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New Scattered Spider group targets telcos for SIM swapping attacks

Updated on 2022-12-06

A financially-motivated threat actor, tracked as Scattered Spider, has been targeting telcos and BPO firms and reversing defense mitigations, reported Crowdstrike. Read more: Sneaky hackers reverse defense mitigations when detected

Overview: New Scattered Spider group targets telcos for SIM swapping attacks

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A new financially-motivated threat actor tracked as Scattered Spider has been on a rampage over the past few months, hacking into the networks of telcos and outsourcing companies in order to gain access to customer information and, in some cases, carry out SIM-swapping attacks.

The attacks have been taking place since June this year and follow a model previously made popular by the Lapsus$ gang.

The initial stages start with phone calls and text or Telegram messages to a company’s employees, posing as its IT department. The calls and messages ask employees to visit a phishing site or instruct them to download a boobytrapped application.

Phished credentials and compromised systems are then used to establish a foothold inside a company’s network, with the group quickly acting to move laterally across the network and create multiple persistence methods for future access.

Security firm CrowdStrike—which detailed Scattered Spider’s modus operandi in a report published last Friday—described the group and its actions as “extremely persistent and brazen.”

They operate using many open-source tools and across Windows, Linux, Google Workspace, AzureAD, Microsoft 365, and AWS environments, sometimes in a very noisy way.

If their intrusions are detected, Scattered Spider operators will re-access a victim’s network through their backdoors and use their access to roll back security mitigations put in place by the targeted organisation. If they lose access to a network, CrowdStrike says the group immediately moves to a new target as if nothing happened.

CrowdStrike said that “swift and bold” security measures to isolate compromised environments had the best results in kicking the group out of a victim’s network and making it move to a new target.

New Scattered Spider group targets telcos for SIM swapping attacks

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