A recent cyber-attack on a government office led our incident responders to defuse a challenging cyber event, where creative, outside-of-the-box thinking was needed in order to eliminate the threat.
This is how it played out:
A customer calls our incident response hotline to report weird logs coming out of their DLP products. Our response team rapidly establishes a secure remote connection in order to see what’s going on.
A quick overview indicates data exfiltration activity, although in a very low volume. Further investigation leads our team to inspect network traffic while searching for suspicious activity.
A dubious client-server communication is spotted, where the client is located within the network and the server is outside. An IP geolocation investigation points to a server that is in fact in a different country. At this point, our team decides to install internal tools on the suspicious endpoint in order to gain better visibility, while maintaining zero interruptions on the attacker’s activity.
It is now clear that we are dealing with a sophisticated attacker who has managed to bypass almost every control the office has to offer. After a successful lateral movement, he’s gained access to several endpoints across the organization.
After informing the management team on the customer side, we begin to take action. The first step is to implement honey pots so that we can learn about the attacker’s techniques and the tools he’s using. This is a great success – the attacker fell for almost every honey pot we deployed.
The next step is to use the credentials he’s using to communicate with his servers and evaluate what information he’s gained access to so far so that we can later on destroy it.
Finally, the last step is to stop his malicious activity using tools like Cynet and others.
2 days later
Our team heads over to the customer site in order to brief everyone at the office on the chain of events, including our successful incident response activity.