Cybereason researchers identified three clusters of activity associated with China-linked threat actors that carried out a series of attacks against networks of at least five major telecommunications companies located in South Asia since 2017.
“The goal of the attackers behind these intrusions was to gain and maintain continuous access to telecommunication providers and to facilitate cyber espionage by collecting sensitive information, compromising high-profile business assets such as the billing servers that contain Call Detail Record (CDR) data, as well as key network components such as the Domain Controllers, Web Servers and Microsoft Exchange servers,” states the report published by Cybereason.
The three clusters were linked to the China-linked APT groups tracked as Soft Cell (aka Gallium), Naikon APT (aka APT30 or Lotus Panda), and TG-3390 (aka APT27 or Emissary Panda).
Below are the details of each cluster:
The attackers spent a significant effort to avoid detection, like the HAFNIUM attacks, the threat actors exploited the ProxyLogon vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft Exchange Servers to gain access to the targeted networks.
“They then proceeded to compromise critical network assets such as Domain Controllers (DC) and billing systems which contain highly sensitive information like Call Detail Record (CDR) data, allowing them access to the sensitive communications of anyone using the affected telecoms’ services.” continues the analysis..
Naikon APT employed a backdoor tracked “Nebulae” that supports common backdoor capabilities, including the ability to collect LogicalDrive information, manipulate files and folders, download and upload files from and to the command-and-control server, list/execute/terminate processes on compromised devices.
Experts found multiple overlaps between the activities of the clusters, below the hypothesis elaborated by the experts:
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(SecurityAffairs – hacking, China-linked APT)