Blog

Aucun élément trouvé.

Finding the Right Cyber Security AI for You

Default blog imageDefault blog imageDefault blog imageDefault blog imageDefault blog imageDefault blog image
20
Dec 2022
20
Dec 2022
This blog explores the nuances of AI in cyber security, how to identify true AI, and considerations when integrating AI technology with people, processes, and other technology.

AI has long been a buzzword – we started seeing it utilized in consumer space; in social media, e-commerce, and even in our music preference! In the past few years it has started to make its way through the enterprise space, especially in cyber security.

Increasingly, we see threat actors utilizing AI in their attack techniques. This is inevitable with the advancements in AI technology, the lower barrier to entry to the cyber security industry, and the continued profitability of being a threat actor. Surveying security decision makers across different industries like financial services and manufacturing, 77% of the respondents expect weaponized AI to lead to an increase in the scale and speed of attacks. 

Defenders are also ramping up their use of AI in cyber security – with more than 80% of the respondents agreeing that organizations require advanced defenses to combat offensive AI – resulted in a ‘cyber arms race’ with adversaries and security teams in constant pursuit of the latest technological advancements.  

The rules and signature approach is no longer sufficient in this evolving threat landscape. Because of this collective need, we will continue to see the push of AI innovations in this space as well. By 2025, cyber security technologies will account for 25% of the AI software market.

Despite the intrigue surrounding AI, many people have a limited understanding of how it truly works. The mystery of AI technology is what piques the interest of many cyber security practitioners. As an industry we also know that AI is necessary for advancement, but there is so much noise around AI and machine learning that some teams struggle to understand it. The paradox of choice leaves security teams more frustrated and confused by all the options presented to them.

Identifying True AI

You first need to define what you want the AI technology to solve. This might seem trivial, but many security teams often forget to come back to the fundamentals: what problem are you addressing? What are you trying to improve? 

Not every process needs AI; some processes will simply need automation – these are the more straightforward parts of your business. More complex and bigger systems require AI. The crux is identifying these parts of your business, applying AI and being clear of what you are going to achieve with these AI technologies. 

For example, when it comes to factory floor operations or tracking leave days of employees, businesses employ automation technologies, but when it comes to business decisions like PR strategies or new business exploration, AI is used to predict trends and help business owners make these decisions. 

Similarly, in cyber security, when dealing with known threats such as known malicious malware and hosting sites, automation is great at keeping track of them; workflows and playbooks are also best assessed with automation tools. However, when it comes to unknown unknowns like zero-day attacks, insider threats, IoT threats and supply chain attacks, AI is needed to detect and respond these threats as they emerge.

Automation is often communicated as AI, and it becomes difficult for security teams to differentiate. Automation helps you to quickly make a decision you already know you will make, whereas true AI helps you make a better decision.

Key ways to differentiate true AI from automation:

  • The Data Set: In automation, what you are looking for is very well-scoped. You already know what you are looking for – you are just accelerating the process with rules and signatures. True AI is dynamic. You no longer need to define activities that deserve your attention, the AI highlights and prioritizes this for you.
  • Bias: When you define what you are looking for, as humans inherently we impose our biases on these decisions. We are also limited by our knowledge at that point in time – this leaves out the crucial unknown unknowns.
  • Real-time: Every organization is always changing and it is important that AI takes all that data into consideration. True AI that is real time and also changes with your organization’s growth is hard to find. 

Our AI Research Centre has produced numerous papers on the applications of true AI in cyber security. The Centre comprises of more than 150 members and has more than 100 patents and patents pending. Some of the featured white papers include research on Attack Path Modeling and using AI as a preventative approach in your organization. 

Integrating AI Outputs with People, Process, and Technology


Integrating AI with People

We are living in the time of trust deficit, and that applies to AI as well. As humans we can be skeptical with AI, so how do we build trust for AI such that it works for us? This applies not only to the users of the technology, but the wider organization as well. Since this is the People pillar, the key factors to achieving trust in AI is through education, culture, and exposure. In a culture where people are open to learn and try new AI technologies, we will naturally build trust towards AI over time.

