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Riesgos de seguridad del SaaS: Detección de un secuestro multicuenta con IA

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09
Jun 2021
09
Jun 2021
Este blog analiza un sofisticado ataque basado en SaaS que aprovechó varias cuentas de Microsoft 365 para lanzar la ofensiva y mantener la persistencia.

The widespread and rapid adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has opened up a breadth of security risks for IT teams. Unlike commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, SaaS security tends to be managed by third-party vendors rather than the end customer. Security teams therefore struggle with reduced visibility and control over these environments, and cyber-criminals have been quick to take advantage, launching a wave of cloud-based attacks, from Vendor Email Compromise to internal account hijacks.

Attackers often gain access to multiple accounts on the same domain, enabling them to attack from multiple angles, for example sending of hundreds of emails from one account, while maintaining persistence with another. This gives the hacker an opportunity to try multiple attack vectors, using tools native to the SaaS environment as well as external payloads.

While preventative controls such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) provide an extra layer of protection, there are many techniques available to circumvent zero-trust approaches. Remote and flexible working is set to continue to varying degrees across many different regions and industries, so companies must now commit to securing their cloud architecture and developing proactive cyber security measures.

In this blog, we will analyze a persistent cyber-attack which targeted a real estate company in Europe and leveraged several compromised Microsoft 365 accounts. These SaaS takeovers are quickly becoming the new norm, but they are still misunderstood and poorly documented in the wider industry. Cyber AI detected every stage of this intrusion in real time, without the use of signatures or static rules.

A and B: Hijacking Microsoft 365 accounts

The organization had around 5,000 devices in its environment, with 1,000 active SaaS accounts. The timeline below shows how the threat actor leveraged the SaaS accounts of five different users to carry out the operation, as well as exploiting several other accounts on the final day.

Figure 1: Diagram of the infection chain, which occurred over three days. On the fourth day, the attacker tried again but was unsuccessful.

The actor initially compromised at least two SaaS credentials – which we’ll refer to here simply as ‘account A’ and ‘account B’ – and logged in from several unusual geographical locations, presumably using a VPN. Darktrace detected this as unusual login events for the SaaS accounts.

In account A, the attacker was observed previewing files likely to contain customer information, but did not perform any other follow-up activity. In account B, they set a new inbox rule three hours after the initial compromise, resulting in a high-severity alert.

At around this time, the threat actor sent a number of phishing emails from account B: emails that appeared to be sharing a harmless and legitimate-looking folder on OneDrive. The link probably led to a fake Microsoft login page, similar to the below, which could have recorded the victims’ credentials and sent them directly back to the attacker.

Figure 2: A seemingly legitimate Microsoft login page.

The phishing attempt was detected by Antigena Email, Darktrace’s email security technology. Antigena was in passive mode at the time, and so was not configured to take action on these threatening emails. But taking into account the highly anomalous sender surge coupled with the unusual login locations, it would have autonomously intercepted all the emails, reducing the impact of the attack.

The attacker was subsequently locked out of account B. After this, they tried (and failed) to use a legacy user agent to bypass any MFA which may have been enforced on the account. Darktrace detected this as a suspicious login and blocked the attempt.

Accounts C, D and E: The threat develops

The next day, the actor logged into a new account (account C) from the same autonomous system number (ASN), indicating that the account had been infected by the OneDrive phishing emails. In other words, the attacker had leveraged account B to compromise new users in the organization and ensure multiple points of intrusion.

Darktrace detected each stage of this, piecing together the different events into one meaningful security narrative.

Figure 3: Anomalous activity from accounts C, D, and E.

Account C was then used to preview a file likely containing contact information.

After being locked out of account C when trying to log in the next day, the hacker worked their way through two more accounts (account D and account E), which they had hijacked in the previous phishing attempts. They were locked out each time after generating alerts due to the unusual logins and new inbox rules created around the same time.

