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Email Security and the Psychology of Trust: Why Users Face a Losing Game of “Spot the Fake”

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18
Jul 2023
18
Jul 2023
This Darktrace long read investigates how psychological research into the nature of trust relates to our relationship with technology. Because the brain is wired to implicitly trust the devices it uses everyday, humans cannot be relied upon to identify anomalies such as phishing emails. Email security driven by machine augmentation, such as AI anomaly detection, is the clearest solution to tackle that challenge.

When security teams discuss the possibility of phishing attacks targeting their organization, often the first reaction is to assume it is inevitable because of the users. Users are typically referenced in cyber security conversations as organizations’ greatest weaknesses, cited as the causes of many grave cyber-attacks because they click links, open attachments, or allow multi-factor authentication bypass without verifying the purpose.

While for many, the weakness of the user may feel like a fact rather than a theory, there is significant evidence to suggest that users are psychologically incapable of protecting themselves from exploitation by phishing attacks, with or without regular cyber awareness trainings. The psychology of trust and the nature of human reliance on technology make the preparation of users for the exploitation of that trust in technology very difficult – if not impossible.

This Darktrace long read will highlight principles of psychological and sociological research regarding the nature of trust, elements of the trust that relate to technology, and how the human brain is wired to rely on implicit trust. These principles all point to the outcome that humans cannot be relied upon to identify phishing. Email security driven by machine augmentation, such as AI anomaly detection, is the clearest solution to tackle that challenge.

What is the psychology of trust?

Psychological and sociological theories on trust largely centre around the importance of dependence and a two-party system: the trustor and the trustee. Most research has studied the impacts of trust decisions on interpersonal relationships, and the characteristics which make those relationships more or less likely to succeed. In behavioural terms, the elements most frequently referenced in trust decisions are emotional characteristics such as benevolence, integrity, competence, and predictability.1

Most of the behavioural evaluations of trust decisions survey why someone chooses to trust another person, how they made that decision, and how quickly they arrived at their choice. However, these micro-choices about trust require the context that trust is essential to human survival. Trust decisions are rooted in many of the same survival instincts which require the brain to categorize information and determine possible dangers. More broadly, successful trust relationships are essential in maintaining the fabric of human society, critical to every element of human life.

Trust can be compared to dark matter (Rotenberg, 2018), which is the extensive but often difficult to observe material that binds planets and earthly matter. In the same way, trust is an integral but often a silent component of human life, connecting people and enabling social functioning.2

Defining implicit and routine trust

As briefly mentioned earlier, dependence is an essential element of the trusting relationship. Being able to build a routine of trust, based on the maintenance rather than establishment of trust, becomes implicit within everyday life. For example, speaking to a friend about personal issues and life developments is often a subconscious reaction to the events occurring, rather than an explicit choice to trust said friend each time one has new experiences.

Active and passive levels of cognition are important to recognize in decision-making, such as trust choices. Decision-making is often an active cognitive process requiring a lot of resource from the brain. However, many decisions occur passively, especially if they are not new choices e.g. habits or routines. The brain’s focus turns to immediate tasks while relegating habitual choices to subconscious thought processes, passive cognition. Passive cognition leaves the brain open to impacts from inattentional blindness, wherein the individual may be abstractly aware of the choice but it is not the focus of their thought processes or actively acknowledged as a decision. These levels of cognition are mostly referenced as “attention” within the brain’s cognition and processing.3

This idea is essentially a concept of implicit trust, meaning trust which is occurring as background thought processes rather than active decision-making. This implicit trust extends to multiple areas of human life, including interpersonal relationships, but also habitual choice and lifestyle. When combined with the dependence on people and services, this implicit trust creates a haze of cognition where trust is implied and assumed, rather than actively chosen across a myriad of scenarios.

Trust and technology

As researchers at the University of Cambridge highlight in their research into trust and technology, ‘In a fundamental sense, all technology depends on trust.’  The same implicit trust systems which allow us to navigate social interactions by subconsciously choosing to trust, are also true of interactions with technology. The implied trust in technology and services is perhaps most easily explained by a metaphor.

Most people have a favourite brand of soda. People will routinely purchase that soda and drink it without testing it for chemicals or bacteria and without reading reviews to ensure the companies that produce it have not changed their quality standards. This is a helpful, representative example of routine trust, wherein the trust choice is implicit through habitual action and does not mean the person is actively thinking about the ramifications of continuing to use a product and trust it.

