Chafer APT Hits Middle East Govs With Latest Cyber-Espionage Attacks

Chafer APT Hits Middle East Govs With Latest Cyber-Espionage Attacks

Government and air transportation companies in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were targeted in a recent attack tracked back to the Chafer APT.

Researchers have uncovered new cybercrime campaigns from the known Chafer advanced persistent threat (APT) group. The attacks have hit several air transportation and government victims in hopes of data exfiltration.

The Chafer APT has been active since 2014 and has previously launched cyber espionage campaigns targeting critical infrastructure in the Middle East. This most recent wave of cyberattacks started in 2018 and have lasted until at least the end of 2019, targeting several unnamed organizations based in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The campaigns used a bevy of custom-built tools, as well as “living off the land” tactics. Living off the land tools are features already existing in the target environment, which are abused by attackers to help them achieve persistence.

“Researchers have found attacks conducted by this actor in the Middle East region, dating back to 2018,” according to a Thursday Bitdefender analysis. “The campaigns were based on several tools, including ‘living off the land’ tools, which makes attribution difficult, as well as different hacking tools and a custom built backdoor. Victims of the analyzed campaigns fit into the pattern preferred by this actor, such as air transport and government sectors in the Middle East.”

Government and air transportation companies in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were targeted in a recent attack tracked back to the Chafer APT.

Researchers have uncovered new cybercrime campaigns from the known Chafer advanced persistent threat (APT) group. The attacks have hit several air transportation and government victims in hopes of data exfiltration.

The Chafer APT has been active since 2014 and has previously launched cyber espionage campaigns targeting critical infrastructure in the Middle East. This most recent wave of cyberattacks started in 2018 and have lasted until at least the end of 2019, targeting several unnamed organizations based in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The campaigns used a bevy of custom-built tools, as well as “living off the land” tactics. Living off the land tools are features already existing in the target environment, which are abused by attackers to help them achieve persistence.

“Researchers have found attacks conducted by this actor in the Middle East region, dating back to 2018,” according to a Thursday Bitdefender analysis. “The campaigns were based on several tools, including ‘living off the land’ tools, which makes attribution difficult, as well as different hacking tools and a custom built backdoor. Victims of the analyzed campaigns fit into the pattern preferred by this actor, such as air transport and government sectors in the Middle East.”