SolarWinds has just confirmed that their systems experienced a highly sophisticated, manual supply chain attack on SolarWinds Orion Platform software builds for versions 2019.4 HF 5 through 2020.2.1, released between March 2020 and June 2020.
Please be aware that an additional update to this story has been added – https://www.systemtek.co.uk/2020/12/update-on-the-solarwinds-orion-code-compromise/
Multiple trojanzied updates were digitally signed from March – May 2020 and posted to the SolarWinds updates website.
They have been advised this attack was likely conducted by an outside nation state and intended to be a narrow, extremely targeted, and manually executed attack, as opposed to a broad, system-wide attack.
This campaign may have begun as early as Spring 2020 and is currently ongoing. Post compromise activity following this supply chain compromise has included lateral movement and data theft. The campaign is the work of a highly skilled actor and the operation was conducted with significant operational security.
FireEye has said the SolarWinds.Orion.Core.BusinessLayer.dll is a SolarWinds digitally-signed component of the Orion software framework that contains a backdoor that communicates via HTTP to third party servers. They are tracking the trojanized version of this SolarWinds Orion plug-in as SUNBURST.
After an initial dormant period of up to two weeks, it retrieves and executes commands, called “Jobs”, that include the ability to transfer files, execute files, profile the system, reboot the machine, and disable system services. The malware masquerades its network traffic as the Orion Improvement Program (OIP) protocol and stores reconnaissance results within legitimate plugin configuration files allowing it to blend in with legitimate SolarWinds activity. The backdoor uses multiple obfuscated blocklists to identify forensic and anti-virus tools running as processes, services, and drivers.
FireEye said that nation-state hackers that hacked its systems (tracked as UNC2452) are the same as the ones abusing SolarWinds Orion business software.
They recommend taking the following steps related to your use of the SolarWinds Orion Platform.
Upgrade to Orion Platform version 2020.2.1 HF 1 as soon as possible to ensure the security of your environment. The latest version is available in the SolarWinds Customer Portal.
If you cannot upgrade immediately, please follow the guidelines available here for securing your Orion Platform instance. The primary mitigation steps include having your Orion Platform installed behind firewalls, disabling internet access for the Orion Platform, and limiting the ports and connections to only what is necessary.
An additional hotfix release, 2020.2.1 HF 2 is anticipated to be made available Tuesday, December 15, 2020. We recommend that all customers update to release 2020.2.1 HF 2 once it is available, as the 2020.2.1 HF 2 release both replaces the compromised component and provides several additional security enhancements.
FireEye is releasing signatures to detect this threat actor and supply chain attack in the wild. These are found on their public GitHub page.
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