The principle of dependence is especially important in trust and technology discussions, because the modern human is entirely reliant on technology and so has no way to avoid trusting it.5   Specifically important in workplace scenarios, employees are given a mandatory set of technologies, from programs to devices and services, which they must interact with on a daily basis. Over time, the same implicit trust that would form between two people forms between the user and the technology. The key difference between interpersonal trust and technological trust is that deception is often much more difficult to identify.

The implicit trust in workplace technology

To provide a bit of workplace-specific context, organizations rely on technology providers for the operation (and often the security) of their devices. The organizations also rely on the employees (users) to use those technologies within the accepted policies and operational guidelines. The employees rely on the organization to determine which products and services are safe or unsafe.

Within this context, implicit trust is occurring at every layer of the organization and its technological holdings, but often the trust choice is only made annually by a small security team rather than continually evaluated. Systems and programs remain in place for years and are used because “that’s the way it’s always been done. Within that context, the exploitation of that trust by threat actors impersonating or compromising those technologies or services is extremely difficult to identify as a human.

For example, many organizations utilize email communications to promote software updates for employees. Typically, it would consist of email prompting employees to update versions from the vendors directly or from public marketplaces, such as App Store on Mac or Microsoft Store for Windows. If that kind of email were to be impersonated, spoofing an update and including a malicious link or attachment, there would be no reason for the employee to question that email, given the explicit trust enforced through habitual use of that service and program.

Inattentional blindness: How the brain ignores change

Users are psychologically predisposed to trust routinely used technologies and services, with most of those trust choices continuing subconsciously. Changes to these technologies would often be subject to inattentional blindness, a psychological phenomenon wherein the brain either overwrites sensory information with what the brain expects to see rather than what is actually perceived.

A great example of inattentional blindness6 is the following experiment, which asks individuals to count the number of times a ball is passed between multiple people. While that is occurring, something else is going on in the background, which, statistically, those tested will not see. The shocking part of this experiment comes after, when the researcher reveals that the event occurring in the background not seen by participants was a person in a gorilla suit moving back and forth between the group. This highlights how significant details can be overlooked by the brain and “overwritten” with other sensory information. When applied to technology, inattentional blindness and implicit trust makes spotting changes in behaviour, or indicators that a trusted technology or service has been compromised, nearly impossible for most humans to detect.

With all this in mind, how can you prepare users to correctly anticipate or identify a violation of that trust when their brains subconsciously make trust decisions and unintentionally ignore cues to suggest a change in behaviour? The short answer is, it’s difficult, if not impossible.

How threats exploit our implicit trust in technology

Most cyber threats are built around the idea of exploiting the implicit trust humans place in technology. Whether it’s techniques like “living off the land”, wherein programs normally associated with expected activities are leveraged to execute an attack, or through more overt psychological manipulation like phishing campaigns or scams, many cyber threats are predicated on the exploitation of human trust, rather than simply avoiding technological safeguards and building backdoors into programs.

In the case of phishing, it is easy to identify the attempts to leverage the trust of users in technology and services. The most common example of this would be spoofing, which is one of the most common tactics observed by Darktrace/Email. Spoofing is mimicking a trusted user or service, and can be accomplished through a variety of mechanisms, be it the creation of a fake domain meant to mirror a trusted link type, or the creation of an email account which appears to be a Human Resources, Internal Technology or Security service.

In the case of a falsified internal service, often dubbed a “Fake Support Spoof”, the user is exploited by following instructions from an accepted organizational authority figure and service provider, whose actions should normally be adhered to. These cases are often difficult to spot when studying the sender’s address or text of the email alone, but are made even more difficult to detect if an account from one of those services is compromised and the sender’s address is legitimate and expected for correspondence. Especially given the context of implicit trust, detecting deception in these cases would be extremely difficult.

How email security solutions can solve the problem of implicit trust

How can an organization prepare for this exploitation? How can it mitigate threats which are designed to exploit implicit trust? The answer is by using email security solutions that leverage behavioural analysis via anomaly detection, rather than traditional email gateways.

Expecting humans to identify the exploitation of their own trust is a high-risk low-reward endeavour, especially when it takes different forms, affects different users or portions of the organization differently, and doesn’t always have obvious red flags to identify it as suspicious. Cue email security using anomaly detection as the key answer to this evolving problem.

