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Legitimate Services, Malicious Intentions: Getting the Drop on Phishing Attacks Abusing Dropbox 

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08
Mar 2024
08
Mar 2024
This blog discusses an example of a malicious actor utilizing the cloud storage service Dropbox in order to carry out a phishing attack against a Darktrace customer. Thanks to Darktrace/Email and Apps, this compromise was promptly brought to the attention of the customer and shut down.

Evolving Phishing Attacks

While email has long been the vector of choice for carrying out phishing attacks, threat actors, and their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), are continually adapting and evolving to keep pace with the emergence of new technologies that represent new avenues to exploit. As previously discussed by the Darktrace analyst team, several novel threats relating to the abuse of commonly used services and platforms were observed throughout 2023, including the rise of QR Code Phishing and the use of Microsoft SharePoint and Teams in phishing campaigns.

Dropbox Phishing Attacks

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the malicious use of other popular services has gained traction in recent years, including the cloud storage platform Dropbox.

With over 700 million registered users [1], Dropbox has established itself as a leading cloud storage service celebrated for its simplicity in file storage and sharing, but in doing so it has also inadvertently opened a new avenue for threat actors to exploit. By leveraging the legitimate infrastructure of Dropbox, threat actors are able to carry out a range of malicious activities, from convincing their targets to unknowingly download malware to revealing sensitive information like login credentials.

Darktrace Detection of Dropbox Phishing Attack

Darktrace detected a malicious attempt to use Dropbox in a phishing attack in January 2024, when employees of a Darktrace customer received a seemingly innocuous email from a legitimate Dropbox address. Unbeknownst to the employees, however, a malicious link had been embedded in the contents of the email that could have led to a widespread compromise of the customer’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environment. Fortunately for this customer, Darktrace/Email™ quickly identified the suspicious emails and took immediate actions to stop them from being opened. If an email was accessed by an employee, Darktrace/Apps™ was able to recognize any suspicious activity on the customer’s SaaS platform and bring it to the immediate detection of their security team.

Attack overview

Initial infection  

On January 25, 2024, Darktrace/Email observed an internal user on a customer’s SaaS environment receiving an inbound email from ‘no-reply@dropbox[.]com’, a legitimate email address used by the Dropbox file storage service.  Around the same time 15 other employees also received the same email.

The email itself contained a link that would lead a user to a PDF file hosted on Dropbox, that was seemingly named after a partner of the organization. Although the email and the Dropbox endpoint were both legitimate, Darktrace identified that the PDF file contained a suspicious link to a domain that had never previously been seen on the customer’s environment, ‘mmv-security[.]top’.  

Darktrace understood that despite being sent from a legitimate service, the email’s initiator had never previously corresponded with anyone at the organization and therefore treated it with suspicion. This tactic, whereby a legitimate service sends an automated email using a fixed address, such as ‘no-reply@dropbox[.]com’, is often employed by threat actors attempting to convince SaaS users to follow a malicious link.

As there is very little to distinguish between malicious or benign emails from these types of services, they can often evade the detection of traditional email security tools and lead to disruptive account takeovers.

As a result of this detection, Darktrace/Email immediately held the email, stopping it from landing in the employee’s inbox and ensuring the suspicious domain could not be visited. Open-source intelligence (OSINT) sources revealed that this suspicious domain was, in fact, a newly created endpoint that had been reported for links to phishing by multiple security vendors [2].

A few days later on January 29, the user received another legitimate email from ‘no-reply@dropbox[.]com’ that served as a reminder to open the previously shared PDF file. This time, however, Darktrace/Email moved the email to the user’s junk file and applied a lock link action to prevent the user from directly following a potentially malicious link.

Figure 1: Anomaly indicators associated with the suspicious emails sent by ’no.reply@dropbox[.]com’, and the corresponding actions performed by Darktrace/Email.

Unfortunately for the customer in this case, their employee went on to open the suspicious email and follow the link to the PDF file, despite Darktrace having previously locked it.

Figure 2: Confirmation that the SaaS user read the suspicious email and followed the link to the PDF file hosted on Dropbox, despite it being junked and link locked.

Darktrace/Network subsequently identified that the internal device associated with this user connected to the malicious endpoint, ‘mmv-security[.]top’, a couple of days later.

Further investigation into this suspicious domain revealed that it led to a fake Microsoft 365 login page, designed to harvest the credentials of legitimate SaaS account holders. By masquerading as a trusted organization, like Microsoft, these credential harvesters are more likely to appear trustworthy to their targets, and therefore increase the likelihood of stealing privileged SaaS account credentials.  

