Tag Archives: microsoft

On the CSRB’s Non-Investigation of the SolarWinds Attack

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/07/on-the-csrbs-non-investigation-of-the-solarwinds-attack.html

ProPublica has a long investigative article on how the Cyber Safety Review Board failed to investigate the SolarWinds attack, and specifically Microsoft’s culpability, even though they were directed by President Biden to do so.

Online Privacy and Overfishing

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/06/online-privacy-and-overfishing.html

Microsoft recently caught state-backed hackers using its generative AI tools to help with their attacks. In the security community, the immediate questions weren’t about how hackers were using the tools (that was utterly predictable), but about how Microsoft figured it out. The natural conclusion was that Microsoft was spying on its AI users, looking for harmful hackers at work.

Some pushed back at characterizing Microsoft’s actions as “spying.” Of course cloud service providers monitor what users are doing. And because we expect Microsoft to be doing something like this, it’s not fair to call it spying.

We see this argument as an example of our shifting collective expectations of privacy. To understand what’s happening, we can learn from an unlikely source: fish.

In the mid-20th century, scientists began noticing that the number of fish in the ocean—so vast as to underlie the phrase “There are plenty of fish in the sea”—had started declining rapidly due to overfishing. They had already seen a similar decline in whale populations, when the post-WWII whaling industry nearly drove many species extinct. In whaling and later in commercial fishing, new technology made it easier to find and catch marine creatures in ever greater numbers. Ecologists, specifically those working in fisheries management, began studying how and when certain fish populations had gone into serious decline.

One scientist, Daniel Pauly, realized that researchers studying fish populations were making a major error when trying to determine acceptable catch size. It wasn’t that scientists didn’t recognize the declining fish populations. It was just that they didn’t realize how significant the decline was. Pauly noted that each generation of scientists had a different baseline to which they compared the current statistics, and that each generation’s baseline was lower than that of the previous one.

What seems normal to us in the security community is whatever was commonplace at the beginning of our careers.

Pauly called this “shifting baseline syndrome” in a 1995 paper. The baseline most scientists used was the one that was normal when they began their research careers. By that measure, each subsequent decline wasn’t significant, but the cumulative decline was devastating. Each generation of researchers came of age in a new ecological and technological environment, inadvertently masking an exponential decline.

Pauly’s insights came too late to help those managing some fisheries. The ocean suffered catastrophes such as the complete collapse of the Northwest Atlantic cod population in the 1990s.

Internet surveillance, and the resultant loss of privacy, is following the same trajectory. Just as certain fish populations in the world’s oceans have fallen 80 percent, from previously having fallen 80 percent, from previously having fallen 80 percent (ad infinitum), our expectations of privacy have similarly fallen precipitously. The pervasive nature of modern technology makes surveillance easier than ever before, while each successive generation of the public is accustomed to the privacy status quo of their youth. What seems normal to us in the security community is whatever was commonplace at the beginning of our careers.

Historically, people controlled their computers, and software was standalone. The always-connected cloud-deployment model of software and services flipped the script. Most apps and services are designed to be always-online, feeding usage information back to the company. A consequence of this modern deployment model is that everyone—cynical tech folks and even ordinary users—expects that what you do with modern tech isn’t private. But that’s because the baseline has shifted.

AI chatbots are the latest incarnation of this phenomenon: They produce output in response to your input, but behind the scenes there’s a complex cloud-based system keeping track of that input—both to improve the service and to sell you ads.

Shifting baselines are at the heart of our collective loss of privacy. The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that our right to privacy depends on whether we have a reasonable expectation of privacy. But expectation is a slippery thing: It’s subject to shifting baselines.

The question remains: What now? Fisheries scientists, armed with knowledge of shifting-baseline syndrome, now look at the big picture. They no longer consider relative measures, such as comparing this decade with the last decade. Instead, they take a holistic, ecosystem-wide perspective to see what a healthy marine ecosystem and thus sustainable catch should look like. They then turn these scientifically derived sustainable-catch figures into limits to be codified by regulators.