Anomaly detection enabled by machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) removes the inattentional blindness that plagues human users and security teams and enables the identification of departures from the norm, even those designed to mimic expected activity. Using anomaly detection mitigates multiple human cognitive biases which might prevent teams from identifying evolving threats, and also guarantees that all malicious behaviour will be detected. Of course, anomaly detection means that security teams may be alerted to benign anomalous activity, but still guarantees that no threat, no matter how novel or cleverly packaged, won’t be identified and raised to the human security team.

Utilizing machine learning, especially unsupervised machine learning, mimics the benefits of human decision making and enables the identification of patterns and categorization of information without the framing and biases which allow trust to be leveraged and exploited.

For example, say a cleverly written email is sent from an address which appears to be a Microsoft affiliate, suggesting to the user that they need to patch their software due to the discovery of a new vulnerability. The sender’s address appears legitimate and there are news stories circulating on major media providers that a new Microsoft vulnerability is causing organizations a lot of problems. The link, if clicked, forwards the user to a login page to verify their Microsoft credentials before downloading the new version of the software. After logging in, the program is available for download, and only requires a few minutes to install. Whether this email was created by a service like ChatGPT (generative AI) or written by a person, if acted upon it would give the threat actor(s) access to the user’s credential and password as well as activate malware on the device and possibly broader network if the software is downloaded.

If we are relying on users to identify this as unusual, there are a lot of evidence points that enforce their implicit trust in Microsoft services that make them want to comply with the email rather than question it. Comparatively, anomaly detection-driven email security would flag the unusualness of the source, as it would likely not be coming from a Microsoft-owned IP address and the sender would be unusual for the organization, which does not normally receive mail from the sender. The language might indicate solicitation, an attempt to entice the user to act, and the link could be flagged as it contains a hidden redirect or tailored information which the user cannot see, whether it is hidden beneath text like “Click Here” or due to link shortening. All of this information is present and discoverable in the phishing email, but often invisible to human users due to the trust decisions made months or even years ago for known products and services.

AI-driven Email Security: The Way Forward

Email security solutions employing anomaly detection are critical weapons for security teams in the fight to stay ahead of evolving threats and varied kill chains, which are growing more complex year on year. The intertwining nature of technology, coupled with massive social reliance on technology, guarantees that implicit trust will be exploited more and more, giving threat actors a variety of avenues to penetrate an organization. The changing nature of phishing and social engineering made possible by generative AI is just a drop in the ocean of the possible threats organizations face, and most will involve a trusted product or service being leveraged as an access point or attack vector. Anomaly detection and AI-driven email security are the most practical solution for security teams aiming to prevent, detect, and mitigate user and technology targeting using the exploitation of trust.

References

1https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/trust-project/videos/waytz-ep-1.aspx

2Rotenberg, K.J. (2018). The Psychology of Trust. Routledge.

3https://www.cognifit.com/gb/attention

4https://www.trusttech.cam.ac.uk/perspectives/technology-humanity-society-democracy/what-trust-technology-conceptual-bases-common

5Tyler, T.R. and Kramer, R.M. (2001). Trust in organizations : frontiers of theory and research. Thousand Oaks U.A.: Sage Publ, pp.39–49.

6https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00426-006-0072-4

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Email

How to Protect your Organization Against Microsoft Teams Phishing Attacks

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21
May 2024

The problem: Microsoft Teams phishing attacks are on the rise

Around 83% of Fortune 500 companies rely on Microsoft Office products and services1, with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint in particular emerging as critical platforms to the business operations of the everyday workplace. Researchers across the threat landscape have begun to observe these legitimate services being leveraged more and more by malicious actors as an initial access method.

As Teams becomes a more prominent feature of the workplace many employees rely on it for daily internal and external communication, even surpassing email usage in some organizations. As Microsoft2 states, "Teams changes your relationship with email. When your whole group is working in Teams, it means you'll all get fewer emails. And you'll spend less time in your inbox, because you'll use Teams for more of your conversations."

However, Teams can be exploited to send targeted phishing messages to individuals either internally or externally, while appearing legitimate and safe. Users might receive an external message request from a Teams account claiming to be an IT support service or otherwise affiliated with the organization. Once a user has accepted, the threat actor can launch a social engineering campaign or deliver a malicious payload. As a primarily internal tool there is naturally less training and security awareness around Teams – due to the nature of the channel it is assumed to be a trusted source, meaning that social engineering is already one step ahead.

