Cybersecurity researchers at Microsoft have revealed that China-based threat actors were behind the recent campaign, which exploited the now-patched vulnerabilities in a couple of SolarWinds Serv-U products.
Microsoft brought this to the attention of SolarWinds who then released a hotfix to patch the remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in Serv-U’s implementation of the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol.
“Microsoft has detected a 0-day remote code execution exploit being used to attack SolarWinds Serv-U FTP software in limited and targeted attacks. The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) attributes this campaign with high confidence to DEV-0322, a group operating out of China, based on observed victimology, tactics, and procedures,” shared Microsoft in a blog post.
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Without sharing details about the targets in the latest campaign, the MSTIC blog post notes that the DEV-0322 threat group has previously targeted entities in the U.S. Defense Industrial Base sector as well as software companies.
It was malicious processes in Serv-U’s main application, flagged by Microsoft Defender, which led MSTIC to discover the recent DEV-0322 SolarWinds campaign.
Notably, this isn’t the first instance if Chinese-based threat actors have been found abusing vulnerability in SolarWinds. While unraveling last year’s massive cyber-espionage campaign, blamed on state-sponsored Russian hackers, security researchers discovered a parallel hack campaign.
Digging deeper, the researchers found evidence of the China-based threat group known as Spiral exploiting a vulnerability in SolarWinds software called Orion as a springboard to deploy the .NET web shell dubbed Supernova, alongside the widely reported supply chain attack.
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