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Detection of an Evasive Credential Harvester | IPFS Phishing

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07
Aug 2023
07
Aug 2023
Discover the emerging trend of malicious actors abusing the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) file storage protocol in phishing campaigns. Learn more here!

IPFS Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks continue to be one of the most common methods of infiltration utilized by threat actors and they represent a significant threat to an organization’s digital estate. As phishing campaigns typically leverage social engineering methods to evade security tools and manipulate users into following links, downloading files, or divulging confidential information. It is a relatively low effort but high-yield type of cyber-attack.

That said, in recent years security teams have become increasingly savvy to these efforts. Attackers are having to adapt and come up with novel ways to carry out their phishing campaigns. Recently, Darktrace has observed a rise in phishing attacks attempting to abuse the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) in campaigns that are able to dynamically adapt depending on the target, making it extremely difficult for security vendors to detect and investigate.

What is a IPFS?

IPFS is a file storage protocol a peer-to-peer (P2P) network used for storing and sharing resources in a distributed file system [1]. It is also a file storage system similar in nature to other centralized file storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive.

File storage systems, like IPFS, are often abused by malicious actors, as they allow attackers to easily host their own content without maintaining infrastructure themselves. However, as these file storage systems often have legitimate usages, blocking everything related to file storages may cause unwanted problems and affect normal business operations. Thus, the challenge lies in differentiating between legitimate and malicious usage.

While centralized, web-based file storage services use a Client-Server model and typically deliver files over HTTP, IPFS uses a Peer-to-Peer model for storing and sharing files, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: (a) shows the Client-Server model that centralized, web-based file storage services use. The resource is available on the server, and the clients access the resource from the server.(b) shows the Peer-to-Peer model that IPFS use. The resources are available on the peers.

To verify the authenticity and integrity of files, IPFS utilizes cryptographic hashes.

A cryptographic hash value is generated using a file’s content upon upload to IPFS. This is used to generate the Content Identifier (CID). IPFS uses Content Addressing as opposed to Location Addressing, and this CID is used to point to a resource in IPFS [4].

When a computer running IPFS requires a particular file, it asks the connected peers if they have the file with a specific hash. If a peer has the file with the matching hash, it will provide it to the requesting computer [1][6].

Taking down content on IPFS is much more difficult compared to centralized file storage hosts, as content is stored on several nodes without a centralized entity, as shown in Figure 2. To take down content from IPFS, it must be removed from all the nodes. Thus, IPFS is prone to being abused for malicious purposes.

Figure 2: When the resource is unavailable on the server for (a), all the clients are unable to access the resource. When the resource is unavailable on one of the peers for (b), the resources are still available on the other peers.

The domains used in these IPFS phishing links are gateways that enable an HTTPS URL to access resources within the distributed IPFS file system.

There are two types of IPFS links, the Path Gateway and Subdomain Gateway [1].

Path Gateways have a fixed domain/host and identifies the IPFS resource through a resource-identifying string in the path. The Path Gateway has the following structure:

•       https://<gateway-host>.tld/ipfs/<CID>/path/to/resource

•       https://<gateway-host>.tld/ipns/<dnslink/ipnsid>/path/to/resource

On the other hand, Subdomain Gateways have a resource-identifying string in the subdomain. Subdomain Gateways have the following structure:

•       https://<cidv1b32>.ipfs.<gateway-host>.tld/path/to/resource

One gateway domain serves the same role as any other, which means attackers can easily change the gateways that are used.

Thus, these link domains involved in these attacks can be much more variable than the ones in traditional file storage attacks, where a centralized service with a single domain is used (e.g., Dropbox, Google Docs), making detecting the malicious use of IPFS extremely challenging for traditional security vendors. Through its anomaly-based approach to threat detection, Darktrace/Email™ is consistently able to identify such tactics and respond to them, preventing malicious actors from abusing file storage systems life IPFS.

IPFS Campaign Details

In several recent examples of IPFS abuse that Darktrace detected on a customer’s network, the apparent end goal was to harvest user credentials. Stolen credentials can be exploited by threat actors to further their attacks on organizations by escalating their privileges within the network, or even sold on the dark web.

Darktrace detected multiple IPFS links sent in malicious emails that contained the victim’s email address. Based on the domain in this email address, users would then be redirected to a fake login page that uses their organizations’ webpage visuals and branding to convince targets to enter their login details, unknowingly compromising their accounts in the process.

Figure 3: The credential harvester changes visuals depending on the victim’s email address specified in the URL.

These IPFS credential harvesting sites use various techniques to evade detection the detection of traditional security tools and prevent further analysis, such as obfuscation by Percent Encoding and Base64 Encoding the code.

There are also other mechanisms put into place to hinder investigation by security teams. For example, some IPFS credential harvester sites investigated by Darktrace did not allow right clicking and certain keystrokes, as a means to make post-attack analysis more difficult.

Figure 4: The code shows that it attempts to prevent certain keystrokes.

In the campaign highlighted in this blog, the following IPFS link was observed:

hxxps://ipfs[.]io/ipfs/QmfDDxLWoLiqFURX6dUZcsHxVBP1ZnM21H5jXGs1ffNxtP?filename=at ob.html#<EmailAddress>

This uses a Path Gateway, as it identifies the IPFS resource through a resource-identifying string in the path. The CID is QmfDDxLWoLiqFURX6dUZcsHxVBP1ZnM21H5jXGs1ffNxtP in this case.

It makes a GET request to image[.]thum[.]io and logo[.]clearbit[.]com as shown in Figure 5. The image[.]thum[.]io is a Free Website Screenshot Generator, that provides real-time screenshot of websites [2]. The logo[.]clearbit[.]com is used to lookup company logos using the domain [3]. These visuals are integrated into the credential harvester site. Figure 6 shows the domain name being extracted from the victim’s email address and used to obtain the visuals.

