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MS Exchange Server Flaw: Keylogger Deployment Revealed

Wajahat Raja

June 5, 2024 - TuxCare expert team

In a recent revelation, an unidentified malicious actor has been exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server to infiltrate systems with a keylogger malware, targeting various entities across Africa and the Middle East. The cybersecurity firm Positive Technologies has disclosed that this campaign has affected more than 30 organizations, ranging from government agencies to financial institutions and educational establishments. The earliest recorded compromise of the MS Exchange Server flaw dates back to 2021.


The MS Exchange Server Flaw Unraveled

Positive Technologies shed light on the modus operandi of this keylogger, indicating that it covertly collected account credentials, storing them in a file accessible through a specific internet pathway. As per
media reports, the scope of affected countries includes Russia, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Oman, Niger, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Jordan, and Lebanon.

The Network Security Breaches 

This infiltration leveraged vulnerabilities known as ProxyShell bugs, specifically tracked as CVE-2021-34473, CVE-2021-34523, and CVE-2021-31207. These flaws, originally addressed by Microsoft in May 2021, enabled authentication evasion, privilege escalation, and remote code execution, paving the way for the installation of the keylogger onto the Exchange Server’s main page.

The Vulnerability Exploitation Chain

The sequence of events for the
MS Exchange Server flaw attack begins with the exploitation of ProxyShell vulnerabilities, facilitated by the threat actors. Subsequently, the keylogger deployment is surreptitiously added to the server’s main page, specifically to the “logon.aspx” file. This addition is accompanied by code injection designed to capture credentials, which are then stored in a file accessible via the internet upon the user clicking the sign-in button.

Malware distribution poses a significant threat to cybersecurity worldwide. Despite extensive investigation, Positive Technologies refrains from attributing these attacks to a specific threat actor or group due to insufficient information.

Protective Measures

Understanding various
cyber attack vectors is essential for comprehensive cybersecurity defense strategies. Organizations are strongly advised to update their Microsoft Exchange Server instances to the latest version to mitigate data privacy risks. Endpoint protection is crucial for safeguarding devices against evolving cyber threats.

Additionally, vigilant system monitoring of the Exchange Server’s main page is recommended to detect any signs of compromise, particularly the presence of the keylogger within the “logon.aspx” file. Should a compromise be detected, organizations are urged to identify and delete the file storing the stolen account data.


Incident Response Strategies

Ensuring robust
email server security is paramount in today’s digital landscape. As part of proactive security measures, it is imperative for organizations to not only update their Exchange Server instances promptly but also conduct thorough assessments to ensure the integrity of their systems. 

Incorporating threat intelligence into cybersecurity operations enhances proactive threat detection and mitigation strategies. By remaining vigilant and implementing robust security protocols, organizations can fortify their defenses against such malicious intrusions.



exploitable vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server to deploy keylogger malware underscores the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats faced by organizations globally. By staying informed, adopting proactive security updates like patch management, and collaborating with cybersecurity experts, entities can safeguard their digital assets and uphold the integrity of their operations in the face of emerging threats.

The sources for this piece include articles in The Hacker News and SC Media.


MS Exchange Server Flaw: Keylogger Deployment Revealed
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MS Exchange Server Flaw: Keylogger Deployment Revealed
Uncover how MS Exchange Server flaw enables keylogger deployment. Stay protected with insights on the latest cyber threats.
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