Hallazgos de amenazas de Darktrace OT: La defensa de la creciente superficie de ataque

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05
Aug 2020
05
Aug 2020
Este blog examina una base de datos de cientos de clientes para revelar el alcance del uso del protocolo ICS en los entornos de TI. Con la creciente convergencia de TI/OT, la necesidad de una plataforma de seguridad unificada con capacidades de visibilidad y detección en ambos ámbitos nunca ha sido más crítica.

Key takeaways

  • Multiple well-known ICS attacks have been successful by gaining an initial foothold into the IT network, such as EKANS, Black Energy, and Havex
  • Stage One of the ICS Cyber Kill Chain is network reconnaissance, and so IT/OT network segregation is critical
  • Darktrace finds that many organizations’ networks have at least some level of IT/OT convergence
  • Visibility across ICS infrastructure, actions, and commands provides a better picture into potentially malicious internal activity

IT & OT Convergence Threats

Shipping, manufacturing, and other forms of heavy industry are seeing an ever-increasing convergence of IT and OT systems with the growth in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). At the same time, it remains critical to segment IT from OT networks, as the lack of segmentation could provide a malicious actor – either a hacker or rogue insider – easy access to pivot into the OT network.

High-profile attack campaigns such as Havex or Black Energy show traditional network security monitoring tools can be insufficient in preventing these intrusions. After the initial compromise, these ICS attacks progressed from IT to OT systems, showing that the convergence of IT and OT in cyber-physical ecosystems calls for technology that can understand how these two systems interact.

More recently, analysis of the EKANS ransomware revealed that attackers are attempting to use malware to actively disrupt OT as well as IT networks. The attack contained ICS processes on its ‘kill list,’ which allowed it to halt global manufacturing for large organizations like Honda.

More often than not, a lack of visibility is a major challenge in protecting critical ICS assets. Security specialists benefit when they have visibility over unusual or unexpected connections, or more crucially, when ICS commands are being sent by malicious actors attempting to perform industrial sabotage.

Investigation details

Darktrace analysts investigated the use of industrial protocols in the enterprise environments of various customers. The industries ranged from banking to government, retail to food manufacturing and beyond, and included companies with Industrial Control Systems that leverage Darktrace to defend their corporate networks.

In some cases, the security teams may not have been aware of IT/OT convergence within their enterprise environments. In other cases, the IT team may be aware of the ICS segments, but do not see them as a security priority because it does not fall directly within their remit.

The results revealed that hundreds of companies are using OT protocols in their enterprise environments, which suggests that IT/OT systems are not properly segmented. Specifically, Darktrace detected over 6,500 suspected instances of ICS protocol use across 1,000 environments. Note that this data was collected anonymously, only keeping track of the industry for analysis purposes.

Figure 1: A chart showing the percentage of ICS protocol use in enterprise environments

The ICS protocol which was detected the most was BacNet, seen in approximately 75% of instances. BacNet is used in Building Management Systems, so it is not surprising that it is widely used across multiple industries and within corporate networks. It is likely the security teams are aware that their BMS is part of the enterprise network, but may not appreciate how its use of the BacNet OT protocol increases the attack surface for the business and can be a blind spot for security teams.

Core ICS protocols

Darktrace also detected ‘core’ ICS protocols, Modbus and CIP (Common Industrial Protocol). These are normally associated with traditional ICS industries such as manufacturing, oil and gas, robotics, and utilities, and provides further evidence of IT/OT convergence.

This increased IT/OT convergence creates new blind spots on the network and sets up new pathways to disruption. This offers opportunities for attackers, and the public are now increasingly aware of attacks that have pivoted from IT into OT.

Improper segmentation between IT and OT systems can lead to highly unusual connections to ICS protocols. This can be seen in our recent analysis of industrial sabotage, with the timeline of the attack’s main events presented below.

Figure 2: A timeline showing the events of an incident of industrial sabotage

This is just one example of an attack that began in IT systems before affecting OT. More high-profile attacks that follow this pattern are presented below:

EKANS ransomware

The recent EKANS attack involved a strain of ransomware with close links to the MEGACORTEX variant, which gained infamy following an attack on Honda’s global operations in June 2020. Like many ransomware variants, EKANS encrypts files in IT systems and demands ransom in order to unlock the infected machines. However, the malware also has the ability to kill ICS processes on infected hosts. Notably, it is the first public example of ransomware that can target ICS operations.

