APT29: A Russian Hacker Group



APT is an abbreviation of Advanced Persistent Threat. APT29 is recognized as a Russian hacker group by the U.S. federal government. It is said to be associated with one or more Russian Intelligence Agencies. The other cybersecurity firms have given it various nicknames like Cozy Bear, CozyCar, CozyDuke, Dark Halo, The Dukes, NOBELIUM, Office Monkeys, StellarParticle, UNC2452, and YTTRIUM. 

This threat actor came into prominence in 2014. It is believed that it organized a series of precise cyber attacks on the national data of the U.S. government on December 20, 2020. This hacking was done under the direction of Russia. Its general characteristics are:

  • It targets high profile victims and sensitive data.
  • It has advanced crypto and anti-detection capabilities.
  • Contains structural and functional similarities to early MiniDuke, CosmicDuke, and OnionDuke. 

Attack Method

Since it targets highly confidential data and political information, it attacks in following ways:
  • It can make use of a backdoor and dropper to exfiltrate the data into C2 server. Its spyware and droppers generally have similar characteristics, that can be modified accordingly. 

  • It also uses spear phishing and sends links of a hacked website to the victim via email. These files are attached with malware and advertise themselves as a genuine website links prompting the user to click on them.

  • It can also send phony Flash videos like Office Monkeys LOL Video.zip via email. They poses as some innocent funny videos attached with a malware or spyware. They can be quickly passed on in the offices silently infecting every system and files. 


This well-funded Russian threat actor has repeatedly attacked the cyber security of U.S.A. This reality is enough to solidify its competency and attack level. Hence, to overcome such attacks a highly advanced cybersecurity program must be utilized. It should also contain some of the most advanced security solutions, email as well as web content filtering, antiviruses, and threat hunting measures. Application of Zero Trust Model, Multifactor Authentication, in-depth defense, etc., are a must to prevent and mitigate the potential damage done by APT29.


APT29 is a high-profile threat actor of the cyber world. Although it poses a great threat to various government organizations of different countries, it is not impossible to stop and/or mitigate its attacks. Making use of all the advanced anti-threat technologies can surely help in identifying and hunting its malware or spyware. Regular trainings of employees regarding various threat actors and regular network checkups can be of great help in fighting with APT29.

To know more, read- APT29


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