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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: SolarWinds

Government Agencies Warn of Increase in Cyberattacks Targeting MSPs

Government Agencies Warn of Increase in Cyberattacks Targeting MSPs
May 11, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Multiple cybersecurity authorities from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S. on Wednesday released a  joint advisory  warning of threats targeting managed service providers (MSPs) and their customers. Key among the recommendations include identifying and disabling accounts that are no longer in use, enforcing multi-factor authentication (MFA) on MSP accounts that access customer environments, and ensuring transparency in ownership of security roles and responsibilities. MSPs have emerged as an attractive attack route for cybercriminals to scale their attacks, as a vulnerable provider can be weaponized as an initial access vector to breach several downstream customers at once. The spillover effects of such intrusions, as witnessed in the wake of high-profile breaches aimed at  SolarWinds  and  Kaseya  in recent years, have once again underlined the need to secure the software supply chain. The targeting of MSPs by malicious cyber actors in an effort to "expl

New Malware Used by SolarWinds Attackers Went Undetected for Years

New Malware Used by SolarWinds Attackers Went Undetected for Years
February 02, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The threat actor behind the supply chain compromise of SolarWinds has continued to expand its malware arsenal with new tools and techniques that were deployed in attacks as early as 2019, once indicative of the elusive nature of the campaigns and the adversary's ability to maintain persistent access for years. According to cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which  detailed the novel tactics  adopted by the Nobelium hacking group last week, two sophisticated malware families were placed on victim systems — a Linux variant of GoldMax and a new implant dubbed TrailBlazer — long before the scale of the attacks came to light. Nobelium, the Microsoft-assigned moniker for the  SolarWinds intrusion  in December 2020, is also tracked by the wider cybersecurity community under the names UNC2452 (FireEye), SolarStorm (Unit 42), StellarParticle (CrowdStrike), Dark Halo (Volexity), and Iron Ritual (Secureworks). The  malicious activities  have since been attributed to a Russian state-sponsore

Hackers Attempt to Exploit New SolarWinds Serv-U Bug in Log4Shell Attacks

Hackers Attempt to Exploit New SolarWinds Serv-U Bug in Log4Shell Attacks
January 19, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Wednesday disclosed details of a new security vulnerability in SolarWinds Serv-U software that it said was being weaponized by threat actors to propagate attacks leveraging the Log4j flaws to compromise targets. Tracked as  CVE-2021-35247  (CVSS score: 5.3), the issue is an "input validation vulnerability that could allow attackers to build a query given some input and send that query over the network without sanitation," Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC)  said . The flaw, which was discovered by security researcher Jonathan Bar Or, affects Serv-U versions 15.2.5 and prior, and has been addressed in Serv-U version 15.3. "The Serv-U web login screen to LDAP authentication was allowing characters that were not sufficiently sanitized," SolarWinds  said  in an advisory, adding it "updated the input mechanism to perform additional validation and sanitization." The IT management software maker also pointed out that "no downstre

SolarWinds Hackers Targeting Government and Business Entities Worldwide

SolarWinds Hackers Targeting Government and Business Entities Worldwide
December 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Nobelium, the threat actor attributed to the massive SolarWinds supply chain compromise, has been once again linked to a series of attacks targeting multiple cloud solution providers, services, and reseller companies, as the hacking group continues to refine and retool its tactics at an alarming pace in response to public disclosures. The intrusions, which are being tracked by Mandiant under two different activity clusters UNC3004 and UNC2652, are both associated with UNC2452, an  uncategorized threat group  that has since been tied to the Russian intelligence service. UNC2652, in particular, has been observed targeting diplomatic entities with phishing emails containing HTML attachments with malicious JavaScript, ultimately dropping a Cobalt Strike Beacon onto the infected devices. "In most instances, post compromise activity included theft of data relevant to Russian interests," Mandiant researchers Luke Jenkins, Sarah Hawley, Parnian Najafi, and Doug Bienstock  said  in

New Tomiris Backdoor Found Linked to Hackers Behind SolarWinds Cyberattack

New Tomiris Backdoor Found Linked to Hackers Behind SolarWinds Cyberattack
September 30, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Wednesday disclosed a previously undocumented backdoor likely designed and developed by the Nobelium advanced persistent threat (APT) behind last year's  SolarWinds supply chain attack , joining the threat actor's ever-expanding arsenal of hacking tools. Moscow-headquartered firm Kaspersky codenamed the malware " Tomiris ," calling out its similarities to another second-stage malware used during the campaign, SUNSHUTTLE (aka GoldMax), targeting the IT management software provider's Orion platform. Nobelium is also known by the monikers UNC2452, SolarStorm, StellarParticle, Dark Halo, and Iron Ritual. "While supply-chain attacks were already a documented attack vector leveraged by a number of APT actors, this specific campaign stood out due to the extreme carefulness of the attackers and the high-profile nature of their victims," Kaspersky researchers  said . "Evidence gathered so far indicates that Dark Halo spent si