Integrating AI with Process

Then we should consider the integration of AI and its outputs into your workflow and playbooks. To make decisions around that, security managers need to be clear what their security priorities are, or which security gaps a particular technology is meant to fill. Regardless of whether you have an outsourced MSSP/SOC team, 50-strong in-house SOC team, or even just a 2-man team, it is about understanding your priorities and assigning the proper resources to them.

Integrating AI with Technology 

Finally, there is the integration of AI with your existing technology stack. Most security teams deploy different tools and services to help them achieve different goals – whether it is a tool like SIEM, a firewall, an endpoint, or services like pentesting, or vulnerability assessment exercises. One of the biggest challenges is putting all of this information together and pulling actionable insights out of them. Integration on multiple levels is always challenging with complex technologies because they technologies can rate or interpret threats differently.

Security teams often find themselves spending the most time making sense of the output of different tools and services. For example, taking the outcomes from a pentesting report and trying to enhance SOAR configurations, or looking at SOC alerts to advise firewall configurations, or taking vulnerability assessment reports to scope third-party Incident Response teams.

These tools can have a strong mastery of large volumes of data, but eventually ownership of the knowledge should still lie with the human teams – and the way to do that is with continuous feedback and integration. It is no longer efficient to use human teams to carry out this at scale and at speed. 

The Cyber AI Loop is Darktrace’s approach to cyber security. The four product families make up a key aspect of an organization’s cyber security posture. Darktrace PREVENT, DETECT, RESPOND and HEAL each feed back into a continuous, virtuous cycle, constantly strengthening each other’s abilities. 

This cycle augments humans at every stage of an incident lifecycle. For example, PREVENT may alert you to a vulnerability which holds a particularly high risk potential for your organization. It provides clear mitigation advice, and while you are on this, PREVENT will feed into DETECT and RESPOND, which are immediately poised to kick in should an attack occur in the interim. Conversely, once an attack has been contained by RESPOND, it will feed information back into PREVENT which will anticipate an attacker’s likely next move. Cyber AI Loop helps you harden security a holistic way so that month on month, year on year, the organization continuously improves its defensive posture. 

Explainable AI

Despite its complexity, AI needs to produce outputs that are clear and easy to understand in order to be useful. In the heat of the moment during a cyber incident, human teams need to quickly comprehend: What happened here? When did it happen? What devices are affected? What does it mean for my business? What should I deal with first?

To this end, Darktrace applies another level of AI on top of its initial findings that autonomously investigates in the background, reducing a mass of individual security events to just a few overall cyber incidents worthy of human review. It generates natural-language incident reports with all the relevant information for your team to make judgements in an instant. 

Figure 1: An example of how Darktrace filters individual model breaches into incidents and then critical incidents for the human to review 

Cyber AI Analyst does not only take into consideration network detection but also in your endpoints, your cloud space, IoT devices and OT devices. Cyber AI Analyst also looks at your attack surface and the risks associated to triage and show you the most prioritized alerts that if unexpected would cause maximum damage to your organization. These insights are not only delivered in real time but also unique to your environment.

This also helps address another topic that frequently comes up in conversations around AI: false positives. This is of course a valid concern: what is the point of harvesting the value of AI if it means that a small team now must look at thousands of alerts? But we have to remember that while AI allows us to make more connections over the vastness of logs, its goal is not to create more work for security teams, but to augment them instead.

To ensure that your business can continue to own these AI outputs and more importantly the knowledge, Explainable AI such as that used in Darktrace’s Cyber AI Analyst is needed to interpret the findings of AI, to ensure human teams know what happened, what action (if any) the AI took, and why. 

