Hacker hijacked Orange Spain RIPE account causing internet outage to company customers

Pierluigi Paganini January 04, 2024

An internet outage impacted Orange Spain after a hacker gained access to the company’s RIPE account to misconfigure BGP routing.

The hacker, who uses the moniker ‘Snow’, gained access to the RIPE account of Orange Spain and misconfigured the BGP routing causing an internet outage.

The customers of the company were not able to access the internet for several hours on January 3 as a result of the attack.

The company confirmed that a hacker compromised its RIPE account.

The RIPE NCC (Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre) is one of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) responsible for the allocation and registration of IP addresses and autonomous system numbers (ASNs) in a specific geographical region. RIPE NCC primarily serves the European and Middle Eastern regions. Its main functions include managing and distributing Internet number resources, facilitating the coordination of the regional Internet infrastructure, and supporting the development of the Internet in its service region.

The hacker changed the AS number associated with a range of IP addresses of Orange Spain, and enabled an invalid RPKI configuration on them.

Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) is a system designed to secure the Internet’s routing infrastructure, particularly within the context of the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). BGP is a crucial protocol used for routing traffic between different autonomous systems (ASes) on the Internet. RPKI adds a layer of security to BGP by cryptographically binding IP address prefixes to the entities that hold the legitimate right to advertise them.

“As we see, what they did was create ROA /12 records, which basically indicate who the RPKI AUTHORITY is on a prefix (i.e. the AS that can announce it), which grouped together the /22 and /24 prefixes announced by Orange Spain.” explained the researcher Felipe Canizares of DMNTR Network Solutions in a series of messages posted on X.

Snow contacted Orange Spain to give them the new credentials. The hacker explained that he did it to “prevent an actual bad threat actor from finding the account and compromising it”. 

The RIPE NCC also launched an investigation into the incident.

“We encourage account holders to please update their passwords and enable multi-factor authentication for their accounts. If you suspect that your account might be impacted, please report it to [email protected].” reads the statement published by the RIPE NCC.

Alon Gal, co-founder and CTO at Hudson Rock, speculated that the hacker obtained the credentials from Orange Spain’s RIPE administrator account after an Orange employee had their computer infected with the Raccoon information stealer in September 2023.

“Today, a threat actor took over the RIPE administrator account of Orange Spain resulting in a 50% reduction in traffic. Hudson Rock confirms that the infiltration originated from an Infostealer infection of an Orange employee – password used was ridiculous as well – “ripeadmin”.” Gal wrote on LinkedIn.

“Earlier today the threat actor posted images from inside the RIPE account they infiltrated, showing the email address of the account. The email address is found in Hudson Rock’s cybercrime intelligence database and we can confirm the employee was infected by Raccoon Infostealer back in September.

The employee has many corporate credentials, including their RIPE credentials and it is very likely that this is how the threat actor infiltrated into the account.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Orange)

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