Screenshot of a Microsoft Teams message request from a Midnight Blizzard-controlled account (courtesy of Microsoft)
Figure 1: Screenshot of a Microsoft Teams message request from a Midnight Blizzard-controlled account (courtesy of Microsoft)

Microsoft Teams Phishing Examples

Microsoft has identified several major phishing attacks using Teams within the past year.

In July 2023, Microsoft announced that the threat actor known as Midnight Blizzard – identified by the United States as a Russian state-sponsored group – had launched a series of phishing campaigns via Teams with the aim of stealing user credentials. These attacks used previously compromised Microsoft 365 accounts and set up new domain names that impersonated legitimate IT support organizations. The threat actors then used social engineering tactics to trick targeted users into sharing their credentials via Teams, enabling them to access sensitive data.  

At a similar time, threat actor Storm-0324 was observed sending phishing lures via Teams containing links to malicious SharePoint-hosted files. The group targeted organizations that allow Teams users to interact and share files externally. Storm-0324’s goal is to gain initial access to hand over to other threat actors to pursue more dangerous follow-on attacks like ransomware.

For a more in depth look at how Darktrace stops Microsoft Teams phishing read our blog: Don’t Take the Bait: How Darktrace Keeps Microsoft Teams Phishing Attacks at Bay

The market: Existing Microsoft Teams security solutions are insufficient

Microsoft’s native Teams security focuses on payloads, namely links and attachments, as the principal malicious component of any phishing. These payloads are relatively straightforward to detect with their experience in anti-virus, sandboxing, and IOCs. However, this approach is unable to intervene before the stage at which payloads are delivered, before the user even gets the chance to accept or deny an external message request. At the same time, it risks missing more subtle threats that don’t include attachments or links – like early stage phishing, which is pure social engineering – or completely new payloads.

Equally, the market offering for Teams security is limited. Security solutions available on the market are always payload-focused, rather than taking into account the content and context in which a link or attachment is sent. Answering questions like:

  • Does it make sense for these two accounts to speak to each other?
  • Are there any linguistic indicators of inducement?

Furthermore, they do not correlate with email to track threats across multiple communication environments which could signal a wider campaign. Effectively, other market solutions aren’t adding extra value – they are protecting against the same types of threats that Microsoft is already covering by default.

The other aspect of Teams security that native and market solutions fail to address is the account itself. As well as focusing on Teams threats, it’s important to analyze messages to understand the normal mode of communication for a user, and spot when a user’s Teams activity might signal account takeover.

The solution: How Darktrace protects Microsoft Teams against sophisticated threats

With its biggest update to Darktrace/Email ever, Darktrace now offers support for Microsoft Teams. With that, we are bringing the same AI philosophy that protects your email and accounts to your messaging environment.  

Our Self-Learning AI looks at content and context for every communication, whether that’s sent in an email or Teams message. It looks at actual user behavior, including language patterns, relationship history of sender and recipient, tone and payloads, to understand if a message poses a threat. This approach allows Darktrace to detect threats such as social engineering and payloadless attacks using visibility and forensic capabilities that Microsoft security doesn’t currently offer, as well as early symptoms of account compromise.  

Unlike market solutions, Darktrace doesn’t offer a siloed approach to Teams security. Data and signals from Teams are shared across email to inform detection, and also with the wider Darktrace ActiveAI security platform. By correlating information from email and Teams with network and apps security, Darktrace is able to better identify suspicious Teams activity and vice versa.  

Interested in the other ways Darktrace/Email augments threat detection? Read our latest blog on how improving the quality of end-user reporting can decrease the burden on the SOC. To find our more about Darktrace's enduring partnership with Microsoft, click here.

References

[1] Essential Microsoft Office Statistics in 2024

[2] Microsoft blog, Microsoft Teams and email, living in harmony, 2024

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Carlos Gray
Product Manager

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Inside the SOC

Don’t Take the Bait: How Darktrace Keeps Microsoft Teams Phishing Attacks at Bay

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20
May 2024

Social Engineering in Phishing Attacks

Faced with increasingly cyber-aware endpoint users and vigilant security teams, more and more threat actors are forced to think psychologically about the individuals they are targeting with their phishing attacks. Social engineering methods like taking advantage of the human emotions of their would-be victims, pressuring them to open emails or follow links or face financial or legal repercussions, and impersonating known and trusted brands or services, have become common place in phishing campaigns in recent years.

Phishing with Microsoft Teams

The malicious use of the popular communications platform Microsoft Teams has become widely observed and discussed across the threat landscape, with many organizations adopting it as their primary means of business communication, and many threat actors using it as an attack vector. As Teams allows users to communicate with people outside of their organization by default [1], it becomes an easy entry point for potential attackers to use as a social engineering vector.

