In December 2020 the cybersecurity company FireEye publicly stated that a data breach had occurred within their organization, and that the theft of its Red Team tools (Penetration Testing toolkits) were due to a sophisticated threat actor. This may be a state-sponsored actor, as they possessed high capabilities in discipline, operational security and techniques. The attackers were identified as the hacking arm of the Russian SVR foreign intelligence team known as Cozy Bear.
What was Cozy Bear sniffing for?
According to FireEye, the tools that were stolen were mostly network reconnaissance and penetration testing toolkits like Metasploit. However, FireEye assured its clients and the public that these toolkits contained no zero-day vulnerabilities that can be exploited in the future. Furthermore, FireEye has deployed IOC (Indicators of Compromise), detection rules and signatures along with several CVE identifiers for its clients, to help mitigate future attacks from their tools.
FireEye is not underestimating this attack, as they suspect that Cozy Bear may be testing certain techniques or potentially trying to understand FireEye’s client security infrastructure. The endgame of Cozy Bear seems to be bigger than just stealing a bunch of pen-testing toolkits, but that theory has yet to be confirmed.
Aftermath of the breach
On a positive note, this could give Cyber Defensive teams in an organization the ability to come up with new creative tactics to defend against FireEye’s tools, while also creating strategies that deal with enhancements and customization to these tools by other threat actors. Perhaps the biggest lesson from this breach is that nothing is completely secure. A threat actor with the motivation, time and resources will eventually break into a secure system. However, kudos should be given to FireEye for their immediate response and handling of the situation.
For help in building a more secure system and environment, contact us at Agilient for the latest cybersecurity assistance.
Author: Saeed Baayoun, Agilient Consultant