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Pikabot Malware: Battling a Fast-Moving Loader Malware in the Wild

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19
Mar 2024
19
Mar 2024
This blog details Darktrace’s investigation into the Pikabot loader malware, observed across multiple customers in 2023. In an October 2023 incident, Darktrace identified Pikabot employing new tactics that may have bypassed traditional security measures. With Darktrace’s support, the customer was able to contain the attack and prevent it from escalating into a ransomware infection.

How does Loader Malware work?

Throughout 2023, the Darktrace Threat Research team identified and investigated multiple strains of loader malware affecting customers across its fleet. These malicious programs typically serve as a gateway for threat actors to gain initial access to an organization’s network, paving the way for subsequent attacks, including additional malware infections or disruptive ransomware attacks.

How to defend against loader malware

The prevalence of such initial access threats highlights the need for organizations to defend against multi-phase compromises, where modular malware swiftly progresses from one stage of an attack to the next. One notable example observed in 2023 was Pikabot, a versatile loader malware used for initial access and often accompanied by secondary compromises like Cobalt Strike and Black Basta ransomware.

While Darktrace initially investigated multiple instances of campaign-like activity associated with Pikabot during the summer of 2023, a new campaign emerged in October which was observed targeting a Darktrace customer in Europe. Thanks to the timely detection by Darktrace DETECT™ and the support of Darktrace’s Security Operations Center (SOC), the Pikabot compromise was quickly shut down before it could escalate into a more disruptive attack.

What is Pikabot?

Pikabot is one of the latest modular loader malware strains that has been active since the first half of 2023, with several evolutions in its methodology observed in the months since. Initial researchers noted similarities to the Qakbot aka Qbot or Pinkslipbot and Mantanbuchus malware families, and while Pikabot appears to be a new malware in early development, it shares multiple commonalities with Qakbot [1].

First, both Pikabot and Qakbot have similar distribution methods, can be used for multi-stage attacks, and are often accompanied by downloads of Cobalt Strike and other malware strains. The threat actor known as TA577, which has also been referred to as Water Curupira, has been seen to use both types of malware in spam campaigns which can lead to Black Basta ransomware attacks [2] [3].Notably, a rise in Pikabot campaigns were observed in September and October 2023, shortly after the takedown of Qakbot in Operation Duck Hunt, suggesting that Pikabot may be serving as a replacement for initial access to target network [4].

How does Pikabot malware work?

Many Pikabot infections start with a malicious email, particularly using email thread hijacking; however, other cases have been distributed via malspam and malvertising [5]. Once downloaded, Pikabot runs anti-analysis techniques and checks the system’s language, self-terminating if the language matches that of a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) country, such as Russian or Ukrainian. It will then gather key information to send to a command-and-control (C2) server, at which point additional payload downloads may be observed [2]. Early response to a Pikabot infection is important for organizations to prevent escalation to a significant compromise such as ransomware.

Darktrace’s Coverage of Pikabot malware

Between April and July 2023, the Darktrace Threat Research team investigated Pikabot infections affected more than 15 customer environments; these attacks primarily targeted US and European organizations spanning multiple industries, and most followed the below lifecycle:

  1. Initial access via malspam or email, often outside of Darktrace’s scope
  2. Suspicious executable download from a URI in the format /\/[a-z0-9A-Z]{3,}\/[a-z0-9A-Z]{5,}/ and using a Windows PowerShell user agent
  3. C2 connections to IP addresses on uncommon ports including 1194 and 2078
  4. Some cases involved further C2 activity to Cobalt Strike endpoints

In October 2023, a second campaign emerged that largely followed the same attack pattern, with a notable difference that cURL was used for the initial payload download as opposed to PowerShell. All the Pikabot cases that Darktrace has observed since October 2023 have used cURL, which could indicate a shift in approach from targeting Windows devices to multi-operating system environments.

Figure 1: Timeline of the Pikabot infection over a 2-hour period.