In early 2024, Darktrace/Apps™ identified two separate instances of malicious actors using Microsoft Teams to launch a phishing attack against Darktrace customers in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Interestingly, in this case the attackers not only used a well-known legitimate service to carry out their phishing campaign, but they were also attempting to impersonate an international hotel chain.

Despite these attempts to evade endpoint users and traditional security measures, Darktrace’s anomaly detection enabled it to identify the suspicious phishing messages and bring them to the customer’s attention. Additionally, Darktrace’s autonomous response capability, was able to follow-up these detections with targeted actions to contain the suspicious activity in the first instance.

Darktrace Coverage of Microsoft Teams Phishing

Chats Sent by External User and Following Actions by Darktrace

On February 29, 2024, Darktrace detected the presence of a new external user on the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environment of an EMEA customer for the first time. The user, “REDACTED@InternationalHotelChain[.]onmicrosoft[.]com” was only observed on this date and no further activities were detected from this user after February 29.

Later the same day, the unusual external user created its first chat on Microsoft Teams named “New Employee Loyalty Program”. Over the course of around 5 minutes, the user sent 63 messages across 21 different chats to unique internal users on the customer’s SaaS platform. All these chats included the ‘foreign tenant user’ and one of the customer’s internal users, likely in an attempt to remain undetected. Foreign tenant user, in this case, refers to users without access to typical internal software and privileges, indicating the presence of an external user.

Darktrace’s detection of unusual messages being sent by a suspicious external user via Microsoft Teams.
Figure 1: Darktrace’s detection of unusual messages being sent by a suspicious external user via Microsoft Teams.
Advanced Search results showing the presence of a foreign tenant user on the customer’s SaaS environment.
Figure 2: Advanced Search results showing the presence of a foreign tenant user on the customer’s SaaS environment.

Darktrace identified that the external user had connected from an unusual IP address located in Poland, 195.242.125[.]186. Darktrace understood that this was unexpected behavior for this user who had only previously been observed connecting from the United Kingdom; it further recognized that no other users within the customer’s environment had connected from this external source, thereby deeming it suspicious. Further investigation by Darktrace’s analyst team revealed that the endpoint had been flagged as malicious by several open-source intelligence (OSINT) vendors.

External Summary highlighting the rarity of the rare external source from which the Teams messages were sent.
Figure 3: External Summary highlighting the rarity of the rare external source from which the Teams messages were sent.

Following Darktrace’s initial detection of these suspicious Microsoft Teams messages, Darktrace's autonomous response was able to further support the customer by providing suggested mitigative actions that could be applied to stop the external user from sending any additional phishing messages.

Unfortunately, at the time of this attack Darktrace's autonomous response capability was configured in human confirmation mode, meaning any autonomous response actions had to be manually actioned by the customer. Had it been enabled in autonomous response mode, it would have been able promptly disrupt the attack, disabling the external user to prevent them from continuing their phishing attempts and securing precious time for the customer’s security team to begin their own remediation procedures.

Darktrace autonomous response actions that were suggested following the ’Large Volume of Messages Sent from New External User’ detection model alert.
Figure 4: Darktrace autonomous response actions that were suggested following the ’Large Volume of Messages Sent from New External User’ detection model alert.

External URL Sent within Teams Chats

Within the 21 Teams chats created by the threat actor, Darktrace identified 21 different external URLs being sent, all of which included the domain "cloud-sharcpoint[.]com”. Many of these URLs had been recently established and had been flagged as malicious by OSINT providers [3]. This was likely an attempt to impersonate “cloud-sharepoint[.]com”, the legitimate domain of Microsoft SharePoint, with the threat actor attempting to ‘typo-squat’ the URL to convince endpoint users to trust the legitimacy of the link. Typo-squatted domains are commonly misspelled URLs registered by opportunistic attackers in the hope of gaining the trust of unsuspecting targets. They are often used for nefarious purposes like dropping malicious files on devices or harvesting credentials.

Upon clicking this malicious link, users were directed to a similarly typo-squatted domain, “InternatlonalHotelChain[.]sharcpoInte-docs[.]com”. This domain was likely made to appear like the SharePoint URL used by the international hotel chain being impersonated.

Redirected link to a fake SharePoint page attempting to impersonate an international hotel chain.
Figure 5: Redirected link to a fake SharePoint page attempting to impersonate an international hotel chain.

