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Cybercrime, UNC2452 leverages SolarWinds supply chain

FireEye: UNC2452 leveraged SolarWinds supply chain to compromise multiple global victims with SUNBURST malware in an ongoing campaign

UNC2452 leveraged SolarWinds supply chain to compromise multiple global victims with SUNBURST malware. It has been discovered by FireEye cybersecurity experts. The cybercrime actors gained access to numerous public and private organizations around the world. They gained access to victims via trojanized updates to SolarWind’s Orion IT monitoring and management software. 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. 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. Researchers tracked its trojanized version as SUNBURST. The victims have included government, consulting, technology, telecom and extractive entities in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

How the backdoor and infection chain work according to the cybersecurity experts

According to the cybersecurity experts, 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. The trojanized update file is a standard Windows Installer Patch file that includes compressed resources associated with the update, including the trojanized SolarWinds.Orion.Core.BusinessLayer.dll component. Once the update is installed, the malicious DLL will be loaded by the legitimate SolarWinds.BusinessLayerHost.exe or SolarWinds.BusinessLayerHostx64.exe. After a dormant period of up to two weeks, the malware will attempt to resolve a subdomain of avsvmcloud[.]com. The DNS response will return a CNAME record that points to a Command and Control (C2) domain. The C2 traffic to the malicious domains is designed to mimic normal SolarWinds API communications.

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