Tuesday, July 23, 2024
EHA

Russian APT Group Attack Microsoft 365 users Abusing Azure Services

There has been a surge in cyberespionage attacks levied by Cozy Bear (aka APT29 and Nobelium), a Russian cyberespionage group backed by the Russian government. 

The cybersecurity analysts at Mandiant affirmed that to gain access to foreign policy information in NATO countries, Cozy Bear targets Microsoft 365 accounts in those countries.

There are a number of people who use Microsoft 365 as a cloud-based productivity suite, including the following:-

  • Business and enterprise entities
  • Facilitating collaboration
  • Communication
  • Data storage
  • Email
  • Office

In addition to continually demonstrating exceptional operational security, the Russian group has continued to conceal the methods of attacking their targets from analysts, preventing their discovery and exposure.

Targeting Microsoft 365

There is a security feature known as “Purview Audit” that users of a higher-level license of Microsoft 365 are entitled to use. The following information is logged each time an email is accessed independently of an enabled program:-

  • User agents
  • IP addresses
  • Timestamps
  • Usernames

Hackers disable the Purview Audit feature on a compromised account before opening the mail folder of a targeted user to evade audits.

The APT29 also enables users to self-enroll in Azure Active Directory (AD) for multifactor authentication (MFA) using a form provided by Azure.

The Russian hackers traversed the domain and enrolled their devices with MFA using brute force attacks on usernames and passwords. 

This type of authentication fulfills the security provisions that are required for the use of a VPN infrastructure hosted by the organization that is compromised. As a result, the breached network allows APT29 to roam freely without restriction.

The APT group uses compromised accounts to be able to use Azure Virtual Machines as part of their strategy to hide their tracks. By mixing malicious activity with legitimate Azure AD admin activity, APT29 further obfuscates its intentions.

It is believed that they have started collecting emails from targeted mailboxes in the tenant by using the account with ApplicationImpersonation rights and backdooring a service principal.

Whether these subscriptions were purchased or compromised by nation-state actors is unclear. Russian hacking group Cozy Bear (aka APT29) is among the most skilled in the world. 

Despite putting extreme emphasis on strict operational security standards in the past, APT29 has developed its technical tradecraft in recent years.

Secure Azure AD Conditional Access – Download Free E-Book

Website

Latest articles

SonicOS IPSec VPN Vulnerability Let Attackers Cause Dos Condition

SonicWall has disclosed a critical heap-based buffer overflow vulnerability in its SonicOS IPSec VPN....

Hackers Registered 500k+ Domains Using Algorithms For Extensive Cyber Attack

Hackers often register new domains for phishing attacks, spreading malware, and other deceitful activities. Such...

Hackers Claim Breach of Daikin: 40 GB of Confidential Data Exposed

Daikin, the world's largest air conditioner manufacturer, has become the latest target of the...

Emojis Are To Express Emotions, But CyberCriminals For Attacks

There are 3,664 emojis that can be used to express emotions, ideas, or objects...

Beware Of Fake Browser Updates That Installs Malicious BOINC Infrastructre

SocGholish malware, also known as FakeUpdates, has exhibited new behavior since July 4th, 2024,...

Data Breach Increases by Over 1,000% Annually

The Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC), a nationally recognized nonprofit organization established to support...

UK Police Arrested 17-year-old Boy Responsible for MGM Resorts Hack

UK police have arrested a 17-year-old boy from Walsall in connection with a notorious...
Balaji
Balaji
BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

Free Webinar

Low Rate DDoS Attack

9 of 10 sites on the AppTrana network have faced a DDoS attack in the last 30 days.
Some DDoS attacks could readily be blocked by rate-limiting, IP reputation checks and other basic mitigation methods.
More than 50% of the DDoS attacks are employing botnets to send slow DDoS attacks where millions of IPs are being employed to send one or two requests per minute..
Key takeaways include:

  • The mechanics of a low-DDoS attack
  • Fundamentals of behavioural AI and rate-limiting
  • Surgical mitigation actions to minimize false positives
  • Role of managed services in DDoS monitoring

Related Articles