Russia’s Gamaredon aka Primitive Bear APT Group Actively Targeting Ukraine

Gamaredon actors pursue an interesting approach when it comes to building and maintaining their infrastructure.
Most actors choose to discard domains after their use in a cyber campaign in order to distance themselves from any possible attribution.
However, Gamaredon’s approach is unique in that they appear to recycle their domains by consistently rotating them across new infrastructure.

Focusing on the IP addresses linked to domains over the last 60 days results in the identification of 136 unique IP addresses;
interestingly, 131 of these IP addresses are hosted within the autonomous system (AS) 197695 physically located in Russia and operated by the same entity used as the registrar for these domains, reg[.]ru.
The total number of IPs translates to the introduction of roughly two new IP addresses every day into Gamaredon’s malicious infrastructure pool.
Monitoring this pool, it appears that the actors are activating new domains, using them for a few days, and then adding the domains to a pool of domains that are rotated across various IP infrastructure.
This shell game approach affords a degree of obfuscation to attempt to hide from cybersecurity researchers.

For researchers, it becomes difficult to correlate specific payloads to domains and to the IP address that the domain resolved to on the precise day of a phishing campaign.
Furthermore, Gamaredon’s technique provides the actors with a degree of control over who can access malicious files hosted on their infrastructure, as a web page’s uniform resource locator (URL) file path embedded in a downloader only works for a finite period of time.
Once the domains are rotated to a new IP address, requests for the URL file paths will result in a “404” file not found error for anyone attempting to study the malware.

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