Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

End of Bibblio RCM includes -->
7/14/2021
04:20 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail

Targeted Attack Activity Heightens Need for Orgs. to Patch New SolarWinds Flaw

A China-based threat actor -- previously observed targeting US defense industrial base organizations and software companies -- is exploiting the bug in SolarWinds' Serv-U software, Microsoft says.

Organizations that have not yet patched against a critical remote code execution vulnerability disclosed this week in SolarWinds' Serv-U file transfer technology for Windows might want to do so quickly.

Related Content:

Stopping the Next SolarWinds Requires Doing Something Different

Special Report: Building the SOC of the Future

New From The Edge: Navigating Active Directory Security: Dangers and Defenses

Microsoft, which informed SolarWinds about the flaw, reported on Tuesday that it had observed a likely China-based threat actor using a zero-day exploit in limited and targeted attacks against the vulnerability (CVE-2021-35211).

Microsoft is presently tracking the attacker as DEV-0322, a group operating out of China that it previously has observed targeting organizations in the US software industry and defense industrial base sector. The group has used commercial VPN technologies and compromised consumer routers in previous attack activity, the company said.

"We strongly urge all customers to update their instances of Serv-U to the latest available version," Microsoft wrote in a blog post yesterday.

CVE-2021-35211 is a so-called memory escape vulnerability in SolarWinds Serv-U Managed File Transfer and Serv-U Secure FTP for Windows. The technology is designed to give organizations a way to securely transfer files within and outside their networks.

The newly discovered vulnerability stems from SolarWinds' implementation of the SSH protocol in Serv-U. It gives attackers a way to remotely access and run malicious code with system-level privileges on vulnerable systems. Attackers can exploit the flaw to install and run malicious payloads, drop additional malware, and view or change data. However, the flaw is exploitable only on systems where Serv-U's SSH is exposed to the Internet.

Microsoft says it discovered the issue when investigating what appeared to be zero-day attack behavior in data it gathers from customer networks. "An anomalous malicious process was found to be spawning from the Serv-U process, suggesting that it had been compromised."

SolarWinds issued a hotfix for the vulnerability after Microsoft informed the company about it. In a subsequent alert and FAQ — that was last updated on Tuesday — the company said that Microsoft had provided it with evidence of "limited, targeted customer impact." However, SolarWinds is not aware of the identity of the customers that have been affected, the company said. Along with the hotfix, SolarWinds has provided instructions on how Serv-U customers can identify if they have been compromised. "If SSH is not enabled in the environment, the vulnerability does not exist," SolarWinds said.

The newly disclosed vulnerability in Serv-U is not related to the infamous attack disclosed last December on SolarWinds' software build environment that resulted in a backdoor called Sunburst being distributed to thousands of customers of the company's Orion network management software. But it is the third time — including the Sunburst attack campaign — that threat actors have been observed exploiting vulnerabilities in SolarWinds' technologies.

In late February and March, researchers investigating the Sunburst hack discovered that a Chinese group also might have been actively exploiting issues in the Orion platform at roughly the same time that the Russia-based group behind the Sunburst attack was exploiting it.

A Growing Trend
The attacks on SolarWinds are part of what security researchers say is a growing focus on the software supply chain among cyberattackers. In recent months, there have been several instances in which attackers have tried distributing malware or compromising many organizations at once, by targeting their trusted software vendors and service providers. A recent attack on Kaseya that resulted in ransomware being distributed to multiple managed service providers is the latest example.

Sounil Yu, CISO at JupiterOne, says the trend highlights the need to revamp third-party software vetting processes. "Currently, the standard of practice is to send vendors long questionnaires and occasionally ask for evidence associated with their answers," he says. "We trust that those answers are accurate, and that the vendor is truly performing the security activities that they attested to," Yu says. Going forward, it might be a good idea to ensure that third-party suppliers implement the same kind of zero-trust approach to security that President Biden referenced in his cybersecurity executive order for federal agencies earlier this year, Yu notes.

Supply chain security will remain a key issue for the enterprise moving forward, says Jack Mannino, CEO at nVisium. In addition to traditional software security testing techniques, such as code reviews and penetration testing, it would be a good idea for businesses to understand how software behaves through malicious code reviews, he says. "These types of tests explore the probability that software contains embedded malware," he adds, "through malicious code commits or by compromised third-party dependencies."

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
//Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
tdsan
tdsan,
User Rank: Ninja
7/15/2021 | 1:21:20 PM
Interesting commentary
"Serv-U MFT key-based SSH login capabilities provide end users with easy peer-to-peer file sharing and folder synchronization. SSH authentication occurs automatically, and MFT doesn't require special clients or plugins for users to leverage key-based SSH login" - SSH Key Server Authentication - SSH File Transfer Tool | Serv-U

 Was this a supply chain issue or was this a flaw in a program that is part of the application that Solarwinds happen to select (not sure why they did not use WinSCP or OpenSSH but that is for another conversation)? In addition, the software has a peer-to-peer file sharing capability and folder synchronization (that is your problem right there), not sure why this was allowed to be part of the application stack, OpenSSH gives you that capability over an encrypted tunnel or WinSCP does the same thing.

In addition, since this uses SSH and Key-Mgmt capabilities, this should have not been compromised because the key should have been unique during its creation process or unless someone created a backdoor in the key creation process, not sure there but not sure why they did not remove the "P2P" file-sharing process.

Oh well, too late to cry over spilled milk, the damage has already been done.

Todd
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Creating an Effective Incident Response Plan
Security teams are realizing their organizations will experience a cyber incident at some point. An effective incident response plan that takes into account their specific requirements and has been tested is critical. This issue of Tech Insights also includes: -a look at the newly signed cyber-incident law, -how organizations can apply behavioral psychology to incident response, -and an overview of the Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2022-43705
PUBLISHED: 2022-11-27
In Botan before 2.19.3, it is possible to forge OCSP responses due to a certificate verification error. This issue was introduced in Botan 1.11.34 (November 2016).
CVE-2022-45934
PUBLISHED: 2022-11-27
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel through 6.0.10. l2cap_config_req in net/bluetooth/l2cap_core.c has an integer wraparound via L2CAP_CONF_REQ packets.
CVE-2022-45931
PUBLISHED: 2022-11-27
A SQL injection issue was discovered in AAA in OpenDaylight (ODL) before 0.16.5. The aaa-idm-store-h2/src/main/java/org/opendaylight/aaa/datastore/h2/UserStore.java deleteUser function is affected when the API interface /auth/v1/users/ is used.
CVE-2022-45932
PUBLISHED: 2022-11-27
A SQL injection issue was discovered in AAA in OpenDaylight (ODL) before 0.16.5. The aaa-idm-store-h2/src/main/java/org/opendaylight/aaa/datastore/h2/RoleStore.java deleteRole function is affected when the API interface /auth/v1/roles/ is used.
CVE-2022-45933
PUBLISHED: 2022-11-27
KubeView through 0.1.31 allows attackers to obtain control of a Kubernetes cluster because api/scrape/kube-system does not require authentication, and retrieves certificate files that can be used for authentication as kube-admin. NOTE: the vendor's position is that KubeView was a "fun side proj...