In privacy and security, we need to do the same. Instead of comparing to a shifting baseline, we need to step back and look at what a healthy technological ecosystem would look like: one that respects people’s privacy rights while also allowing companies to recoup costs for services they provide. Ultimately, as with fisheries, we need to take a big-picture perspective and be aware of shifting baselines. A scientifically informed and democratic regulatory process is required to preserve a heritage—whether it be the ocean or the Internet—for the next generation.

This essay was written with Barath Raghavan, and previously appeared in IEEE Spectrum.

Disrupting FlyingYeti’s campaign targeting Ukraine

Post Syndicated from Cloudforce One original https://blog.cloudflare.com/disrupting-flyingyeti-campaign-targeting-ukraine


Cloudforce One is publishing the results of our investigation and real-time effort to detect, deny, degrade, disrupt, and delay threat activity by the Russia-aligned threat actor FlyingYeti during their latest phishing campaign targeting Ukraine. At the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Ukraine introduced a moratorium on evictions and termination of utility services for unpaid debt. The moratorium ended in January 2024, resulting in significant debt liability and increased financial stress for Ukrainian citizens. The FlyingYeti campaign capitalized on anxiety over the potential loss of access to housing and utilities by enticing targets to open malicious files via debt-themed lures. If opened, the files would result in infection with the PowerShell malware known as COOKBOX, allowing FlyingYeti to support follow-on objectives, such as installation of additional payloads and control over the victim’s system.

Since April 26, 2024, Cloudforce One has taken measures to prevent FlyingYeti from launching their phishing campaign – a campaign involving the use of Cloudflare Workers and GitHub, as well as exploitation of the WinRAR vulnerability CVE-2023-38831. Our countermeasures included internal actions, such as detections and code takedowns, as well as external collaboration with third parties to remove the actor’s cloud-hosted malware. Our effectiveness against this actor prolonged their operational timeline from days to weeks. For example, in a single instance, FlyingYeti spent almost eight hours debugging their code as a result of our mitigations. By employing proactive defense measures, we successfully stopped this determined threat actor from achieving their objectives.

Executive Summary

  • On April 18, 2024, Cloudforce One detected the Russia-aligned threat actor FlyingYeti preparing to launch a phishing espionage campaign targeting individuals in Ukraine.
  • We discovered the actor used similar tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) as those detailed in Ukranian CERT’s article on UAC-0149, a threat group that has primarily targeted Ukrainian defense entities with COOKBOX malware since at least the fall of 2023.
  • From mid-April to mid-May, we observed FlyingYeti conduct reconnaissance activity, create lure content for use in their phishing campaign, and develop various iterations of their malware. We assessed that the threat actor intended to launch their campaign in early May, likely following Orthodox Easter.
  • After several weeks of monitoring actor reconnaissance and weaponization activity (Cyber Kill Chain Stages 1 and 2), we successfully disrupted FlyingYeti’s operation moments after the final COOKBOX payload was built.
  • The payload included an exploit for the WinRAR vulnerability CVE-2023-38831, which FlyingYeti will likely continue to use in their phishing campaigns to infect targets with malware.
  • We offer steps users can take to defend themselves against FlyingYeti phishing operations, and also provide recommendations, detections, and indicators of compromise.

Who is FlyingYeti?

FlyingYeti is the cryptonym given by Cloudforce One to the threat group behind this phishing campaign, which overlaps with UAC-0149 activity tracked by CERT-UA in February and April 2024. The threat actor uses dynamic DNS (DDNS) for their infrastructure and leverages cloud-based platforms for hosting malicious content and for malware command and control (C2). Our investigation of FlyingYeti TTPs suggests this is likely a Russia-aligned threat group. The actor appears to primarily focus on targeting Ukrainian military entities. Additionally, we observed Russian-language comments in FlyingYeti’s code, and the actor’s operational hours falling within the UTC+3 time zone.

