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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 Malware Medley Used in the Attacks
The threat actors behind the SolarWinds campaign used a variety of malware tools as part of the attack chain. Here are the main ones: 

- Sunspot: Malware used by the adversaries to insert the Sunburst/Solorigate backdoor into builds of SolarWind's Orion network management product.
- Sunburst/Solorigate: The poisoned Dynamic Link Library (DLL) that was distributed to thousands of organizations as part of legitimate updates of SolarWinds' Orion network management software between March and June 2020.
- Teardrop: A second-stage, memory-only payload dropped by the Sunburst/Solorigate backdoor on targeted systems. The attackers used Teardrop to deploy the Cobalt Strike attack kit in environments of interest to them.
- Raindrop: A dropper associated with the SolarWinds attack chain that Symantec detected. The malware, like Teardrop, was used to deploy Cobalt Strike in selected environments. However, unlike Teardrop, it was not deployed through the Sunburst backdoor. According to Symantec, the malware was observed on networks where at least one computer was already previously compromised by Sunburst.



Security researchers discovered another very sophisticated backdoor called 'Supernova' in SolarWinds' Orion platform while investigating the recently disclosed breach. The backdoor, in the form of a malicious DLL file, gave attackers a way to carry out a wide range of malicious activities but was designed to stay completely hidden until it is activated. Researchers believe the Supernova web shell was deployed by someone other than the group behind the new SolarWinds compromise. Multiple vendors have referred to the malware as being the work of a highly skilled advanced persistent threat (APT) group.
Image Source: Stokkete via Shutterstock

The Malware Medley Used in the Attacks

The threat actors behind the SolarWinds campaign used a variety of malware tools as part of the attack chain. Here are the main ones:

  • Sunspot: Malware used by the adversaries to insert the Sunburst/Solorigate backdoor into builds of SolarWind's Orion network management product.
  • Sunburst/Solorigate: The poisoned Dynamic Link Library (DLL) that was distributed to thousands of organizations as part of legitimate updates of SolarWinds' Orion network management software between March and June 2020.
  • Teardrop: A second-stage, memory-only payload dropped by the Sunburst/Solorigate backdoor on targeted systems. The attackers used Teardrop to deploy the Cobalt Strike attack kit in environments of interest to them.
  • Raindrop: A dropper associated with the SolarWinds attack chain that Symantec detected. The malware, like Teardrop, was used to deploy Cobalt Strike in selected environments. However, unlike Teardrop, it was not deployed through the Sunburst backdoor. According to Symantec, the malware was observed on networks where at least one computer was already previously compromised by Sunburst.

Security researchers discovered another very sophisticated backdoor called "Supernova" in SolarWinds' Orion platform while investigating the recently disclosed breach. The backdoor, in the form of a malicious DLL file, gave attackers a way to carry out a wide range of malicious activities but was designed to stay completely hidden until it is activated. Researchers believe the Supernova web shell was deployed by someone other than the group behind the new SolarWinds compromise. Multiple vendors have referred to the malware as being the work of a highly skilled advanced persistent threat (APT) group.

Image Source: Stokkete via Shutterstock

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