While it is bold to claim your company possesses predictive cyber intelligence technologies, we (Cyber Mongol) can positively say that our technology regularly provides early warning signals for damaging cyber events. TALK IS CHEAP – that’s why we like to back up our dialogue with facts, posting signals and analysis publicly as we see it. This story encompasses the F5 Networks BIG-IP vulnerability (CVE-2020-5902), Cyber Mongol’s signals and early warning issued to the community, CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency) issuing its own warning and culminating this week with an FBI Private Industry Notification (PIN), confirming that advanced operator tactics are now including this vector.
This story of exploitation begins like any other, a vulnerability is discovered (June 30th, 2020) which could potentially lead to exploitation; in this case full RCE (remote code execution) – a CVSS score of 10! Cyber Mongol doesn’t tune its instrumentation to listen for events indicating that a bug has been found. Instead, our sensors are tuned to identify when PoC (Proof of concept) exploit code becomes publicly available. Yes, exploits could exist far before and brokered in private deals, but it’s when an exploit such as this becomes freely available and integrated into exploit frameworks, that we see exploitation at mass-scale. Our CTI engine (PANDEMIC) started ingesting publicly available exploit code (June 4th / June 5th), the same time CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency) started initiating their own investigations .
CISA Investigations: Released on July 24
"On July 4, open-source reporting indicated a proof-of-concept code was available and threat actors were exploiting the vulnerability by attempting to steal credentials. On July 5, security researchers posted exploits that would allow threat actors to exfiltrate data or execute commands on vulnerable devices. The risk posed by the vulnerability is critical." - CISA
"As early as July 6, 2020, CISA has seen broad scanning activity for the presence of this vulnerability across federal departments and agencies—this activity is currently occurring as of the publication of this Alert" - CISA
Cyber Mongol: Sensor Ingestion Table
Cyber Mongol Public Statement & Resources: Released on July 9
The CISA investigations  into the BIG-IP exploitation wouldn’t become publicly available until July 24th, 15 days after Cyber Mongol released a public warning and an extensive resource containing links to more than 28 publicly available exploits and scanners . Observing and reacting to Cyber Mongol produced signals would have given organizations an 18-day jump in preparation, assessing risks and patching vulnerable equipment. Moreover, on July 15th our sensors saw that CVE-2020-5902 became assimilated into the exploit framework Cobalt strike within the Chinese security community, indicating preparation for mass-scale exploitation.