Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint //

Privacy

7/20/2018
04:05 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

What the Incident Responders Saw

New report on IR professionals' experiences reveals just how advanced attackers, such as nation-state hackers, dig in even after they're detected.

When incident response teams shut down an advanced attack, most of them then find a backup command-and-control infrastructure lying in wait to trigger after the first one gets taken down. Overall, nearly half end up battling attackers who try to thwart incident response and remediation efforts.

That's just some of the activity IR professionals say they experience, according to a new Carbon Black study of 37 large incident response teams running Carbon Black's next-generation endpoint security tool. The new Quarterly Incident Response Threat Report is based on surveys and interviews with large IR partners - such as Kroll and Rapid7 - who on average conducted one IR engagement per day in 2017, and handle 300-400 IR engagements per quarter.

"Sixty-four percent found a secondary C2 on sleep cycle," says Tom Kellermann, chief security officer at Carbon Black. "This highlights how the adversary has gone from burglary to home invasion: they intend on staying and will take counter attempts ... and could get destructive."

Russia and China, not surprisingly, are the main sources of attacks: 81% of IR pros say Russia is the number one offender, and 76% say China. But that doesn't mean all of the security incidents they investigated were cyber spying: just a third of responders say the cases were cyber espionage. Nearly 80% say the financial sector is the most targeted industry, followed by healthcare (73%) and government (43%).

Close to 60% of attacks involve lateral movement, or where the attacker travels from its initial victim machine to other machines in a targeted organization. PowerShell is one of the most popular tools for moving about the victim's network: 100% of IR pros say they've seen the Microsoft Windows automation and configuration management tool employed by attackers, and 84% see Windows Management Interface (WMI) as a key tool weaponized by attackers.

This so-called "living off the land" approach of running legitimate tools to remain under the radar is classic behavior of persistent hacker teams such as nation-states. Some 54% of IR pros say legit operating system applications like these are being abused by attackers. In addition, 16% have spotted attackers running Dropbox to assist in their movements.

"The uptick of WMI is concerning," notes Kellermann, as well as the use of process-hollowing and unsigned digital certificates. "It speaks to the level of sophistication [being used] to colonize that infrastructure."

Meanwhile, 36% say victim organizations are mainly hacked for the purpose of reaching their supply chain members (think customers and partners).

A key technique for defending against attackers who are burrowing in for the long haul is to quietly investigate and hunt them so they don't have time to switch gears and retool their attack, according to Kellermann. "The number one thing we need to evolve in as defenders is to become more quiet and clandestine in how we hunt," he says.

That means, for example, not immediately shutting off a C2 you discover if you can further study its activity with deception or other advanced techniques, he says.

According to Carbon Black's report, "Deciding when to reveal oneself is critical, as counter-incident response measures as destructive attacks are becoming the norm."

Related Content:

 

 

 

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 11/19/2020
New Proposed DNS Security Features Released
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  11/19/2020
The Yellow Brick Road to Risk Management
Andrew Lowe, Senior Information Security Consultant, TalaTek,  11/19/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: He hits the gong anytime he sees someone click on an email link.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-14191
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-25
Affected versions of Atlassian Fisheye/Crucible allow remote attackers to impact the application's availability via a Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerability in the MessageBundleResource within Atlassian Gadgets. The affected versions are before version 4.8.4.
CVE-2020-29070
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-25
osCommerce 2.3.4.1 has XSS vulnerability via the authenticated user entering the XSS payload into the title section of newsletters.
CVE-2020-26212
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-25
GLPI stands for Gestionnaire Libre de Parc Informatique and it is a Free Asset and IT Management Software package, that provides ITIL Service Desk features, licenses tracking and software auditing. In GLPI before version 9.5.3, any authenticated user has read-only permissions to the planning of ever...
CVE-2020-26243
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-25
Nanopb is a small code-size Protocol Buffers implementation. In Nanopb before versions 0.4.4 and 0.3.9.7, decoding specifically formed message can leak memory if dynamic allocation is enabled and an oneof field contains a static submessage that contains a dynamic field, and the message being decoded...
CVE-2020-25650
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-25
A flaw was found in the way the spice-vdagentd daemon handled file transfers from the host system to the virtual machine. Any unprivileged local guest user with access to the UNIX domain socket path `/run/spice-vdagentd/spice-vdagent-sock` could use this flaw to perform a memory denial of service fo...