeva, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT, said on Thursday.

“It also provides an idea of their joint capabilities and creates better picture of their plausible goals and potential targets. These findings add another important piece into public knowledge about GreyEnergy and Sofacy. The more the industry knows about their tactics, techniques and procedures, the better security experts can do their job in protecting customers from sophisticated attacks,” Garnaeva added.

Related: Russian Cyberspies Build ‘Go’ Version of Their Trojan

Related: Russian Cyberspies Shift Focus From NATO Countries to Asia

Related: Russia-Linked Hackers Target Diplomatic Entities in Central Asia

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Click to comment

Trending

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Gain valuable insights from industry professionals who will help guide you through the intricacies of industrial cybersecurity.

Register

Join us for an in depth exploration of the critical nature of software and vendor supply chain security issues with a focus on understanding how attacks against identity infrastructure come with major cascading effects.

Register

Expert Insights

Related Content

Cybercrime

The changing nature of what we still generally call ransomware will continue through 2023, driven by three primary conditions.

Cybercrime

As it evolves, web3 will contain and increase all the security issues of web2 – and perhaps add a few more.

Cybercrime

A recently disclosed vBulletin vulnerability, which had a zero-day status for roughly two days last week, was exploited in a hacker attack targeting the...

Cybercrime

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group informed some customers last week that their online accounts had been breached by hackers.

Cyberwarfare

WASHINGTON - Cyberattacks are the most serious threat facing the United States, even more so than terrorism, according to American defense experts. Almost half...

Cybercrime

Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.

Artificial Intelligence

The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.

Cybercrime

Satellite TV giant Dish Network confirmed that a recent outage was the result of a cyberattack and admitted that data was stolen.