FBI: Russian State-Sponsored Cyber Actors Gain Network Access by Exploiting Default Multifactor Authentication Protocols and “PrintNightmare” Vulnerability


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are releasing this joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) to warn organizations that Russian state-sponsored cyber actors have gained network access through exploitation of default MFA protocols and a known vulnerability. As early as May 2021, Russian state-sponsored cyber actors took advantage of a misconfigured account set to default MFA protocols at a non-governmental organization (NGO), allowing them to enroll a new device for MFA and access the victim network.

The actors then exploited a critical Windows Print Spooler vulnerability, “PrintNightmare” (CVE-2021-34527) to run arbitrary code with system privileges. Russian state-sponsored cyber actors successfully exploited the vulnerability while targeting an NGO using Cisco’s Duo MFA, enabling access to cloud and email accounts for document exfiltration.

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Source: U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Cyber Division