FireEye releases an auditing tool to detect SolarWinds hackers’ activity

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Cybersecurity firm FireEye has released a report that sheds the light on the SolarWinds attack and the way hackers breached its networks.

Cybersecurity firm FireEye has released a report that sheds the light on the SolarWinds attack and the way hackers breached its networks.

The experts explained how the UNC2452 and other threat actors breached the infrastructure and moved laterally from on-premises networks to the Microsoft 365 cloud. The paper, titled Remediation and Hardening Strategies for Microsoft 365 to Defend Against UNC2452 also provides tips for organizations on how proactively harden their environments.

FireEye also released a tool named Azure AD Investigator that could be used by organizations to discover if their organization has been breached by the SolarWinds hackers, tracked by the security firm as UNC2452.

This FireEye GitHub repository contains a PowerShell module that can be used to detect artifacts associated with the UNC2452’s intrusion and other threat actor activity.

“Some indicators are “high-fidelity” indicators of compromise, while other artifacts are so called “dual-use” artifacts.” states FireEye. “Dual-use artifacts may be related to threat actor activity, but also may be related to legitimate functionality. Analysis and verification will be required for these.”

FireEye pointed out that the tool is read-only, which means that it does not make any changes to the Microsoft 365 environment.

The company warns that the tool could not identify a compromise 100% of the time, and is not able to distinguish if an artifact is the result of a legitimate admin activity or threat actor activity.

Mandiant researchers explained that UNC2452 and other threat actors primarily used four techniques for lateral movements:

  1. Steal the Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) token-signing certificate and use it to forge tokens for arbitrary users (sometimes described as Golden SAML). This would allow the attacker to authenticate into a federated resource provider (such as Microsoft 365) as any user, without the need for that user’s password or their corresponding multi-factor authentication (MFA) mechanism.
  2. Modify or add trusted domains in Azure AD to add a new federated Identity Provider (IdP) that the attacker controls. This would allow the attacker to forge tokens for arbitrary users and has been described as an Azure AD backdoor.
  3. Compromise the credentials of on-premises user accounts that are synchronized to Microsoft 365 that have high privileged directory roles, such as Global Administrator or Application Administrator.
  4. Backdoor an existing Microsoft 365 application by adding a new application or service principal credential in order to use the legitimate permissions assigned to the application, such as the ability to read email, send email as an arbitrary user, access user calendars, etc.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)’s Cloud Forensics team has also released a PowerShell-based tool, dubbed Sparrow, that can that helps administrators to detect anomalies and potentially malicious activities in Azure/Microsoft 365 environments.

CrowdStrike experts also decided to create their own tool because they face difficulties in using Azure’s administrative tools to enumerate privileges assigned to third-party resellers and partners in their Azure tenant.

“CrowdStrike launches CrowdStrike Reporting Tool for Azure (CRT), a free community tool that will help organizations quickly and easily review excessive permissions in their Azure AD environments, help determine configuration weaknesses, and provide advice to mitigate risk.” states the security firm.

“Throughout our analysis, we experienced first hand the difficulties customers face in managing Azure’s administrative tools to know what relationships and permissions exist within Azure tenants, particularly with third-party partner/resellers, and how to quickly enumerate them. We found it particularly challenging that many of the steps required to investigate are not documented, there was an inability to audit via API, and there is the requirement for global admin rights to view important information which we found to be excessive. Key information should be easily accessible.”

The CrowdStrike Reporting Tool for Azure (CRT) tool could be used by administrators to analyze their Microsoft Azure environment and review the privileges assigned to third-party resellers and partners.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, SolarWinds APT)

The post FireEye releases an auditing tool to detect SolarWinds hackers’ activity appeared first on Security Affairs.

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