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Advanced Persistent Threats are significant security issues. Tabula Rosa Systems offers powerful and compelling solutions to these threats. Please contact us as noted below for information!
National Cyber Awareness System:
TA17-293A: Advanced Persistent Threat Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors
10/20/2017 06:50 PM EDT
Original release date: October 20, 2017 | Last revised: October 21, 2017
- Domain Controllers
- File Servers
- Email Servers
OverviewThis joint Technical Alert (TA) is the result of analytic efforts between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This alert provides information on advanced persistent threat (APT) actions targeting government entities and organizations in the energy, nuclear, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. Working with U.S. and international partners, DHS and FBI identified victims in these sectors. This report contains indicators of compromise (IOCs) and technical details on the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by APT actors on compromised victims’ networks.
DHS assesses this activity as a multi-stage intrusion campaign by threat actors targeting low security and small networks to gain access and move laterally to networks of major, high value asset owners within the energy sector. Based on malware analysis and observed IOCs, DHS has confidence that this campaign is still ongoing, and threat actors are actively pursuing their ultimate objectives over a long-term campaign. The intent of this product is to educate network defenders and enable them to identify and reduce exposure to malicious activity.
Additional information related to TA17-293A - Advanced Persistent Threat Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors is available to authorized users of the NCCIC Portal on the Homeland Security Information Network. The NCCIC Portal provides a secure, web-based, collaborative system to share sensitive, cyber-related information and news with participants in the public and private sector. Information available to visitors is governed by the Traffic Light Protocol, used to ensure that sensitive information is shared with the appropriate audience. Supplementary information on TA17-293A is designated TLP:AMBER. For information on how to access the NCCIC Portal, email NCCICcustomerservice@hq.dhs.gov or call 888-282-0870.
DescriptionSince at least May 2017, threat actors have targeted government entities and the energy, water, aviation, nuclear, and critical manufacturing sectors, and, in some cases, have leveraged their capabilities to compromise victims’ networks. Historically, cyber threat actors have targeted the energy sector with various results, ranging from cyber espionage to the ability to disrupt energy systems in the event of a hostile conflict.  Historically, threat actors have also targeted other critical infrastructure sectors with similar campaigns.
Analysis by DHS, FBI, and trusted partners has identified distinct indicators and behaviors related to this activity. Of specific note, the report Dragonfly: Western energy sector targeted by sophisticated attack group, released by Symantec on September 6, 2017, provides additional information about this ongoing campaign. 
This campaign comprises two distinct categories of victims: staging and intended targets. The initial victims are peripheral organizations such as trusted third party suppliers with less secure networks. The initial victims are referred to as “staging targets” throughout this alert. The threat actor uses the staging targets’ networks as pivot points and malware repositories when targeting their final intended victims. The ultimate objective of the cyber threat actors is to compromise organizational networks, which are referred throughout this alert as “intended target.”
Technical DetailsThe threat actors in this campaign employed a variety of TTPs, including:
- open-source reconnaissance,
- spear-phishing emails (from compromised legitimate accounts),
- watering-hole domains,
- host-based exploitation,
- industrial control system (ICS) infrastructure targeting, and
- ongoing credential gathering.
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