On October 17, 2023, Darktrace observed a Pikabot infection on the network of a European customer after an internal user seemingly clicked a malicious link in a phishing email, thereby compromising their device. As the customer did not have Darktrace/Email™ deployed on their network, Darktrace did not have visibility over the email. Despite this, DETECT was still able to provide full visibility over the network-based activity that ensued.

Darktrace observed the device using a cURL user agent when initiating the download of an unusual executable (.exe) file from an IP address that had never previously been observed on the network. Darktrace further recognized that the executable file was attempting to masquerade as a different file type, likely to evade the detection of security teams and their security tools. Within one minute, the device began to communicate with additional unusual IP addresses on uncommon ports (185.106.94[.]174:5000 and 80.85.140[.]152:5938), both of which have been noted by open-source intelligence (OSINT) vendors as Pikabot C2 servers [6] [7].

Figure 2: Darktrace model breach Event Log showing the initial file download, immediately followed by a connection attempt to a Pikabot C2 server.

Around 40 minutes after the initial download, Darktrace detected the device performing suspicious DNS tunneling using a pattern that resembled the Cobalt Strike Beacon. This was accompanied by beaconing activity to a rare domain, ‘wordstt182[.]com’, which was registered only 4 days prior to this activity [8]. Darktrace observed additional DNS connections to the endpoint, ‘building4business[.]net’, which had been linked to Black Basta ransomware [2].

Figure 3: The affected device making successful TXT DNS requests to known Black Basta endpoints.

As this customer had integrated Darktrace with the Microsoft Defender, Defender was able to contextualize the DETECT model breaches with endpoint insights, such as known threats and malware, providing customers with unparalleled visibility of the host-level detections surrounding network-level anomalies.

In this case, the behavior of the affected device triggered multiple Microsoft Defender alerts, including one alert which linked the activity to the threat actor Storm-0464, another name for TA577 and Water Curupira. These insights were presented to the customer in the form of a Security Integration alert, allowing them to build a full picture of the ongoing incident.

Figure 4: Security Integration alert from Microsoft Defender in Darktrace, linking the observed activity to the threat group Storm-0464.

As the customer had subscribed to Darktrace’s Proactive Threat Notification (PTN) service, the customer received timely alerts from Darktrace’s SOC notifying them of the suspicious activity associated with Pikabot. This allowed the customer’s security team to quickly identify the affected device and remove it from their environment for remediation.

Although the customer did have Darktrace RESPOND™ enabled on their network, it was configured in human confirmation mode, requiring manual application for any RESPOND actions. RESPOND had suggested numerous actions to interrupt and contain the attack, including blocking connections to the observed Pikabot C2 addresses, which were manually actioned by the customer’s security team after the fact. Had RESPOND been enabled in autonomous response mode during the attack, it would have autonomously blocked these C2 connections and prevented the download of any suspicious files, effectively halting the escalation of the attack.

Nonetheless, Darktrace DETECT’s prompt identification and alerting of this incident played a crucial role in enabling the customer to mitigate the threat of Pikabot, preventing it from progressing into a disruptive ransomware attack.

Figure 5: Darktrace RESPOND actions recommended from the initial file download and throughout the C2 traffic, ranging from blocking specific connections to IP addresses and ports to enforcing a normal pattern of life for the source device.

Schlussfolgerung

Pikabot is just one recent example of a modular strain of loader known for its adaptability and speed, seamlessly changing tactics from one campaign to the next and utilizing new infrastructure to initiate multi-stage attacks. Leveraging commonly used tools and services like Windows PowerShell and cURL, alongside anti-analysis techniques, this malware can evade the detection and often bypass traditional security tools.

In this incident, Darktrace detected a Pikabot infection in its early stages, identifying an anomalous file download using a cURL user agent, a new tactic for this particular strain of malware. This timely detection, coupled with the support of Darktrace’s SOC, empowered the customer to quickly identify the compromised device and act against it, thwarting threat actors attempting to connect to malicious Cobalt Strike and Black Basta servers. By preventing the escalation of the attack, including potential ransomware deployment, the customer’s environment remained safeguarded.

Had Darktrace RESPOND been enabled in autonomous response mode at the time of this attack, it would have been able to further support the customer by applying targeted mitigative actions to contain the threat of Pikabot at its onset, bolstering their defenses even more effectively.

