14,000 Gmail users notified of APT28 attacks

Google sent out notifications to 14,000 Gmail users, warning them that they became victims of targeted phishing attacks by government hackers from the APT28 group.

Yesterday, many users told about receiving such letters.

Huh. I’ve had security warnings before, but this one just came to me hours after a similar Google alert to my theatlantic colleague. Both of us already use Advanced Protection.told Barton Gellman, staff writer at TheAtlantic.

Alerts like this are not new, as Google has been warning users of interest from government hackers since 2012. The first to report on the new mailing list was The Record, which quotes Google TAG head Shane Huntley:

At the end of September, we discovered the APT28 phishing campaign targeting a large number of Gmail users (about 14,000) across a wide range of industries. This particular campaign accounted for 86% of all alerts we sent this month.confirms Huntley.

On his Twitter account, the expert says that receiving such a letter does not mean that the user’s account has already been hacked, it is just a warning.

If you are an activist, journalist, civil servant or connected with national security, this warning was hardly a surprise to you. [It means] that at some point some government-backed organization is likely to try to send you something [malicious].Huntley says, urging users to check their account security settings.
Shane Huntley

Let me remind you that APT28 (aka Fancy Bear, Sednit, Sofacy, Strontium and PwnStorm) is considered a Russian-speaking hack group, and information security specialists associate it with the GRU. APT28 often relies on spear phishing in its attacks, because by hacking a mailbox, attackers can gain access not only to confidential documents and messages, but also to reach other people or internal networks of the organization.

Let me remind you that we also talked about US authorities imposed sanctions on a Russian institution associated with Triton malware, and we also talked about the fact that The FBI found no evidence of Russia’s fight against extortionists.

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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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