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Typically, cyberattacks are launched against any accessible entity, such as a low-privileged user, and then quickly move laterally until the attacker gains access to valuable assets. Valuable assets can be sensitive accounts, domain administrators, or highly sensitive data. Microsoft Defender for Identity identifies these advanced threats at the source throughout the entire attack kill chain and classifies them into the following phases:

  1. Reconnaissance
  2. Compromised credentials
  3. Lateral Movements
  4. Domain dominance
  5. Exfiltration

To learn more about how to understand the structure, and common components of all Defender for Identity security alerts, see Understanding security alerts. For information about True positive (TP)Benign true positive (B-TP), and False positive (FP), see security alert classifications.

The following security alerts help you identify and remediate Exfiltration phase suspicious activities detected by Defender for Identity in your network. In this tutorial, learn to understand, classify, prevent, and remediate the following attacks:

  • Data exfiltration over SMB (external ID 2030)
  • Suspicious communication over DNS (external ID 2031)

Data exfiltration over SMB (external ID 2030)

Description

Domain controllers hold the most sensitive organizational data. For most attackers, one of their top priorities is to gain domain controller access, to steal your most sensitive data. For example, exfiltration of the Ntds.dit file, stored on the DC, allows an attacker to forge Kerberos ticket granting tickets(TGT) providing authorization to any resource. Forged Kerberos TGTs enable the attacker to set the ticket expiration to any arbitrary time. A Defender for Identity Data exfiltration over SMB alert is triggered when suspicious transfers of data are observed from your monitored domain controllers.

MITRE

DATA EXFILTRATION OVER SMB (EXTERNAL ID 2030)
Primary MITRE tactic Exfiltration (TA0010)
Secondary MITRE tactic Lateral Movement (TA0008),Command and Control (TA0011)
MITRE attack technique Exfiltration Over Alternative Protocol (T1048)Lateral Tool Transfer (T1570)
MITRE attack sub-technique Exfiltration Over Unencrypted/Obfuscated Non-C2 Protocol (T1048.003)

TP, B-TP, or FP

  1. Are these users supposed to copy these files, to this computer?
    • If the answer to the previous question is yesClose the security alert, and exclude the computer as a B-TP activity.

Understand the scope of the breach

  1. Investigate the source users.
  2. Investigate the source and destination computers of the copies.

Suggested remediation and steps for prevention

  1. Reset the password of the source users and enable MFA or, if you have configured the relevant high-risk user policies in Azure Active Directory Identity Protection, you can use the Confirm user compromised action in the Defender for Cloud Apps portal.
  2. Contain the source computer.
    • Find the tool that performed the attack and remove it.
    • Find the files that were copied and remove them.
      Check if there were other activities on these files. Where they transferred to another place? Check if they were transferred outside the organization network?
    • Look for users logged on around the same time as the activity, as they may also be compromised. Reset their passwords and enable MFA or, if you have configured the relevant high-risk user policies in Azure Active Directory Identity Protection, you can use the Confirm user compromised action in the Defender for Cloud Apps portal.
  3. If one of the files is the ntds.dit file:
    • Change the Kerberos Ticket Granting Ticket (KRBTGT) password twice according to the guidance in the KRBTGT account article.
    • Resetting the KRBTGT twice invalidates all Kerberos tickets in this domain. Invalidating all Kerberos tickets in the domain means all services will be broken and won’t work again until they are renewed or in some cases, the service is restarted.
    • Plan carefully before performing the KRBTGT double reset. The KRBTGT double reset impacts all computers, servers, and users in the environment.
    • Close all existing sessions tot the domain controllers.

Suspicious communication over DNS (external ID 2031)

Previous name: Suspicious communication over DNS

Description

The DNS protocol in most organizations is typically not monitored and rarely blocked for malicious activity. Enabling an attacker on a compromised machine, to abuse the DNS protocol. Malicious communication over DNS can be used for data exfiltration, command, and control, and/or evading corporate network restrictions.

MITRE

TP, B-TP, or FP?

Some companies legitimately use DNS for regular communication. To determine the status of the security alert:

  1. Check if the wp-signup.phped query domain belongs to a trusted source, such as your antivirus provider.
    • Consider it a B-TP activity if the domain is known and trusted, and DNS queries are permitted. Close the security alert, and exclude the domain from future alerts.
    • If the wp-signup.phped query domain is not trusted, identify the process creating the request on the source computer. Use Process Monitor to assist with this task.

Understand the scope of the breach

  1. On the destination computer, which should be a DNS server, check for the records of the domain in question.
    • What IP is it correlated to?
    • Who is the owner of the domain?
    • Where is the IP?
  2. Investigate the source and destination computers.

Suggested remediation and steps for prevention

  1. Contain the source computer.
    • Find the tool that performed the attack and remove it.
    • Look for users logged on around the same time as the activity, as they may also be compromised. Reset their passwords and enable MFA or, if you have configured the relevant high-risk user policies in Azure Active Directory Identity Protection, you can use the Confirm user compromised action in the Defender for Cloud Apps portal.
  2. If after your investigation, the wp-signup.phped query domain remains not trusted, we recommend blocking the destination domain to avoid all future communication.

 Note

Suspicious communication over DNS security alerts list the suspected domain. New domains, or domains recently added that are not yet known or recognized by Defender for Identity but are known to or part of your organization can be closed.

Source : Official Microsoft Brand
Editor by : BEST Antivirus KBS Team

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