Conclusion

Every organization is different, and its security should reflect that. However, some fundamental common challenges of AI in cyber security are shared amongst all security teams, regardless of size, resources, industry vertical, and culture. Their cyber strategy and maturity levels are what sets them apart. Maturity is not defined by how many professional certifications or how many years of experience the team has. A mature team works together to solve problems. They understand that while AI is not the silver bullet, it is a powerful bullet that if used right, will autonomously harden the security of the complete digital ecosystem, while augmenting the humans tasked with defending it. 

DANS LE SOC
Darktrace sont des experts de classe mondiale en matière de renseignement sur les menaces, de chasse aux menaces et de réponse aux incidents. Ils fournissent une assistance SOC 24 heures sur 24 et 7 jours sur 7 à des milliers de clients Darktrace dans le monde entier. Inside the SOC est exclusivement rédigé par ces experts et fournit une analyse des cyberincidents et des tendances en matière de menaces, basée sur une expérience réelle sur le terrain.
AUTEUR
à propos de l'auteur
Germaine Tan
VP of Cyber Risk Management

Germaine is the Director of Analysis, APAC at Darktrace. Based in Singapore, she works with CISOs, managers and security teams all over APAC on model optimization and operationalization of Darktrace in their digital environments. She also manages the team of 17 analysts in the APAC region that threat hunts and monitors networks from all over the world. Germaine holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Masters of Science in Technology Management from Nanyang Technological University. She is CISSP, CRISC and CEH certified.

Book a 1-1 meeting with one of our experts
share this article
CAS D'UTILISATION
Aucun élément trouvé.
PLEINS FEUX SUR LES PRODUITS
Aucun élément trouvé.
Couverture de base
Aucun élément trouvé.

More in this series

Aucun élément trouvé.

Blog

Email

Beyond DMARC: Navigating the Gaps in Email Security

Default blog imageDefault blog image
29
Feb 2024

Email threat landscape  

Email has consistently ranked among the most targeted attack vectors, given its ubiquity and criticality to business operations. From September to December 2023, 10.4 million phishing emails were detected across Darktrace’s customer fleet demonstrating the frequency of attempted email-based attacks.

Businesses are searching for ways to harden their email security posture alongside email providers who are aiming to reduce malicious emails traversing their infrastructure, affecting their clients. Domain-based Message Authentication (DMARC) is a useful industry-wide protocol organizations can leverage to move towards these goals.  

What is DMARC?

DMARC is an email authentication protocol designed to enhance the security of email communication.

Major email service providers Google and Yahoo recently made the protocol mandatory for bulk senders in an effort to make inboxes safer worldwide. The new requirements demonstrate an increasing need for a standardized solution as misconfigured or nonexistent authentication systems continue to allow threat actors to evade detection and leverage the legitimate reputation of third parties.  

DMARC is a powerful tool that allows email administrators to confidently identify and stop certain spoofed emails; however, more organizations must implement the standard for it to reach its full potential. The success and effectiveness of DMARC is dependent on broad adoption of the standard – by organizations of all sizes.  

How does DMARC work?

DMARC builds on two key authentication technologies, Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and helps to significantly improve their ability to prevent domain spoofing. SPF verifies that a sender’s IP address is authorized to send emails on behalf of a particular domain and DKIM ensures integrity of email content by providing a verifiable digital signature.  

DMARC adds to this by allowing domain owners to publish policies that set expectations for how SPF and DKIM verification checks relate to email addresses presented to users and whose authenticity the receiving mail server is looking to establish.  

These policies work in tandem to help authenticate email senders by verifying the emails are from the domain they say they are, working to prevent domain spoofing attacks. Key benefits of DMARC include:

  1. Phishing protection DMARC protects against direct domain spoofing in which a threat actor impersonates a legitimate domain, a common phishing technique threat actors use to trick employees to obtain sensitive information such as privileged credentials, bank information, etc.  
  2. Improving brand reputation: As DMARC helps to prevent impersonation of domains, it stands to maintain and increase an organization’s brand reputation. Additionally, as organizational reputation improves, so will the deliverability of emails.
  3. Increased visibility: DMARC provides enhanced visibility into email communication channels, including reports of all emails sent on behalf of your domain. This allows security teams to identify shadow-IT and any unauthorized parties using their domain.