Credit to Brianna Leddy, Director of Analysis, Signe Zaharka, Senior Cyber Security Analyst

Anhang

Darktrace DETECT Models

Anomalous Connection / Anomalous SSL without SNI to New External

Anomalous Connection / Application Protocol on Uncommon Port

Anomalous Connection / Multiple Connections to New External TCP Port

Anomalous Connection / New User Agent to IP Without Hostname

Anomalous Connection / Powershell to Rare External

Anomalous Connection / Rare External SSL Self-Signed

Anomalous Connection / Repeated Rare External SSL Self-Signed

Anomalous File / EXE from Rare External Location

Anomalous File / Masqueraded File Transfer

Anomalous File / Multiple EXE from Rare External Locations

Compromise / Agent Beacon to New Endpoint

Compromise / Beacon to Young Endpoint

Compromise / Beaconing Activity To External Rare

Compromise / DNS / DNS Tunnel with TXT Records

Compromise / New or Repeated to Unusual SSL Port

Compromise / SSL Beaconing to Rare Destination

Compromise / Suspicious Beaconing Behaviour

Compromise / Suspicious File and C2

Device / Initial Breach Chain Compromise

Device / Large Number of Model Breaches

Device / New PowerShell User Agent

Device / New User Agent

Device / New User Agent and New IP

Device / Suspicious Domain

Security Integration / C2 Activity and Integration Detection

Security Integration / Egress and Integration Detection

Security Integration / High Severity Integration Detection

Security Integration / High Severity Integration Incident

Security Integration / Low Severity Integration Detection

Security Integration / Low Severity Integration Incident

Antigena / Network / External Threat / Antigena File then New Outbound Block

Antigena / Network / External Threat / Antigena Suspicious Activity Block

Antigena / Network / External Threat / Antigena Suspicious File Block

Antigena / Network / Significant Anomaly / Antigena Breaches Over Time Block

Antigena / Network / Significant Anomaly / Antigena Controlled and Model Breach

Antigena / Network / Significant Anomaly / Antigena Enhanced Monitoring from Client Block

Antigena / Network / Significant Anomaly / Antigena Significant Anomaly from Client Block

Antigena / Network / Significant Anomaly / Antigena Significant Security Integration and Network Activity Block

List of Indicators of Compromise (IoC)

IOC - TYPE - DESCRIPTION + CONFIDENCE

128.140.102[.]132 - IP Address - Pikabot Download

185.106.94[.]174:5000 - IP Address: Port - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

80.85.140[.]152:5938 - IP Address: Port - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

building4business[.]net - Hostname - Cobalt Strike DNS Beacon

wordstt182[.]com - Hostname - Cobalt Strike Server

167.88.166[.]109 - IP Address - Cobalt Strike Server

192.9.135[.]73 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

192.121.17[.]68 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

185.87.148[.]132 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

129.153.22[.]231 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

129.153.135[.]83 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

154.80.229[.]76 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

192.121.17[.]14 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

162.252.172[.]253 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

103.124.105[.]147 - IP - Likely Pikabot Download

178.18.246[.]136 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

86.38.225[.]106 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

198.44.187[.]12 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

154.12.233[.]66 - IP - Pikabot C2 Endpoint

MITRE ATT&CK Mapping

TACTIC - TECHNIQUE

Defense Evasion - Masquerading: Masquerade File Type (T1036.008)

Command and Control - Application Layer Protocol: Web Protocols (T1071.001)

Command and Control - Non-Standard Port (T1571)

Command and Control - Application Layer Protocol: DNS (T1071.004)

Command and Control - Protocol Tunneling (T1572)

References

[1] https://news.sophos.com/en-us/2023/06/12/deep-dive-into-the-pikabot-cyber-threat/?&web_view=true  

[2] https://www.trendmicro.com/en_be/research/24/a/a-look-into-pikabot-spam-wave-campaign.html

[3] https://thehackernews.com/2024/01/alert-water-curupira-hackers-actively.html

[4] https://www.darkreading.com/cyberattacks-data-breaches/pikabot-malware-qakbot-replacement-black-basta-attacks