Campaign background

In the days leading up to the start of the campaign, Cloudforce One observed FlyingYeti conducting reconnaissance on payment processes for Ukrainian communal housing and utility services:

  • April 22, 2024 – research into changes made in 2016 that introduced the use of QR codes in payment notices
  • April 22, 2024 – research on current developments concerning housing and utility debt in Ukraine
  • April 25, 2024 – research on the legal basis for restructuring housing debt in Ukraine as well as debt involving utilities, such as gas and electricity

Cloudforce One judges that the observed reconnaissance is likely due to the Ukrainian government’s payment moratorium introduced at the start of the full-fledged invasion in February 2022. Under this moratorium, outstanding debt would not lead to evictions or termination of provision of utility services. However, on January 9, 2024, the government lifted this ban, resulting in increased pressure on Ukrainian citizens with outstanding debt. FlyingYeti sought to capitalize on that pressure, leveraging debt restructuring and payment-related lures in an attempt to increase their chances of successfully targeting Ukrainian individuals.

Analysis of the Komunalka-themed phishing site

The disrupted phishing campaign would have directed FlyingYeti targets to an actor-controlled GitHub page at hxxps[:]//komunalka[.]github[.]io, which is a spoofed version of the Kyiv Komunalka communal housing site https://www.komunalka.ua. Komunalka functions as a payment processor for residents in the Kyiv region and allows for payment of utilities, such as gas, electricity, telephone, and Internet. Additionally, users can pay other fees and fines, and even donate to Ukraine’s defense forces.

Based on past FlyingYeti operations, targets may be directed to the actor’s Github page via a link in a phishing email or an encrypted Signal message. If a target accesses the spoofed Komunalka platform at hxxps[:]//komunalka[.]github[.]io, the page displays a large green button with a prompt to download the document “Рахунок.docx” (“Invoice.docx”), as shown in Figure 1. This button masquerades as a link to an overdue payment invoice but actually results in the download of the malicious archive “Заборгованість по ЖКП.rar” (“Debt for housing and utility services.rar”).

Figure 1: Prompt to download malicious archive “Заборгованість по ЖКП.rar”

A series of steps must take place for the download to successfully occur:

  • The target clicks the green button on the actor’s GitHub page hxxps[:]//komunalka.github[.]io
  • The target’s device sends an HTTP POST request to the Cloudflare Worker worker-polished-union-f396[.]vqu89698[.]workers[.]dev with the HTTP request body set to “user=Iahhdr”
  • The Cloudflare Worker processes the request and evaluates the HTTP request body
  • If the request conditions are met, the Worker fetches the RAR file from hxxps[:]//raw[.]githubusercontent[.]com/kudoc8989/project/main/Заборгованість по ЖКП.rar, which is then downloaded on the target’s device

Cloudforce One identified the infrastructure responsible for facilitating the download of the malicious RAR file and remediated the actor-associated Worker, preventing FlyingYeti from delivering its malicious tooling. In an effort to circumvent Cloudforce One’s mitigation measures, FlyingYeti later changed their malware delivery method. Instead of the Workers domain fetching the malicious RAR file, it was loaded directly from GitHub.

Analysis of the malicious RAR file

During remediation, Cloudforce One recovered the RAR file “Заборгованість по ЖКП.rar” and performed analysis of the malicious payload. The downloaded RAR archive contains multiple files, including a file with a name that contains the unicode character “U+201F”. This character appears as whitespace on Windows devices and can be used to “hide” file extensions by adding excessive whitespace between the filename and the file extension. As highlighted in blue in Figure 2, this cleverly named file within the RAR archive appears to be a PDF document but is actually a malicious CMD file (“Рахунок на оплату.pdf[unicode character U+201F].cmd”).

