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.

Threat Intelligence

12/9/2019
05:10 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

Microsoft 'Campaign Views' Offers Full Look at Office 365 Attacks

Campaign views, arriving in public preview, aims to share more context around how attackers targeted an organization and whether its defenses worked.

Campaign views, a new capability arriving in public preview for Microsoft's Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), aims to provide greater context around email attack campaigns so organizations can learn how they were targeted and whether their defenses held up.

Attackers behind an email campaign typically use a crafted pattern or template for their messages. Emails are sent in waves, each of which is slightly varied to effectively bypass defenses or trick victims. Identifying this template, which defines the entire campaign, can help security teams pinpoint weaknesses in their defenses and prevent similar attacks in the future.

The problem is, it's difficult for businesses to spot a comprehensive email attack campaign by looking at individual messages. If an attacker breaks into an organization and someone clicks a bad link, campaign views helps locate vulnerable users so remediation steps can be taken to limit the breach. The tool collects and correlates attacker-specific data, like sending domains, IP addresses, and URLs to help security practitioners adopt a more proactive approach to defense.

Office 365's ATP protection stack already aims to block zero-day phishing and malware attacks with a layered defense system made up of tools to address protection at the perimeter, sender intelligence, content filtering, and post-delivery protection. These capabilities are meant to help pinpoint threats during mail flow and after email delivery. Campaign views takes a step back to provide more of a bird's-eye view of a particular attack.

"Because these are brand-new attacks and our goal is to protect even the first user, these defenses operate even before campaign views comes together," says Girish Chander, group program manager with Office 365 security. "The focus of campaign views is to layer on top of these protections to help security teams get a glimpse of the entire campaign that hit them."

This tool is a more advanced way to cluster emails in a specific campaign based on the similarity of email template, payload, and other traits, even as factors like sending IP and sending address change. Its goal is to increase the effectiveness of SOC teams who were trying to identify campaigns within the organization by searching for all emails containing a specific attribute (sender, URL, etc.), which Chander says is a less effective technique. Campaign views leverages intelligence from the Microsoft intelligence security graph to better identify attacks.

In a single view, security teams can learn details about an entire campaign, including when it started, the sending pattern and timeline, how long it has been ongoing, and how many people fell victim to the attack. Admins can view the list of IP addresses and senders involved with orchestrating the attack and assess which emails were blocked, delivered to junk or quarantine, or delivered to the employee's inbox. In addition to seeing all URLs used in the attack, security teams using Office 365 ATP Threat Explorer can learn if any users clicked on the phishing link.

(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

By seeing who fell for an attack and how, admins can learn who needs their credentials reset and who should be enabling multifactor authentication. Further, a broader view of a campaign can inform admins of poor security configurations that attackers are exploiting to gain access. A view of indicators of compromise gives admins the data they need to investigate other messages that exhibit the same characteristics and take remediation actions.

"It is, unfortunately, not uncommon to see poor configurations in organizations, such as 'tenant allows' of a broad swatch of sending domains or IP," says Chander. "These tenant allows override any ATP catch and deliver the email to the inbox." Because a lot of these flawed configurations have existed for some time, people often don't know about them.

"However, what we're finding is that when customers see the scale of the impact of these poor configurations, it becomes more contextual and urgent to deal with them," he adds.

In reviewing an attack campaign, security teams should prioritize learning who was compromised and ensuring they're protected to prevent the attack from spreading. In some cases, clicks were blocked by Safe Links, but the block was overridden by the victim. Microsoft notes there's a high chance victims may have fallen for an attack hosted on a malicious site, either by handing over credentials to the fraudulent site or being hit with drive-by malware.

Microsoft reports early preview users of campaign views have identified multiple configuration flaws. One discovered a domain allow list was exploited by an attacker; as a result, 34% of phishing messages detected by ATP were rescued and then delivered to employee inboxes. Customers also report the tool make it easier to explain threats to the CISO and business peers.

Related Content:

Check out The Edge, Dark Reading's new section for features, threat data, and in-depth perspectives. Today's top story: "Criminals Hide Fraud Behind the Green Lock Icon."

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
joshuaprice153
50%
50%
joshuaprice153,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2019 | 10:24:20 PM
Campaign Views
Well this is a real life-saver! I've been scouring the web for hours now looking just for this kind of thing. Thank you so much for sharing! XS Computer Repair of Jacksonville
HackerOne Drops Mobile Voting App Vendor Voatz
Dark Reading Staff 3/30/2020
Limited-Time Free Offers to Secure the Enterprise Amid COVID-19
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  3/31/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-11565
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-06
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel through 5.6.2. mpol_parse_str in mm/mempolicy.c has a stack-based out-of-bounds write because an empty nodelist is mishandled during mount option parsing, aka CID-aa9f7d5172fa.
CVE-2020-11558
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-05
An issue was discovered in libgpac.a in GPAC 0.8.0, as demonstrated by MP4Box. audio_sample_entry_Read in isomedia/box_code_base.c does not properly decide when to make gf_isom_box_del calls. This leads to various use-after-free outcomes involving mdia_Read, gf_isom_delete_movie, and gf_isom_parse_m...
CVE-2020-11547
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-05
PRTG Network Monitor before 20.1.57.1745 allows remote unauthenticated attackers to obtain information about probes running or the server itself (CPU usage, memory, Windows version, and internal statistics) via an HTTP request, as demonstrated by type=probes to login.htm or index.htm.
CVE-2020-11548
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-05
The Search Meter plugin through 2.13.2 for WordPress allows user input introduced in the search bar to be any formula. The attacker could achieve remote code execution via CSV injection if a wp-admin/index.php?page=search-meter Export is performed.
CVE-2020-11542
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-04
3xLOGIC Infinias eIDC32 2.213 devices with Web 1.107 allow Authentication Bypass via CMD.HTM?CMD= because authentication depends on the client side's interpretation of the <KEY>MYKEY</KEY> substring.