A New Critical SolarWinds Zero-Day Vulnerability Under Active Attack

A New Critical SolarWinds Zero-Day Vulnerability Under Active Attack
July 12, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
SolarWinds, the Texas-based company that became the epicenter of a  massive supply chain attack  late last year, has issued patches to contain a remote code execution flaw in its Serv-U managed file transfer service. The fixes, which target Serv-U Managed File Transfer and Serv-U Secure FTP products, arrive after Microsoft notified the IT management and remote monitoring software maker that the flaw was being exploited in the wild. The threat actor behind the exploitation remains unknown as yet, and it isn't clear exactly how the attack was carried out. "Microsoft has provided evidence of limited, targeted customer impact, though SolarWinds does not currently have an estimate of how many customers may be directly affected by the vulnerability," SolarWinds  said  in an advisory published Friday, adding it's "unaware of the identity of the potentially affected customers." Impacting Serv-U versions 15.2.3 HF1 and before, a successful exploitation of the sh

SolarWinds Hackers Breach Microsoft Customer Support to Target its Customers

SolarWinds Hackers Breach Microsoft Customer Support to Target its Customers
June 27, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
In yet another sign that the Russian hackers who breached SolarWinds network monitoring software to compromise a slew of entities never really went away, Microsoft said the threat actor behind the malicious cyber activities used password spraying and brute-force attacks in an attempt to guess passwords and gain access to its customer accounts. "This recent activity was mostly unsuccessful, and the majority of targets were not successfully compromised – we are aware of three compromised entities to date," the tech giant's Threat Intelligence Center  said  Friday. "All customers that were compromised or targeted are being contacted through our nation-state notification process." The development was first  reported  by news service Reuters. The names of the victims were not revealed. The latest wave in a series of intrusions is said to have primarily targeted IT companies, followed by government agencies, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and financ

US Seizes Domains Used by SolarWinds Hackers in Cyber Espionage Attacks

US Seizes Domains Used by SolarWinds Hackers in Cyber Espionage Attacks
June 01, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Days after  Microsoft ,  Secureworks , and  Volexity  shed light on a new spear-phishing activity unleashed by the Russian hackers who breached SolarWinds IT management software, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) Tuesday said it intervened to take control of two command-and-control (C2) and malware distribution domains used in the campaign. The court-authorized domain seizure took place on May 28, the DoJ said, adding the action was aimed at disrupting the threat actors' follow-on exploitation of victims as well as block their ability to compromise new systems. The department, however, cautioned that the adversary might have deployed additional backdoor accesses in the interim period between when the initial compromises occurred, and the seizures took place last week. "[The] action is a continued demonstration of the Department's commitment to proactively disrupt hacking activity prior to the conclusion of a criminal investigation,"  said  Assistant Attorney Ge

SolarWinds Hackers Target Think Tanks With New 'NativeZone' Backdoor

SolarWinds Hackers Target Think Tanks With New 'NativeZone' Backdoor
May 28, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Thursday disclosed that the threat actor behind the  SolarWinds supply chain hack  returned to the threat landscape to target government agencies, think tanks, consultants, and non-governmental organizations located across 24 countries, including the U.S. Some of the entities that were singled out include the U.S. Atlantic Council, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Action Center (ANTAC), the EU DisinfoLab, and the Government of Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs. "This wave of attacks targeted approximately 3,000 email accounts at more than 150 different organizations," Tom Burt, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Customer Security and Trust,  said . "At least a quarter of the targeted organizations were involved in international development, humanitarian, and human rights work." Microsoft attributed the ongoing intrusions to the Russian threat actor it tracks as Nobeliu

Hackers Exploit VPN to Deploy SUPERNOVA malware on SolarWinds Orion

Hackers Exploit VPN to Deploy SUPERNOVA malware on SolarWinds Orion
April 22, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has disclosed details of a new advanced persistent threat (APT) that's leveraging the Supernova backdoor to compromise SolarWinds Orion installations after gaining access to the network through a connection to a Pulse Secure VPN device. "The threat actor connected to the entity's network via a Pulse Secure virtual private network (VPN) appliance, moved laterally to its SolarWinds Orion server, installed malware referred to by security researchers as SUPERNOVA (a .NET web shell), and collected credentials," the agency  said  on Thursday. CISA said it identified the threat actor during an incident response engagement at an unnamed organization and found that the attacker had access to the enterprise's network for nearly a year through the use of the VPN credentials between March 2020 and February 2021. Interestingly, the adversary is said to have used valid accounts that had multi-factor authent

Researchers Find Additional Infrastructure Used By SolarWinds Hackers

Researchers Find Additional Infrastructure Used By SolarWinds Hackers
April 22, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The sprawling  SolarWinds cyberattack  which came to light last December was known for its sophistication in the breadth of tactics used to infiltrate and persist in the target infrastructure, so much so that Microsoft went on to call the threat actor behind the campaign "skillful and methodic operators who follow operations security (OpSec) best practices to minimize traces, stay under the radar, and avoid detection." As further proof of this, new research published today shows that the threat actor carefully planned each stage of the operation to "avoid creating the type of patterns that make tracking them simple," thus deliberately making forensic analysis difficult. By analyzing telemetry data associated with previously published indicators of compromise, RiskIQ said it identified an additional set of 18 servers with high confidence that likely communicated with the targeted, secondary Cobalt Strike payloads delivered via the TEARDROP and RAINDROP malware, r