A to Z: End of the line

Running out of options, the attacker decided to go back to account A and set a new inbox rule, using it to send new phishing emails with a link to a non-Microsoft cloud storage domain (Tresorit). Again, Darktrace recognized this as highly unusual behavior, and the hacker was promptly locked out of the account.

During this burst of activity, Darktrace also observed a Microsoft Teams session from one of the suspicious ASNs. This was likely a social engineering attempt and another possible attack vector. Microsoft Teams could have been leveraged to share a malicious link over instant message, extract sensitive information, or send spam internally and externally on the chat function.

The threat actor could have then used this to pivot across various applications and accounts, assuming that the company had a siloed security approach – with different tools for cloud, SaaS, email, and endpoint – and so could not pick up on the malicious cross-platform movement.

On the following day, the attacker attempted logins on multiple accounts again, but with no success. Cyber AI had pinpointed all the anomalous activity – no matter where it originated – and alerted the security team immediately.

SaaS attack under the microscope

Multi-account compromises can be incredibly persistent and are difficult for traditional security tools to identify. The hacker used several tactics to circumvent the customer’s existing email security products:

  1. The initial use of two compromised credentials – account A and account B – allowed the hacker to stay under the radar and not raise too much suspicion on a single account. Account A was kept quiet until other avenues had been exhausted.
  2. Activity was generated from multiple ASNs in at least three different geographical locations, probably utilizing a VPN: one in Africa where much of the activity originated, and two in North America, including some widely used ASNs which were highly unusual for the customer.
  3. The attacker entirely used Microsoft services until the final emails, choosing to ‘live off the land’ rather than sending links that may have been caught by gateways.
  4. The attacker logged into Microsoft Teams in their final movements – a fairly benign-looking event which could have been used to compromise more accounts and move laterally, and would have gone undetected.

Darktrace identified every stage of the attack – including spotting the anomalous ASNs – and launched an automatic, in-depth investigation with Cyber AI Analyst. The organization was thus able to take action before the damage was done.

Figure 4: Darktrace’s SaaS console gives a clear overview of activity across all different applications.

ABCs of SaaS security

The approach of using various accounts to mount the offensive, while keeping one to maintain persistence, prolonged this intrusion. Such tactics will likely be seen again in the near future.

Tracking the number of factors involved in an attack with multiple credentials, multiple attack vectors, and multiple attacker-IPs, is a serious challenge. In these situations, it is essential to have a security solution which can detect activity across different applications, forming a unified and holistic understanding over the entire digital enterprise.

While not active in this case, Antigena SaaS would have taken autonomous action and prevented the threat from escalating by enforcing normal behavior, stopping the hacker from logging in from malicious infrastructure or performing any out-of-character SaaS actions, such as creating new inbox rules.

Following the intrusion, the company decided to adopt Antigena SaaS, which now mitigates their cloud security risks and guards against sensitive data loss and reputational damage.

Thanks to Darktrace analyst Daniel Gentle for his insights on the above threat find.

Darktrace model detections:

  • SaaS / Compromiso / Inicio de sesión inusual y nueva regla de correo electrónico
  • SaaS / Compliance / New Email Rule
  • SaaS / Unusual Activity / Unusual External Source for SaaS Credential Use
  • SaaS / Access / Suspicious Login Attempt
  • Antigena Email: Unusual Login Location + Sender Surge
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
Max Heinemeyer
Chief Product Officer

Max is a cyber security expert with over a decade of experience in the field, specializing in a wide range of areas such as Penetration Testing, Red-Teaming, SIEM and SOC consulting and hunting Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups. At Darktrace, Max is closely involved with Darktrace’s strategic customers & prospects. He works with the R&D team at Darktrace, shaping research into new AI innovations and their various defensive and offensive applications. Max’s insights are regularly featured in international media outlets such as the BBC, Forbes and WIRED. Max holds an MSc from the University of Duisburg-Essen and a BSc from the Cooperative State University Stuttgart in International Business Information Systems.

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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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About the author
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
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