Reducing Investigation Time: How to Quickly Parse True Positives

Posted by Eran Cohen on Aug 20, 2019 10:45:00 AM

In the world of security operations, quickly and accurately investigating security incidents is paramount. As a result, filtering out the non-consequential incidents from the consequential incidents helps reduce the investigative time for the security ops team.

Non-malicious True Positives pose the most headaches for SOC teams because they waste valuable time that could have been better spent investigating a malicious True Positive or even worse: a False Negative. However, it’s a highly manual process to parse non-malicious True Positives from the malicious. The process demands a significant amount of time, resources, and expertise from an already busy, overworked Security Ops team whose time is better used for consequential, high-impact tasks and projects.

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Topics: Threat Mitigation, User Behavior, Adaptive Response, Identity Verification, Incident Response, Insider Threat, Adaptive Threat Prevention, Conditional Access

Disrupting an Attacker from Exploiting Domain Credentials

Posted by Avi Kama on May 28, 2019 8:28:00 AM

Security professionals often feel they don’t have enough time to keep up with modern threats. In fact, Crowdstrike researchers have found that top threat actors can go in and out of networks in a matter of minutes. Despite other similar security research reports listing all the ways threat actors can breach a network, they rarely offer a viable solution to combat these risks and often just resign us all to a “we can only do our best” mentality.

I disagree. While I feel that “doing our best” is sufficient for an elementary school project, it’s not the right mentality for an enterprise security team. We as security professionals should strive to be excellent. In order to get there, let’s review some common attack patterns and discuss the best ways to disrupt an attacker’s plan.

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Topics: User Behavior, APT, Credential Compromise

Conditional Access Establishes Trust In the Network

Posted by Heather Howland on Mar 15, 2019 9:46:16 AM

Stolen or compromised credentials pose well-known risks to organizations and their employees. And as hackers and other malicious actors become more advanced and sophisticated in their techniques, the global threat is increasing. At a recent IT security conference, I spoke with a customer about an alert (TA18-276A) that the United States National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) released late last year. The alert, titled “Using Rigorous Credential Control to Mitigate Trusted Network Exploitation,” outlines recommendations on how to overcome these challenges. In this blog, I’ll discuss how Conditional Access and detection of malicious use of tools and protocols can address the NCCIC’s recommendations.  

The alert provides information on how Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors are using multiple mechanisms to acquire legitimate user credentials. Once acquired, attackers can use the credentials to exploit trusted network relationships, in order to expand unauthorized access, maintain persistence, and exfiltrate data from targeted organizations. Some of the suggested NCCIC best practices for administrators to mitigate these threats include rigorous credential controls and privileged-access management, as well as remote-access control and audits of legitimate remote-access logs.

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Topics: User Behavior, Risk, Multi-factor Authentication, Privileged Accounts, APT, User and Entity Behavior Analytics, Credential Compromise, Compliance

Happy Holidays! Here’s your Business Email Compromise (BEC) gift card scam

Posted by Monnia Deng on Dec 24, 2018 9:21:00 AM

Deck the hall with sad employees, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la! 

'Tis the season to be swindled, Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

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Topics: Threat Mitigation, User Behavior

Going on the Offense: How to Eliminate Internal Threats

Posted by Heather Howland on Jul 27, 2018 11:57:00 AM

Over the past few years, we’ve observed significant changes in the types of conversations we’re having with CISOs. What used to be discussions about how to keep bad guys out has evolved to how to manage and address internal threats. Internal threats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It could be an attacker who has already gotten in and waiting for the right moment to make a move. It could also be an insider threat. It could be a malicious insider looking to do harm to the organization. Or it could be employees who don’t mean any harm but may doing things (knowingly or unknowingly) that could put an organization at risk.

With the perimeter all but dissolved, and as enterprises transition to the cloud, it’s becoming clear that identity, and where there are points of access, is the new perimeter. The challenge for many organizations is how to understand their posture around identity. This requires understanding who is doing what, when, and where, and understanding it across all applications and platforms on prem, in the cloud and in hybrid environments. Having a holistic view of identity--all users, privileges, access patterns and accounts--is becoming more critical in order to be more proactive and to have proper controls over accounts (privileged, user, service, and more) and to being able to protect accounts from compromise.

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Topics: User Behavior, CISO, Insider Threats, User and Entity Behavior Analytics, ueba

Simplifying PCI DSS 3.2 Compliance with Preempt

Posted by Heather Howland on Feb 9, 2018 1:21:56 PM

If your organization handles credit cards, you are no doubt familiar with  Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance. PCI DSS is a set of requirements and procedures that have been established in order to strengthen security of cardholder transactions and data in order to reduce fraud. PCI DSS controls have been implemented for many years but as hackers have advanced their efforts, new requirements continue to emerge with updates to existing controls and reporting.