Understanding DMARC’s Limitations

DMARC is often positioned as a way for organizations to ‘solve’ their email security problems, however, 65% of the phishing emails observed by Darktrace successfully passed DMARC verification, indicating that a significant number of threat actors are capable of manipulating email security and authentication systems in their exploits. While DMARC is a valuable tool in the fight against email-based attacks, the evolving threat landscape demands a closer look at its limitations.  

As threat actors continue to innovate, improving their stealth and evasion tactics, the number of attacks with valid DMARC authentication will only continue to increase in volume and sophistication. These can include:

  1. Phishing attacks that leverage non-spoofed domains: DMARC allows an organization to protect the domains that they own, preventing threat actors from being able to send phishing emails from their domains. However, threat actors will often create and use ‘look-a-like’ domains that closely resemble an organization’s domain to dupe users. 3% of the phishing emails identified by Darktrace utilized newly created domains, demonstrating shifting tactics.  
  2. Email Account Takeovers: If a threat actor gains access to a user’s email account through other social engineering means such as credential stuffing, they can then send phishing emails from the legitimate domain to pursue further attacks. Even though these emails are malicious, DMARC would not identify them as such because they are coming from an authorized domain or sender.  

Organizations must also ensure their inbound analysis of emails is not skewed by successful DMARC authentication. Security teams cannot inherently trust emails that pass DMARC, because the source cannot always be legitimized, like in the event of an account takeover. If a threat actor gains access to an authenticated email account, emails sent by the threat actor from that account will pass DMARC – however the contents of that email may be malicious. Sender behavior must be continuously evaluated and vetted in real time as past communication history and validated DMARC cannot be solely relied upon amid an ever-changing threat landscape.  

Security teams should lean on other security measures, such as anomaly detection tools that can identify suspicious emails without relying on historical attack rules and static data. While DMARC is not a silver bullet for email security, it is nevertheless foundational in helping organizations protect their brand identity and must be viewed as an essential layer in an organization's overall cyber security strategy.  

Implementing DMARC

Despite the criticality of DMARC for preserving brand reputation and trust, adoption of the standard has been inconsistent. DMARC can be complex to implement with many organizations lacking the time required to understand and successfully implement the standard. Because of this, DMARC set-up is often outsourced, giving security and infrastructure teams little to no visibility into or control of the process.  

Implementation of DMARC is only the start of this process, as DMARC reports must be consistently monitored to ensure organizations have visibility into who is sending mail from their domain, the volume of mail being sent and whether the mail is passing authentication protocols. This process can be time consuming for security teams who are already faced with mounting responsibilities, tight budgets, and personnel shortages. These complexities unfortunately delay organizations from using DMARC – especially as many today still view it as a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential.  

With the potential complexities of the DMARC implementation process, there are many ways security and infrastructure teams can still successfully roll out the standard. Initial implementation should start with monitoring, policy adjustment and then enforcement. As business changes over time, DMARC should be reviewed regularly to ensure ongoing protection and maintain domain reputation.

The Future of Email Security

As email-based attacks continue to rise, the industry must recognize the importance of driving adoption of foundational email authentication protocols. To do this, a new and innovative approach to DMARC is needed. DMARC products must evolve to better support organizations throughout the ongoing DMARC monitoring process, rather than just initial implementation. These products must also be able to share intelligence across an organization’s security stack, extending beyond email security tools. Integration across these products and tools will help organizations optimize their posture, ensuring deep understanding of their domain and increased visibility across the entire enterprise.

DMARC is critical in protecting brand identity and mitigating exact-domain based attacks. However, organizations must understand DMARC’s unique benefits and limitations to ensure their inboxes are fully protected. In today’s evolving threat landscape, organizations require a robust, multi-layered approach to stop email threats – in inbound mail and beyond. Email threats have evolved – its time security does too.

