Russian state-sponsored cyber actors targeting U.S. critical infrastructure


THREAT LEVEL: Red. For a detailed advisory, download the pdf file here In a joint cybersecurity advisory, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) revealed that Russian state-sponsored threat actors targeted U.S. defense contractors from January 2020 to February 2022. The threat actors exfiltrated sensitive data from small and large companies in the U.S. working on defense and intelligence contracts, including missile development, vehicle & aircraft and software development. Threat actors gain initial access by using brute force to identify valid account credentials for domain and M365 accounts. Using compromised M365 credentials, including global admin accounts, the threat actors can gain access to M365 resources such as SharePoint pages user-profiles and user emails. They further used harvested credentials in conjunction with known vulnerabilities CVE-2020-0688 & CVE-2020-17144 in the Microsoft exchange server to escalate privileges and gain remote code execution (RCE) on the exposed applications. In addition, they have exploited CVE-2018-13379 on FortiClient to obtain credentials to access networks. After gaining access to networks, the threat actors map the Active Directory (AD) and connect to domain controllers, from which they exfiltrated credentials and export copies of the AD database "ntds.dit". In multiple breaches, they maintained persistence for at least 6 months in the network continuously exfiltrating sensitive emails and data. Organizations can mitigate the risk by following the recommendations: •Monitor the use of stolen credentials. •Keep all operating systems and software up to date. •Enable multifactor authentication (MFA) for all users, without exception. • The Techniques commonly used by Russian cyber actor, APT28 are: TA0043: Reconnaissance TA0001: Initial Access TA0004: Privilege Escalation TA0005: Defense Evasion TA0006: Credential Access TA0007: Discovery TA0009: Collection TA0003: Persistence TA0008: Lateral Movement TA0011: Command and Control T1027: Obfuscated Files or Information T1133: External Remote Services T1190: Exploit Public-Facing Application T1083: File and Directory Discovery T1482: Domain Trust Discovery T1213.002: Data from Information Repositories: SharePoint T1090.003: Proxy: Multi-hop Proxy T1589.001: Gather Victim Identity Information: Credentials T1003.003: OS Credential Dumping: NTDS T1110.003: Brute Force: Password Spraying T1566.002: Phishing: Spearphishing Link T1078.002: Valid Accounts: Domain Accounts T1078.004: Valid Accounts: Cloud Accounts Actor Details Vulnerability Details References https://www.cisa.gov/uscert/ncas/alerts/aa22-047a