OopsSec - The bad, the worst and the ugly of APT’s operations security

Advanced Persistent Threat groups invest in developing their arsenal of exploits and malware to stay below the radar of their victims’ security controls and persist on the target machines for as long as possible. We were curious if the same efforts are invested in the operation security of these campaigns. We started a journey researching active campaigns from the Middle East to the Far East including the Palestinian Authority, Turkey, and Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea. These campaigns were both state-sponsored, surveillance-targeted attacks and large-scale financially-motivated attacks. We looked at almost every technology used and every step taken throughout the attack chain: Windows (Go-lang/.Net/Delphi) and Android malware; both on Windows and Linux-based C2 servers. We found a multitude of unbelievable critical mistakes which open a unique window to understand new advanced TTPs used by attackers. In many cases, we were able to join the attackers’ internal groups and view their chats, emails, and even bank accounts and crypto wallets. We understood their business models and were surprised to see the scale of sensitive data sharing, such as entire citizen databases, passports, SSN, etc. In some cases, we were able to take down the entire campaign. We will present our latest breakthroughs from our seven-year mind-game against the sophisticated Infy threat actor who successfully ran a 15-year active campaign using the most secured opSec attack chain we’ve encountered. We will explain how they improved their opSec over the years and how we recently managed to monitor their activity in real-time and how we recently even achieved an advanced new version of Infy malware which was not known until now. We will demonstrate oopSec mistakes done by new threat attackers that have not been introduced yet in public. In addition, We will update on all threat actors’ reactions to our recent publication including changing infrastructure, terminating sensitive victims and threat actors which totally made changes but still continue to be vulnerable.

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