Join Darktrace on 9 April for a virtual event to explore the latest innovations needed to get ahead of the rapidly evolving threat landscape. Register today to hear more about our latest innovations coming to Darktrace’s offerings. For additional insights check out Darktrace’s 2023 End of Year Threat Report.

Credit to Carlos Gray and Stephen Pickman for their contribution to this blog

Continue reading
About the author
Carlos Gray
Product Manager

Blog

A l'intérieur du SOC

Quasar Remote Access Tool: When a Legitimate Admin Tool Falls into the Wrong Hands

Default blog imageDefault blog image
23
Feb 2024

The threat of interoperability

As the “as-a-Service” market continues to grow, indicators of compromise (IoCs) and malicious infrastructure are often interchanged and shared between multiple malware strains and attackers. This presents organizations and their security teams with a new threat: interoperability.

Interoperable threats not only enable malicious actors to achieve their objectives more easily by leveraging existing infrastructure and tools to launch new attacks, but the lack of clear attribution often complicates identification for security teams and incident responders, making it challenging to mitigate and contain the threat.

One such threat observed across the Darktrace customer base in late 2023 was Quasar, a legitimate remote administration tool that has becoming increasingly popular for opportunistic attackers in recent years. Working in tandem, the anomaly-based detection of Darktrace DETECT™ and the autonomous response capabilities of Darktrace RESPOND™ ensured that affected customers were promptly made aware of any suspicious activity on the attacks were contained at the earliest possible stage.

What is Quasar?

Quasar is an open-source remote administration tool designed for legitimate use; however, it has evolved to become a popular tool used by threat actors due to its wide array of capabilities.  

How does Quasar work?

For instance, Quasar can perform keylogging, take screenshots, establish a reverse proxy, and download and upload files on a target device [1].  A report released towards the end of 2023 put Quasar back on threat researchers’ radars as it disclosed the new observation of dynamic-link library (DLL) sideloading being used by malicious versions of this tool to evade detection [1].  DLL sideloading involves configuring legitimate Windows software to run a malicious file rather than the legitimate file it usually calls on as the software loads.  The evolving techniques employed by threat actors using Quasar highlights defenders’ need for anomaly-based detections that do not rely on pre-existing knowledge of attacker techniques, and can identify and alert for unusual behavior, even if it is performed by a legitimate application.

Although Quasar has been used by advanced persistent threat (APT) groups for global espionage operations [2], Darktrace observed the common usage of default configurations for Quasar, which appeared to use shared malicious infrastructure, and occurred alongside other non-compliant activity such as BitTorrent use and cryptocurrency mining.  

Quasar Attack Overview and Darktrace Coverage

Between September and October 2023, Darktrace detected multiple cases of malicious Quasar activity across several customers, suggesting probable campaign activity.  

Quasar infections can be difficult to detect using traditional network or host-based tools due to the use of stealthy techniques such as DLL side-loading and encrypted SSL connections for command-and control (C2) communication, that traditional security tools may not be able to identify.  The wide array of capabilities Quasar possesses also suggests that attacks using this tool may not necessarily be modelled against a linear kill chain. Despite this, the anomaly-based detection of Darktrace DETECT allowed it to identify IoCs related to Quasar at multiple stages of the kill chain.

Quasar Initial Infection

During the initial infection stage of a Quasar compromise observed on the network of one customer, Darktrace detected a device downloading several suspicious DLL and executable (.exe) files from multiple rare external sources using the Xmlst user agent, including the executable ‘Eppzjtedzmk[.]exe’.  Analyzing this file using open-source intelligence (OSINT) suggests this is a Quasar payload, potentially indicating this represented the initial infection through DLL sideloading [3].

Interestingly, the Xmlst user agent used to download the Quasar payload has also been associated with Raccoon Stealer, an information-stealing malware that also acts as a dropper for other malware strains [4][5]. The co-occurrence of different malware components is increasingly common across the threat landscape as MaaS operating models increases in popularity, allowing attackers to employ cross-functional components from different strains.

