Experts at McAfee have discovered hackers offering RDP access to compromised machines worldwide while analyzing several black markets.
The researchers discovered shops offering between 15 to more than 40,000 RDP connections for sale, the largest one is the Russian Ultimate Anonymity Service (UAS).
The second-largest RDP shop experts researched is BlackPass, where it is possible to find the widest variety of products, including RDP access into computers.
Crooks are increasingly leveraging RDP connections in their attacks, many campaigns used RDP to distribute malware, such as the SamSam ransomware.
Cybercriminals also started offering in the dark web RDP accessed to high-value networks for less than $1 or scanning services for accessible systems.
Sellers in major black marketplaces offer RDP accesses to a broad range of systems, ranging from Windows XP to Windows 10. The experts noticed that Windows 2008 and 2012 Server are the most popular with 11,000 and 6,500 accesses respectively.
“The advertised systems ranged from Windows XP through Windows 10. Windows 2008 and 2012 Server were the most abundant systems, with around 11,000 and 6,500, respectively, for sale.” reads the analysis published by McAfee.
“Prices ranged from around US $3 for a simple configuration to $19 for a high-bandwidth system that offered access with administrator rights.”
Experts also found accesses to systems running Windows Embedded Standard (or Windows IOT), the offers at UAS Shop and BlackPass were characterized by hundreds of identically configured machines associated with municipalities, housing associations, and healthcare institutions in the Netherlands. The offer of black markets also includes multiple government systems worldwide.
Analyzing the UAS Shop, the researchers discovered a recently added Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard machine available at only $10 that was located in a major International airport in the United States.
The seller was offering it with three user accounts, the administrator account, and other two associated with a company specializing in airport security and building automation and with another specializing in camera surveillance and video analytics for airports.
Such kind of accesses could be very dangerous because they offer an entry point in critical infrastructure for attackers.
“We did not explore the full level of access of these accounts, but a compromise could offer a great foothold and lateral movement through the network using tools such as Mimikatz,” explained McAfee.
The surprises are not ended, the researchers found an account on another system associated with a domain that appears to be related to “the airport’s automated transit system, the passenger transport system that connects terminals.”
“Now we know that attackers, like the SamSam group, can indeed use an RDP shop to gain access to a potential high-value ransomware victim. We found that access to a system associated with a major international airport can be bought for only $10—with no zero-day exploit, elaborate phishing campaign, or watering hole attack.” conclude the researchers.
“Governments and organizations spend billions of dollars every year to secure the computer systems we trust. But even a state-of-the-art solution cannot provide security when the backdoor is left open or carries only a simple padlock.”
(Security Affairs – RDP access, dark web)