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Attacks/Breaches

2/11/2021
12:45 PM
Jai Vijayan
Jai Vijayan
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7 Things We Know So Far About the SolarWinds Attacks

Two months after the news first broke, many questions remain about the sophisticated cyber-espionage campaign.
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The Adversaries Used More Than One Attack Vector
For the most part, SolarWinds has been at the center of attention since news broke of the company's software updates being used to distribute the Sunburst backdoor to systems worldwide. The reality, however, is that the company's software was only one of the attack vectors that the adversaries used to deliver their payload. 
The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and others have warned of multiple other initial infection vectors being used in the campaign. These include password-guessing and password-spraying attacks to get access on targeted systems and acquiring improperly secured admin credentials via externally exposed remote access services. 
Malwarebytes is one example. In January the security vendor disclosed that the same APT group behind the SolarWinds attack had gained access to a limited number of its internal company emails. However, in this case the compromise did not result from a poisoned SolarWinds Orion update. Rather, the attackers exploited 'a dormant email protection product' with privileged access within the company's Office 365 environment to gain access to the emails.
The attackers have also been observed using multifactor authentication bypass techniques to access cloud-hosted apps. According to CISA, it is likely the threat group has also used other vectors that have not been discovered yet.
Image Source: PabloLagarto via Shutterstock

The Adversaries Used More Than One Attack Vector

For the most part, SolarWinds has been at the center of attention since news broke of the company's software updates being used to distribute the Sunburst backdoor to systems worldwide. The reality, however, is that the company's software was only one of the attack vectors that the adversaries used to deliver their payload.

The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and others have warned of multiple other initial infection vectors being used in the campaign. These include password-guessing and password-spraying attacks to get access on targeted systems and acquiring improperly secured admin credentials via externally exposed remote access services.

Malwarebytes is one example. In January the security vendor disclosed that the same APT group behind the SolarWinds attack had gained access to a limited number of its internal company emails. However, in this case the compromise did not result from a poisoned SolarWinds Orion update. Rather, the attackers exploited "a dormant email protection product" with privileged access within the company's Office 365 environment to gain access to the emails.

The attackers have also been observed using multifactor authentication bypass techniques to access cloud-hosted apps. According to CISA, it is likely the threat group has also used other vectors that have not been discovered yet.

Image Source: PabloLagarto via Shutterstock

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