ExtraHop, the pioneer in cloud-native network detection and response, releases a security report offering an in-depth look at the methods cybercriminals used to evade detection during the months before the SolarWinds SUNBURST exploit was discovered. The report also reveals significant increases in suspicious network activity that went largely ignored due to the privileged and trusted status of SolarWinds within the IT environment. As part of the report, ExtraHop also released an expanded list of over 1,700 SUNBURST indicators of compromise (IOCs) as observed across affected environments protected by Reveal(x), critical information that can help organisations determine if and to what extent they’ve been compromised. Traditional detection methods During its own investigation, and through its work with customers to help detect and remediate the SUNBURST exploit, ExtraHop threat researchers found that between late March 2020 and early October 2020, detections of probable malicious activity increased by approximately 150 percent. ExtraHop detections of probable malicious activity increased between late March 2020 and early October 2020 These detections which included lateral movement, privilege escalation, and command and control beaconing, evaded the more traditional detection methods like endpoint detection and response (EDR) and antivirus. Activity patterns outlined in the report indicate that the SUNBURST attackers were successful in flying under the radar of these detection methods either by disabling them, or by redirecting their approach before they could be detected. Other detection methods “Unfortunately, what we found when investigating SUNBURST is that the activity was actually detected on the network,” said Jeff Costlow, Deputy CISO, ExtraHop. “But because other detection methods weren’t alerting on the activity, it largely went ignored. In this case, the attack was strategically designed to evade those detections, and we can expect more similar attacks to follow. It’s an important reminder that the network doesn’t lie.” In addition to shedding new light on how the SUNBURST attackers were able to dwell within the network unchecked for so long, the report delves into several case studies on how ExtraHop customers investigated and remediated the exploit within their own environments. The case studies include details on how customers were able to use historical metrics to determine the duration of the compromise, as well as which systems and data may have been impacted.
ExtraHop, the leader in cloud-native network detection and response, announced its top predictions for the cybersecurity and technology industries in 2020. Informed by insight from customers, partners and industry analysts and insiders, ExtraHop leaders predict a year of tool consolidation, headline-grabbing breaches and a shifting industry focus on what makes a successful tech start-up. The Year of Deeper Scrutiny for Fast-Growth Companies: “2019 was a tough year for heavily hyped, fast-growth companies going public in Silicon Valley. Several companies that raised huge rounds ultimately failed to deliver expected results or even approach profitability after they went public, and Wall Street was not amused. In 2020, we expect the investment community to more deeply scrutinise companies' financials and business fundamentals, ultimately leading to the support of companies who deliver on their promises, are capital-efficient with sound vision and innovation, and have truly sustainable business results and models to back them up.” - Arif Kareem, CEO File hashing has been the default mechanism for detecting malicious threat activity" Antiquated Threat Detection Methods like File Hashing and Signature-Based IDS Waste Time: “Since the 1990s, file hashing has been the default mechanism for detecting malicious threat activity, despite the fact that it's ineffective against modern attacks that use polymorphic or fileless methods to go undetected. The same goes for signature-based IDS, which are extremely noisy while providing very little actual alert context. Security teams will continue to rely on these antiquated methods of detection because they are expected to, regardless of how well they work in today's threat landscape.” - Jesse Rothstein, CTO and co-founder Accountability for the Ethical Use of Users’ Data: “Recent headlines tell of giant data corporations like Google and Facebook monetising users' data and lacking sufficient transparency in these activities. There’s already been significant social backlash, but in 2020 we predict that users will demand companies not just follow the often-dated laws, but that they also do what’s right. Regulations like GDPR and CCPA are helping to bring more clarity around what’s appropriate, but 2020 will be the year that the industry is held accountable for the ethical, in addition to regulatory-compliant, use of personal data.” - Raja Mukerji, CCO and co-founder A Slowing Economy Will Force Tool Consolidation: “In security programs, it's been very difficult to turn tools off. What gaps will I create? What unintended consequences will I see? As the economy has rolled along over the last decade, most security programs have had the necessary funding to add new tools and retain legacy tools under the guise of risk management. Economic slowdown is likely to change all of that, as investments in new technology will require cost savings elsewhere. A tighter economy will finally cause us to pull the plug on legacy security tools.” - Bill Ruckelshaus, CFO A tighter economy will finally cause us to pull the plug on legacy security tools""Observability" Will Gain Ground as Both a Concept and a Vocabulary Term in Security and DevOps: “Observability is a term that several companies are using to describe the practice of capturing metrics, logs and wire telemetry, or sometimes other data sources, mostly in the DevOps space. The value of correlating insights from these data sources has gained enough ground that vendors need a word for it. Observability, The SOC Visibility Triad, and other terms have been spotted in marketing materials and on big screens and main stages at security and analytics conferences. In 2020, we'll see heated competition to control the vocabulary and mental models that enterprises and vendors use to discuss and market security best practices regarding gathering multiple data sources and correlating insights between them.”