Router Roulette: Cybercriminals and Nation-States Sharing Compromised Networks

Cybercriminals and Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors share a common interest in proxy anonymization layers and Virtual Private Network (VPN) nodes to hide traces of their presence and make detection of malicious activities more difficult. This shared interest results in malicious internet traffic blending financial and espionage motives.

A prominent example of this includes a cybercriminal botnet (operating since at least 2016) that used compromised Ubiquiti EdgeRouter devices, which was disrupted by the FBI and other international partners on January 26, 2024. In April 2022, the APT group Pawn Storm (also known as APT28 and Forest Blizzard) managed to gain access to the bots in this botnet, which the threat actor then used for its own persistent espionage campaigns.

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Source: Trend Micro

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