Figure 1: Cyber AI Analyst Incident summarizing the multiple different downloads in one related incident, with technical details for the Quasar payload included. The incident event for Suspicious File Download is also linked to Possible HTTP Command and Control, suggesting escalation of activity following the initial infection.  

Quasar Establishing C2 Communication

During this phase, devices on multiple customer networks were identified making unusual external connections to the IP 193.142.146[.]212, which was not commonly seen in their networks. Darktrace analyzed the meta-properties of these SSL connections without needing to decrypt the content, to alert the usage of an unusual port not typically associated with the SSL protocol, 4782, and the usage of self-signed certificates.  Self-signed certificates do not provide any trust value and are commonly used in malware communications and ill-reputed web servers.  

Further analysis into these alerts using OSINT indicated that 193.142.146[.]212 is a Quasar C2 server and 4782 is the default port used by Quasar [6][7].  Expanding on the self-signed certificate within the Darktrace UI (see Figure 3) reveals a certificate subject and issuer of “CN=Quasar Server CA”, which is also the default self-signed certificate compiled by Quasar [6].

Figure 2: Cyber AI Analyst Incident summarizing the repeated external connections to a rare external IP that was later associated with Quasar.
Figure 3: Device Event Log of the affected device, showing Darktrace’s analysis of the SSL Certificate associated with SSL connections to 193.142.146[.]212.

A number of insights can be drawn from analysis of the Quasar C2 endpoints detected by Darktrace across multiple affected networks, suggesting a level of interoperability in the tooling used by different threat actors. In one instance, Darktrace detected a device beaconing to the endpoint ‘bittorrents[.]duckdns[.]org’ using the aforementioned “CN=Quasar Server CA” certificate. DuckDNS is a dynamic DNS service that could be abused by attackers to redirect users from their intended endpoint to malicious infrastructure, and may be shared or reused in multiple different attacks.

Figure 4: A device’s Model Event Log, showing the Quasar Server CA SSL certificate used in connections to 41.233.139[.]145 on port 5, which resolves via passive replication to ‘bittorrents[.]duckdns[.]org’.  

The sharing of malicious infrastructure among threat actors is also evident as several OSINT sources have also associated the Quasar IP 193.142.146[.]212, detected in this campaign, with different threat types.

While 193.142.146[.]212:4782 is known to be associated with Quasar, 193.142.146[.]212:8808 and 193.142.146[.]212:6606 have been associated with AsyncRAT [11], and the same IP on port 8848 has been associated with RedLineStealer [12].  Aside from the relative ease of using already developed tooling, threat actors may prefer to use open-source malware in order to avoid attribution, making the true identity of the threat actor unclear to incident responders [1][13].  

Quasar Executing Objectives

On multiple customer deployments affected by Quasar, Darktrace detected devices using BitTorrent and performing cryptocurrency mining. While these non-compliant, and potentially malicious, activities are not necessarily specific IoCs for Quasar, they do suggest that affected devices may have had greater attack surfaces than others.

For instance, one affected device was observed initiating connections to 162.19.139[.]184, a known Minergate cryptomining endpoint, and ‘zayprostofyrim[.]zapto[.]org’, a dynamic DNS endpoint linked to the Quasar Botnet by multiple OSINT vendors [9].

Figure 5: A Darktrace DETECT Event Log showing simultaneous connections to a Quasar endpoint and a cryptomining endpoint 162.19.139[.]184.

Not only does cryptocurrency mining use a significant amount of processing power, potentially disrupting an organization’s business operations and racking up high energy bills, but the software used for this mining is often written to a poor standard, thus increasing the attack surfaces of devices using them. In this instance, Quasar may have been introduced as a secondary payload from a user or attacker-initiated download of cryptocurrency mining malware.

