Malwarebytes targeted by Nation State Actor implicated in SolarWinds breach. Evidence suggests abuse of privileged access to Microsoft Office 365 and Azure environments

While Malwarebytes does not use SolarWinds, we, like many other companies were recently targeted by the same threat actor. We can confirm the existence of another intrusion vector that works by abusing applications with privileged access to Microsoft Office 365 and Azure environments. After an extensive investigation, we determined the attacker only gained access to a limited subset of internal company emails. We found no evidence of unauthorized access or compromise in any of our internal on-premises and production environments.

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As the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) stated, the adversary did not only rely on the SolarWinds supply-chain attack but indeed used additional means to compromise high-value targets by exploiting administrative or service credentials.

In 2019, a security researcher exposed a flaw with Azure Active Directory where one could escalate privileges by assigning credentials to applications. In September 2019, he found that the vulnerability still existed and essentially lead to backdoor access to principals’ credentials into Microsoft Graph and Azure AD Graph.

Third-party applications can be abused if an attacker with sufficient administrative privilege gains access to a tenant. A newly released CISA report reveals how threat actors may have obtained initial access by password guessing or password spraying in addition to exploiting administrative or service credentials. In our particular instance, the threat actor added a self-signed certificate with credentials to the service principal account. From there, they can authenticate using the key and make API calls to request emails via MSGraph.

For many organizations, securing Azure tenants may be a challenging task, especially when dealing with third-party applications or resellers. CrowdStrike has released a tool to help companies identify and mitigate risks in Azure Active Directory.

Source: Malwarebytes targeted by Nation State Actor implicated in SolarWinds breach. Evidence suggests abuse of privileged access to Microsoft Office 365 and Azure environments – Malwarebytes Labs | Malwarebytes Labs

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