Media Alert: SophosLabs Reports on Cloud Snooper, an Advanced Targeted Attack that Allows Malware to Communicate Across Firewalls

Sophos Press Release

OXFORD, U.K. – Feb. 25, 2020 – Sophos (LSE: SOPH), a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, today published a SophosLabs report on Cloud Snooper, a sophisticated attack that uses a unique combination of techniques to allow malware on servers to communicate freely with its command and control servers through firewalls. The report deconstructs the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) used in the attack. SophosLabs believes the attack was the work of a nation state motivated by espionage.

As detailed in the report, the TTPs used together include: a rootkit circumventing firewalls, a rare technique to gain access to servers disguised as normal traffic, and a backdoor payload that shares malicious code between both Windows and Linux operating systems, a known, but uncommon approach. While each individual element has been observed previously in attacks by highly-skilled adversaries, they have not been seen before in combination. Sophos expects that this package of TTPs will trickle down to the lower rungs of the cybercriminal hierarchy and be used as blueprints for new firewall attacks.

“This is the first time we have seen an attack formula that combines a bypassing technique with a multi-platform payload targeting both Windows and Linux systems. IT security teams and network administrators need to be diligent about patching all external-facing services to prevent attackers from evading cloud and firewall security policies,” said Sergei Shevchenko, threat research manager, SophosLabs. “IT security teams also need to protect against multi-platform attacks. Until now, Windows-based assets have been the typical target, but attackers are more frequently considering Linux systems because cloud services have become popular hunting grounds. It’s a matter of time before more cybercriminals adopt these techniques.”

Advice for Defenders

  • Create a full inventory of all devices connected to the network, and update all security software used on these devices
  • Ensure all external-facing services are fully patched. Cloud hosting services often provide firewall security, but this should not be a substitute for an organization’s own cloud security measures
  • Check and double check all cloud configurations. The Sophos 2020 Threat Report reveals that user misconfiguration and lack of visibility are the top causes of attacks in the cloud
  • Enable multi-factor authentication on any security dashboards or control panels used internally to prevent attackers from disabling security products during an attack
  • Remember, there is no single silver bullet for security, and a layered, defense-in-depth, next generation security model – including components designed specifically to protect data and networks in the cloud, like Sophos Cloud Optix with Sophos Intercept X for Server – is an essential best practice

For additional information, please reference this SophosLabs Uncut article.

About Sophos

As a worldwide leader in next-generation cybersecurity, Sophos protects more than 400,000 organizations of all sizes in more than 150 countries from today’s most advanced cyber threats. Powered by SophosLabs – a global threat intelligence and data science team – Sophos’ cloud-native and AI-powered solutions secure endpoints (laptops, servers and mobile devices) and networks against evolving cyberattack techniques, including ransomware, malware, exploits, data exfiltration, active-adversary breaches, phishing, and more. Sophos Central, a cloud-native management platform, integrates Sophos’ entire portfolio of next-generation products, including the Intercept X endpoint solution and the XG next-generation firewall, into a single “synchronized security” system accessible through a set of APIs. Sophos has been driving a transition to next-generation cybersecurity, leveraging advanced capabilities in cloud, machine learning, APIs, automation, managed threat response, and more, to deliver enterprise-grade protection to any size organization. Sophos sells its products and services exclusively through a global channel of more than 53,000 partners and managed service providers (MSPs). Sophos also makes its innovative commercial technologies available to consumers via Sophos Home. The company is headquartered in Oxford, U.K. More information is available at www.sophos.com.