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Permanent link APT group: Cold River

NamesCold River (Lastline)
Nahr el bared (original place)
Nahr Elbard (transliteration)
Cobalt Edgewater (SecureWorks)
TA446 (Proofpoint)
Seaborgium (Microsoft)
TAG-53 (Recorded Future)
BlueCharlie (Recorded Future)
Blue Callisto (PWC)
Calisto (Sekoia)
Star Blizzard (Microsoft)
UNC4057 (Mandiant)
CountryRussia Russia
MotivationInformation theft and espionage
First seen2019
Description(Lastline) While reviewing some network anomalies, we recently uncovered Cold River, a sophisticated threat actor making malicious use of DNS tunneling for command and control activities. We have been able to decode the raw traffic in command and control, find sophisticated lure documents used in the campaign, connect other previously unknown samples, and associate a number of legitimate organizations whose infrastructure is referenced and used in the campaign.

The campaign targets Middle Eastern organizations largely from the Lebanon and United Arab Emirates, though, Indian and Canadian companies with interests in those Middle Eastern countries are also targeted. There are new TTPs used in this attack – for example Agent_Drable is leveraging the Django python framework for command and control infrastructure, the technical details of which are outlined later in the blog.
ObservedSectors: Defense, NGOs, Think Tanks.
Countries: Canada, India, Lebanon, UAE, Ukraine, USA, NATO.
Tools usedDNSpionage, SPICA.
Operations performedFeb 2022Blue Callisto orbits around US Laboratories in 2022
Mar 2022COLDRIVER, a Russian-based threat actor sometimes referred to as Calisto, has launched credential phishing campaigns, targeting several US based NGOs and think tanks, the military of a Balkans country, and a Ukraine based defense contractor. However, for the first time, TAG has observed COLDRIVER campaigns targeting the military of multiple Eastern European countries, as well as a NATO Centre of Excellence.
Apr 2022COLDRIVER, a Russian-based threat actor sometimes referred to as Callisto, continues to use Gmail accounts to send credential phishing emails to a variety of Google and non-Google accounts.
Jul 2022Exposing TAG- 53’s Credential Harvesting Infrastructure Used for Russia-Aligned Espionage Operations
Aug 2022Russian hackers targeted U.S. nuclear scientists
Nov 2022Russian threat group COLDRIVER expands its targeting of Western officials to include the use of malware
Mar 2023BlueCharlie, Previously Tracked as TAG 53, Continues to Deploy New Infrastructure in 2023
Counter operationsAug 2022Disrupting SEABORGIUM’s ongoing phishing operations

Last change to this card: 06 March 2024

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