Scattered Spider, also known by other names like Octo Tempest, 0ktapus, and UNC3944, has emerged as a significant threat in the cybersecurity landscape. This ransomware gang is known for its sophisticated attacks across various sectors, including telecom, hospitality, retail, and financial services. Their primary tactics involve advanced social engineering, leveraging both technical and non-technical methods to breach and exploit their targets.

Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs)

  • Living Off The Land (LOTL) Techniques: Utilizing everyday tools like PowerShell for reconnaissance and stealthily altering network settings to bypass security measures MITRE TTP T1059.
  • Credential Phishing and Social Engineering: Expertise in capturing one-time-password (OTP) codes, multi-factor authentication (MFA) notification fatigue tactics, and impersonation MITRE TTP T1566.
  • Exploitation of Identity Providers: Targeting identity providers and modifying security systems to blend malicious activities with normal network operations MITRE TTP T1078.
  • Use of Vulnerabilities: Exploiting known vulnerabilities like CVE-2015-2291 in Intel Ethernet diagnostics drivers to deploy malicious kernel drivers MITRE TTP T1068.
  • Remote Management Tool Usage: Employing a range of legitimate remote management tools to maintain persistent access MITRE TTP T1078.
  • SIM Swapping and Push Bombing: Engaging in SIM swapping and targeted MFA attacks MITRE TTP T1111.
  • Ransomware Deployment and Data Extortion: Using ransomware for data exfiltration and file encryption, targeting specific systems to maximize impact MITRE TTP T1486.
  • Targeting Cloud Resources: Focusing on cloud resources to establish a foothold, perform network reconnaissance, and access sensitive systems MITRE TTP T1078.

Notable Incidents

  • MGM Resorts Attack: A high-profile ransomware attack causing significant disruption.
  • Telecommunication and Tech Targets: Initial focus on telecom and tech companies, before expanding to other sectors.

Mitigation Strategies

  • Defense-in-Depth Approach: Implementing rigorous monitoring of endpoints, cloud workloads, identities, and networks.
  • Patch Management: Prioritizing updates to address known vulnerabilities in systems and software.

Challenges in Mitigation

  • Evolution of Techniques: Continuous adaptation and enhancement of their attack methodologies.
  • Operational Tempo: Rapid execution of attacks, often overwhelming security response teams.

Further Reading