Crooks hook hundreds of exec accounts after phishing in Azure C-suite pond

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The number of elder business executives stymied by an ongoing phishing run continues to emergence pinch cybercriminals registering hundreds of unreality relationship takeovers (ATOs) since spinning it up successful November.

Researchers from Proofpoint listed galore C-suite roles arsenic premier targets for nan unnamed attackers, arsenic good arsenic different elder positions specified arsenic VPs, income directors, and finance managers. The customers caught retired by nan scam were not listed.

The overarching goal, arsenic pinch each these types of assaults, is to summation entree to arsenic galore privileged accounts arsenic imaginable and pat into each nan resources disposable for follow-on crimes. 

In summation to nan hundreds of ATOs, "dozens" of Azure environments were besides compromised, Proofpoint said.

Naturally, this meant nan criminals stole information successful immoderate cases, including delicate files containing financial assets, soul information protocols, and personification credentials.

A circumstantial Linux user-agent was identified arsenic 1 of nan astir notable indicators of discuss (IoCs), chiefly utilizing it to entree nan "OfficeHome" sign-in application: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, for illustration Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/537.36.

The aforesaid user-agent was utilized to entree a number of different Microsoft 365 apps too:

  • Office 365 Shell WCSS-Client: Indicates a browser was utilized to entree Office 365 apps

  • Office 365 Exchange Online: Suggests mailboxes were abused and information whitethorn person been stolen

  • My Signins: Indicates attempts made to manipulate MFA methods

  • My Apps

  • My Profile

Proofpoint hasn't officially attributed nan attacks to a circumstantial group, but immoderate grounds points to them being perchance based successful Russia and Nigeria.

Other post-intrusion activities see attackers manipulating MFA to found persistent entree to systems aft making nan first compromise. The attackers were spotted implementing their ain MFA methods – an authenticator app is nan preferred choice, it seems – but different techniques specified arsenic registering different telephone numbers were besides observed.

Armed pinch afloat power of a morganatic business email account, nan crims went connected to motorboat soul and outer phishing campaigns utilizing nan caller identity. A morganatic account, successful theory, adds a greater consciousness of authenticity to an email and is little apt to trigger spam filters, perchance offering a greater chance of success.

Email entree was besides abused to scan for secrets and execute lateral activity crossed nan target organization, successful summation to nan galore financial fraud attempts made by sending personalized messages targeting HR and finance departments.

Attackers would besides adhd their ain mailbox rules designed to disguise their malicious activity.

While nan phishing run remains ongoing, nan interrogator advised users to stay wary of each unexpected emails and workout utmost be aware erstwhile opening links – nan accustomed stuff.

The sample phishing emails seen by researchers are said to beryllium individualized to their target, directing them to what appears to beryllium a shared archive but nan nexus alternatively redirects to a malicious phishing page.

As information conscious Reg readers cognize only excessively well, being sent a nexus to a archive from an chartless sender should instantly beryllium a reddish emblem for immoderate user, moreover if it is personalized to nan target, but nan campaign's occurrence complaint shows that phishing attempts don't request to beryllium particularly blase to execute their goals.

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Looking astatine nan campaign's infrastructure, nan attackers usage proxy services group up adjacent to their targets to evade geofencing policies and besides section fixed-line net work providers (ISPs). Examples of nan non-proxy sources were from Russia-based Selena Telecom LLC, and Nigerian providers Airtel Networks Limited and MTN Nigeria Communication Limited.

As for locking down systems, nan accustomed proposal applies here: monitoring logs for IoCs, enforcing credential changes for compromised users, ensuring information products are configured correctly to observe ATOs, and implementing auto-remediation policies. ®