Overcoming Malware Attacks: Advanced Security With Hosting Gator


Overcoming Malware Attacks: Advanced Security With Hosting Gator – Attack paths are currently at the forefront of cybersecurity discussions. But what exactly are the attack paths? Why is Active Directory (AD) particularly vulnerable? What steps can you take to protect your organization? This article covers all these questions and more.


The best way to understand what an attack path is is to understand what it is not. IT professionals are well-versed in two important best practices for protecting Active Directory: patching and vulnerability management. Patching is the process of applying application updates to fix code-based vulnerabilities (such as bugs in the Microsoft Windows Server operating system) that can be exploited by attackers. Vulnerability management adds another layer of security by identifying and fixing misconfigurations in Active Directory that could be exploited by attackers, such as allowing unrestricted attempts to guess user passwords.




Overcoming Malware Attacks: Advanced Security With Hosting Gator

The attack path is not based on a vulnerability in the code or a single misconfiguration. The attack path is

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The exploitable permissions and actions could allow an attacker to gain administrative privileges or even take complete control of the IT environment by compromising user accounts.

Attack paths are a problem for any identity and access management (IAM) system, because controlling the identity platform gives an adversary complete control over all of an organization’s users, systems, and data.

But Active Directory’s problems are more serious for a number of reasons. First, Active Directory is by far the most widely used directory service: It is widely reported that 95% of Fortune 1000 companies use Active Directory. As a result, adversaries focused on understanding and exploiting attack paths in Active Directory have a wide range of targets to choose from. Additionally, they have a variety of tools at their disposal, including BloodHound, Mimikatz, and Responder, which are specifically designed to leverage Active Directory and Windows capabilities.

Another factor that makes Active Directory vulnerable to attack is its complexity and lack of transparency. AD administrators have a variety of options for granting permissions to accounts either directly or through Active Directory security groups, and group policies provide thousands of settings that also affect access control. At the same time, it is nearly impossible to accurately audit permissions to determine who has permissions to a given AD object or what effective permissions have been granted to a security group.

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Likewise, permissions on Group Policy Objects (GPOs) can be difficult to manage correctly. Not only do you need to consider the permissions on the GPO itself, but you also need to consider the Owners Group Policy Creators group, the System/Policies folder in AD, the sysvol folder on the Domain Controller (DC), and the gpLink and gpOptions attributes in the domain. The roots of the organization. unit (or). Additionally, detecting and overcoming issues such as inheritance blocking, incorrect link prioritization, and failure to place computers in the correct OU is a real challenge.

Finally, time moves forward ruthlessly. Active Directory has been around for over two decades, long enough for many organizations to accumulate a significant amount of technical debt in the form of complex policies, deeply nested permissions, and more. Together, these factors make attack paths nearly inevitable in any Active Directory environment and a very pressing cybersecurity issue.

As we have seen, the attack path allows an attacker to take control of Active Directory. Controlling AD allows them to achieve their real goals: steal data, deliver ransomware, cause downtime, and more.

This process often takes time; in fact, the average time an intruder remains in the IT ecosystem has now reached a staggering 287 days, over nine months. To understand how this all works, let’s review the five stages of a cyberattack.

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The adversary first identifies target organizations and collects information about them. Key concerns include how much valuable data they can steal, how much reward they can receive from a ransomware attack, and how difficult the task might be. Acceptable

, which involves using public sources such as tax records, job ads and social media to find the systems and applications an organization uses, employee names and more. Surveys can also be part of

Techniques such as network and port scanning to understand the target organization’s network architecture, firewalls and intrusion detection programs, operating systems, and the applications and services hosted on its ports.

The attacker then determines which attack vector to use for penetration. Examples include exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities, launching phishing campaigns, or bribing employees to provide credentials or deploy malware.

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The attacker then uses the chosen attack vector to attempt to breach the organization’s network perimeter. For example, an attacker might be able to guess an employee’s user ID and password, gain access through an unpatched or misconfigured system, or trick an employee into executing malware hidden in a phishing email attachment.

Once inside the network, attackers will attempt to escalate privileges and compromise other systems to find sensitive data or access other critical resources. They also want to maintain access. To achieve this persistence, they can create new user accounts, modify settings and even install backdoors.

This is where the offensive line comes into play. By exploiting attack paths, attackers can escalate their privileges from a normal user to an administrator or even a domain administrator, giving them unlimited power within the domain.

Additionally, by compromising authorized user and administrator accounts, attackers can make their activities more difficult to detect. When they claim to have sufficient permissions, they can further avoid detection by causing the system to falsely report that everything is working properly.

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Finally, attackers could steal or encrypt an organization’s data, or potentially compromise systems to disrupt business operations. Additionally, they often attempt to cover their tracks to thwart investigations and prevent organizations from strengthening their defenses against future attacks. Techniques include uninstalling the program or script used in the attack, deleting any folders or accounts created, and modifying, corrupting, or deleting audit logs.

Attack paths often involve a combination of hidden permissions, nested group memberships, and security vulnerabilities inherent in the AD architecture. Let’s look at some examples.

First, let’s assume that an attacker leaked user Alex’s account credentials. This gives the attacker all the permissions granted to Alex, whether through direct grant permissions, direct group membership, or nested group membership. In this example, the Alex account is a member of the HelpDesk group, which is a member of the Workstation Admins group, as shown below:

This nesting of security groups is very common and can grant a regular user account more permissions than they should – and far more permissions than anyone realizes. In this case, the Workstation Administrators group has local administrator rights on the PCI-Server-01 computer, which has the AD service account login session SVC_PRDRMV:

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It would be trivial for an attacker to exploit the Windows token model and obtain the credentials for this service account – granting him permission to add new members through the Domain Admins group. By adding your account to this group, the attacker has completed their attack path and now has full control of Active Directory.

Additional examples are shared in the on-demand webcast “How Insecure GPOs Create Real Attack Paths in AD.” You should check out the webcast for a full explanation of how GPOs play a role in the attack path, but here’s a brief description of the attack path: Consider a user account that has been delegated Edit GPO permissions. By leaking the user’s credentials, the attacker has an attack path to take control of the AD domain. By modifying the GPO, they could cause a different user account to execute a malicious PowerShell script the next time they log in. This script would allow the attacker to take control of the account – which has general permissions in the domain administrators group. Therefore, an attacker can add any account to the domain administrators, and this is the end result: they can control Active Directory.

Note that no uncompensated systems or simple misconfigurations were found in any of the above examples. Therefore, neither patch management nor vulnerability management can prevent attacks, and when a threat management solution detects an attack, the adversary will be the domain administrator.

Attack path management is necessary for strong Active Directory security. Rather than looking at vulnerabilities or misconfigurations in isolation, attack path management analyzes the relationships between objects in Active Directory and the complex permissions applied between them to identify

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The steps an attacker can take range from compromising common user accounts to gaining control of critical assets or even Active Directory itself.

Of course, simply identifying attack paths is not enough. You also want to fix them to prevent your opponent from controlling your AD. But the reality is that in most organizations, there are thousands or even millions of attack paths. It is simply impossible to block them one by one. Instead, you need an attack path management tool that identifies choke points shared by multiple attack paths. carbonation point

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