[5] https://www.redpacketsecurity.com/pikabot-distributed-via-malicious-ads-6/

[6] https://www.virustotal.com/gui/ip-address/185.106.94.174/detection

[7] https://www.virustotal.com/gui/ip-address/80.85.140.152/detection

[8] https://www.domainiq.com/domain?wordstt182.com

EINBLICKE IN DAS SOC-Team
Darktrace Cyber-Analysten sind erstklassige Experten für Threat Intelligence, Threat Hunting und Incident Response. Sie bieten Tausenden von Darktrace Kunden auf der ganzen Welt rund um die Uhr SOC-Support. Einblicke in das SOC-Team wird ausschließlich von diesen Experten verfasst und bietet Analysen von Cyber-Vorfällen und Bedrohungstrends, die auf praktischen Erfahrungen in diesem Bereich basieren.
AUTOR
ÜBER DEN AUTOR
Brianna Leddy
Director of Analysis

Based in San Francisco, Brianna is Director of Analysis at Darktrace. She joined the analyst team in 2016 and has since advised a wide range of enterprise customers on advanced threat hunting and leveraging Self-Learning AI for detection and response. Brianna works closely with the Darktrace SOC team to proactively alert customers to emerging threats and investigate unusual behavior in enterprise environments. Brianna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

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E-Mail

Looking Beyond Secure Email Gateways with the Latest Innovations to Darktrace/Email

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09
Apr 2024

Organizations Should Demand More from their Email Security

In response to a more intricate threat landscape, organizations should view email security as a critical component of their defense-in-depth strategy, rather than defending the inbox alone with a traditional Secure Email Gateway (SEG). Organizations need more than a traditional gateway – that doubles, instead of replaces, the capabilities provided by native security vendor – and require an equally granular degree of analysis across all messaging, including inbound, outbound, and lateral mail, plus Teams messages.  

Darktrace/Email is the industry’s most advanced cloud email security, powered by Self-Learning AI. It combines AI techniques to exceed the accuracy and efficiency of leading security solutions, and is the only security built to elevate, not duplicate, native email security.  

With its largest update ever, Darktrace/Email introduces the following innovations, finally allowing security teams to look beyond secure email gateways with autonomous AI:

  • AI-augmented data loss prevention to stop the entire spectrum of outbound mail threats
  • an easy way to deploy DMARC quickly with AI
  • major enhancements to streamline SOC workflows and increase the detection of sophisticated phishing links
  • expansion of Darktrace’s leading AI prevention to lateral mail, account compromise and Microsoft Teams

What’s New with Darktrace/Email  

Data Loss Prevention  

Block the entire spectrum of outbound mail threats with advanced data loss prevention that builds on tags in native email to stop unknown, accidental, and malicious data loss

Darktrace understands normal at individual user, group and organization level with a proven AI that detects abnormal user behavior and dynamic content changes. Using this understanding, Darktrace/Email actions outbound emails to stop unknown, accidental and malicious data loss.  

Traditional DLP solutions only take into account classified data, which relies on the manual input of labelling each data piece, or creating rules to catch pattern matches that try to stop data of certain types leaving the organization. But in today’s world of constantly changing data, regular expression and fingerprinting detection are no longer enough.

  • Human error – Because it understands normal for every user, Darktrace/Email can recognize cases of misdirected emails. Even if the data is correctly labelled or insensitive, Darktrace recognizes when the context in which it is being sent could be a case of data loss and warns the user.  
  • Unclassified data – Whereas traditional DLP solutions can only take action on classified data, Darktrace analyzes the range of data that is either pending labels or can’t be labeled with typical capabilities due to its understanding of the content and context of every email.  
  • Insider threat – If a malicious actor has compromised an account, data exfiltration may still be attempted on encrypted, intellectual property, or other forms of unlabelled data to avoid detection. Darktrace analyses user behaviour to catch cases of unusual data exfiltration from individual accounts.