Havex

Havex utilized multiple attack vectors, including spear phishing, trojans, and infected vendor websites, often known as a ‘watering hole attack’. It targeted IT systems, Internet-connected workstations, or a combination of the two. With Havex, attackers leveraged lateral movement techniques to pivot into Level 3 of ICS networks. The attack’s motive was data exfiltration to a C2 server, likely as part of a government-backed espionage campaign.

Black Energy 3

Black Energy 3 favored macro-embedded MS Office documents delivered via spear phishing emails as attack vectors. Older variants of Black Energy targeted vulnerabilities in ICS HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces) which were connected to the Internet. The attack’s motive was industrial sabotage and is what was used against the Ukrainian electric grid in 2015, leading to power outages for over 225,000 civilians and requiring a switch to manual operations as substations were taken offline.

Lessons learned

Each of the attack campaigns detailed above was in some way enabled by IT/OT convergence. Attackers still favor targeting IT networks with their initial attack vectors, as IT networks have significantly more interaction with the Internet through emails, and various other interconnected technologies. Poor network segmentation allows attackers easy access to OT systems once an IT network has been compromised.

In all of these ICS cyber-attacks, devices deviated from their normal patterns of life at one or more points in the cyber kill chain. Indicators of compromise can include anything from new external connections, to network reconnaissance using active scanning, to lateral movement using privileged credentials, ICS reprogram commands, or ICS discovery requests. With proper enterprise-wide visibility, across both IT and OT systems, and security tools that are able to detect these deviations, a security team would be alerted to these compromises before an attacker could carry out their objectives.

Ultimately, visibility is crucial for cyber defenders to protect industrial property and processes. Darktrace/OT enables many Industrial Model Detections, a selection of which are listed below:

  • Conexión anómala de IT a ICS
  • Multiple Failed Connections to OT Device
  • Multiple New Action Commands
  • Uncommon ICS Reprogram
  • Suspicious Network Scanning Activity
  • Unusual Broadcast from ICS PLC
  • Unusual Admin RDP Session

It is clear that attackers continue to exploit increasing IT/OT convergence to carry out industrial sabotage. Still, as revealed by our analysis of our customer base, many organizations continue to unknowingly use ICS protocols in their corporate environments, both increasing their attack surface and creating dangerous blind spots. A new, holistic approach to cyber defense is needed – one that can reveal this convergence of IT and OT, provide visibility, and detect deviations indicative of emerging cyber-attacks against critical systems.

Thanks to Darktrace analyst Oakley Cox for his insights on the above investigation.

DENTRO DEL SOC
Darktrace son expertos de talla mundial en inteligencia de amenazas, caza de amenazas y respuesta a incidentes, y proporcionan apoyo al SOC las 24 horas del día a miles de clientes de Darktrace en todo el mundo. Inside the SOC está redactado exclusivamente por estos expertos y ofrece un análisis de los ciberincidentes y las tendencias de las amenazas, basado en la experiencia real sobre el terreno.
AUTOR
SOBRE EL AUTOR
David Masson
Director de Seguridad Empresarial

David Masson is Darktrace’s Director of Enterprise Security, and has over two decades of experience working in fast moving security and intelligence environments in the UK, Canada and worldwide. With skills developed in the civilian, military and diplomatic worlds, he has been influential in the efficient and effective resolution of various unique national security issues. David is an operational solutions expert and has a solid reputation across the UK and Canada for delivery tailored to customer needs. At Darktrace, David advises strategic customers across North America and is also a regular contributor to major international and national media outlets in Canada where he is based. He holds a master’s degree from Edinburgh University.

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Email

Looking Beyond Secure Email Gateways with the Latest Innovations to Darktrace/Email

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09
Apr 2024

Organizations Should Demand More from their Email Security

In response to a more intricate threat landscape, organizations should view email security as a critical component of their defense-in-depth strategy, rather than defending the inbox alone with a traditional Secure Email Gateway (SEG). Organizations need more than a traditional gateway – that doubles, instead of replaces, the capabilities provided by native security vendor – and require an equally granular degree of analysis across all messaging, including inbound, outbound, and lateral mail, plus Teams messages.  

Darktrace/Email is the industry’s most advanced cloud email security, powered by Self-Learning AI. It combines AI techniques to exceed the accuracy and efficiency of leading security solutions, and is the only security built to elevate, not duplicate, native email security.  