Figure 3: The fake Microsoft login page that the user was directed to after clicking the link in the PDF file.

Suspicious SaaS activity

In the days following the initial infection, Darktrace/Apps began to observe a string of suspicious SaaS activity being performed by the now compromised Microsoft 365 account.

Beginning on January 31, Darktrace observed a number of suspicious SaaS logins from multiple unusual locations that had never previously accessed the account, including 73.95.165[.]113. Then on February 1, Darktrace detected unusual logins from the endpoints 194.32.120[.]40 and 185.192.70[.]239, both of which were associated with ExpressVPN indicating that threat actors may have been using a virtual private network (VPN) to mask their true location.

FIgure 4: Graph Showing several unusual logins from different locations observed by Darktrace/Apps on the affected SaaS account.

Interestingly, the threat actors observed during these logins appeared to use a valid multi-factor authentication (MFA) token, indicating that they had successfully bypassed the customer’s MFA policy. In this case, it appears likely that the employee had unknowingly provided the attackers with an MFA token or unintentionally approved a login verification request. By using valid tokens and meeting the necessary MFA requirements, threat actors are often able to remain undetected by traditional security tools that view MFA as the silver bullet. However, Darktrace’s anomaly-based approach to threat detection allows it to quickly identify unexpected activity on a device or SaaS account, even if it occurs with legitimate credentials and successfully passed authentication requirements, and bring it to the attention of the customer’s security team.

Shortly after, Darktrace observed an additional login to the SaaS account from another unusual location, 87.117.225[.]155, this time seemingly using the HideMyAss (HMA) VPN service. Following this unusual login, the actor was seen creating a new email rule on the compromised Outlook account. The new rule, named ‘….’, was intended to immediately move any emails from the organization’s accounts team directly to the ‘Conversation History’ mailbox folder. This is a tactic often employed by threat actors during phishing campaigns to ensure that their malicious emails (and potential responses to them) are automatically moved to less commonly visited mailbox folders in order to remain undetected on target networks. Furthermore, by giving this new email rule a generic name, like ‘….’ it is less likely to draw the attention of the legitimate account holder or the organizations security team.

Following this, Darktrace/Email observed the actor sending updated versions of emails that had previously been sent by the legitimate account holder, with subject lines containing language like “Incorrect contract” and “Requires Urgent Review”, likely in an attempt to illicit some kind of follow-up action from the intended recipient.  This likely represented threat actors using the compromised account to send further malicious emails to the organization’s accounts team in order to infect additional accounts across the customer’s SaaS environment.

Unfortunately, Darktrace RESPOND™ was not deployed in the customer’s SaaS environment in this instance, meaning that the aforementioned malicious activity did not lead to any mitigative actions to contain the compromise. Had RESPOND been enabled in autonomous response mode at the time of the attack, it would have quickly moved to log out and disable the suspicious actor as soon as they had logged into the SaaS environment from an unusual location, effectively shutting down this account takeover attempt at the earliest opportunity.

Nevertheless, Darktrace/Email’s swift identification and response to the suspicious phishing emails, coupled with Darktrace/App’s detection of the unusual SaaS activity, allowed the customer’s security team to quickly identify the offending SaaS actor and take the account offline before the attack could escalate further

Conclusion

As organizations across the world continue to adopt third-party solutions like Dropbox into their day-to-day business operations, threat actors will, in turn, continue to seek ways to exploit these and add them to their arsenal. As illustrated in this example, it is relatively simple for attackers to abuse these legitimate services for malicious purposes, all while evading detection by endpoint users and security teams alike.

By leveraging these commonly used platforms, malicious actors are able to carry out disruptive cyber-attacks, like phishing campaigns, by taking advantage of legitimate, and seemingly trustworthy, infrastructure to host malicious files or links, rather than relying on their own infrastructure. While this tactic may bypass traditional security measures, Darktrace’s Self-Learning AI enables it to recognize unusual senders within an organization’s email environment, even if the email itself seems to have come from a legitimate source, and prevent them from landing in the target inbox. In the event that a SaaS account does become compromised, Darktrace is able to identify unusual login locations and suspicious SaaS activities and bring them to the attention of the customer for remediation.

In addition to the prompt identification of emerging threats, Darktrace RESPOND is uniquely placed to take swift autonomous action against any suspicious activity detected within a customer’s SaaS environment, effectively containing any account takeover attempts in the first instance.