And classification efforts already in place aren’t wasted – Darktrace/Email extends Microsoft Purview policies and sensitivity labels to avoid duplicate workflows for the security team, combining the best of both approaches to ensure organizations maintain control and visibility over their data.

End User and Security Workflows

Achieve more than 60% improvement in the quality of end-user phishing reports and detection of sophisticated malicious weblinks1

Darktrace/Email improves end-user reporting from the ground up to save security team resource. Employees will always be on the front line of email security – while other solutions assume that end-user reporting is automatically of poor quality, Darktrace prioritizes improving users’ security awareness to increase the quality of end-user reporting from day one.  

Users are empowered to assess and report suspicious activity with contextual banners and Cyber AI Analyst generated narratives for potentially suspicious emails, resulting in 60% fewer benign emails reported.  

Out of the higher-quality emails that end up being reported, the next step is to reduce the amount of emails that reach the SOC. Darktrace/Email’s Mailbox Security Assistant automates their triage with secondary analysis combining additional behavioral signals – using x20 more metrics than previously – with advanced link analysis to detect 70% more sophisticated malicious phishing links.2 This directly alleviates the burden of manual triage for security analysts.

For the emails that are received by the SOC, Darktrace/Email uses automation to reduce time spent investigating per incident. With live inbox view, security teams gain access to a centralized platform that combines intuitive search capabilities, Cyber AI Analyst reports, and mobile application access. Analysts can take remediation actions from within Darktrace/Email, eliminating console hopping and accelerating incident response.

Darktrace takes a user-focused and business-centric approach to email security, in contrast to the attack-centric rules and signatures approach of secure email gateways

Microsoft Teams

Detect threats within your Teams environment such as account compromise, phishing, malware and data loss

Around 83% of Fortune 500 companies rely on Microsoft Office products and services, particularly Teams and SharePoint.3

Darktrace now leverages the same behavioral AI techniques for Microsoft customers across 365 and Teams, allowing organizations to detect threats and signals of account compromise within their Teams environment including social engineering, malware and data loss.  

The primary use case for Microsoft Teams protection is as a potential entry vector. While messaging has traditionally been internal only, as organizations open up it is becoming an entry vector which needs to be treated with the same level of caution as email. That’s why we’re bringing our proven AI approach to Microsoft Teams, that understands the user behind the message.  

Anomalous messaging behavior is also a highly relevant indicator of whether a user has been compromised. Unlike other solutions that analyze Microsoft Teams content which focus on payloads, Darktrace goes beyond basic link and sandbox analysis and looks at actual user behavior from both a content and context perspective. This linguistic understanding isn’t bound by the requirement to match a signature to a malicious payload, rather it looks at the context in which the message has been delivered. From this analysis, Darktrace can spot the early symptoms of account compromise such as early-stage social engineering before a payload is delivered.

Lateral Mail Analysis

Detect and respond to internal mailflow with multi-layered AI to prevent account takeover, lateral phishing and data leaks

The industry’s most robust account takeover protection now prevents lateral mail account compromise. Darktrace has always looked at internal mail to inform inbound and outbound decisions, but will now elevate suspicious lateral mail behaviour using the same AI techniques for inbound, outbound and Teams analysis.

Darktrace integrates signals from across the entire mailflow and communication patterns to determine symptoms of account compromise, now including lateral mailflow

Unlike other solutions which only analyze payloads, Darktrace analyzes a whole range of signals to catch lateral movement before a payload is delivered. Contributing yet another layer to the AI behavioral profile for each user, security teams can now use signals from lateral mail to spot the early symptoms of account takeover and take autonomous actions to prevent further compromise.

DMARC

Gain in-depth visibility and control of 3rd parties using your domain with an industry-first AI-assisted DMARC

Darktrace has created the easiest path to brand protection and compliance with the new Darktrace/DMARC. This new capability continuously stops spoofing and phishing from the enterprise domain, while automatically enhancing email security and reducing the attack surface.

Darktrace/DMARC helps to upskill businesses by providing step by step guidance and automated record suggestions provide a clear, efficient road to enforcement. It allows organizations to quickly achieve compliance with requirements from Google, Yahoo, and others, to ensure that their emails are reaching mailboxes.  

