Google Warns of Increasing Use of Native Cloud Tools by Attackers
New Details from the Threat Horizons Report
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In its latest Threat Horizons report, Google has issued a warning to the cybersecurity community about the growing trend of attackers utilizing native cloud tools to conceal their malicious activities. The report highlighted a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit called "Google Calendar RAT," which allows hackers and red teamers to repurpose Google Calendar events for command-and-control (C2) purposes. Although this exploit has not been observed in the wild, multiple users have shared it on cybercriminal forums, indicating potential interest.
The Google Calendar RAT was initially posted on GitHub in June and has since been forked 15 times. It significantly reduces the infrastructure required for C2 purposes, making it an attractive tool for attackers. Created by IT researcher Valerio Alessandroni, the RAT only requires an attacker to set up a Google service account and obtain its credentials.json file.
By placing this file in the same directory as the malicious script, the attacker can create a new Google calendar and share it with the service account. By editing the script to point to the calendar address, the attacker can execute commands using the event description field. The RAT periodically checks for commands, executes them on an infected machine, and returns the output in the description field.
Matt Shelton, head of threat research and analysis at Google Cloud, emphasized the shift in tactics used by threat actors. Instead of relying on dedicated C2 nodes, attackers are now leveraging cloud services to hide in the background. Shelton warned that "every cloud service could be used by an attacker to abuse customers." While Google has implemented a fix to block the Google Calendar RAT, the company cautions that similar malware may emerge in the future.
The use of cloud services by hackers presents unique challenges for cybersecurity professionals. Cloud services offer a convenient and scalable platform for legitimate users, but they also provide an opportunity for attackers to evade detection. As the cybersecurity landscape evolves, organizations must remain vigilant and proactive in their defense strategies.
Google's warning serves as a reminder that the cybersecurity community needs to stay ahead of emerging threats. With attackers constantly innovating and leveraging new technologies, it is essential for businesses and individuals to prioritize cybersecurity measures. By staying informed about the latest trends and vulnerabilities, organizations can better protect themselves and their data from malicious actors.
As the threat landscape continues to evolve, collaboration between technology companies, cybersecurity experts, and law enforcement agencies becomes increasingly crucial. By sharing information and working together, these stakeholders can collectively combat cyber crime and ensure a safer digital environment for all.