Hacker ChamelGang attacks energy complex and aviation industry

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A new APT group called ChamelGang has attacked the fuel and energy complex and the aviation industry in Russia, researchers at the Positive Technologies Expert Security Center (PT ESC) revealed.
Additional attacks were directed against facilities in 9 other countries, including the United States, India, Nepal, Taiwan and Japan. In some cases, researchers discovered compromised government servers. The group has begun exploiting ProxyShell vulnerabilities in attacks to infect Microsoft Exchange. It is possible that vulnerable UK servers could also be affected in the future.

ChamelGang focuses on the theft of data from compromised networks and its first Trusted Relationship attacks 1 were registered in March 2021.

Attackers can break into an industrial company’s corporate network more than 90 percent of the time, and almost every such invasion leads to a complete loss of control over the IT infrastructure. More than half of these attacks lead to the theft of data from corporate partners and employees, correspondence and internal documentation.

The PT ESC Incident Response Team discovered the existence of ChamelGang while investigating security vulnerabilities in the Russian fuel / energy and aviation sectors.

ChamelGang had compromised a subsidiary with a vulnerable version of a web application on the open source JBoss Application Server platform. By exploiting the CVE-2017-12149 vulnerability (which RedHat fixed more than four years ago), the criminals were able to remotely execute commands on the node.

Two weeks later, the hacker group also compromised the parent company. The attackers received the dictionary password of the local administrator on one of the servers in an isolated segment and penetrated the network via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

The attackers went unnoticed in the company network for three months; After examining it, they took control of most of it, including critical servers and nodes in different segments. The APT group targeted data and was able to steal it.

The attackers exploited a chain of related vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange (CVE-2021-34473, CVE-2021-34523, CVE-2021-31207) called ProxyShell. This became public last month and has been actively exploited by other APT groups since then.

The attackers gained access to the company’s mail servers through a back door that most anti-virus tools had not detected at the time of the attack. The attackers were only eight days in the infrastructure of the target organization and did not have the time to cause much damage.

A special feature of the attacks by ChamelGang is the use of new malware: ProxyT, BeaconLoader and the DoorMe back door. The latter is a passive back door that makes it much more difficult to recognize. The group also uses better-known variants such as FRP, Cobalt Strike Beacon and Tiny Shell.


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