Government & Telecommunication Institutions Main Targets For APT Groups In The Middle East: Kaspersky

Researchers at Kaspersky keep a close eye on Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) and are observing 19 active threat actors that currently target organizations within the Middle East. Whilst these threat actors target a wide range of entities, Kaspersky researchers identified government, telecommunications and diplomatic institutions as the top targets in the region, followed by those in the energy sector.

APT groups are complex threat actors that deploy targeted attacks, active for years on end. These groups are often motivated by espionage, monetary gain, or in some cases, hacktivism. According to Kaspersky intelligence, some of the most prominent groups in the region are MuddyWater, FruityArmor  Sidewinder. Kaspersky also works with legal authorities, providing them with the intelligence needed to track cybercriminals behind these attacks.

These threat actors use a wide range of techniques to infiltrate their victims in the region. Social engineering is a common tactic used on social media or email, such as posting a fake job advert targeting software developers. APT groups also deploy sophisticated modular malwares like DeadGlyph and StealerBot, as well as weaponizing legitimate, remote applications, online services and cloud platforms – a technique used by MuddyWater APT group to penetrate into the targeted site. Furthermore, these groups can target third party providers and infiltrate their victims through supply-chain.

“The current geopolitical climate is a hotbed for APT activity, therefore, investigating these attacks and gaining intelligence on their movement is vital for security teams and corporations in the Middle East. Our research allows businesses and government entities to determine the significance of the threat posed, understand the attackers’ next move and accordingly be able to take the appropriate security steps to protect themselves,” said Amin Hasbini, Head of Global Research and Analysis team for Middle East, Turkiye and Africa at Kaspersky.

With every APT investigation, Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) publish comprehensive reports, available on Kaspersky’s Threat Intelligence Portal. The reports offer crucial APT detection and forensic capabilities, enabling effective mitigation and remediation.