Similarly, it is not uncommon for malicious actors to attach malware to torrented files and there were a number of examples of Darktrace detect identifying non-compliant activity, like BitTorrent connections, overlapping with connections to external locations associated with Quasar. It is therefore important for organizations to establish and enforce technical and policy controls for acceptable use on corporate devices, particularly when remote working introduces new risks.  

Figure 6: A device’s Event Log filtered by Model Breaches, showing a device connecting to BitTorrent shortly before making new or repeated connections to unusual endpoints, which were subsequently associated to Quasar.

In some cases observed by Darktrace, devices affected by Quasar were also being used to perform data exfiltration. Analysis of a period of unusual external connections to the aforementioned Quasar C2 botnet server, ‘zayprostofyrim[.]zapto[.]org’, revealed a small data upload, which may have represented the exfiltration of some data to attacker infrastructure.

Darktrace’s Autonomous Response to Quasar Attacks

On customer networks that had Darktrace RESPOND™ enabled in autonomous response mode, the threat of Quasar was mitigated and contained as soon as it was identified by DETECT. If RESPOND is not configured to respond autonomously, these actions would instead be advisory, pending manual application by the customer’s security team.

For example, following the detection of devices downloading malicious DLL and executable files, Darktrace RESPOND advised the customer to block specific connections to the relevant IP addresses and ports. However, as the device was seen attempting to download further files from other locations, RESPOND also suggested enforced a ‘pattern of life’ on the device, meaning it was only permitted to make connections that were part its normal behavior. By imposing a pattern of life, Darktrace RESPOND ensures that a device cannot perform suspicious behavior, while not disrupting any legitimate business activity.

Had RESPOND been configured to act autonomously, these mitigative actions would have been applied without any input from the customer’s security team and the Quasar compromise would have been contained in the first instance.

Figure 7: The advisory actions Darktrace RESPOND initiated to block specific connections to a malicious IP and to enforce the device’s normal patterns of life in response to the different anomalies detected on the device.

In another case, one customer affected by Quasar did have enabled RESPOND to take autonomous action, whilst also integrating it with a firewall. Here, following the detection of a device connecting to a known Quasar IP address, RESPOND initially blocked it from making connections to the IP via the customer’s firewall. However, as the device continued to perform suspicious activity after this, RESPOND escalated its response by blocking all outgoing connections from the device, effectively preventing any C2 activity or downloads.

Figure 8: RESPOND actions triggered to action via integrated firewall and TCP Resets.

Conclusion

When faced with a threat like Quasar that utilizes the infrastructure and tools of both legitimate services and other malicious malware variants, it is essential for security teams to move beyond relying on existing knowledge of attack techniques when safeguarding their network. It is no longer enough for organizations to rely on past attacks to defend against the attacks of tomorrow.

Crucially, Darktrace’s unique approach to threat detection focusses on the anomaly, rather than relying on a static list of IoCs or "known bads” based on outdated threat intelligence. In the case of Quasar, alternative or future strains of the malware that utilize different IoCs and TTPs would still be identified by Darktrace as anomalous and immediately alerted.

By learning the ‘normal’ for devices on a customer’s network, Darktrace DETECT can recognize the subtle deviations in a device’s behavior that could indicate an ongoing compromise. Darktrace RESPOND is subsequently able to follow this up with swift and targeted actions to contain the attack and prevent it from escalating further.

Credit to Nicole Wong, Cyber Analyst, Vivek Rajan Cyber Analyst

Appendices

Darktrace DETECT Model Breaches

  • Anomalous Connection / Multiple Failed Connections to Rare Endpoint
  • Anomalous Connection / Anomalous SSL without SNI to New External
  • Anomalous Connection / Application Protocol on Uncommon Port
  • Anomalous Connection / Rare External SSL Self-Signed
  • Compromise / New or Repeated to Unusual SSL Port
  • Compromise / Beaconing Activity To External Rare
  • Compromise / High Volume of Connections with Beacon Score
  • Compromise / Large Number of Suspicious Failed Connections
  • Unusual Activity / Unusual External Activity

