The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is being used by cyberattackers to penetrate and extract data from a network before introducing their malicious software to perform internal reconnaissance, according to a new Vectra 2019 Spotlight Report on RDP.
RDP is used by IT system administrators to centrally control their remote systems with the same functionality as if they were local, and RDP is used managed service providers in their management of hundreds of client networks and systems, notes the report. Three major attack scenarios in 2019 – an Iranian cyberespionage group; a Chinese state-sponsored actor; and a healthcare ransomware extortion scheme – leveraged RDP as part of the broader campaign, says the report.
In September 2018, the FBI warned that the malicious use of RDP “has been on the rise since mid-late 2016," says Vectra. The FBI also reported that several high-profile ransomware attacks, such as Samsam and CrySiS, utilised RDP to laterally move inside of networks. Data from the report shows that 90 percent of the organisations exhibited some form of malicious RDP behaviors between January-June 2019.
Additional findings from the report include:
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