The Great ORB Heist: How China’s Hackers Hide Behind a Web of Proxy Servers for Cyber Espionage

Discover the shadowy world of ORBs, where China-linked hackers pull the cyber strings via a devious network of proxies. It’s espionage with a side of tech wizardry! #MaliciousProxyNetworks

Hot Take:

What do you get when you mix virtual private servers, a sprinkle of compromised IoT devices, and a dash of Chinese espionage? A recipe for a cybersecurity headache known as ORBs! These Operational Relay Box networks are like the Hydra of the internet – cut off one head, and two more shall take its place, all while your digital secrets get siphoned off to who-knows-where. The game of cyber whack-a-mole just got a whole lot trickier.

Key Points:

  • China-linked hackers are utilizing a vast network of ORBs for cyberespionage, making digital hide-and-seek not just a game, but an art form.
  • These ORBs are a delightful blend of leased virtual private servers and the digital zombies of IoT—the things you thought were dead but keep coming back.
  • Two notorious networks, SPACEHOP and FLORAHOX, are like the VIP clubs for China’s threat actors, with exclusive malware cocktails on the menu.
  • The lifetime of an IPv4 address in an ORB network is shorter than some Hollywood marriages, averaging a mere 31 days.
  • Defending against ORBs is like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded, with the colors constantly changing – good luck to enterprise defenders!
Title: Unauthenticated remote arbitrary code execution
Cve id: CVE-2022-27518
Cve state: PUBLISHED
Cve assigner short name: Citrix
Cve date updated: 10/18/2023
Cve description: Unauthenticated remote arbitrary code execution

Need to know more?

Proxy Servers Gone Wild

Imagine a bunch of proxy servers getting together, having a party, and deciding to go rogue. That's what these ORBs are up to, courtesy of some China-linked digital puppet masters. Mandiant's been peeking behind the curtain and has spotted ORB networks like SPACEHOP, which sounds like an intergalactic bar but is actually just a hotspot for APT5 and APT15 to mingle and launch their cyber shenanigans.

How to Build Your Own ORB

If you're looking for a DIY project, here's how you make an ORB: take some cloned Linux images, mix them with compromised routers (preferably end-of-life for that vintage feel), and voilà, you have a covert cyberespionage network. Don't forget to add a dash of TOR and hacked routers for that extra spice.

Hide and Seek, but It's Cyber

Remember playing hide and seek as a kid? Well, these ORB networks have turned it into a professional sport. They're hiding in plain sight, using compromised routers and devices that blend in with normal traffic. The result? A cyberespionage campaign so sneaky, even the NSA is taking notes.

IPv4 Addresses: More Fickle Than a Cat's Affection

The lifespan of an IPv4 address in an ORB network is about 31 days. That's right, these addresses are here for a good time, not a long time. It's all part of the plan to keep threat actors' true locations and activities as mysterious as the dark side of the moon.

The Art of Digital War

Defending against these ORBs is like playing chess with a pigeon – it's messy, unpredictable, and you might just lose your cool. With attackers cycling through nodes like there's no tomorrow, enterprise defenders have to level up their game. Just when you think you've got the indicators down, the adversaries have already moved on to their next digital masquerade ball.

Tags: Adversary Controlled Operations Server, Attribution Challenges, Autonomous System Number, China-linked APTs, Compromised IoT Devices, Cyber Espionage, virtual private servers