US Cert Alert – Vice Society

Vice Society is an intrusion, exfiltration, and extortion hacking group that first appeared in summer 2021. Vice Society actors do not use a ransomware variant of unique origin.
Instead, the actors have deployed versions of Hello Kitty/Five Hands and Zeppelin ransomware, but may deploy other variants in the future.

Vice Society actors likely obtain initial network access through compromised credentials by exploiting internet-facing applications [T1190]. Prior to deploying ransomware, the actors spend time exploring the network, identifying opportunities to increase accesses, and exfiltrating data [TA0010] for double extortion-a tactic whereby actors threaten to publicly release sensitive data unless a victim pays a ransom. Vice Society actors have been observed using a variety of tools, including SystemBC, PowerShell Empire, and Cobalt Strike to move laterally.
They have also used “living off the land” techniques targeting the legitimate Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) service [T1047] and tainting shared content [T1080].

Vice Society actors have been observed exploiting the PrintNightmare vulnerability (CVE-2021-1675 and CVE-2021-34527 ) to escalate privileges [T1068].
To maintain persistence, the criminal actors have been observed leveraging scheduled tasks [T1053], creating undocumented autostart Registry keys [T1547.001], and pointing legitimate services to their custom malicious dynamic link libraries (DLLs) through a tactic known as DLL side-loading [T1574.002].
Vice Society actors attempt to evade detection through masquerading their malware and tools as legitimate files [T1036], using process injection [T1055], and likely use evasion techniques to defeat automated dynamic analysis [T1497].
Vice Society actors have been observed escalating privileges, then gaining access to domain administrator accounts, and running scripts to change the passwords of victims’ network accounts to prevent the victim from remediating.

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