Figure 2: Files contained in the malicious RAR archive “Заборгованість по ЖКП.rar” (“Housing Debt.rar”)

FlyingYeti included a benign PDF in the archive with the same name as the CMD file but without the unicode character, “Рахунок на оплату.pdf” (“Invoice for payment.pdf”). Additionally, the directory name for the archive once decompressed also contained the name “Рахунок на оплату.pdf”. This overlap in names of the benign PDF and the directory allows the actor to exploit the WinRAR vulnerability CVE-2023-38831. More specifically, when an archive includes a benign file with the same name as the directory, the entire contents of the directory are opened by the WinRAR application, resulting in the execution of the malicious CMD. In other words, when the target believes they are opening the benign PDF “Рахунок на оплату.pdf”, the malicious CMD file is executed.

The CMD file contains the FlyingYeti PowerShell malware known as COOKBOX. The malware is designed to persist on a host, serving as a foothold in the infected device. Once installed, this variant of COOKBOX will make requests to the DDNS domain postdock[.]serveftp[.]com for C2, awaiting PowerShell cmdlets that the malware will subsequently run.

Alongside COOKBOX, several decoy documents are opened, which contain hidden tracking links using the Canary Tokens service. The first document, shown in Figure 3 below, poses as an agreement under which debt for housing and utility services will be restructured.

Figure 3: Decoy document Реструктуризація боргу за житлово комунальні послуги.docx

The second document (Figure 4) is a user agreement outlining the terms and conditions for the usage of the payment platform komunalka[.]ua.

Figure 4: Decoy document Угода користувача.docx (User Agreement.docx)

The use of relevant decoy documents as part of the phishing and delivery activity are likely an effort by FlyingYeti operators to increase the appearance of legitimacy of their activities.

The phishing theme we identified in this campaign is likely one of many themes leveraged by this actor in a larger operation to target Ukrainian entities, in particular their defense forces. In fact, the threat activity we detailed in this blog uses many of the same techniques outlined in a recent FlyingYeti campaign disclosed by CERT-UA in mid-April 2024, where the actor leveraged United Nations-themed lures involving Peace Support Operations to target Ukraine’s military. Due to Cloudforce One’s defensive actions covered in the next section, this latest FlyingYeti campaign was prevented as of the time of publication.

Mitigating FlyingYeti activity

Cloudforce One mitigated FlyingYeti’s campaign through a series of actions. Each action was taken to increase the actor’s cost of continuing their operations. When assessing which action to take and why, we carefully weighed the pros and cons in order to provide an effective active defense strategy against this actor. Our general goal was to increase the amount of time the threat actor spent trying to develop and weaponize their campaign.

We were able to successfully extend the timeline of the threat actor’s operations from hours to weeks. At each interdiction point, we assessed the impact of our mitigation to ensure the actor would spend more time attempting to launch their campaign. Our mitigation measures disrupted the actor’s activity, in one instance resulting in eight additional hours spent on debugging code.

Due to our proactive defense efforts, FlyingYeti operators adapted their tactics multiple times in their attempts to launch the campaign. The actor originally intended to have the Cloudflare Worker fetch the malicious RAR file from GitHub. After Cloudforce One interdiction of the Worker, the actor attempted to create additional Workers via a new account. In response, we disabled all Workers, leading the actor to load the RAR file directly from GitHub. Cloudforce One notified GitHub, resulting in the takedown of the RAR file, the GitHub project, and suspension of the account used to host the RAR file. In return, FlyingYeti began testing the option to host the RAR file on the file sharing sites pixeldrain and Filemail, where we observed the actor alternating the link on the Komunalka phishing site between the following:

  • hxxps://pixeldrain[.]com/api/file/ZAJxwFFX?download=one
  • hxxps://1014.filemail[.]com/api/file/get?filekey=e_8S1HEnM5Rzhy_jpN6nL-GF4UAP533VrXzgXjxH1GzbVQZvmpFzrFA&pk_vid=a3d82455433c8ad11715865826cf18f6

We notified GitHub of the actor’s evolving tactics, and in response GitHub removed the Komunalka phishing site. After analyzing the files hosted on pixeldrain and Filemail, we determined the actor uploaded dummy payloads, likely to monitor access to their phishing infrastructure (FileMail logs IP addresses, and both file hosting sites provide view and download counts). At the time of publication, we did not observe FlyingYeti upload the malicious RAR file to either file hosting site, nor did we identify the use of alternative phishing or malware delivery methods.

