Cracking Cyber Heist: MITRE Exposes Rogue VM Scheme by Crafty Hackers

In a digital heist straight out of a cyberpunk novel, MITRE faced a sneaky adversary who played “hide and seek” with rogue VMs in a VMware playground. The culprit? A China-nexus cyber squad, armed with stealth and zero-day exploits. Talk about a virtual reality check!

Hot Take:

Just when you thought your virtual machines were safe, cozy, and tucked away in the digital cloudscape, along comes a cyber heist straight out of ‘Inception.’ MITRE Corporation’s recent scuffle with cyber ne’er-do-wells shows that even the VMs aren’t immune to the digital equivalent of squatters setting up camp. If it’s not rogue AI we’re worried about, it’s rogue VMs. Can someone please remind them they’re not in the Matrix?

Key Points:

  • MITRE Corporation faced a cyber attack where the naughty hackers created rogue VMs in their VMware environment—talk about unwelcome guests!
  • The attackers used BEEFLUSH, a JSP web shell, and a Python-based tool to tunnel SSH connections like a mole under the digital fence.
  • These cyber shenanigans were part of a grand scheme to avoid detection and maintain persistent access like a cat burglar who’s made a spare key.
  • The adversary used the good old VPXUSER account to snoop around for drives, because who needs invitations?
  • MITRE is arming the digital world with PowerShell scripts, Invoke-HiddenVMQuery, and VirtualGHOST, to bust these ghostly VMs.
Cve id: CVE-2023-46805
Cve state: PUBLISHED
Cve assigner short name: hackerone
Cve date updated: 01/12/2024
Cve description: An authentication bypass vulnerability in the web component of Ivanti ICS 9.x, 22.x and Ivanti Policy Secure allows a remote attacker to access restricted resources by bypassing control checks.

Cve id: CVE-2024-21887
Cve state: PUBLISHED
Cve assigner short name: hackerone
Cve date updated: 01/12/2024
Cve description: A command injection vulnerability in web components of Ivanti Connect Secure (9.x, 22.x) and Ivanti Policy Secure (9.x, 22.x) allows an authenticated administrator to send specially crafted requests and execute arbitrary commands on the appliance.

Need to know more?

They See Me Rollin', They Hatin'

Picture this: It's late December, and while most are sipping hot cocoa and wrapping presents, the cyber Grinch decides to strike MITRE Corporation. Using zero-day flaws like a lockpick, the attackers infiltrated the system and decided to go full architect-on-Dreamscape by creating rogue VMs. These aren't your friendly neighborhood VMs; they're the sneaky kind that play hide and seek with the management interfaces.

Why Use Doors When You Have Tunnels?

The attackers weren't content with just any old attack; they brought out the BEEFLUSH and a Python-based tunneling tool to establish SSH connections. It's like setting up a secret underground network for the sole purpose of whispering sweet nothings (or malicious somethings) to the ESXi hypervisor infrastructure.

A Spy Among Us

With a plot twist worthy of a spy novel, these digital infiltrators used the CVE encyclopedia to their advantage, exploiting CVE-2023-46805 and CVE-2024-21887 to waltz past multi-factor authentication like it was a slow dance at the prom. Then, with the grace of a cat burglar, they leveraged a compromised admin account to control the VMware infrastructure. And if that wasn't enough, they deployed backdoors and web shells for a constant stream of digital espionage.

Who Needs a GUI When You Have CLI?

These rogue VMs are the ninjas of the virtual world, eluding detection with the stealth of shadows. According to MITRE, managing these through a GUI is like trying to catch a ghost with a net. They recommend special tools or techniques to combat these phantom machines, which apparently have a penchant for ignoring security policies and playing hard to get.

Defensive Spells for the Digital Realm

In the game of digital cat and mouse, MITRE is handing out the cheese. They've concocted two PowerShell scripts, Invoke-HiddenVMQuery and VirtualGHOST, to help identify these elusive VMs. It's like a digital Ghostbusters toolkit, only instead of proton packs, you get scripts. And the best part? Secure boot is the new garlic to these vampires, verifying boot process integrity and keeping unauthorized mods at bay.

So, there you have it, folks. The cyber world is a wild west, and MITRE's recent brush with digital desperados is a stark reminder to keep those virtual lassos at the ready. Remember, when it comes to cybersecurity, it's always Halloween; you never know what might be lurking in the shadows of your VMs.

Tags: backdoor malware, China-nexus threat actor, Network Lateral Movement, PowerShell Scripts for Security, Secure Boot Implementation, VMware Security, Zero-day exploitation