A recent analysis indicates a concerning trend: state-backed hackers linked to China are increasingly employing ORB proxy networks for cyberespionage. But what exactly are ORB proxy networks, and how can you protect your organization, is what we will discuss in this blog.

What is an ORB Proxy Network?

An ORB (Operational Relay Box) proxy network is a complex web of compromised devices and Virtual Private Servers (VPS) that act as intermediaries. Hackers use these networks to hide their true location and activity, making it difficult to track down their attacks. Consider it a network of hidden passages that allow them to sneak into your systems undetected.

Why are ORB Proxy Networks Dangerous?

These networks are particularly concerning because they combine the anonymity of traditional botnets with the flexibility of commercially available VPS services. This makes them highly adaptable and challenging to identify.

Hackers can use ORB networks for various malicious activities, including:

Reconnaissance: Gathering information about your network and systems.

Vulnerability Exploitation: Taking advantage of flaws in your software to gain access.

Data Exfiltration: Stealing sensitive information.

Here’s How ORB Proxy Networks Function.

Imagine a tunnel with constantly shifting walls. This is how an ORB proxy network works. Here’s a breakdown of its main components.

  • Adversary Controlled Operations Server (ACOS): This is the hacker’s central command center, managing the entire network.
  • Relay Nodes: These act as access points for attackers to enter the network and distribute traffic.
  • Traversal Nodes: The heart of the network, these compromised devices (routers, IoT devices) obfuscate the origin of malicious traffic by relaying it through multiple hops.
  • Exit Nodes: These nodes connect the network to the target victim’s infrastructure, launching attacks or exfiltrating data.

The true power of ORB networks is their dynamic nature. Hackers may simply add and remove nodes, making them extremely versatile and difficult to track. Furthermore, the usage of infected devices distributed geographically complicates the detection.

Potential Consequences of an ORB Network Attack

The consequences of falling victim to an ORB proxy network attack can lead to:

Data Breaches: Attackers can compromise and exfiltrate sensitive information like financial records, Intellectual Property, or Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Operational Disruption: Cyber attacks launched through ORB networks can cripple critical systems and cause significant downtime, disrupting your business operations and leading to financial losses.

Reputational Damage: A data breach or system outage can severely tarnish your organization’s reputation, declining customer and partner trust.

Why Chinese Actors Favor ORB Networks?

Recent research provides insight into the logic behind the Chinese espionage groups’ interest in ORB networks.

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Enhanced Stealth and Attribution Challenges: The dynamic nature of ORB networks makes traditional methods of identifying attackers through IP addresses and infrastructure significantly less effective.

Circumventing Geographic Restrictions: By strategically building ORB networks with nodes located outside of China, attackers can potentially bypass internet regulations within their own borders while still targeting organizations globally.

Reduced Reliance on Foreign Infrastructure: Leveraging compromised devices and commercially available VPS services can offer Chinese actors a greater degree of control over their operations and potentially make them less susceptible to disruption by foreign entities.

How to Combat ORB Proxy Network Attacks?

The increasing number of ORB (Operational Relay Box) proxy networks used by state-sponsored hackers, notably those associated with China, poses a substantial risk to organizations of all kinds. While blocking such attacks is impossible, a multi-layered strategy can considerably strengthen your defenses.

Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT)

VAPT testing, offered by Kratikal, being a CERT-In empanelled auditor is a crucial first step. This service simulates a cyber attack, mimicking the tactics employed by hackers, to identify vulnerabilities within your systems and network.  By uncovering these vulnerabilities before attackers do, you can prioritize patching and mitigation efforts. Kratikal’s VAPT services are comprehensive, providing a detailed report outlining vulnerabilities, potential exploit paths, and remediation recommendations.

Continuous Threat Monitoring:

Don’t wait for an attack to discover vulnerabilities.  Implement security measures that continuously monitor network traffic and system logs for suspicious activity. These tools can detect unusual patterns that might indicate attempts to infiltrate your systems through an ORB network.


In conclusion, ORB proxy networks pose a significant threat, but they do not have to be impractical. Taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity can greatly improve your defenses. Kratikal’s extensive VAPT testing, when combined with the other safety protocols listed above, enables your organization to identify vulnerabilities before attackers exploit them. Kratikal’s security experts can be a reliable partner in developing a strong defense strategy. Reach out to Kratikal to protect your important data and essential infrastructure from the ever-changing risks of the digital era.

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