Meanwhile, Darktrace/DMARC helps to reduce the overall attack surface by providing visibility over shadow-IT and third-party vendors sending on behalf of an organization’s brand, while informing recipients when emails from their domains are sent from un-authenticated DMARC source.

Darktrace/DMARC integrates with the wider Darktrace product platform, sharing insights to help further secure your business across Email Attack Path and Attack Surface management.

Schlussfolgerung

To learn more about the new innovations to Darktrace/Email download the solution brief here.

All of the new updates to Darktrace/Email sit within the new Darktrace ActiveAI Security Platform, creating a feedback loop between email security and the rest of the digital estate for better protection. Click to read more about the Darktrace ActiveAI Security Platform or to hear about the latest innovations to Darktrace/OT, the most comprehensive prevention, detection, and response solution purpose built for critical infrastructures.  

Learn about the intersection of cyber and AI by downloading the State of AI Cyber Security 2024 report to discover global findings that may surprise you, insights from security leaders, and recommendations for addressing today’s top challenges that you may face, too.

References

[1] Internal Darktrace Research

[2] Internal Darktrace Research

[3] Essential Microsoft Office Statistics in 2024

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Carlos Gray
Product Manager

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Managing Risk Beyond CVE Scores With the Latest Innovations to Darktrace/OT

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09
Apr 2024

Identifying Cyber Risk in Industrial Organizations

Compromised OT devices in ICS and SCADA environments pose significant physical risks, even endangering lives. However, identifying CVEs in the multitude of complex OT devices is labor-intensive and time-consuming, draining valuable resources.

Even after identifying a vulnerability, implementing a patch presents its own challenges limited maintenance windows and the need for uninterrupted operations strain IT and OT teams often leading organizations to prioritize availability over security leading vulnerabilities remaining unresolved for over 5 years on average. (1)

Darktrace’s New Innovation

Darktrace is an industry leader in cybersecurity with 10+ years of experience securing OT environments where we take a fundamentally different approach using Self-Learning AI to enhance threat detection and response.

Continuing to combat the expanding threat landscape, Darktrace is excited to announce new capabilities that enable a contextualized and proactive approach to managing cyber risk at industrial organizations.

Today we launch an innovation to our OT Cybersecurity solution, Darktrace/OT, that will add a layer of proactivity, enabling a comprehensive approach to risk management. This industry leading innovation for Darktrace/OT moves beyond CVE scores to redefine vulnerability management for critical infrastructure, tackling the full breadth of risks not limited by traditional controls.  

Darktrace/OT is the only OT security solution with comprehensive Risk Management which includes:

  • Contextualized risk analysis unique to your organization
  • The most realistic evaluation and prioritization of OT risk
  • Effectively mitigate risk across your OT infrastructure, with and without patching.
  • The only OT security solution that evaluates your defenses against Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) Groups.

The most comprehensive prevention, detection, and response solution purpose built for Critical Infrastructures

Darktrace’s Self-Learning AI technology is a cutting-edge innovation that implements real time prevention, detection, response, and recovery for operational technologies and enables a fundamental shift from the traditional approach to cyber defense by learning a ‘pattern of life’ for every network, device, and user.  

Rather than relying on knowledge of past attacks, AI technology learns what is ‘normal’ for its environment, discovering previously unknown threats by detecting subtle shifts in behavior. Through identifying these unexpected anomalies, security teams can investigate novel attacks, discover blind spots, have live time visibility across all their physical and digital assets, and reduce time to detect, respond to, and triage security events.  

  • Achieve greater visibility of OT and IT devices across all levels of the Purdue Model.
  • The industry's only OT security to scale threat detection and response, with a 92% time saving from triage to recovery.  
  • The only OT focused security solution to provide bespoke Risk Management.

To learn more about how Darktrace/OT approaches unique use cases for industrial organizations visit the Darktrace/OT Webpage or join us LIVE at a city near you.

Read more below to discover how new innovations to Darktrace/OT are bringing a new, contextualized approach to Risk Management for Industrial organizations.

