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New activity from Nobelium targets IT Supply-Chains

Microsoft have shared details on recent activity observed from the Russian nation-state actor, Nobelium - the same actor behind the cyberattacks which targeted SolarWinds customers in 2020.



Victims of these attacks included government, consulting, technology, telecom and consumer entities across all verticals in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.


The new activity observed in connection with Nobelium has seen the group piggybacking on direct access that resellers may have to their customers’ IT systems, allowing them to impersonate an organisation’s trusted supply chain and ultimately gain access to downstream customers.


So far, Microsoft has notified over 140 resellers and technology service providers currently being targeted by the group, with as many as 14 already believed to have been compromised.

Nobelium have attempted to replicate the approach they have used in previous attacks by targeting organisations integral to the global IT supply chain.


When commonly used software is compromised, a single supply chain attack can often allow threat actors to gain access to significant volumes of organisations utilising that software, making it an attractive technique.



Between July 1 and October 19, Microsoft believes that 22,868 attacks were conducted by the group against 609 customers. The scale of attacks observed so far demonstrates the potential significant impact Nobelium could have has across a multitude of organisations.


Intelligence indicates that Russia may be attempting to gain long-term access to a variety of points in organisational IT supply chains, to ultimately establish a foothold to allow surveillance on both present and future targets to the Russian government.


The attacks observed in the recent campaign have not yet attempted to exploit any vulnerabilities in commonly used software, but instead used well-known techniques, like password spray and phishing to steal legitimate credentials and gain privileged access. This demonstrates the importance of educating personnel in basic security practices, such as identifying phishing emails.



Reporting

Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).


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