With its largest update ever, Darktrace/Email introduces the following innovations, finally allowing security teams to look beyond secure email gateways with autonomous AI:

  • AI-augmented data loss prevention to stop the entire spectrum of outbound mail threats
  • an easy way to deploy DMARC quickly with AI
  • major enhancements to streamline SOC workflows and increase the detection of sophisticated phishing links
  • expansion of Darktrace’s leading AI prevention to lateral mail, account compromise and Microsoft Teams

What’s New with Darktrace/Email  

Data Loss Prevention  

Block the entire spectrum of outbound mail threats with advanced data loss prevention that builds on tags in native email to stop unknown, accidental, and malicious data loss

Darktrace understands normal at individual user, group and organization level with a proven AI that detects abnormal user behavior and dynamic content changes. Using this understanding, Darktrace/Email actions outbound emails to stop unknown, accidental and malicious data loss.  

Traditional DLP solutions only take into account classified data, which relies on the manual input of labelling each data piece, or creating rules to catch pattern matches that try to stop data of certain types leaving the organization. But in today’s world of constantly changing data, regular expression and fingerprinting detection are no longer enough.

  • Human error – Because it understands normal for every user, Darktrace/Email can recognize cases of misdirected emails. Even if the data is correctly labelled or insensitive, Darktrace recognizes when the context in which it is being sent could be a case of data loss and warns the user.  
  • Unclassified data – Whereas traditional DLP solutions can only take action on classified data, Darktrace analyzes the range of data that is either pending labels or can’t be labeled with typical capabilities due to its understanding of the content and context of every email.  
  • Insider threat – If a malicious actor has compromised an account, data exfiltration may still be attempted on encrypted, intellectual property, or other forms of unlabelled data to avoid detection. Darktrace analyses user behaviour to catch cases of unusual data exfiltration from individual accounts.

And classification efforts already in place aren’t wasted – Darktrace/Email extends Microsoft Purview policies and sensitivity labels to avoid duplicate workflows for the security team, combining the best of both approaches to ensure organizations maintain control and visibility over their data.

End User and Security Workflows

Achieve more than 60% improvement in the quality of end-user phishing reports and detection of sophisticated malicious weblinks1

Darktrace/Email improves end-user reporting from the ground up to save security team resource. Employees will always be on the front line of email security – while other solutions assume that end-user reporting is automatically of poor quality, Darktrace prioritizes improving users’ security awareness to increase the quality of end-user reporting from day one.  

Users are empowered to assess and report suspicious activity with contextual banners and Cyber AI Analyst generated narratives for potentially suspicious emails, resulting in 60% fewer benign emails reported.  

Out of the higher-quality emails that end up being reported, the next step is to reduce the amount of emails that reach the SOC. Darktrace/Email’s Mailbox Security Assistant automates their triage with secondary analysis combining additional behavioral signals – using x20 more metrics than previously – with advanced link analysis to detect 70% more sophisticated malicious phishing links.2 This directly alleviates the burden of manual triage for security analysts.

For the emails that are received by the SOC, Darktrace/Email uses automation to reduce time spent investigating per incident. With live inbox view, security teams gain access to a centralized platform that combines intuitive search capabilities, Cyber AI Analyst reports, and mobile application access. Analysts can take remediation actions from within Darktrace/Email, eliminating console hopping and accelerating incident response.

Darktrace takes a user-focused and business-centric approach to email security, in contrast to the attack-centric rules and signatures approach of secure email gateways

Microsoft Teams

Detect threats within your Teams environment such as account compromise, phishing, malware and data loss

Around 83% of Fortune 500 companies rely on Microsoft Office products and services, particularly Teams and SharePoint.3

Darktrace now leverages the same behavioral AI techniques for Microsoft customers across 365 and Teams, allowing organizations to detect threats and signals of account compromise within their Teams environment including social engineering, malware and data loss.  

The primary use case for Microsoft Teams protection is as a potential entry vector. While messaging has traditionally been internal only, as organizations open up it is becoming an entry vector which needs to be treated with the same level of caution as email. That’s why we’re bringing our proven AI approach to Microsoft Teams, that understands the user behind the message.  

Anomalous messaging behavior is also a highly relevant indicator of whether a user has been compromised. Unlike other solutions that analyze Microsoft Teams content which focus on payloads, Darktrace goes beyond basic link and sandbox analysis and looks at actual user behavior from both a content and context perspective. This linguistic understanding isn’t bound by the requirement to match a signature to a malicious payload, rather it looks at the context in which the message has been delivered. From this analysis, Darktrace can spot the early symptoms of account compromise such as early-stage social engineering before a payload is delivered.

Lateral Mail Analysis

Detect and respond to internal mailflow with multi-layered AI to prevent account takeover, lateral phishing and data leaks

The industry’s most robust account takeover protection now prevents lateral mail account compromise. Darktrace has always looked at internal mail to inform inbound and outbound decisions, but will now elevate suspicious lateral mail behaviour using the same AI techniques for inbound, outbound and Teams analysis.

