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APT29, a sophisticated threat actor linked to the Russian SVR, has expanded its cyber espionage activities to target European diplomats and German political parties. Utilizing a novel backdoor variant, WINELOADER, these campaigns leverage diplomatic-themed lures to initiate infection chains, demonstrating APT29’s evolving tactics and interest in geopolitical intelligence. The operations, marked by their low volume and high precision, underscore the broad threat APT29 poses to Western political and diplomatic entities.

  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2024-03-26
  • Author: Michael Haag, splunk
  • ID: 7cb5fdb5-4c36-4721-8b0a-4cc5e78afadd


APT29, also known as Cozy Bear, has historically focused on espionage activities aligned with Russian intelligence interests. In recent campaigns, APT29 has notably shifted its operational focus, targeting not only its traditional diplomatic missions but also expanding into the political domain, specifically German political parties. These campaigns have been characterized by the deployment of WINELOADER, a sophisticated backdoor that facilitates the exfiltration of sensitive information. The use of themed lures, such as invitations from the Ambassador of India and CDU-themed documents, highlights APT29’s strategic use of social engineering to compromise targets. The operations against European diplomats and German political entities reveal APT29’s adaptive tactics and its persistent effort to gather intelligence that could influence Russia’s geopolitical strategy. The precision of these attacks, coupled with the use of compromised websites for command and control, underscores the evolving threat landscape and the need for heightened cybersecurity vigilance among potential targets.


Name Technique Type
CertUtil With Decode Argument Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information TTP
Windows MSHTA Writing to World Writable Path Mshta TTP
Windows Process Writing File to World Writable Path Mshta Hunting
Windows SqlWriter SQLDumper DLL Sideload DLL Side-Loading TTP
Windows Unsigned MS DLL Side-Loading DLL Side-Loading, Boot or Logon Autostart Execution Anomaly


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