Why did Iran need to collect intelligence from American companies?
According to the Microsoft Threat Intelligence team, the Iranian hacking group APT33 has been conducting widespread attacks since February 2023 with the intention of stealing passwords and other sensitive data.
According to Microsoft, the Iranian hacker collective APT33 (Peach Sandstorm, HOLMIUM, Refined Kitten) poses a significant threat to the internet. The group has been attacking thousands of organizations in the United States and other nations since February 2023. Defense, satellite, and the pharmaceutical industries all attract the attention of hackers.
APT33 employs a technique known as "password spraying," in which hackers try to access numerous accounts with a single password or a list of widely used passwords. This approach is distinct from brute force attacks, which target a single account by choosing a password from a lengthy list. By using this technique, attackers can significantly raise their chances of success while lowering the chance that their accounts will be automatically blocked.
In order to gain access to victim networks, hackers also made use of flaws in unpatched Confluence and ManageEngine devices. Once inside, APT33 used the Roadtools and AzureHound frameworks to collect data from the victims' cloud environments and scout out their Azure Active Directory. Additionally, hackers created new subscriptions using stolen Azure credentials or abused Azure Arc to take control of devices connected to the victims' networks.
Microsoft came to the conclusion that the campaign was probably being run to gather intelligence for Iranian interests based on the target organizations' profiles and the activity that was being observed.
Over the past ten years, Iranian cybercriminals have launched some of the most devastating cyberattacks, wiping out entire computer networks in the Middle East and the US. You can learn more about the organization of the groups, their objectives, and their capabilities by reading our in-depth analysis of Iranian hacking activities.
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