This fake SharePoint page used the branding of the international hotel chain and contained a document named “New Employee Loyalty Program”; the same name given to the phishing messages sent by the attacker on Microsoft Teams. Upon accessing this file, users would be directed to a credential harvester, masquerading as a Microsoft login page, and prompted to enter their credentials. If successful, this would allow the attacker to gain unauthorized access to a user’s SaaS account, thereby compromising the account and enabling further escalation in the customer’s environment.

Figure 6: A fake Microsoft login page that popped-up when attempting to open the ’New Employee Loyalty Program’ document.

This is a clear example of an attacker attempting to leverage social engineering tactics to gain the trust of their targets and convince them to inadvertently compromise their account. Many corporate organizations partner with other companies and well-known brands to offer their employees loyalty programs as part of their employment benefits and perks. As such, it would not necessarily be unexpected for employees to receive such an offer from an international hotel chain. By impersonating an international hotel chain, threat actors would increase the probability of convincing their targets to trust and click their malicious messages and links, and unintentionally compromising their accounts.

In spite of the attacker’s attempts to impersonate reputable brands, platforms, Darktrace/Apps was able to successfully recognize the malicious intent behind this phishing campaign and suggest steps to contain the attack. Darktrace recognized that the user in question had deviated from its ‘learned’ pattern of behavior by connecting to the customer’s SaaS environment from an unusual external location, before proceeding to send an unusually large volume of messages via Teams, indicating that the SaaS account had been compromised.

A Wider Campaign?

Around a month later, in March 2024, Darktrace observed a similar incident of a malicious actor impersonating the same international hotel chain in a phishing attacking using Microsoft Teams, suggesting that this was part of a wider phishing campaign. Like the previous example, this customer was also based in the EMEA region.  

The attack tactics identified in this instance were very similar to the previously example, with a new external user identified within the network proceeding to create a series of Teams messages named “New Employee Loyalty Program” containing a typo-squatted external links.

There were a few differences with this second incident, however, with the attacker using the domain “@InternationalHotelChainExpeditions[.]onmicrosoft[.]com” to send their malicious Teams messages and using differently typo-squatted URLs to imitate Microsoft SharePoint.

As both customers targeted by this phishing campaign were subscribed to Darktrace’s Proactive Threat Notification (PTN) service, this suspicious SaaS activity was promptly escalated to the Darktrace Security Operations Center (SOC) for immediate triage and investigation. Following their investigation, the SOC team sent an alert to the customers informing them of the compromise and advising urgent follow-up.

Conclusion

While there are clear similarities between these Microsoft Teams-based phishing attacks, the attackers here have seemingly sought ways to refine their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), leveraging new connection locations and creating new malicious URLs in an effort to outmaneuver human security teams and conventional security tools.

As cyber threats grow increasingly sophisticated and evasive, it is crucial for organizations to employ intelligent security solutions that can see through social engineering techniques and pinpoint suspicious activity early.

Darktrace’s Self-Learning AI understands customer environments and is able to recognize the subtle deviations in a device’s behavioral pattern, enabling it to effectively identify suspicious activity even when attackers adapt their strategies. In this instance, this allowed Darktrace to detect the phishing messages, and the malicious links contained within them, despite the seemingly trustworthy source and use of a reputable platform like Microsoft Teams.

Credit to Min Kim, Cyber Security Analyst, Raymond Norbert, Cyber Security Analyst and Ryan Traill, Threat Content Lead

Appendix

Darktrace Model Detections

SaaS Model

Large Volume of Messages Sent from New External User

SaaS / Unusual Activity / Large Volume of Messages Sent from New External User

Indicators of Compromise (IoCs)

IoC – Type - Description

https://cloud-sharcpoint[.]com/[a-zA-Z0-9]{15} - Example hostname - Malicious phishing redirection link

InternatlonalHotelChain[.]sharcpolnte-docs[.]com – Hostname – Redirected Link

195.242.125[.]186 - External Source IP Address – Malicious Endpoint

MITRE Tactics

Tactic – Technique

Phishing – Initial Access (T1566)

References

[1] https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/trusted-organizations-external-meetings-chat?tabs=organization-settings

[2] https://www.virustotal.com/gui/ip-address/195.242.125.186/detection

[3] https://www.virustotal.com/gui/domain/cloud-sharcpoint.com

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About the author
Min Kim
Cyber Security Analyst
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