Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Cyberwarfare

‘Allanite’ Group Targets ICS Networks at Electric Utilities in US, UK

A threat actor has been targeting business and industrial control networks at electric utilities in the United States and United Kingdom, according to industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos.

A threat actor has been targeting business and industrial control networks at electric utilities in the United States and United Kingdom, according to industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos.

The group, tracked as “Allanite,” has been linked to campaigns conducted by Dragonfly (aka Energetic Bear and Crouching Yeti) and Dymalloy, which Dragos discovered while analyzing Dragonfly attacks.

Allanite

According to Dragos, a report published by the DHS in October 2017 combined Dragonfly attacks with Allanite activity. The company also noted that Allanite’s operations closely resemble the Dragonfly-linked Palmetto Fusion campaign described by the DHS in July 2017. However, while their targets and techniques are similar, Dragos believes Allanite is different from Dragonfly and Dymalloy.

Allanite leverages phishing and watering hole attacks to gain access to targeted networks. The group does not use any malware and instead relies on legitimate tools often available in Windows, Dragos says.

While the U.S. government and private sector companies have linked Allanite activity to Russia, Dragos says it “does not corroborate the attribution of others.”

In July 2017, US officials told the press that the hackers had not gained access to operational networks, but Dragos confirmed third-party reports that Allanite did in fact harvest information directly from ICS networks.

Learn More at SecurityWeek’s 2018 ICS Cyber Security Conference

Allanite has been active since at least May 2017 and continues to conduct campaigns. Its operations target both business and ICS networks at electric utilities in the US and UK in an effort to conduct reconnaissance and collect intelligence.

Dragos believes with moderate confidence that the threat actor gains access to industrial systems in an effort to obtain information needed to develop disruptive capabilities and be ready in case it decides to cause damage. However, the security firm says the group has yet to actually cause any disruption or damage.

Dragos’ report on Allanite is the first in a series focusing on threat groups targeting critical infrastructure. Information on each actor will be made available through an Activity Groups dashboard, with full technical details made available to paying customers.

Related: Critical Infrastructure Threat Is Much Worse Than We Thought

Related: Cisco Switches in Iran, Russia Hacked in Apparent Pro-US Attack

Related: Five Threat Groups Target Industrial Systems

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

CISO Strategy

Cybersecurity-related risk is a top concern, so boards need to know they have the proper oversight in place. Even as first-timers, successful CISOs make...

Nation-State

The North Korean APT tracked as TA444 is either moonlighting from its previous primary purpose, expanding its attack repertoire, or is being impersonated by...

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.

Cyberwarfare

Websites of German airports, administration bodies and banks were hit by DDoS attacks attributed to Russian hacker group Killnet

Cybercrime

Artificial intelligence is competing in another endeavor once limited to humans — creating propaganda and disinformation.

ICS/OT

Otorio has released a free tool that organizations can use to detect and address issues related to DCOM authentication.

Cybercrime

CISA, NSA, and MS-ISAC issued an alert on the malicious use of RMM software to steal money from bank accounts.

Cyberwarfare

The UK’s NCSC has issued a security advisory to warn about spearphishing campaigns conducted by two unrelated Russian and Iranian hacker groups.