Ukrainian cybersecurity authorities have uncovered a plot by the notorious Sandworm hacking group to launch cyberattacks against nearly 20 critical infrastructure facilities nationwide.

According to CERT-UA, Ukraine’s Computer Emergency Response Team, Sandworm intended to unleash a multi-pronged attack utilizing a combination of malware, known vulnerabilities, and network infiltration techniques.

The group’s arsenal included:

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  • LOADGRIP and BIASBOAT malware: These malicious programs would have been deployed to infect initial targets within the critical infrastructure facilities’ IT systems.
  • QUEUESEED backdoor: This persistent backdoor, active since 2022, would have granted Sandworm remote access and control over compromised systems.
  • Exploitation of vendor software vulnerabilities: Sandworm planned to exploit unpatched vulnerabilities in software used by the facilities’ industrial control systems (ICS).
  • Lateral movement within networks: Once gaining a foothold, the attackers would have employed various techniques to move undetected across the networks, expanding their reach and escalating the attacks.
  • Disruption of ICS operations: The ultimate goal was to disrupt or disable critical ICS components, potentially leading to widespread power outages, water supply disruptions, and heating failures.

Additional malicious tools CERT-UA discovered during the investigation are from the open source space and include the Weevly webshell, the Regeorg.Neo, Pitvotnacci, and Chisel tunnelers, LibProcessHider, JuicyPotatoNG, and RottenPotatoNG.

(Translated via Gemini AI)

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