Why Every Organization Should Have Extended Detection and Response (XDR) as a Cornerstone of its Cybersecurity Plan
February 24, 2023

‘BlackTech’ Chinese Government-Linked Hackers Exploit Routers in Targeted Attacks, Warn US and Japan

In an era dominated by advanced technology and interconnected digital systems, cybersecurity has emerged as a paramount concern. Threat actors are continually devising sophisticated strategies to infiltrate networks, compromise data, and disrupt operations. 

One such significant cyber threat is the BlackTech group, believed to have ties to the Chinese government. Their highly advanced hacking techniques, particularly exploiting vulnerabilities in routers, have raised alarms across the globe. In response to this evolving danger, cybersecurity agencies in the United States and Japan have united to release a comprehensive advisory, aiming to provide crucial insights into the threat posed by BlackTech and steps to fortify against it.

Unmasking the BlackTech Cyber Threat

The cyber threat posed by BlackTech, an established group with origins dating back to 2010, has garnered significant attention from cybersecurity agencies. At the core of their methodology lies the exploitation of routers and the surreptitious modification of router firmware. This allows them to discreetly infiltrate target organizations, focusing primarily on entities in the U.S. and Japan. Once inside, they pivot from subsidiary networks to the company’s headquarters, enabling them to extend their reach and compromise critical systems.

BlackTech’s targets encompass a broad spectrum of sectors, revealing their adaptability and diverse interests. Government entities, industrial enterprises, technology firms, media organizations, electronics manufacturers, telecommunication companies, and defense industrial bases have all found themselves in the crosshairs of BlackTech. Employing an array of techniques and custom malware, BlackTech remains a formidable adversary, making detection and mitigation a daunting task. Their strategic use of stolen code-signing certificates and sophisticated evasion tools enables them to maintain an appearance of legitimacy, and camouflaging within network operations.

Analyzing the BlackTech Arsenal

BlackTech’s tools and techniques are a cause for concern, given their ability to bypass conventional security measures. Their exploitation of routers, especially the “branch routers” used in remote branch offices to connect to corporate headquarters, presents a unique challenge. This approach not only provides access to central networks but also allows them to blend seamlessly with typical corporate network traffic, evading detection.

The group’s utilization of custom malware payloads, including BendyBear, FakeDead, and FlagPro, underscores their adeptness in crafting malicious software to serve their objectives. Additionally, they employ remote access tools (RATs) to compromise Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD operating systems. BlackTech’s ability to execute “living off the land” techniques further enhances their capability to avoid detection, blending their activities with regular operations to appear legitimate.

Joint Cybersecurity Advisory: A Call to Action

Recognizing the severity of the threat posed by BlackTech, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), National Security Agency (NSA), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in collaboration with their counterparts in Japan, have jointly issued a comprehensive advisory. The advisory aims to provide organizations with crucial insights into the workings of BlackTech and equips them with proactive measures to strengthen their cybersecurity defenses.

“With our U.S. and international partners, CISA continues to call urgent attention to China’s sophisticated and aggressive global cyber operations to gain persistent access and, in the case of BlackTech actors, steal intellectual property and sensitive data,” said Eric Goldstein, Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity at CISA.

One of the advisory’s key takeaways is the urgency of implementing the recommended mitigations promptly. By following the provided steps, organizations can significantly bolster their cybersecurity posture, reducing the risk of compromise from BlackTech. Staying informed about ongoing developments in the threat landscape and remaining vigilant is paramount in today’s cybersecurity landscape.

Strengthening Your Digital Fortifications

To ensure a resilient cybersecurity posture, organizations should prioritize several fundamental practices. These include maintaining an up-to-date inventory of network assets, promptly patching and updating systems to mitigate vulnerabilities, and restricting unnecessary access to critical systems. Regular monitoring, incident response planning, and employee training are also vital components of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

Moreover, leveraging advanced threat detection solutions, implementing multi-factor authentication, and conducting regular security assessments can further fortify an organization’s defenses. Collaborating with SECNAP Network Security and staying informed about emerging threats can provide valuable insights and proactive steps to safeguard against evolving cyber threats like BlackTech. Hackers are not just attacking endpoints; what is needed is a comprehensive cybersecurity defense that includes constant threat hunting and other proactive measures.

At SECNAP Network Security, we understand that cyber threats can affect businesses of any scale, and we have developed a solution to address this significant problem. Our comprehensive cybersecurity service, CloudJacketXi, is tailored to address the unique needs of SMBs to mid-market enterprises at an accessible price point. 

CloudJacketXi unifies the crucial functionalities of XDR, EDR, SIEM, MDR, and NDR, providing a robust defense mechanism against a wide array of threats. 

Our threat intelligence platform, analyzed by a dedicated U.S.-based Security Operations Center (SOC) staffed with highly experienced cybersecurity experts, ensures unmatched protection.

SECNAP can prepare your business, train your staff against various threats, and help you implement comprehensive cybersecurity measures. With our CloudJacketXi, you not only gain advanced security tools but also a dedicated team committed to securing your digital landscape, allowing you to focus on driving your business to new heights. 

SECNAP’s additional solutions, such as our Cybersecurity Awareness Training, External Security Assessments, Internal Vulnerability Assessments, Web Application Assessments, Compliance Services, and Dark Web Monitoring can help increase your cybersecurity resilience and defend against the constant onslaught of cybercriminals. To learn more about SECNAP and its wide range of solutions, please complete the form on this page.

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