What Is The SolarWinds Hack And Why It Was So Hard To Detect?

June 7th · 3 min read

Guardio Research Team
Guardio Research Team

__The SolarWinds hack was a sophisticated cyberattack that led to the compromise of solarwinds.com, the website of an American software company that provides network and systems management tools. __

The hack allowed the attackers to insert malicious code into the updates of Orion, a network monitoring product used by SolarWinds. This gave them remote access to the systems of SolarWinds' clients, which included some of the world's largest companies and government agencies.

The SolarWinds hack was carried out by a group of hackers known as Cozy Bear, which is believed to be affiliated with the Russian intelligence agency, the FSB. The group has been linked to previous cyberattacks, such as the 2022 Olympics hack and the 2016 U.S. election interference.

Why was it challenging to be detected?

The attackers were able to insert the malicious code into SolarWinds' software without being detected because they had access to the company's internal systems. They then used this access to sign the malicious code with a valid SolarWinds digital certificate, making it appear as though the code came from a trusted source.

As a result, when SolarWinds' clients installed the update, they unknowingly installed the malicious code.

The malicious code allowed the attackers to gain access to the networks of SolarWinds' clients and collect sensitive information. The attackers could remain undetected for an extended period because they used sophisticated techniques to avoid detection.

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The malicious Orion updates:

SolarWinds released an update to its Orion platform on 2021-03-08 that contained malicious code. This update was signed with a valid SolarWinds digital certificate and appeared to come from a trusted source.

When installed, the update gave the attackers remote access to the systems of SolarWinds' clients. The attackers could then collect sensitive information from these systems, such as username and password hashes.

SolarWinds has released a security update that removes the malicious code from the Orion platform. SolarWinds is also working with law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate the attack.

No easy solution:

There is no easy solution to the SolarWinds hack. The best way to protect your organization is to ensure comprehensive security measures. This includes having a robust cyber security program that is regularly reviewed and updated.

SolarWinds has released a security update that addresses the vulnerabilities exploited in the attack. However, it is important to note that this update does not remove the malicious code from systems that have already been compromised. Organizations should ensure that their systems are not infected with malicious code.

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What can you do?

If you are a SolarWinds customer, you should install the security update as soon as possible. You should also check your system for any signs of compromise, such as unusual network activity or unauthorized access.

If you are not a SolarWinds customer, you should take steps to protect your system from being compromised by the SolarWinds hack. These steps include:

Updating your software

  • Using strong passwords
  • Enabling two-factor authentication
  • Keeping your software up-to-date
  • Restricting access to sensitive data
  • Monitoring your system for unusual activity
  • Implementing a comprehensive security program

If you believe your system has been compromised, you should take immediate action to contain the breach and prevent further damage. You should also contact law enforcement and seek help from qualified cyber security professional to assist you in investigating and remedying the situation.

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