US Sanctions Russia and Expels 10 Diplomats Over SolarWinds Cyberattack

US Sanctions Russia and Expels 10 Diplomats Over SolarWinds Cyberattack
April 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. and U.K. on Thursday formally attributed the supply chain attack of IT infrastructure management company SolarWinds with "high confidence" to government operatives working for Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). "Russia's pattern of malign behaviour around the world – whether in cyberspace, in election interference or in the aggressive operations of their intelligence services – demonstrates that Russia remains the most acute threat to the U.K.'s national and collective security," the U.K. government  said  in a statement. To that effect, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia for "undermining the conduct of free and fair elections and democratic institutions" in the U.S. and for its role in facilitating the sprawling SolarWinds hack, while also barring six technology companies in the country that provide support to the cyber program run by Russian Intelligence Services. The com

Detecting the "Next" SolarWinds-Style Cyber Attack

Detecting the "Next" SolarWinds-Style Cyber Attack
April 13, 2021The Hacker News
The SolarWinds attack , which succeeded by utilizing the sunburst malware , shocked the cyber-security industry. This attack achieved persistence and was able to evade internal systems long enough to gain access to the source code of the victim. Because of the far-reaching SolarWinds deployments, the perpetrators were also able to infiltrate many other organizations, looking for intellectual property and other assets. Among the co-victims: US government, government contractors, Information Technology companies, and NGOs. An incredible amount of sensitive data was stolen from several customers after a trojanized version of SolarWinds' application was installed on their internal structures. Looking at the technical capabilities of the malware, as you will see, this particular attack was quite impressive. A particular file, named  SolarWinds.Orion.Core.BusinessLayer.dll  is a SolarWinds digitally signed component of the Orion software framework. The threat actors installed a back

Another Critical RCE Flaw Discovered in SolarWinds Orion Platform

Another Critical RCE Flaw Discovered in SolarWinds Orion Platform
March 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
IT infrastructure management provider SolarWinds on Thursday released a new update to its Orion networking monitoring tool with fixes for four security vulnerabilities, counting two weaknesses that could be exploited by an authenticated attacker to achieve remote code execution (RCE). Chief among them is a JSON deserialization flaw that allows an authenticated user to execute arbitrary code via the  test alert actions  feature available in the Orion Web Console, which lets users simulate network events (e.g., an unresponsive server) that can be configured to trigger an alert during setup. It has been rated critical in severity. A second issue concerns a high-risk vulnerability that could be leveraged by an adversary to achieve RCE in the Orion Job Scheduler. "In order to exploit this, an attacker first needs to know the credentials of an unprivileged local account on the Orion Server," SolarWinds  said  in its release notes. The advisory is light on technical specifics,

Mimecast Finds SolarWinds Hackers Stole Some of Its Source Code

Mimecast Finds SolarWinds Hackers Stole Some of Its Source Code
March 17, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Email security firm Mimecast on Tuesday revealed that the state-sponsored SolarWinds hackers who broke into its internal network also downloaded source code out of a limited number of repositories. "The threat actor did access a subset of email addresses and other contact information and hashed and salted credentials," the company  said  in a write-up detailing its investigation, adding the adversary "accessed and downloaded a limited number of our source code repositories, as the threat actor is reported to have done with other victims of the SolarWinds Orion supply chain attack." But Mimecast said the source code downloaded by the attackers was incomplete and would be insufficient to build and run any aspect of the Mimecast service and that it did not find signs of any tampering made by the threat actor to the build process associated with the executables that are distributed to its customers.  On January 12, Mimecast  disclosed  that "a sophisticated th

Cybersecurity Webinar — SolarWinds Sunburst: The Big Picture

Cybersecurity Webinar — SolarWinds Sunburst: The Big Picture
March 09, 2021The Hacker News
The SolarWinds Sunburst attack has been in the headlines since it was first discovered in December 2020.  As the so-called layers of the onion are peeled back, additional information regarding how the vulnerability was exploited, who was behind the attack, who is to blame for the attack, and the long-term ramifications of this type of supply chain vulnerabilities continue to be actively discussed.  Cybersecurity company Cynet is taking a needed step back to provide a full picture of the SolarWinds attack from start to finish in an upcoming webinar, " Lessons Learned from the SolarWinds SUNBURST Attack ." Information regarding many aspects of the attack has been coming out in pieces, but we haven't yet seen this type of comprehensive overview of the technical steps behind the full attack, as well as clear recommendations for protecting against similar future attacks. And this is precisely what's needed so security professionals can gain insights on the attack tact
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