The Kaspersky team has recently provided more information on the (presumably) Russian APT group named Sandworm, the hackers behind the attacks on NATO and Ukraine.
According to the original post by Kaspersky researchers, the Sandworm hackers have customized and utilized a well-known BlackEnergy crimeware. BlackEnergy was originally designed to carry out DDoS attacks, steal banking information, etc. A later version, however seems to have been re-purposed and put to use by the APT team. In fact, all the attacks in 2014 by the team have used this tool. The original BlackEnergy tool is meanwhile still being used by the criminals.
The APT’s modified version allows them to use the tool for additional purposes, including stealing digital certificates, attacking Cisco networking devices, even to target ARM and MIPS platforms. Under Windows, BlackEnergy can steal passwords, take screenshots, gather information on connected USB devices, and to log keystrokes.
The Kaspersky researchers further inform that the APT team “protected their servers by keeping their non-Windows hacker tools and plug-in in separate servers or server folders.” They also point out that “each CnC server hosts a different set of plug-ins, meaning that each server works with different victims and uses plug-ins based on its current needs.”
It appears the Sandworm hackers are mainly concentrating on industrial control system organizations, including power plant owners and operators, manufacturers and suppliers of heavy, power related materials.