Tag Archives: Virus Total

Microsoft security solutions against ransomware and APT

Last Tuesday I was invited to Microsoft business breakfast “Effective protection against targeted and multilevel attacks”. Here I would like to share some of my thoughts on this. Need to mention that the food was delicious and the restaurant of Russian Geographical Society is a very lovely place. ūüėČ Thanks, Microsoft!

Microsoft as a security vendor? O RLY?

Microsoft products are not actually my topic. To tell you the truth, personally I’d better live in a world without this massive Windows hegemony in desktop operating systems. I use Linux mostly. And even when I have to work in a Windows environment, it’s much easier for me to do all the work in some Linux virtual machine.

But in the real life almost every office network is build on Microsoft solutions. And if you are doing Vulnerability Management in any organization, you should deal with them too. The good news is that many security features are available out of the box in the MS products that you have already purchased. It’s just important to know about these features and use them right.

One more thing,¬†why it’s interesting to learn more about Microsoft information security products. Microsoft developers, obviously, have direct access to Windows source code and know better how their own OS works. Many things are much easier for them to implement than for other security vendors. So, good chances that you will see in Microsoft products some interesting features, that other vendors don’t have (yet).

Drowning in data

The event began with an opening speech by Andrey Ivanov from Microsoft Russia.

Andrey Ivanov, "Effective protection against targeted and multilevel attacks"

I liked his thesis that “we are drowning in security data”:

  • Threat Intelligence from different sources that need to be implemented in your infrastructure and somehow validated. A good place to mention Vulners.com vulnerability feeds ūüėČ
  • Threat Detection using logs, scanners, various protection tools, etc.
  • The overall number of SIEM inputs is growing faster than our resources. New IT system = new problems of SIEM configuration.

So, it would be nice if somebody, for example OS vendor, will provide all this as a service, right? ūüėČ

Detect the undetectable

Then there was the keynote by Zbigniew Kukowski Рone of the leading Microsoft information security experts.

Zbigniew Kukowski, "Effective protection against targeted and multilevel attacks"

Why is it necessary?

Here is what I would like to note from his report. First of all, great arguments why it is necessary. Ok, this is marketing. But the ability to explain (to sell) necessity of information security is important skill for any information security specialist now. It does not matter if you are working in a  security vendor, integrator or customer.

Zbigniew mentioned an interesting case: some Polish company, that lost $ 4.3 million in recent the Petya attack in 4 days. The cost of Information Security measures will be much less than the potential losses of business.

Another argument – attacks are not the entertainment for some individuals any more. Now it’s a well-organized criminal business. Dozens of people are working on popular malware tools, like Petya. That’s why ransomware tools are so popular now – cyber-criminals just want to return their development costs.

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Carbon Blacking your sensitive data it’s what the agents normally do

But usually without such consequences. In this situation with Carbon Black, I am most interested in the actual reasons of all this media noise. From what point business as usual becomes a scandal. Ok, when you see Carbon Black customer’s private files in public access at Virus Total it’s a 100% epic fail.¬†But what about other options.

Carbon Black and DirectDefense Illustration from investigation by DirectDefense 

  1. Agent makes file analysis by himself on user’s host. It’s probably ok. Some paranoid person, like me, may say that it’s possible that data may leak during the update process, like in case of M.E.Doc. But it probably can be detected it in traffic somehow.
  2. Agent sends file to the¬†vendor’s cloud for further analysis in some private multiscanner. Vendor will have copy of your private data. What if this data will leak? Are you sure that vendor will bear responsibility for this?
  3. Agent sends file to vendor’s cloud, vendor than sends it to some third-party for analysis. Are you sure vendors that you use doesn’t do this? How can you investigate this? What will be your next actions if you figure out that they do it without your permission?
  4. Agent sends file to the vendor’s cloud, vendor then sends it to some third-party for analysis,¬†third-party opens access to this file for a wide range of people.

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