Darktrace integrates signals from across the entire mailflow and communication patterns to determine symptoms of account compromise, now including lateral mailflow

Unlike other solutions which only analyze payloads, Darktrace analyzes a whole range of signals to catch lateral movement before a payload is delivered. Contributing yet another layer to the AI behavioral profile for each user, security teams can now use signals from lateral mail to spot the early symptoms of account takeover and take autonomous actions to prevent further compromise.

DMARC

Gain in-depth visibility and control of 3rd parties using your domain with an industry-first AI-assisted DMARC

Darktrace has created the easiest path to brand protection and compliance with the new Darktrace/DMARC. This new capability continuously stops spoofing and phishing from the enterprise domain, while automatically enhancing email security and reducing the attack surface.

Darktrace/DMARC helps to upskill businesses by providing step by step guidance and automated record suggestions provide a clear, efficient road to enforcement. It allows organizations to quickly achieve compliance with requirements from Google, Yahoo, and others, to ensure that their emails are reaching mailboxes.  

Meanwhile, Darktrace/DMARC helps to reduce the overall attack surface by providing visibility over shadow-IT and third-party vendors sending on behalf of an organization’s brand, while informing recipients when emails from their domains are sent from un-authenticated DMARC source.

Darktrace/DMARC integrates with the wider Darktrace product platform, sharing insights to help further secure your business across Email Attack Path and Attack Surface management.

Conclusion

To learn more about the new innovations to Darktrace/Email download the solution brief here.

All of the new updates to Darktrace/Email sit within the new Darktrace ActiveAI Security Platform, creating a feedback loop between email security and the rest of the digital estate for better protection. Click to read more about the Darktrace ActiveAI Security Platform or to hear about the latest innovations to Darktrace/OT, the most comprehensive prevention, detection, and response solution purpose built for critical infrastructures.  

Learn about the intersection of cyber and AI by downloading the State of AI Cyber Security 2024 report to discover global findings that may surprise you, insights from security leaders, and recommendations for addressing today’s top challenges that you may face, too.

References

[1] Internal Darktrace Research

[2] Internal Darktrace Research

[3] Essential Microsoft Office Statistics in 2024

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Carlos Gray
Product Manager

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Managing Risk Beyond CVE Scores With the Latest Innovations to Darktrace/OT

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09
Apr 2024

Identifying Cyber Risk in Industrial Organizations

Compromised OT devices in ICS and SCADA environments pose significant physical risks, even endangering lives. However, identifying CVEs in the multitude of complex OT devices is labor-intensive and time-consuming, draining valuable resources.

Even after identifying a vulnerability, implementing a patch presents its own challenges limited maintenance windows and the need for uninterrupted operations strain IT and OT teams often leading organizations to prioritize availability over security leading vulnerabilities remaining unresolved for over 5 years on average. (1)

Darktrace’s New Innovation

Darktrace is an industry leader in cybersecurity with 10+ years of experience securing OT environments where we take a fundamentally different approach using Self-Learning AI to enhance threat detection and response.

Continuing to combat the expanding threat landscape, Darktrace is excited to announce new capabilities that enable a contextualized and proactive approach to managing cyber risk at industrial organizations.

Today we launch an innovation to our OT Cybersecurity solution, Darktrace/OT, that will add a layer of proactivity, enabling a comprehensive approach to risk management. This industry leading innovation for Darktrace/OT moves beyond CVE scores to redefine vulnerability management for critical infrastructure, tackling the full breadth of risks not limited by traditional controls.  

Darktrace/OT is the only OT security solution with comprehensive Risk Management which includes:

  • Contextualized risk analysis unique to your organization
  • The most realistic evaluation and prioritization of OT risk
  • Effectively mitigate risk across your OT infrastructure, with and without patching.
  • The only OT security solution that evaluates your defenses against Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) Groups.

The most comprehensive prevention, detection, and response solution purpose built for Critical Infrastructures

Darktrace’s Self-Learning AI technology is a cutting-edge innovation that implements real time prevention, detection, response, and recovery for operational technologies and enables a fundamental shift from the traditional approach to cyber defense by learning a ‘pattern of life’ for every network, device, and user.  

Rather than relying on knowledge of past attacks, AI technology learns what is ‘normal’ for its environment, discovering previously unknown threats by detecting subtle shifts in behavior. Through identifying these unexpected anomalies, security teams can investigate novel attacks, discover blind spots, have live time visibility across all their physical and digital assets, and reduce time to detect, respond to, and triage security events.  

