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Russian Hackers Employ Malicious Traffic Direction Systems to Spread Malware

Prometheus offers convenient observation of a system's state along with hardware and software metrics information from numerous endpoints.

Researchers have discovered possible linkages among a subscription-based crimeware-as-a-service (Caas) solution as well as a cracked copy of Cobalt Strike according to what they presume is being offered as a tool for customers to stage post-exploitation operations. 

Prometheus is an open-source activity monitoring and warning system for cloud applications that are based on metrics. Nearly 800 cloud-native companies, namely Uber, Slack, Robinhood, as well as others, employ it. 

Prometheus offers convenient observation of a system's state along with hardware and software metrics like memory use, network utilization, and software-specific defined metrics by scraping real-time information from numerous endpoints (ex. number of failed login attempts to a web application).

Prometheus has an understood policy of omitting built-in support for security features like authentication and encryption because the numeric metrics it collects are not deemed sensitive data. This allows the company to focus on creating monitoring-related services. It's being advertised on Russian underground forums as a traffic direction system (TDS) which allows bulk phishing redirection to rogue landing pages, designed to deliver malware payloads on targeted computers for $250 per month. 

"A system of a malicious technology, malicious email circulation, illicit folders across authorized platforms, traffic diversion, and the capacity to deliver infected files are the significant elements of Prometheus," the BlackBerry Research and Intelligence Team stated in a report. 

The redirection comes from one of two places: malicious advertisements on normal websites, or websites that have been tampered with to install harmful code. The attack network begins with a spam email that contains an HTML file or a Google Docs page; when opened, it redirects the victim to a compromised website that hosts a PHP backdoor fingerprint smudges the machine to determine whether to serve the victim with malware or redirect the user to another page that may contain a phishing scam.

While TDS's aren't a novel concept, the level of sophistication, support, and cheap financial cost lend validity to the hypothesis that this is a trend that will likely emerge in the threat environment in the near future, the researchers wrote.

In addition to enabling these techniques, it is strongly advised for anyone with a Prometheus implementation to query the previously listed endpoints to see if sensitive data was exposed before the identification and TLS functionalities in Prometheus were implemented.
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Customer Data

Malvertising Campaign


Online Traffic

Phishing and Spam

Sensitive data