List of IoCs

IP:Port

193.142.146[.]212:4782 -Quasar C2 IP and default port

77.34.128[.]25: 8080 - Quasar C2 IP

Domain

zayprostofyrim[.]zapto[.]org - Quasar C2 Botnet Endpoint

bittorrents[.]duckdns[.]org - Possible Quasar C2 endpoint

Certificate

CN=Quasar Server CA - Default certificate used by Quasar

Executable

Eppzjtedzmk[.]exe - Quasar executable

IP Address

95.214.24[.]244 - Quasar C2 IP

162.19.139[.]184 - Cryptocurrency Miner IP

41.233.139[.]145[VR1] [NW2] - Possible Quasar C2 IP

MITRE ATT&CK Mapping

Command and Control

T1090.002: External Proxy

T1071.001: Web Protocols

T1571: Non-Standard Port

T1001: Data Obfuscation

T1573: Encrypted Channel

T1071: Application Layer Protocol

Resource Development

T1584: Compromise Infrastructure

References

[1] https://thehackernews.com/2023/10/quasar-rat-leverages-dll-side-loading.html

[2] https://symantec-enterprise-blogs.security.com/blogs/threat-intelligence/cicada-apt10-japan-espionage

[3]https://www.virustotal.com/gui/file/bd275a1f97d1691e394d81dd402c11aaa88cc8e723df7a6aaf57791fa6a6cdfa/community

[4] https://twitter.com/g0njxa/status/1691826188581298389

[5] https://www.linkedin.com/posts/grjk83_raccoon-stealer-announce-return-after-hiatus-activity-7097906612580802560-1aj9

[6] https://community.netwitness.com/t5/netwitness-community-blog/using-rsa-netwitness-to-detect-quasarrat/ba-p/518952

[7] https://www.cisa.gov/news-events/analysis-reports/ar18-352a

[8]https://any.run/report/6cf1314c130a41c977aafce4585a144762d3fb65f8fe493e836796b989b002cb/7ac94b56-7551-4434-8e4f-c928c57327ff

[9] https://threatfox.abuse.ch/ioc/891454/

[10] https://www.virustotal.com/gui/ip-address/41.233.139.145/relations

[11] https://raw.githubusercontent.com/stamparm/maltrail/master/trails/static/malware/asyncrat.txt

[12] https://sslbl.abuse.ch/ssl-certificates/signature/RedLineStealer/

[13] https://www.botconf.eu/botconf-presentation-or-article/hunting-the-quasar-family-how-to-hunt-a-malware-family/

Continue reading
About the author
Nicole Wong
Cyber Security Analyst

Bonne nouvelle pour votre entreprise.
Mauvaise nouvelle pour les méchants.

Commencez votre essai gratuit

Commencez votre essai gratuit

Livraison flexible
Cloud-based deployment.
Installation rapide
Une heure seulement pour la mise en place - et encore moins pour un essai de sécurité du courrier électronique.
Choisissez votre voyage
Essayez Self-Learning AI là où vous en avez le plus besoin - y compris dans le cloud, sur le réseau ou par courriel.
Aucun engagement
Accès complet à Darktrace Threat Visualizer et à trois rapports sur mesure sur les menaces, sans obligation d'achat.
For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.
Thanks, your request has been received
A member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.
YOU MAY FIND INTERESTING
Oups ! Un problème est survenu lors de la soumission du formulaire.

Obtenez une démo

Livraison flexible
Vous pouvez l'installer virtuellement ou avec du matériel.
Installation rapide
Une heure seulement pour la mise en place - et encore moins pour un essai de sécurité du courrier électronique.
Choisissez votre voyage
Essayez Self-Learning AI là où vous en avez le plus besoin - y compris dans le cloud, sur le réseau ou par courriel.
Aucun engagement
Accès complet à Darktrace Threat Visualizer et à trois rapports sur mesure sur les menaces, sans obligation d'achat.
Merci ! Votre soumission a été reçue !
Oups ! Un problème est survenu lors de la soumission du formulaire.