Just how many more data breaches or ransomware takeovers will it take until organization’s take information assurance AKA cyber security seriously? I know for a fact that we are nowhere near this end goal of data protection. If you have to blame a single technician for not patching a server that leads to a compromise, you need to think again and reevaluate your policies and procedures as a whole.Every day I read about another breach or an encryption takeover. I understand that org’s are required to get tested on a regular basis, such as a pentest
, vuln test, security or audit; but there is so much information to take from that report. I believe that today’s attack vector is always from the inside going out. E-mail is the easiest way to compromise a network. Long are the days of trying to penetrate network defenses from the outside. How easy is it to harvest an email and phish that address to get an unsuspecting victim to click on one simple link? Perhaps it’s embedded PDF? Or maybe a malicious executable or Microsoft Office document? Whatever the flavor is, there is now a reverse shell into the network.The average time that an attacker is in the network undetected is 150 days. Now comes the part of lateral movement and finding the crown jewels of the organization. Whatever the critical information is, it will be found and exploited for the attacker's benefit. But first persistence. The clock is now ticking to create a persistent connection from the inside back to the attacker’s machine. It’s not uncommon for normal users to be admins even its just local or even worse domain. AV bypass is too easy if I know the product(s) you are running inside the environment. Almost every firewall allows outbound connections initiated from the inside. Persistence can be achieved by creating or harvesting an account or creating registry keys that beacon back whenever the machine is rebooted. Attackers don’t always need elevated rights, just enough rights to get access to the information that is most critical to the organization. Second, lateral movement. It’s too easy to hide lateral movement inside of “normal Microsoft Windows traffic”. Do you allow SMB, PSEXEC or RDP inside the environment? Awesome, there’s malicious traffic inside your network. Maybe the attacker does some Pass-the-Hash because why not and that’sSecond, lateral movement. It’s too easy to hide lateral movement inside of “normal Microsoft Windows traffic”. Do you allow SMB, PSEXEC or RDP inside the environment? Awesome, there’s malicious traffic inside your network. Maybe the attacker does some Pass-the-Hash because why not and that’s easier and less time consuming than trying to crack your “complex password”. Or perhaps accounts are using the same username and password across multiple applications. The point is, lateral movement is hard to detect unless you know what normal is for the network. Third, exfiltration. Time to move the data out. If an organization hasn’t detected an attack, they might during dataThird, exfiltration. Time to move the data out. If an organization hasn’t detected an attack, they might during data exfil. Depending on how much data needs to move will determine the method. Small amounts of data can be moved via C2 channels, but large amounts of data will probably be hidden will other “normal” traffic. If an attacker can get that data to blend in with the rest of traffic, well I hope it wasn’t the secret recipe.It’s time to take a stance as security and cyber professionals and take back our networks. Executives and managers need to understand what a secure environment looks and feels like, even if it’s a painful process. Lock down users, devices, and applications across the environment.