Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a widely adopted protocol for remote administration, but it could dramatically enlarge the attack surface if it isn’t properly managed.
The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the DHS issued a joint alert to highlight the rise of RDP as an attack vector.
Attackers are exploiting this feature to access systems to deploy malware such as the SamSam ransomware.
“Malicious cyber actors have developed methods of identifying and exploiting vulnerable RDP sessions over the Internet to compromise identities, steal login credentials, and ransom other sensitive information.” reads the alert issued by IC3.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommend businesses and private citizens review and understand what remote accesses their networks allow and take steps to reduce the likelihood of compromise, which may include disabling RDP if it is not needed.”
Attackers can “infiltrate the connection” between the local and the remote machines and inject malware into the remote system. Experts warn that attacks using the Remote Desktop Protocol do not require user input, this makes intrusions difficult to detect.
The IC3 warns of the following vulnerabilities:
The alert includes the audit of network for systems using RDP for remote communication, limiting the use of the Remote Desktop Protocol, keeping systems up to date, and implements multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
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(Security Affairs – IC3, hacking)