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Topics: User Behavior, Adaptive Response, Identity Verification, Passwords, Compliance, PCI

Corporate Culture Shift: Using Adaptive Security to Influence Employee Security Behavior

Posted by Heather Howland on Jan 12, 2018 7:19:33 AM

I’ve heard it many times from customers: “IT Security needs to be transparent to users in order to be successful.” Unfortunately, we are now in a digital age where things have dramatically changed and research has shown over and over that credential compromise is the top way that hackers breach an organization.

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Topics: User Behavior, CISO, Risk, Identity Verification, Identity, Adaptive Threat Prevention

How Identity, Behavior & Risk Enable Security in the New Digital Age

Posted by Ajit Sancheti on Dec 7, 2017 6:07:51 AM

Enterprises are deploying more cloud services, embracing DevOps, leveraging on-premises applications and exploring other productivity and cost optimization solutions. As a result, it is becoming harder for them to know who within the organization has access to what and how that access is being used or, as we found out in our latest survey, being misused.

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Topics: User Behavior, Adaptive Response, Risk, CARTA, Identity

Evolving Employee Security Measures from “Weak Link” to “Front Line Defense”

Posted by Ajit Sancheti on Dec 1, 2017 8:09:38 AM

It's easy to think that attackers have gained an unfair advantage over security professionals. The network perimeter has virtually dissolved, compelling enterprises to simultaneously work to keep the bad guys out while tackling multiple insider threats – naïve employees, malicious insiders, careless third parties, and undetected malware or intruders that have already breached network defenses.

The challenge for security teams today? Legitimate users and activities should not be impeded, but determining what activity to block and what to allow is not always easy.

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Topics: User Behavior, Adaptive Response, Insider Threats, Credential Compromise, Informaton Security

Building Insider Threat Awareness into Security Awareness - Part 2

Posted by Preempt Guest Blogger on Jul 20, 2017 8:49:52 AM

In part 1 of the post on how Insider Threat Awareness is a vital component of Security Awareness, I talked about the different types of insider threats and some of the steps that security teams can do to protect themselves and educate employees.

 This week I want to explore whether that is enough and some tips for how to approach introducing Insider Threat Awareness training in your organization. 

To recap, at a high level here are some of the things security organizations can do:

Is this enough?

In a white paper (well worth reading in its entirety) about insider threats in nuclear security systems, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AMACAD) noted that there are deep organizational and cognitive biases that lead managers to downplay the threats insiders pose to their nuclear facilities and operations. Could insider threats be the elephant in the security room? Some of AMACAD’s findings are broadly applicable to many organizations and several may prompt you to re-evaluate your insider threat strategy:

  • Organizations that consider their staff to be part of a carefully screened elite can lead management to falsely assume that insider threats may exist in other institutions, but not in their organization.
  • The belief that personnel who have been through a background check will not pose an insider problem is remarkably widespread—a special case of the “not in my organization” fallacy. There are two reasons why this belief is mistaken. First, background checks are often not very effective. Second, even completely trustworthy employees may become insiders, especially if they are coerced.
  • High-security facilities typically have programs to monitor the behavior of employees for changes that might suggest a security issue. Security managers often assume that severe red flags warning of problems will not go unnoticed. But if individual incentive systems and information-sharing procedures encourage people not to report, even the reddest of red flags can be ignored.
  • Security-conscious organizations create rules and procedures to protect valuable assets. But such organizations also have other, often competing, goals: managers are often tempted to instruct employees to bend the security rules to increase productivity, meet a deadline, or avoid inconvenience.
  • Prevention of insider threats is a high priority, but leaders and operators should never succumb to the temptation to minimize emergency response and mitigation efforts in order to maintain the illusion that there is nothing to be afraid of. 

Insider threat awareness training

Insider threat awareness is a vital component of security awareness. The need for training and education is making news headlines: 

  • The deadline for Federal contractors to complete insider threat training programs prior to being granted access to classified information under a Department of Defense rule change passed on May 31. 
  • Harvard Business Review asserts that the best cyber security investment you can make is better training. C-level executives, board directors, shareholders, and other senior leaders must not only invest in training for their firm’s own employees but also consider how to evaluate and inform the outsiders upon whom their businesses rely — contractors, consultants, and vendors in their supply chains. Such third parties with access to company networks have enabled high-profile breaches, including Target and Home Depot, among others.
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Topics: User Behavior, Insider Threats