A timeline of FlyingYeti’s activity and our corresponding mitigations can be found below.

Event timeline

Date Event Description
2024-04-18 12:18 Threat Actor (TA) creates a Worker to handle requests from a phishing site
2024-04-18 14:16 TA creates phishing site komunalka[.]github[.]io on GitHub
2024-04-25 12:25 TA creates a GitHub repo to host a RAR file
2024-04-26 07:46 TA updates the first Worker to handle requests from users visiting komunalka[.]github[.]io
2024-04-26 08:24 TA uploads a benign test RAR to the GitHub repo
2024-04-26 13:38 Cloudforce One identifies a Worker receiving requests from users visiting komunalka[.]github[.]io, observes its use as a phishing page
2024-04-26 13:46 Cloudforce One identifies that the Worker fetches a RAR file from GitHub (the malicious RAR payload is not yet hosted on the site)
2024-04-26 19:22 Cloudforce One creates a detection to identify the Worker that fetches the RAR
2024-04-26 21:13 Cloudforce One deploys real-time monitoring of the RAR file on GitHub
2024-05-02 06:35 TA deploys a weaponized RAR (CVE-2023-38831) to GitHub with their COOKBOX malware packaged in the archive
2024-05-06 10:03 TA attempts to update the Worker with link to weaponized RAR, the Worker is immediately blocked
2024-05-06 10:38 TA creates a new Worker, the Worker is immediately blocked
2024-05-06 11:04 TA creates a new account (#2) on Cloudflare
2024-05-06 11:06 TA creates a new Worker on account #2 (blocked)
2024-05-06 11:50 TA creates a new Worker on account #2 (blocked)
2024-05-06 12:22 TA creates a new modified Worker on account #2
2024-05-06 16:05 Cloudforce One disables the running Worker on account #2
2024-05-07 22:16 TA notices the Worker is blocked, ceases all operations
2024-05-07 22:18 TA deletes original Worker first created to fetch the RAR file from the GitHub phishing page
2024-05-09 19:28 Cloudforce One adds phishing page komunalka[.]github[.]io to real-time monitoring
2024-05-13 07:36 TA updates the github.io phishing site to point directly to the GitHub RAR link
2024-05-13 17:47 Cloudforce One adds COOKBOX C2 postdock[.]serveftp[.]com to real-time monitoring for DNS resolution
2024-05-14 00:04 Cloudforce One notifies GitHub to take down the RAR file
2024-05-15 09:00 GitHub user, project, and link for RAR are no longer accessible
2024-05-21 08:23 TA updates Komunalka phishing site on github.io to link to pixeldrain URL for dummy payload (pixeldrain only tracks view and download counts)
2024-05-21 08:25 TA updates Komunalka phishing site to link to FileMail URL for dummy payload (FileMail tracks not only view and download counts, but also IP addresses)
2024-05-21 12:21 Cloudforce One downloads PixelDrain document to evaluate payload
2024-05-21 12:47 Cloudforce One downloads FileMail document to evaluate payload
2024-05-29 23:59 GitHub takes down Komunalka phishing site
2024-05-30 13:00 Cloudforce One publishes the results of this investigation

Coordinating our FlyingYeti response

Cloudforce One leveraged industry relationships to provide advanced warning and to mitigate the actor’s activity. To further protect the intended targets from this phishing threat, Cloudforce One notified and collaborated closely with GitHub’s Threat Intelligence and Trust and Safety Teams. We also notified CERT-UA and Cloudflare industry partners such as CrowdStrike, Mandiant/Google Threat Intelligence, and Microsoft Threat Intelligence.