Credit to Ryan Traill, Threat Content Lead, Emily Megan Lim, Cyber Security Analyst

Appendices

Darktrace Model Detections  

- Model Breach: SaaS / Access::Unusual External Source for SaaS Credential Use

- Model Breach: SaaS / Unusual Activity::Multiple Unusual External Sources For SaaS Credential

- Model Breach: SaaS / Access::Unusual External Source for SaaS Credential Use

- Model Breach: SaaS / Access::Unusual External Source for SaaS Credential Use

- Model Breach: SaaS / Unusual Activity::Multiple Unusual SaaS Activities

- Model Breach: SaaS / Unusual Activity::Unusual MFA Auth and SaaS Activity

- Model Breach: SaaS / Compromise::Unusual Login and New Email Rule

- Model Breach: SaaS / Compliance::Anomalous New Email Rule

- Model Breach: SaaS / Compliance::New Email Rule

- Model Breach: SaaS / Compromise::SaaS Anomaly Following Anomalous Login

- Model Breach: Device / Suspicious Domain

List of Indicators of Compromise (IoCs)

Domain IoC

mmv-security[.]top’ - Credential Harvesting Endpoint

IP Address

73.95.165[.]113 - Unusual Login Endpoint

194.32.120[.]40 - Unusual Login Endpoint

87.117.225[.]155 - Unusual Login Endpoint

MITRE ATT&CK Mapping

DEFENSE EVASION, PERSISTENCE, PRIVILEGE ESCALATION, INITIAL ACCESS

T1078.004 - Cloud Accounts

DISCOVERY

T1538 - Cloud Service Dashboard

RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

T1586 - Compromise Accounts

CREDENTIAL ACCESS

T1539 - Steal Web Session Cookie

PERSISTENCE

T1137 - Outlook Rules

INITIAL ACCESS

T156.002 Spearphishing Link

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.
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Ryan Traill
Threat Content Lead
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A l'intérieur du SOC

Sliver C2: How Darktrace Provided a Sliver of Hope in the Face of an Emerging C2 Framework

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17
Apr 2024

Offensive Security Tools

As organizations globally seek to for ways to bolster their digital defenses and safeguard their networks against ever-changing cyber threats, security teams are increasingly adopting offensive security tools to simulate cyber-attacks and assess the security posture of their networks. These legitimate tools, however, can sometimes be exploited by real threat actors and used as genuine actor vectors.

What is Sliver C2?

Sliver C2 is a legitimate open-source command-and-control (C2) framework that was released in 2020 by the security organization Bishop Fox. Silver C2 was originally intended for security teams and penetration testers to perform security tests on their digital environments [1] [2] [5]. In recent years, however, the Sliver C2 framework has become a popular alternative to Cobalt Strike and Metasploit for many attackers and Advanced Persistence Threat (APT) groups who adopt this C2 framework for unsolicited and ill-intentioned activities.

The use of Sliver C2 has been observed in conjunction with various strains of Rust-based malware, such as KrustyLoader, to provide backdoors enabling lines of communication between attackers and their malicious C2 severs [6]. It is unsurprising, then, that it has also been leveraged to exploit zero-day vulnerabilities, including critical vulnerabilities in the Ivanti Connect Secure and Policy Secure services.

In early 2024, Darktrace observed the malicious use of Sliver C2 during an investigation into post-exploitation activity on customer networks affected by the Ivanti vulnerabilities. Fortunately for affected customers, Darktrace DETECT™ was able to recognize the suspicious network-based connectivity that emerged alongside Sliver C2 usage and promptly brought it to the attention of customer security teams for remediation.

How does Silver C2 work?

Given its open-source nature, the Sliver C2 framework is extremely easy to access and download and is designed to support multiple operating systems (OS), including MacOS, Windows, and Linux [4].

Sliver C2 generates implants (aptly referred to as ‘slivers’) that operate on a client-server architecture [1]. An implant contains malicious code used to remotely control a targeted device [5]. Once a ‘sliver’ is deployed on a compromised device, a line of communication is established between the target device and the central C2 server. These connections can then be managed over Mutual TLS (mTLS), WireGuard, HTTP(S), or DNS [1] [4]. Sliver C2 has a wide-range of features, which include dynamic code generation, compile-time obfuscation, multiplayer-mode, staged and stageless payloads, procedurally generated C2 over HTTP(S) and DNS canary blue team detection [4].

