Uber revealed more details about the security incident that occurred last week on Monday, pinning the attack on a threat actor it believes is affiliated with the notorious LAPSUS$ hacking group.
The financially motivated extortionist group was dealt a massive blow in March 2022 when the City of London Police arrested seven suspected LAPSUS$ gang members aged 16 to 21. Two of them were charged for their actions weeks later.
The hacker responsible for the Uber breach, an 18-year-old teenager known as Tea Pot, has also claimed responsibility for breaking into video game publisher Rockstar Games over the weekend.
“This group typically uses similar techniques to target technology companies, and in 2022 alone has breached Microsoft, Cisco, Samsung, NVIDIA, and Okta, among others,” the San Francisco-based company said in an update.
As the company’s investigation into the incident continues, Uber stated that it is functioning with “several leading digital forensics firms,” in addition to cooperating with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Justice Department.
In terms of how the attack occurred, the ridesharing company stated that an “EXT contractor” had their personal device compromised with malware and their corporate account credentials stolen and sold on the dark web, correlating with an earlier Group-IB report. The previous week, the Singapore-based company reported that at least two of Uber’s employees in Brazil and Indonesia had been infected with Raccoon and Vidar information robbers.
“The attacker then repeatedly tried to log in to the contractor’s Uber account,” the company said. “Each time, the contractor received a two-factor login approval request, which initially blocked access. Eventually, however, the contractor accepted one, and the attacker successfully logged in.”
After gaining access, the miscreant appears to have accessed other employee accounts, giving the malicious party access to “several internal systems” such as Google Workspace and Slack. The company also stated that as part of its incident response measures, it disabled impacted tools, rotated keys to the services, locked down the codebase, and blocked compromised employee accounts from accessing Uber systems or issued password resets for those accounts.
Uber did not say how many employee accounts were potentially compromised, but it emphasised that no unauthorised code changes were made and that there was no evidence the hacker had access to production systems that support its customer-facing apps. The firm also revealed that the attacker gained access to HackerOne bug reports, but added that “any bug reports the attacker was able to access have been remediated.”
“There is only one solution to making push-based [multi-factor authentication] more resilient and that is to train your employees, who use push-based MFA, about the common types of attacks against it, how to detect those attacks, and how to mitigate and report them if they occur,” Roger Grimes, data-driven defence evangelist at KnowBe4, said in a statement.
According to Chris Clements, vice president of solutions architecture at Cerberus Sentinel, organisations must recognise that MFA is not a “silver bullet” and that not all factors are created equal.
While there has been a transition from SMS-based authentication to an app-based approach to reduce the dangers associated with SIM swapping attacks, the attack against Uber and Cisco shows that security controls that were once thought to be infallible are being circumvented by other means.
The fact that threat actors are relying on attack paths such as adversary-in-the-middle (AiTM) proxy toolkits and MFA fatigue (aka prompt bombing) to trick an unsuspecting employee into inadvertently handing over MFA codes or authorising an access request underscores the importance of employing phishing-resistant methods.
“To prevent similar attacks, organizations should move to more secure versions of MFA approval such as number matching that minimize the risk of a user blindly approving an authentication verification prompt,” Clements said.
“The reality is that if an attacker only needs to compromise a single user to cause significant damage, sooner or later you are going to have significant damage,” Clements added, underscoring strong authentication mechanisms “should be one of many in-depth defensive controls to prevent compromise.”
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