Hunting FlyingYeti operations

There are several ways to hunt FlyingYeti in your environment. These include using PowerShell to hunt for WinRAR files, deploying Microsoft Sentinel analytics rules, and running Splunk scripts as detailed below. Note that these detections may identify activity related to this threat, but may also trigger unrelated threat activity.

PowerShell hunting

Consider running a PowerShell script such as this one in your environment to identify exploitation of CVE-2023-38831. This script will interrogate WinRAR files for evidence of the exploit.

CVE-2023-38831
Description:winrar exploit detection 
open suspios (.tar / .zip / .rar) and run this script to check it 

function winrar-exploit-detect(){
$targetExtensions = @(".cmd" , ".ps1" , ".bat")
$tempDir = [System.Environment]::GetEnvironmentVariable("TEMP")
$dirsToCheck = Get-ChildItem -Path $tempDir -Directory -Filter "Rar*"
foreach ($dir in $dirsToCheck) {
    $files = Get-ChildItem -Path $dir.FullName -File
    foreach ($file in $files) {
        $fileName = $file.Name
        $fileExtension = [System.IO.Path]::GetExtension($fileName)
        if ($targetExtensions -contains $fileExtension) {
            $fileWithoutExtension = [System.IO.Path]::GetFileNameWithoutExtension($fileName); $filename.TrimEnd() -replace '\.$'
            $cmdFileName = "$fileWithoutExtension"
            $secondFile = Join-Path -Path $dir.FullName -ChildPath $cmdFileName
            
            if (Test-Path $secondFile -PathType Leaf) {
                Write-Host "[!] Suspicious pair detected "
                Write-Host "[*]  Original File:$($secondFile)" -ForegroundColor Green 
                Write-Host "[*] Suspicious File:$($file.FullName)" -ForegroundColor Red

                # Read and display the content of the command file
                $cmdFileContent = Get-Content -Path $($file.FullName)
                Write-Host "[+] Command File Content:$cmdFileContent"
            }
        }
    }
}
}
winrar-exploit-detect

Microsoft Sentinel

In Microsoft Sentinel, consider deploying the rule provided below, which identifies WinRAR execution via cmd.exe. Results generated by this rule may be indicative of attack activity on the endpoint and should be analyzed.

DeviceProcessEvents
| where InitiatingProcessParentFileName has @"winrar.exe"
| where InitiatingProcessFileName has @"cmd.exe"
| project Timestamp, DeviceName, FileName, FolderPath, ProcessCommandLine, AccountName
| sort by Timestamp desc

Splunk

Consider using this script in your Splunk environment to look for WinRAR CVE-2023-38831 execution on your Microsoft endpoints. Results generated by this script may be indicative of attack activity on the endpoint and should be analyzed.

| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.parent_process_name=winrar.exe `windows_shells` OR Processes.process_name IN ("certutil.exe","mshta.exe","bitsadmin.exe") by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process_name Processes.parent_process Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.parent_process_id 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `winrar_spawning_shell_application_filter`

Cloudflare product detections

Cloudflare Email Security

Cloudflare Email Security (CES) customers can identify FlyingYeti threat activity with the following detections.

  • CVE-2023-38831
  • FLYINGYETI.COOKBOX
  • FLYINGYETI.COOKBOX.Launcher
  • FLYINGYETI.Rar

Recommendations

Cloudflare recommends taking the following steps to mitigate this type of activity:

  • Implement Zero Trust architecture foundations:    
  • Deploy Cloud Email Security to ensure that email services are protected against phishing, BEC and other threats
  • Leverage browser isolation to separate messaging applications like LinkedIn, email, and Signal from your main network
  • Scan, monitor and/or enforce controls on specific or sensitive data moving through your network environment with data loss prevention policies
  • Ensure your systems have the latest WinRAR and Microsoft security updates installed
  • Consider preventing WinRAR files from entering your environment, both at your Cloud Email Security solution and your Internet Traffic Gateway
  • Run an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) tool such as CrowdStrike or Microsoft Defender for Endpoint to get visibility into binary execution on hosts
  • Search your environment for the FlyingYeti indicators of compromise (IOCs) shown below to identify potential actor activity within your network.

