Security Market Segment LS
Thursday, 11 August 2022 10:31

Cisco reveals attack on company's network by ransomware group Featured

Cisco reveals attack on company's network by ransomware group Courtesy Cisco

Global networking giant Cisco has revealed that its systems have been breached, with the break-in becoming apparent on 24 May and effected through stolen employee credentials obtained from a personal Google account.

The company's Talos Intelligence security unit issued a long blog post on Wednesday, providing details of the incident, but not specifying when the actual break-in occurred.

The website Bleeping Computer, which reports on numerous ransomware incidents, said it had been emailed a list of files last week, which were claimed to have been stolen during the attack.

Coincidentally, Cisco's mea culpa came on the same day — 10 August — when the attackers, the Yanluowang ransomware gang, published a list of documents on the dark web which were claimed to belong to Cisco.

The Talos post was not attributed to any Cisco staffer as is normal for such posts. The attackers posted lists of files to some Cisco bigwigs, one of which contained a list from a Box folder. A screenshot of an email is below.


"After obtaining initial access, the threat actor conducted a variety of activities to maintain access, minimise forensic artifacts, and increase their level of access to systems within the environment," the post said.

"The threat actor was successfully removed from the environment and displayed persistence, repeatedly attempting to regain access in the weeks following the attack; however, these attempts were unsuccessful.

"We assess with moderate to high confidence that this attack was conducted by an adversary that has been previously identified as an initial access broker (IAB) with ties to the UNC2447 cyber crime gang, Lapsus$ threat actor group, and Yanluowang ransomware operators."

No ransomware was deployed on Cisco's servers during the attack.

Commenting on the incident, Lior Yaari, chief executive and co-founder of Grip Security, an Israeli cyber security start-up that provides SaaS visibility, governance and data security, said: "This is a great example of attackers stealing a personal credential and using it to penetrate the enterprise. This is probably occurring far more frequently than reported in the news.

"The use of SaaS services is exacerbating this problem and expanding a company’s attack surface because employees do tend to use personal passwords for SaaS used at work.”

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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