  • Achieve greater visibility of OT and IT devices across all levels of the Purdue Model.
  • The industry's only OT security to scale threat detection and response, with a 92% time saving from triage to recovery.  
  • The only OT focused security solution to provide bespoke Risk Management.

To learn more about how Darktrace/OT approaches unique use cases for industrial organizations visit the Darktrace/OT Webpage or join us LIVE at a city near you.

Read more below to discover how new innovations to Darktrace/OT are bringing a new, contextualized approach to Risk Management for Industrial organizations.

For more information on the entire Darktrace/OT Solution read our solution brief here.

Darktrace/OT and New Risk Management

Risk Identification

Leveraging the visibility of Darktrace/OT which identifies individual systems throughout the Purdue Model and the relationship between them, Darktrace/OT identifies high-risk CVEs and presents potential attack routes that go beyond techniques requiring a known exploit, such as misuse of legitimate services. Each attack path will have a mathematical evaluation of difficulty and impact from initial access to the high value objectives.  

Together this gives comprehensive coverage over your real and potential risks from both an attacker and known vulnerability perspectives. OT attack paths as seen here even leverage insights between the industrial and corporate communications to reveal ways threat actors may take advantage of IT-OT convergence. This revelation of imperceptible risks fills gaps in traditional risk analysis like remote access and insider threats.

Figure 1: Darktrace/OT visualizing the most critical attack paths at an organization
Figure 1: Darktrace/OT visualizing the most critical attack paths at an organization
Figure 2: A specific Attack Path identified by Darktrace/OT

Risk Prioritization

Darktrace/OT prioritizes remediations and mitigations based on difficulty and damage to your unique organization, using the established Attack Paths.

We ascertain the priorities that apply to your organization beyond pure theoretical damage answering questions like:

  • How difficult is a particular vulnerability to exploit considering the steps an attacker would require to reach it?
  • And, how significant would the impact be if it was exploited within this particular network?

This expanded approach to risk prioritization has a much more comprehensive evaluation of your organization's unique risk than has ever been possible before. Traditional approaches of ranking only known vulnerabilities with isolated scores using CVSS and exploitability metrics, often leaves gaps in IT-OT risks and is blind to legitimate service exploitation.

Figure 3: Darktrace/OT leverages its contextual understand of the organization’s network to prioritize remediation that will have the positive impact on the risk score

Darktrace provides mitigation strategies associated with each identified risk and the relevant impact it has on your overall risk posture, across all MITRE ATT&CK techniques.

What sets Darktrace apart is our ability to contextualize these mitigations within the broader business. When patching vulnerabilities directly isn’t possible, Darktrace identifies alternative actions that harden attack paths leading to critical assets. Hardening the surrounding attack path increases the difficulty and therefore reduces the likelihood and impact of a breach.

That means unpatched vulnerabilities and vulnerable devices aren’t left unprotected. This also has an added bonus, those hardening techniques work for all devices in that network segment, so apply one change, secure many.

Figure 4: Darktrace prioritizes mitigation reducing accessibility of vulnerability and the overall risk score when patches aren’t available

Communicate Board Level Risk with APT Threat Mapping

Darktrace/OT bridges theory and practice as the only security solution that maps MITRE techniques, frequently used by APT Groups, onto AI-assessed critical Attack Paths. This unique solution provides unparalleled insights including sector and location intelligence, possible operating platforms, common techniques, exploited CVEs, and the number of potential devices affected in your environment, supporting holistic risk assessment and proactive defense measures.

Ultimately, this becomes a power dashboard to communicate board level risk, using both metric based evidence and industry standard threat mapping.

Conclusion

Darktrace/OT is part of the Darktrace ActiveAI Security Platform a native, holistic, AI-driven platform built on over ten years of AI research. It helps security teams shift to more a productive mode, finding the known and the unknown attacks and transforming the SOC with the various Darktrace products to drive efficiency gains. It does this across the whole incident lifecycle to lower risk, reduce time spent on active incidents, and drive return on investment.

Discover more about Darktrace's ever-strengthening platform with the upcoming changes coming to our Darktrace/Email product and other launch day blogs.

Join Darktrace LIVE half-day event to understand the reality versus the hype surrounding AI and how to achieve cyber resilience.

Learn about the intersection of cyber and AI by downloading the State of AI Cyber Security 2024 report to discover global findings that may surprise you, insights from security leaders, and recommendations for addressing today’s top challenges that you may face, too.  

References

1. https://research-information.bris.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/313646831/Catch_Me_if_You_Can.pdf

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About the author
Mitchell Bezzina
VP, Product and Solutions Marketing
Our ai. Your data.

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