Why Do Attackers Use Sliver C2?

Amidst the multitude of reasons why malicious actors opt for Sliver C2 over its counterparts, one stands out: its relative obscurity. This lack of widespread recognition means that security teams may overlook the threat, failing to actively search for it within their networks [3] [5].

Although the presence of Sliver C2 activity could be representative of authorized and expected penetration testing behavior, it could also be indicative of a threat actor attempting to communicate with its malicious infrastructure, so it is crucial for organizations and their security teams to identify such activity at the earliest possible stage.

Darktrace’s Coverage of Sliver C2 Activity

Darktrace’s anomaly-based approach to threat detection means that it does not explicitly attempt to attribute or distinguish between specific C2 infrastructures. Despite this, Darktrace was able to connect Sliver C2 usage to phases of an ongoing attack chain related to the exploitation of zero-day vulnerabilities in Ivanti Connect Secure VPN appliances in January 2024.

Around the time that the zero-day Ivanti vulnerabilities were disclosed, Darktrace detected an internal server on one customer network deviating from its expected pattern of activity. The device was observed making regular connections to endpoints associated with Pulse Secure Cloud Licensing, indicating it was an Ivanti server. It was observed connecting to a string of anomalous hostnames, including ‘cmjk3d071amc01fu9e10ae5rt9jaatj6b.oast[.]live’ and ‘cmjft14b13vpn5vf9i90xdu6akt5k3pnx.oast[.]pro’, via HTTP using the user agent ‘curl/7.19.7 (i686-redhat-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.63.0 OpenSSL/1.0.2n zlib/1.2.7’.

Darktrace further identified that the URI requested during these connections was ‘/’ and the top-level domains (TLDs) of the endpoints in question were known Out-of-band Application Security Testing (OAST) server provider domains, namely ‘oast[.]live’ and ‘oast[.]pro’. OAST is a testing method that is used to verify the security posture of an application by testing it for vulnerabilities from outside of the network [7]. This activity triggered the DETECT model ‘Compromise / Possible Tunnelling to Bin Services’, which breaches when a device is observed sending DNS requests for, or connecting to, ‘request bin’ services. Malicious actors often abuse such services to tunnel data via DNS or HTTP requests. In this specific incident, only two connections were observed, and the total volume of data transferred was relatively low (2,302 bytes transferred externally). It is likely that the connections to OAST servers represented malicious actors testing whether target devices were vulnerable to the Ivanti exploits.

The device proceeded to make several SSL connections to the IP address 103.13.28[.]40, using the destination port 53, which is typically reserved for DNS requests. Darktrace recognized that this activity was unusual as the offending device had never previously been observed using port 53 for SSL connections.

Model Breach Event Log displaying the ‘Application Protocol on Uncommon Port’ DETECT model breaching in response to the unusual use of port 53.
Figure 1: Model Breach Event Log displaying the ‘Application Protocol on Uncommon Port’ DETECT model breaching in response to the unusual use of port 53.

Figure 2: Model Breach Event Log displaying details pertaining to the ‘Application Protocol on Uncommon Port’ DETECT model breach, including the 100% rarity of the port usage.
Figure 2: Model Breach Event Log displaying details pertaining to the ‘Application Protocol on Uncommon Port’ DETECT model breach, including the 100% rarity of the port usage.

Further investigation into the suspicious IP address revealed that it had been flagged as malicious by multiple open-source intelligence (OSINT) vendors [8]. In addition, OSINT sources also identified that the JARM fingerprint of the service running on this IP and port (00000000000000000043d43d00043de2a97eabb398317329f027c66e4c1b01) was linked to the Sliver C2 framework and the mTLS protocol it is known to use [4] [5].

An Additional Example of Darktrace’s Detection of Sliver C2

However, it was not just during the January 2024 exploitation of Ivanti services that Darktrace observed cases of Sliver C2 usages across its customer base.  In March 2023, for example, Darktrace detected devices on multiple customer accounts making beaconing connections to malicious endpoints linked to Sliver C2 infrastructure, including 18.234.7[.]23 [10] [11] [12] [13].

