Kaspersky Lab reveals an increase in RDP bruteforce attacks

Pierluigi Paganini July 01, 2014

Security experts at Kaspersky Lab have issued data related to the number of RDP brute force attacks on its clients which show a worrying trend.

In the June Kaspersky Lab has included in its products an Intrusion Detection System, which allowed the company to analyze  more information on going attacks on its clients. Kaspersky has issued the data related to RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) bruteforce attack attempts detected by its solutions, the number of these offensives is in constant growth. The Remote Desktop Protocol, aka RDP, is a Microsoft’s proprietary protocol is widely used by system administrators to control machines remotely through a graphical interface.

dozens of thousands victims, +1000 unique detects each day since June 3rd. A number of possible attackers had been identified already, but the investigation is ongoing. IDS detects this type of attack as Bruteforce.Generic.RDP.” reports a blog post from Kaspersky.

Brute-force attacks are easy to arrange and can be effective when that attackers have a good computational capability and the targeted systems are protected by weak passwords. The cybercrime ecosystem can count on huge botnets that could be used to brute-force target systems in a short time. .

Hacking an RDP-connection is very profitable for cyber criminals which can gain in this way the control of servers or can sell the credentials of targeted systems as commodities in the underground. The black market offers many tools that could be used for cracking RDP credentials like ncrack and Fast RDP Brute.

RDP credentials crack

The attackers in possession of RDS credentials could conduct different malicious activities with the server, including data exfiltration from targeted networks/systems and malware distribution.

“He (or she) also can gain access to your company internal network, given that the “penetrated” workstation is connected to it, or attempt to check out all of the passwords in the browser installed on the affected system. Opportunities are multiple, and the consequences can be dire.”

The following image illustrates the geographic distribution of the RDP attacks, Russia and US are the countries which suffer the greatest number of attacks, followed by Turkey. Brazil and Western European countries are also under attack.

As might be expected, according to the data collected by Kaspersky about 64% of the targeted machines are servers.

RDP attack distribution

Kaspersky has also tried to explain the tactic behind the attacks, the attackers usually start launching a large-scale attack to collect information on as many systems as possible, then they sort by their potential value. The value for a server is profitable for hackers which sell data on the black market.

“While both can be used to relay spam or launch DDoS-attacks, owning a server means getting much more computing resources and broader communications channels, as well as, potentially, a total control over all outgoing and incoming traffic. And that is something to go for in a case of a targeted attack on the business, to which this server belongs.”

To mitigate the attacks manage carefully your RDP credentials.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  RDP,  hacking)

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