Exchange, Fortinet Flaws Being Exploited by Iranian APT, CISA Warns

Meanwhile, a Microsoft analysis that followed six Iranian threat actor groups for over a year found them increasingly sophisticated, adapting and thriving.

A state-backed Iranian threat actor has been using multiple CVEs – including both serious Fortinet vulnerabilities for months and a Microsoft Exchange ProxyShell weakness for weeks – looking to gain a foothold within networks before moving laterally and launching BitLocker ransomware and other nastiness.

A joint advisory published by CISA on Wednesday was meant to highlight the ongoing, malicious cyber assault, which has been tracked by the FBI, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). All of the security bodies have traced the attacks to an Iranian government-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT).

The Iranian APT has been exploiting Fortinet vulnerabilities since at least March 2021 and a Microsoft Exchange ProxyShell vulnerability since at least October 2021, according to the alert. The weaknesses are granting the attackers initial access to systems that’s then leading to follow-on operations including ransomware, data exfiltration or encryption, and extortion.

The APT has used the same Microsoft Exchange vulnerability in Australia.

CISA Warning Follows Microsoft

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