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Friday, 05 March 2021 08:07

Microsoft, Mandiant offer new SolarWinds attack details, little clarity

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Microsoft, Mandiant offer new SolarWinds attack details, little clarity Pixabay

Microsoft and security firm FireEye's Mandiant Threat Intelligence division have published further details about the SolarWinds attacks, but neither company has fully verified the claims they make.

Adding to the confusion was a plethora of new names for different aspects of the attacks from both companies.

In a blog post, Microsoft said it had identified three new pieces of malware that were being used in late-stage attacks by the actor behind the SolarWinds attacks, which it called NOBELIUM.

Mandiant, however, continued to refer to the actor suspected to be behind the attacks as UNC2452, a name it doled out at the time when first reports of the attack were issued in December 2020.

Microsoft said it had found the three new malware specimens in compromised customer networks which it did not name. The malware had been in use in August and September 2020, it claimed, adding that they could have been in use as early as June 2020.

The new malware was given the names GoldMax, Sibot and GoldFinder. A huge amount of technical detail about how the three malware specimens operated was provided, but there was no indication as to the end-game.

Similarly, Mandiant said it had found a new backdoor named SUNSHUTTLE which had been uploaded to a public malware repository by a US-based entity.

However, Mandiant said it had not fully verified the connections between SUNSHUTTLE and UNC2542, even though it claimed there was a link.

Last week, FireEye chief executive Kevin Mandia told a US Government panel that he was still not aware of how the SolarWinds attackers had gained a foothold to begin their attacks.


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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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