Imperial Kitten  , a threat group identified by CrowdStrike  , specializes in targeting IT service providers in order to gain access to valuable data. This group utilizes specific malware families, such as IMAPLoader and StandardKeyboard, to carry out their operations. They also employ various techniques for lateral movement and credential harvesting.
Imperial Kitten utilizes a malware family known as IMAPLoader, which is distributed as a DLL and controlled through email communication  . This serves as their final payload to gain unauthorized access to targeted systems. Additionally, they utilize another malware family called StandardKeyboard, which executes commands received in the email body  .
To facilitate lateral movement, Imperial Kitten employs open-source tools like PAExec and NetScan . These tools allow them to move laterally within compromised networks, expanding their reach and access to valuable data. Furthermore, they employ the technique of dumping the LSASS process memory using ProcDump to harvest credentials.
It is worth noting that researchers have observed typographical errors in the malware, indicating that the author may not be a native English speaker.
The activities of Imperial Kitten pose a significant threat to IT service providers and the valuable data they handle. To mitigate this threat, organizations should implement robust security measures, such as regular patching and updates, network segmentation, and strong access controls. Additionally, user awareness training can help prevent successful phishing attempts, which are often used as an initial entry point by threat actors like Imperial Kitten.
As the threat landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial for organizations to stay vigilant and adapt their security strategies accordingly. Ongoing research and collaboration between security professionals and organizations can help identify and address emerging threats, ensuring the protection of valuable data and systems.