Abusing third-party cloud services in targeted attacks

Wednesday 2 October 16:30 - 17:00, Green room

Daniel Lunghi (Trend Micro)
Jaromir Horejsi (Trend Micro)



The infrastructure of malware is important for both attackers and defenders. A typical piece of malware needs to reach an attacker-operated server to get its commands and send the results back. Yet, on the attacker's side, designing, implementing and maintaining a C&C infrastructure is time- and resource-consuming as well as error-prone. On the defender's side, analysing the infrastructure of a threat actor is useful in building patterns for detection, tracking an actor's activity, gathering more intelligence about it and correlating it to known groups.

Threat actors performing targeted attacks have high stealth requirements, and we have seen attacks that shifted to cloud services for this reason. This seems to be a smart move, as the infrastructure is maintained by a third party and the malicious traffic is mixed with legitimate traffic. However, such a choice has drawbacks for the attacker.

In this presentation we will show examples of targeted attacks involving threat actors from different parts of the world, for example Muddywater or Confucius, that moved part of their infrastructure to well-known third-party cloud services: file-sharing services (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive), communication and collaboration services (e.g. Slack, Telegram), version control services (e.g. GitHub) or publishing platforms (e.g. Blogger). We will detail different implementations and how we managed to use them to our advantage to find out more about the attackers and their campaigns.

 

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Daniel Lunghi

Daniel Lunghi is a threat researcher at Trend Micro. He has been monitoring threat actors, hunting malware and performing incident response investigation for years, sometimes in IT infrastructures involving thousands of hosts. When not on the trail of online attackers, Daniel still spends time in front of a keyboard — on a piano.

@thehellu

 

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Jaromir Horejsi

Jaromir Horejsi is a threat researcher at Trend Micro. He specializes in hunting and reverse-engineering threats that target Windows and Linux. He has researched many types of threats over the course of his career, covering threats such as APTs, DDoS botnets, banking trojans, click fraud and ransomware. In the past he has presented his research at RSAC, Virus Bulletin, FIRST, AVAR, Botconf and CARO.

@JaromirHorejsi

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