By: Clinton Karr

LightsOut for the Energy Sector

This week, Zscaler ThreatLabZ has published research focused on the LightOut exploit kit being used in a "watering hole" attack again the energy sector. You can read additional analysis on the well-respected security research blog, ThreatPost.

In late February, Zscaler ThreatLabZ security research discovered a “watering-hole” attack targeting the energy sector. “Watering-hole” attacks compromise legitimate Web sites where its intended victims are expected to visit. In this instance, the compromised Web site was a law firm that works with energy companies. The compromised Web site was serving the “LightsOut” exploit, which installs a Remote Access Trojan (RAT). This attack is similar to an attack against the energy sector last fall and is potentially related.

Attacks like these show the sophistication of motivated attackers. In the past, infected documents and malicious URLs delivered via email were the primary vector for targeted attacks; however, by infecting a legitimate Web site, such as this law firm, attackers can more effectively compromise their targets through a trusted channel. Additionally, that these attacks are against the energy sector should be a concern since recent FERC and NERC reports about physical infrastructure have indicated that substation compromise could bring down the entire power grid nationwide. Are energy companies doing enough to protect its IT infrastructure?

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