Russian Defence contractors are being targeted by Chinese APT Group

APT groups linked to China are using PortDoor backdoor to target Russian defence sector. The researchers who were responsible for the detection of the campaign did not name any particular APT group of China. However, they did make some educated guesses.

What has happened?

Cybereason Nocturnus Team found that the APT group has been targeting mainly one of the main centers where submarines for the Russian navy is designed. It is known as Rubin Design Bereau.

  • The general director of Rubin Design Bureau in Saint Petersburg received a spear phishing message from the attacker.
  • These messages used the malicious RTF document containing information about the autonomous vehicle made to be operated underwater.
  • The Cybereason Nocturnus Team identified the RTF document while analysis of the devenlopment in the RoyalRoad tool or 8.t Dropper and RTF exploit builder.
  • The documents were built using exploit builder the CVE-2018-0798CVE-2018-0802, and CVE-2017-11882 vulnerabilities.

Some attribution of the attack-

  • RoyalRoad v7 is the creator of the RTF file that was used in the attack.
  • Tonto Team and TA428 had attachment with the previous attacks associated with the Russian defence organisations.


Due to lack of information and proof, the attack could not be attributed to any particular threat actor. There are a few points that indicate towards the association of Tonto Team (aka TA428). Moreover, it cannot be denied that there can be any new threat group. All these points towards the increasing sophistication and the dominance of the Chinese threat actors in the cyberespionage realm globally.

By Hrithik Lall

IEMLabs is an ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 9001:2015 certified company, we are also a proud member of EC Council, NASSCOM, Data Security Council of India (DSCI), Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The company was established in 2016 with a vision in mind to provide Cyber Security to the digital world and make them Hack Proof. The question is why are we suddenly talking about Cyber Security and all this stuff? With the development of technology, more and more companies are shifting their business to Digital World which is resulting in the increase in Cyber Crimes.

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