- John Matthews, CIO A Major Information Leak from a Cloud Provider is Coming: “In 2020, we are likely to see a major information leak from a cloud provider. While at the same time the cloud providers are providing many useful built-in tools, it's not clear that they are using their own tools to secure themselves. As a further prediction, the leak will not effectively diminish migration to the cloud. As we have noticed with other breaches, they do not significantly erode confidence in the services.” - Jeff Costlow, CISO 2020 may well be the year that a breach of a vendor’s environment exposes the data of one or more of their customers" The Wave Begins Towards Security Tool Consolidation: “Organisations will take a strong look at the number of security vendors within their ecosystem in 2020 to determine overlap and begin a move towards consolidation of tools. The winners will include those that have proven their API superiority and ability to work together within an organisation’s ecosystem. The losers will be those who have not proven their ability to strengthen core security.” - Chris Lehman, SVP of Worldwide Sales A Vendor Will Be Responsible for a Major Breach of Data Due to Phoning Home: “In 2019, ExtraHop issued a security advisory about the vendor practice of phoning data home and how this is happening without the knowledge of customers. The problem with this practice is that it expands the attack surface via which that data can be breached, exposing it to threats within the vendor’s environment. 2020 may well be the year that a breach of a vendor’s environment exposes the data of one or more of their customers. Regulations like GDPR have imagined exactly this type of scenario and laid out specific requirements for data controllers and data processors. But when such a breach occurs, it will have broad impact and implications.” - Matt Cauthorn, VP Security The Big IoT Breach is Coming: “In 2017, major ransomware attacks crippled the networks, and operations, of major global organisations. While those attacks did billions in damage, for the most part, IoT devices were left unscathed. But sooner or later, and probably sooner, the big IoT breach is coming, and it could have global implications. Whether it happens in the US or abroad, in healthcare, shipping and logistics, or manufacturing, IoT devices around the globe are fertile hunting grounds for attackers. Taking down every connected device, from telemetry sensors to infusion pumps to mobile points-of-sale, could easily grind operations to a halt.” - Mike Campfield, VP of Global Security Programs
ExtraHop, globally renowned cloud-first detection and response solutions provider for hybrid enterprises, has issued a security advisory exposing several cases of third-party vendors ‘phoning home’ proprietary data without the knowledge of or authorisation from their customers. The advisory serves as a warning to all enterprises to hold their vendors more accountable for how they use customer data. Phoning home proprietary data The newly-issued advisory defines phoning home as a host connecting to a server for the purpose of sending data to the server, the ‘white hat’ term for exfiltrating data. According to the report, phoning data home is a common practice that can be used for legitimate and useful reasons with the customer’s consent. But when customers are unaware of this vendor exfiltration, it risks exposure of sensitive data, such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII), in violation of increasingly strict privacy regulations. We decided to issue this advisory after seeing a concerning uptick in this kind of undisclosed phoning home by vendors" “We decided to issue this advisory after seeing a concerning uptick in this kind of undisclosed phoning home by vendors,” said Jeff Costlow, ExtraHop CISO. “What was most alarming to us was that two of the four cases in the advisory were perpetrated by prominent cybersecurity vendors. These are vendors that enterprises rely on to safeguard their data. We’re urging enterprises to establish better visibility of their networks and their vendors to make sure this kind of security malpractice doesn’t go unchecked.” Data and cloud security The advisory highlights four cases spanning the financial services, healthcare, and food service industries where ExtraHop documented vendors phoning home their customers’ data without the customer’s knowledge or authorisation, including: Foul-play in financial services: During a recent training session, ExtraHop noticed that domain controllers were shipping data to a public cloud instance. The customer had no idea that domain controllers were sending SSL traffic outbound to 50 different public cloud endpoints controlled by the vendor. The report documents how a prominent cybersecurity vendor had been doing this for at least two months. Medical device malpractice: A U.S. hospital was piloting a medical device management product that was only to be used on designated hospital Wi-Fi to ensure patient data privacy and HIPAA compliance. ExtraHop noticed that traffic from the workstation that was managing the initial device rollout was opening encrypted SSL:443 connections to vendor-owned cloud storage, in strict violation of HIPAA regulations. When shadow IT phones home to China: While ExtraHop was onsite with a large multinational food services customer, they discovered that approximately every 30 minutes, a network-connected device was sending UDP traffic out to a questionable IP address. The device in question was a Chinese manufactured security camera that was phoning home to an IP address known to be associated with malware downloads. When “on-box analysis” isn’t entirely “on box”: During a proof-of-concept (POC) with a financial services institution, ExtraHop noticed a large volume of outbound traffic headed from the customer’s S. datacenter to the United Kingdom. More than 400GB per day over two-and-a-half days (totaling more than 1TB of data) was exfiltrated by a security vendor that was also in a POC with the financial services institution. The customer was surprised because the vendor claimed to perform all analysis and machine learning ‘on-box’—meaning on the appliance deployed in the customer’s environment. Security advisory ExtraHop’s security advisory recommends that companies take the following actions to mitigate these kinds of phoning-home risks: Monitor for vendor activity: Watch for unexpected vendor activity on your network, whether they are an active vendor, a former vendor or even a vendor post-evaluation. Monitor egress traffic: Be aware of egress traffic, especially from sensitive assets such as domain controllers. When egress traffic is detected, always match it to approved applications and services. Track deployment: While under evaluation, track deployments of software agents. Understand regulatory considerations: Be informed about the regulatory and compliance considerations of data crossing political and geographic boundaries. Understand contract agreements: Track whether data is used in compliance with vendor contract agreements. ExtraHop also urges companies to ask questions of their vendors to ensure they understand how their data is being used, where their data is going and the vendor protocols for phoning home. ExtraHop believes these actions will hold vendors more accountable and ultimately limit the exposure of sensitive enterprise data.