Figure 5: The GET requests to image[.]thum[.]io and logo[.]clearbit[.].
Figure 6: The code shows that it utilizes the domain name from the victim’s email address to obtain the visuals from logo.clearbit[.]com and image[.]thum.io.

The code reveals the credential POST endpoint as shown in Figure 16. When credentials are submitted, it makes a POST request to this endpoint as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: The credential POST endpoint can be seen inside the code.
Figure 8: The Outlook credential harvester will redirect to the real Outlook page when wrong credentials are submitted multiple times.

From the IPFS link alone, it is difficult to determine whether it leads to a malicious endpoint, however Darktrace has consistently identified emails containing these IPFS credential harvesting links as phishing attempts.

Darktrace Coverage

During one case of IPFS abuse detected by Darktrace in March 2023, a threat actor sent malicious emails with the subject “Renew Your E-mail Password” to 55 different recipients at. The sender appeared to be the organization’s administrator and used their internal domain.

Figure 9: Darktrace/Email’s detection of the “Renew Your E-mail Password” emails from “administrator”. These were all sent at 2023.03.21 02:39 UTC.

However, Darktrace recognized that the email did not pass Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and therefore it could not be validated as being sent from the organization’s domain. Darktrace also detected that the email contained a link to “ipfs.io, the official IPFS gateway. This was identified as a spoofing and phishing attempt by Darktrace/Email.

Figure 10: The Darktrace/Email overview tab shows the Anomaly Indicators, History, Association, and Validation information of this sender. It contained a link to “ipfs.io”, and did not pass SPF.

Following the successful identification of the malicious emails, Darktrace RESPOND™ took immediate autonomous action to prevent them from leading to potentially damaging network compromise. For email-based threats, Darktrace RESPOND is able to carry out numerous actions to stop malicious emails and reduce the risk of compromise. In response to this specific incident, RESPOND took multiple preventative actions (as seen in Figure 11), including include lock link, an action that prevents access to URLs deemed as suspicious, send to junk, an action that automatically places emails in the recipient’s junk folder, and hold message, the most severe RESPOND action that prevents malicious emails from reaching the recipients inbox at all.

Figure 11: The Darktrace/Email model tab shows all the models that triggered on the email and the associated RESPOND actions.
Figure 12: The ipfs.io link used in this email contains the recipient’s email address, and has a CID of QmfDDxLWoLiqFURX6dUZcsHxVBP1ZnM21H5jXGs1ffNxtP. It has a Darktrace Domain Rarity Score of 100
Figure 13: The IPFS credential harvester that uses the organization’s website’s visuals.

Further investigation revealed that the IPFS link contained the recipients’ email address, and when clicked led to a credential harvester that utilized the same visuals and branding as the customer’s website.

Concluding Thoughts

Ultimately, despite the various tactics employed threat actors to evade the detection of traditional security tools, Darktrace was able to successfully detect and mitigate these often very fruitful phishing attacks that attempted to abuse the IPFS file storage system.

As file storage platforms like IPFS do have legitimate business uses, blocking traffic related to file storage is likely to negatively impact the day-to-day operations of an organization. The challenge security teams face is to differentiate between malicious and legitimate uses of such services, and only act on malicious cases. As such, it is more important than ever for organizations to have an effective anomaly detection tool in place that is able to identify emerging threats without relying on rules, signatures or previously observed indicators of compromise (IoC).

By leveraging its Self-Learning AI, Darktrace understands what represents expected activity on customer networks and can recognize subtle deviations from expected behavior, that may be indicative of compromise. Then, using its autonomous response capabilities, Darktrace RESPOND is able to instantly and autonomously take action against emerging threats to stop them at the earliest possible stage.

Credit to Ben Atkins, Senior Model Developer for their contribution to this blog.

Appendices

Example IOCs

Type: URL

IOC: hxxps://ipfs[.]io/ipfs/QmfDDxLWoLi qFURX6dUZcsHxVBP1ZnM21H5jXGs

1ffNxtP?filename=atob.html#<Email Address>

Description: Path Gateway link

Type: URL

IOC: hxxps://bafybeibisyerwlu46re6rxrfw doo2ubvucw7yu6zjcfjmn7rqbwcix2 mku.ipfs[.]dweb.link/webn cpmk.htm?bafybeigh77sqswniy74nzyklybstfpkxhsqhpf3qt26nwnh4wf2vv gbdaybafybeigh77sqswniy74nzyklybstfpkxhsqhpf3qt26nwnh4wf2vvgbda y#<EmailAddress>

Description: Subdomain Gateway link

Relevant Darktrace DETECT Models

•       Spoof / Internal Domain from Unexpected Source + New Unknown Link

•       Link / High Risk Link + Low Sender Association

•       Link / New Correspondent Classified Link

•       Link / Watched Link Type

•       Proximity / Phishing + New activity

•       Proximity / Phishing + New Address Known Domain

•       Spoof / Internal Domain from Unexpected Source + High Risk Link

References

[1]    https://docs.ipfs.tech/

[2]    https://www.thum.io/

[3]    https://clearbit.com/logo

[4]    https://filebase.com/blog/ipfs-content-addressing-explained/

[5]    https://www.trustwave.com/en-us/resources/blogs/spiderlabs-blog/the-attack-of-the-chameleon-phishing-page/

[6]    https://wiki.ipfsblox.com/

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
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Lena Yu
Cyber Security Analyst
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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

Blog

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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About the author
Carlos Gray
Product Manager
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