The SCARLETEEL attack campaign, known for targeting cloud environments, is now shifting its focus to Amazon Web Services (AWS) Fargate, according to a report by Sysdig security researcher Alessandro Brucato. The campaign employs advanced techniques and tools to evade security measures and establish a stealthy command and control infrastructure.
Originally exposed in February 2023, SCARLETEEL involves a sophisticated attack chain that results in the theft of proprietary data from AWS infrastructure and the deployment of cryptocurrency miners. While there are potential links to the cryptojacking group TeamTNT, it is uncertain if the actors are merely imitating their methods. The attackers primarily target AWS accounts, exploiting vulnerable public-facing web applications to gain persistence, steal intellectual property, and generate illegal revenue through crypto mining. The campaign takes advantage of a mistake in an AWS policy to escalate privileges and gain control over the targeted account.
The adversary begins by exploiting JupyterLab notebook containers in a Kubernetes cluster to conduct network reconnaissance and gather AWS credentials for deeper access. They subsequently install the AWS command line tool and exploit frameworks like Pacu for further exploitation. SCARLETEEL also employs various shell scripts to retrieve AWS credentials, including those specifically targeting AWS Fargate compute engine instances. The attackers use the AWS client to connect to Russian systems compatible with the S3 protocol, employing stealthy techniques to avoid detection in CloudTrail logs during data exfiltration.
Additionally, they utilize tools such as the Kubernetes Penetration Testing tool Peirates and the DDoS botnet malware Pandora, indicating their intent to monetize the compromised hosts.
While monetary gain through crypto mining remains a priority, the attackers also prioritize the theft of intellectual property. Overall, SCARLETEEL continues to target cloud environments, specifically AWS and Kubernetes, by exploiting open compute services and vulnerable applications. The campaign demonstrates a persistent focus on both financial gain and the theft of valuable intellectual property.