Darktrace identified that the observed connections to this endpoint contained the unusual URI ‘/NIS-[REDACTED]’ which contained 125 characters, including numbers, lower and upper case letters, and special characters like “_”, “/”, and “-“, as well as various other URIs which suggested attempted data exfiltration:

‘/upload/api.html?c=[REDACTED] &fp=[REDACTED]’

  • ‘/samples.html?mx=[REDACTED] &s=[REDACTED]’
  • ‘/actions/samples.html?l=[REDACTED] &tc=[REDACTED]’
  • ‘/api.html?gf=[REDACTED] &x=[REDACTED]’
  • ‘/samples.html?c=[REDACTED] &zo=[REDACTED]’

This anomalous external connectivity was carried out through multiple destination ports, including the key ports 443 and 8888.

Darktrace additionally observed devices on affected customer networks performing TLS beaconing to the IP address 44.202.135[.]229 with the JA3 hash 19e29534fd49dd27d09234e639c4057e. According to OSINT sources, this JA3 hash is associated with the Golang TLS cipher suites in which the Sliver framework is developed [14].

Conclusion

Despite its relative novelty in the threat landscape and its lesser-known status compared to other C2 frameworks, Darktrace has demonstrated its ability effectively detect malicious use of Sliver C2 across numerous customer environments. This included instances where attackers exploited vulnerabilities in the Ivanti Connect Secure and Policy Secure services.

While human security teams may lack awareness of this framework, and traditional rules and signatured-based security tools might not be fully equipped and updated to detect Sliver C2 activity, Darktrace’s Self Learning AI understands its customer networks, users, and devices. As such, Darktrace is adept at identifying subtle deviations in device behavior that could indicate network compromise, including connections to new or unusual external locations, regardless of whether attackers use established or novel C2 frameworks, providing organizations with a sliver of hope in an ever-evolving threat landscape.

Credit to Natalia Sánchez Rocafort, Cyber Security Analyst, Paul Jennings, Principal Analyst Consultant

Appendices

DETECT Model Coverage

  • Compromise / Repeating Connections Over 4 Days
  • Anomalous Connection / Application Protocol on Uncommon Port
  • Anomalous Server Activity / Server Activity on New Non-Standard Port
  • Compromis / Activité soutenue de balisage TCP vers un endpoint rare.
  • Compromise / Quick and Regular Windows HTTP Beaconing
  • Compromise / High Volume of Connections with Beacon Score
  • Anomalous Connection / Multiple Failed Connections to Rare Endpoint
  • Compromise / Slow Beaconing Activity To External Rare
  • Compromise / HTTP Beaconing to Rare Destination
  • Compromise / Sustained SSL or HTTP Increase
  • Compromise / Large Number of Suspicious Failed Connections
  • Compromise / SSL or HTTP Beacon
  • Compromise / Possible Malware HTTP Comms
  • Compromise / Possible Tunnelling to Bin Services
  • Anomalous Connection / Low and Slow Exfiltration to IP
  • Device / New User Agent
  • Anomalous Connection / New User Agent to IP Without Hostname
  • Anomalous File / EXE from Rare External Location
  • Anomalous File / Numeric File Download
  • Anomalous Connection / Powershell to Rare External
  • Anomalous Server Activity / New Internet Facing System

List of Indicators of Compromise (IoCs)

18.234.7[.]23 - Destination IP - Likely C2 Server

103.13.28[.]40 - Destination IP - Likely C2 Server

44.202.135[.]229 - Destination IP - Likely C2 Server

References

[1] https://bishopfox.com/tools/sliver

[2] https://vk9-sec.com/how-to-set-up-use-c2-sliver/

[3] https://www.scmagazine.com/brief/sliver-c2-framework-gaining-traction-among-threat-actors

[4] https://github[.]com/BishopFox/sliver

[5] https://www.cybereason.com/blog/sliver-c2-leveraged-by-many-threat-actors

[6] https://securityaffairs.com/158393/malware/ivanti-connect-secure-vpn-deliver-krustyloader.html

[7] https://www.xenonstack.com/insights/out-of-band-application-security-testing

[8] https://www.virustotal.com/gui/ip-address/103.13.28.40/detection

[9] https://threatfox.abuse.ch/browse.php?search=ioc%3A107.174.78.227

[10] https://threatfox.abuse.ch/ioc/1074576/

[11] https://threatfox.abuse.ch/ioc/1093887/

[12] https://threatfox.abuse.ch/ioc/846889/

[13] https://threatfox.abuse.ch/ioc/1093889/

[14] https://github.com/projectdiscovery/nuclei/issues/3330

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About the author
Natalia Sánchez Rocafort
Cyber Security Analyst

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Email

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.

Conclusion

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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