As cyber threats continue to evolve, adversaries are deploying a range of tools to breach security defenses and compromise sensitive data. Surprisingly, one of the most potent weapons in their arsenal is not malicious code but simply stolen or weak usernames and passwords. This article explores the seriousness of compromised credentials, the challenges they present to security solutions, and the importance of implementing robust measures to protect Active Directory (AD) environments. Additionally, we introduce Silverfort Unified Identity Protection, a comprehensive solution that offers enhanced security for AD environments against the misuse of compromised credentials.
The Power of Stolen Credentials: Full Access to Any Resource #
In the world of cyberattacks, stolen usernames and passwords are a highly effective means of gaining unauthorized access to networks and systems. They grant adversaries an entry point, allowing them subsequent access to sensitive on-prem and cloud resources. Compromised credentials pose a significant threat because detection of cyber threats relies heavily on identifying anomalies in various activities, such as processes, network traffic, and user behavior. Anomalies serve as red flags, indicating potential security breaches or malicious activities. But malicious authentication with compromised credentials is identical to legitimate one done by the actual user. Current security and identity management solutions don’t have a way to discern between the two, so they could block the first and allow the other.
Obtaining Compromised Credentials Has Never Been Easier#
Attackers employ a variety of techniques to obtain compromised credentials. They may purchase them from Dark Web marketplaces, or else acquire them through the use of keyloggers or memory dumps on already-compromised machines. So it is crucial to accept the fact that many of an organization’s usernames and passwords will eventually be compromised, driving home the need for proactive security measures.
Active Directory Can’t Prevent Malicious Authentications in Real Time#
While modern web and SaaS platforms have built-in multi-factor authentication (MFA) capabilities – bolstering security by adding an extra layer of authentication – this same level of protection is often absent in AD environments. The authentication protocols used in AD (namely NTLM and Kerberos) lack native MFA support. Consequently, AD environments are highly vulnerable to attacks that make use of compromised credentials.
Lateral Movement Attacks in AD Environments#
The weakness of AD’s security capabilities beyond simple username and password matching is regularly abused by adversaries who execute lateral movement attacks. Since AD lacks the ability to differentiate between a legitimate authentication and a malicious one using compromised credentials, adversaries can move laterally within the AD environment, escalating privileges and accessing critical resources undetected.
Empowering Active Directory Security with Silverfort Unified Identity Protection#
To counter the misuse of compromised credentials in AD environments, organizations need a comprehensive security solution that offers continuous monitoring, risk analysis, and active response. Silverfort Unified Identity Protection provides robust protection by implementing MFA on every authentication within AD, including legacy applications, command-line access to workstations and servers, file shares, and any NTLM, Kerberos, or LDAP authentication.
By leveraging Silverfort Unified Identity Protection, organizations gain a distinct advantage in mitigating the risks associated with compromised credentials. This solution monitors all authentication attempts, analyzes risks in real time, and actively responds by either blocking access or enforcing MFA. With Silverfort, organizations can fortify their AD environments and safeguard critical assets from the malicious use of compromised credentials.
Compromised credentials represent a formidable threat in the realm of cyberattacks. Their deceptive legitimacy challenges conventional security solutions and enables lateral movement attacks within AD environments. By implementing Silverfort Unified Identity Protection, organizations can elevate their AD security posture and proactively defend against the misuse of compromised credentials.
Are compromised credentials in the AD environment a concern for you? Schedule a call with one of our experts.
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