APT Expands Attack on ManageEngine With Active Campaign Against ServiceDesk Plus

Over the course of three months, a persistent and determined APT actor has launched multiple campaigns which have now resulted in compromises to at least 4 additional organizations, for a total of 13. Beginning on Sept. 16, 2021, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an alert warning that advanced persistent threat (APT) actors were actively exploiting newly identified vulnerabilities in a self-service password management and single sign-on solution known as ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus. Building upon the findings of that initial report, on Nov. 7, Unit 42 disclosed a second, more sophisticated, active and difficult-to-detect campaign that had resulted in the compromise of at least nine organizations.

As an update to our initial reporting, over the past month we have observed the threat actor expand its focus beyond ADSelfService Plus to other vulnerable software. Most notably, between Oct. 25 and Nov. 8, the actor shifted attention to several organizations running a different Zoho product known as ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus. We now track the combined activity as the TiltedTemple campaign. In our Nov. 7 blog, we stated that “while attribution is still ongoing and we have been unable to validate the actor behind the campaign, we did observe some correlations between the tactics and tooling used in the cases we analyzed and Threat Group 3390 (TG-3390, Emissary Panda, APT27).”

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