July 13, 2022
August 15, 2023

Electric Utility Hit by Cyberattack - Enhance OT Cybersecurity with BlastShield

Electric Utility Hit by Cyberattack - Enhance OT Cybersecurity with BlastShield

In the last few days the largest  power utility  in Zambia reported  a major cyber attack.  Not much is known about the extent of the damage or impact to the Utility, but the malicious tools have been identified as DroxiDat and Cobalt Strike. This incident raises severe concerns regarding the vulnerability of our critical infrastructures to cyber-attacks.

An In-depth Look at the Cyberattack

The attackers deployed a lean 8kb variant of SystemBC known as DroxiDat, alongside Cobalt Strike beacons, in an incident that likely marked the initial stages of a ransomware attack. This alarming discovery was part of a small wave of attacks occurring in the third and fourth weeks of March 2023.

The targeted domain was linked to an IP host previously associated with Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) activities. Although no direct link to previous APT attacks was confirmed, and no ransomware was delivered, the similarities cannot be overlooked.

Interestingly, around the same timeframe, other incidents involving CobaltStrike and the Nokoyawa ransomware were detected, highlighting a shared pattern and potentially the same actors behind these threats.

Key Features of DroxiDat/SystemBC

  • Profiling: The DroxiDat variant serves as a system profiler capable of retrieving active machine details, IP information, and making alterations to the system registry.
  • Deployment: It is capable of creating new threads and establishing connections to remote hosts, encrypting and sending collected data to Command and Control (C2) servers.
  • Persistence: Certain DroxiDat executables have capabilities to add entries to the Windows registry, maintaining persistence in the infected systems.
  • Wider Implications: An Alarming Trend

In a manner reminiscent of the 2021 Darkside Colonial Pipeline incident, a trend of increased targeting of utilities is emerging, posing significant threats to industrial organizations and infrastructure. The third quarter of 2023 witnessed significant activities by ransomware groups. Furthermore, 56% of global utilities reported at least one attack involving loss of private information or an outage in the OT environment in the past year.

The increasing frequency of these targeted attacks reveals a real-world problem with substantial potential consequences, especially in regions where network outages may affect customers on a country-wide scale.

Transforming Energy OT Cybersecurity with BlastShield

The energy industry is at the heart of modern civilization, powering homes, businesses, and essential services. The industry's constant evolution towards digitization has brought about immense benefits but has also exposed it to a wide array of cyber threats. The incidents of the past few years highlight a troubling trend. But where challenges arise, solutions follow.

An OT Cybersecurity Solution That Works: Introducing BlastShield

The cyber threats facing the energy sector are unique and complex. Traditional security measures often fall short, leaving critical infrastructure at risk. It's time to rethink the way we approach cybersecurity in the energy industry with BlastShield.

BlastShield is a groundbreaking OT cybersecurity solution that addresses the specific challenges facing the energy sector. Its unique approach includes:

1. Secure Remote Access: It enables secure connections, ensuring that only authorized personnel can access critical systems.

2. Network Segmentation and Device Cloaking: BlastShield segments networks and makes devices invisible to potential attackers, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.

3. Cost Reduction: With an approach that replaces traditional methods like firewalls, jump hosts, and VPNs, BlastShield can reduce costs by up to 70%.

4. Mobile Security: The BlastShield Authenticator for iOS and Android enhances security with phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication.

5. Comprehensive Protection: By leveraging a software-defined perimeter and zero-trust architecture, BlastShield protects against compromised access, unauthorized discovery, lateral attacks, and more.

6. Ease of Management: BlastShield's Orchestrator simplifies network segmentation and access controls through a single-pane-of-glass management interface.

7. Compliance: It aligns with industry standards and guidance such as NIST, IEC, and NERC-CIP, ensuring that organizations meet regulatory requirements.

The BlastShield Difference

This attack included malware that profiles devices.  BlastShield cloaks each device and only allows visibility and access that must be expressly granted by utilities administrators.  Malware cannot see anything without being granted those permissions, which renders tools like Cobalt Strike and DoxiDat feckless. If Zambia had been using BlastShield, the attackers would have been ineffective.  

BlastShield's solutions are vendor, protocol, and network agnostic. It simplifies the management of OT security while delivering unparalleled protection. Its performance has been acknowledged by the Tolly Group as the fastest ZTNA solution, performing up to 34x faster than other vendors.

Act Now: Secure Your OT Systems with BlastShield

The landscape of cyber threats is constantly evolving, and the stakes have never been higher. The energy industry must act proactively to safeguard its critical infrastructure. With BlastShield, the path to enhanced resilience and security is clear and attainable.

Don't wait until a cyber attack disrupts your operations or compromises sensitive data. Reach out to BlastWave and learn how BlastShield can transform your cybersecurity approach. Whether your focus is on generation, transmission, distribution, or network security, BlastShield has a tailored solution for you.

Visit www.blastwave.com/#solutions to explore how BlastShield can fit your unique needs, or visit www.blastwave.com/blastshield to get detailed insights into BlastShield's capabilities.

Protect your organization's future. Choose BlastShield for robust and cost-effective cybersecurity that stands up to the unique challenges of the energy industry. Your investment in security today is an investment in a reliable and uninterrupted future.

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