Belarus-Aligned Hacking Group Blurs the Line Between Cybercrime and Cyberespionage A hacking group known as Asylum Ambuscade has caught the attention of security researchers for its unique combination of cybercrime and cyberespionage activities.
Since 2020, Asylum Ambuscade has primarily targeted individual banking customers, cryptocurrency traders, and small to midsize businesses in North America and Europe, accumulating over 4,500 victims. While the motive behind targeting cryptocurrency traders is clear, the group’s monetization strategy for accessing small and midsize businesses remains uncertain.
Furthermore, in terms of cyberespionage, Asylum Ambuscade has focused its efforts on European and Central Asian targets. The group first gained public attention when Proofpoint exposed their activities through a phishing campaign that targeted European government personnel involved in managing the logistics of refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Additionally, these attacks were attributed to UNC1151, which Ukraine’s CERT-UA computer emergency response team identified as being operated by officers in Belarus’ Ministry of Defense. However, the possibility of Russian involvement has not been ruled out.
While AHK Bot has been observed in other attacks targeting government officials and customers of banks in the United States and Canada, its exclusive use by Asylum Ambuscade cannot be definitively confirmed.
The activities of Asylum Ambuscade raise concerns about the convergence of state-sponsored cyberespionage and cybercrime. The blending of these two realms emphasizes the need for continuous monitoring and robust countermeasures by the cybersecurity community to protect potential targets and mitigate the risks posed by such groups.