For more information on the entire Darktrace/OT Solution read our solution brief here.

Darktrace/OT and New Risk Management

Risk Identification

Leveraging the visibility of Darktrace/OT which identifies individual systems throughout the Purdue Model and the relationship between them, Darktrace/OT identifies high-risk CVEs and presents potential attack routes that go beyond techniques requiring a known exploit, such as misuse of legitimate services. Each attack path will have a mathematical evaluation of difficulty and impact from initial access to the high value objectives.  

Together this gives comprehensive coverage over your real and potential risks from both an attacker and known vulnerability perspectives. OT attack paths as seen here even leverage insights between the industrial and corporate communications to reveal ways threat actors may take advantage of IT-OT convergence. This revelation of imperceptible risks fills gaps in traditional risk analysis like remote access and insider threats.

Figure 1: Darktrace/OT visualizing the most critical attack paths at an organization
Figure 1: Darktrace/OT visualizing the most critical attack paths at an organization
Figure 2: A specific Attack Path identified by Darktrace/OT

Risk Prioritization

Darktrace/OT prioritizes remediations and mitigations based on difficulty and damage to your unique organization, using the established Attack Paths.

We ascertain the priorities that apply to your organization beyond pure theoretical damage answering questions like:

  • How difficult is a particular vulnerability to exploit considering the steps an attacker would require to reach it?
  • And, how significant would the impact be if it was exploited within this particular network?

This expanded approach to risk prioritization has a much more comprehensive evaluation of your organization's unique risk than has ever been possible before. Traditional approaches of ranking only known vulnerabilities with isolated scores using CVSS and exploitability metrics, often leaves gaps in IT-OT risks and is blind to legitimate service exploitation.

Figure 3: Darktrace/OT leverages its contextual understand of the organization’s network to prioritize remediation that will have the positive impact on the risk score

Darktrace provides mitigation strategies associated with each identified risk and the relevant impact it has on your overall risk posture, across all MITRE ATT&CK techniques.

What sets Darktrace apart is our ability to contextualize these mitigations within the broader business. When patching vulnerabilities directly isn’t possible, Darktrace identifies alternative actions that harden attack paths leading to critical assets. Hardening the surrounding attack path increases the difficulty and therefore reduces the likelihood and impact of a breach.

That means unpatched vulnerabilities and vulnerable devices aren’t left unprotected. This also has an added bonus, those hardening techniques work for all devices in that network segment, so apply one change, secure many.

Figure 4: Darktrace prioritizes mitigation reducing accessibility of vulnerability and the overall risk score when patches aren’t available

Communicate Board Level Risk with APT Threat Mapping

Darktrace/OT bridges theory and practice as the only security solution that maps MITRE techniques, frequently used by APT Groups, onto AI-assessed critical Attack Paths. This unique solution provides unparalleled insights including sector and location intelligence, possible operating platforms, common techniques, exploited CVEs, and the number of potential devices affected in your environment, supporting holistic risk assessment and proactive defense measures.

Ultimately, this becomes a power dashboard to communicate board level risk, using both metric based evidence and industry standard threat mapping.

Schlussfolgerung

Darktrace/OT is part of the Darktrace ActiveAI Security Platform a native, holistic, AI-driven platform built on over ten years of AI research. It helps security teams shift to more a productive mode, finding the known and the unknown attacks and transforming the SOC with the various Darktrace products to drive efficiency gains. It does this across the whole incident lifecycle to lower risk, reduce time spent on active incidents, and drive return on investment.

Discover more about Darktrace's ever-strengthening platform with the upcoming changes coming to our Darktrace/Email product and other launch day blogs.

Join Darktrace LIVE half-day event to understand the reality versus the hype surrounding AI and how to achieve cyber resilience.

Learn about the intersection of cyber and AI by downloading the State of AI Cyber Security 2024 report to discover global findings that may surprise you, insights from security leaders, and recommendations for addressing today’s top challenges that you may face, too.  

References

1. https://research-information.bris.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/313646831/Catch_Me_if_You_Can.pdf

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About the author
Mitchell Bezzina
VP, Product and Solutions Marketing
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