Hackers Accessed National Games of China Systems

The National Games of China is a sporting event which took place in the city of Shaanxi on September 15, 2021.

While the multi-sport event does occur every four years, it consists of Chinese athletes only, and therefore should not be confused with the Winter/regular Olympics.

Prior to its opening earlier that September, David Alvarez, an Avast threat researcher, discovered a malware sample containing a suspicious file extension, and decided to investigate its origins.

Soon after, Alvarez uncovered a report submitted by the National Games IT team to VirusTotal on an attack against a server associated with the games.

The threat researcher and his team recently published their research based on publicly accessible information regarding the incident.

The report featured access logs from the web-server and SQL database, which provided the researchers with partial attack-related info.

They were then able to correlate this report with the malware samples that had been identified.

The team’s analysis illustrates how the bad actors were able to access a system hosting content for the Games by targeting a web server flaw.

Once exploited, they were in a position to load webshells, reconfigure servers and load tools, which included a network scanner and one-click exploitation framework.

Based on the report’s findings, it would appear likely that the breach had been successfully resolved prior to the Games’ opening date.

Although researchers expressed a belief that the attackers were either Chinese natives, or at least held a high fluency in the language, no insight was offered on attack actions regarding the greater network.

For organizations and businesses of the world, one of the biggest takeaways of the report is the critical need to address web server flaws, which, un-patched, can evidently lead to breaches.

This type of exploitation procedure has already been wielded by hackers to compromise the systems of numerous other firms across the globe.

The good news, however, is that weaknesses such as this can often be fixed by keeping software up to date, setting effective configurations, and utilizing vulnerability scanners to identify any potential points of concern.

When it comes to cyber security fundamentals, prevention should always be at the top of any organization’s priorities.



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