If you’re looking to uncover additional Threat Intelligence insights for your organization or need bespoke Threat Intelligence information for an incident, consider engaging with Cloudforce One by contacting your Customer Success manager or filling out this form.

Indicators of Compromise

Filename SHA256 Hash Description
Заборгованість по ЖКП.rar a0a294f85c8a19be048ffcc05ede6fd5a7ac5e2f0032a3ca0050dc1ae960c314 RAR archive
Рахунок на оплату.pdf
                                                                                 .cmd
0cca8f795c7a81d33d36d5204fcd9bc73bdc2af7de315c1449cbc3551ef4fb59 COOKBOX Sample (contained in RAR archive)
Реструктуризація боргу за житлово комунальні послуги.docx 915721b94e3dffa6cef3664532b586be6cf989fec923b26c62fdaf201ee81d2c Benign Word Document with Tracking Link (contained in RAR archive)
Угода користувача.docx 79a9740f5e5ea4aa2157d9d96df34ee49a32e2d386fe55fedfd1aa33e151c06d Benign Word Document with Tracking Link (contained in RAR archive)
Рахунок на оплату.pdf 19e25456c2996ded3e29577b609de54a2bef90dad8f868cdad795c18df05a79b Random Binary Data (contained in RAR archive)
Заборгованість по ЖКП станом на 26.04.24.docx e0d65e2d36afd3db1b603f10e0488cee3f58ade24d8abc6bee240314d8696708 Random Binary Data (contained in RAR archive)
Domain / URL Description
komunalka[.]github[.]io Phishing page
hxxps[:]//github[.]com/komunalka/komunalka[.]github[.]io Phishing page
hxxps[:]//worker-polished-union-f396[.]vqu89698[.]workers[.]dev Worker that fetches malicious RAR file
hxxps[:]//raw[.]githubusercontent[.]com/kudoc8989/project/main/Заборгованість по ЖКП.rar Delivery of malicious RAR file
hxxps[:]//1014[.]filemail[.]com/api/file/get?filekey=e_8S1HEnM5Rzhy_jpN6nL-GF4UAP533VrXzgXjxH1GzbVQZvmpFzrFA&pk_vid=a3d82455433c8ad11715865826cf18f6 Dummy payload
hxxps[:]//pixeldrain[.]com/api/file/ZAJxwFFX?download= Dummy payload
hxxp[:]//canarytokens[.]com/stuff/tags/ni1cknk2yq3xfcw2al3efs37m/payments.js Tracking link
hxxp[:]//canarytokens[.]com/stuff/terms/images/k22r2dnjrvjsme8680ojf5ccs/index.html Tracking link
postdock[.]serveftp[.]com COOKBOX C2

Personal AI Assistants and Privacy

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/05/personal-ai-assistants-and-privacy.html

Microsoft is trying to create a personal digital assistant:

At a Build conference event on Monday, Microsoft revealed a new AI-powered feature called “Recall” for Copilot+ PCs that will allow Windows 11 users to search and retrieve their past activities on their PC. To make it work, Recall records everything users do on their PC, including activities in apps, communications in live meetings, and websites visited for research. Despite encryption and local storage, the new feature raises privacy concerns for certain Windows users.

I wrote about this AI trust problem last year:

One of the promises of generative AI is a personal digital assistant. Acting as your advocate with others, and as a butler with you. This requires an intimacy greater than your search engine, email provider, cloud storage system, or phone. You’re going to want it with you 24/7, constantly training on everything you do. You will want it to know everything about you, so it can most effectively work on your behalf.

And it will help you in many ways. It will notice your moods and know what to suggest. It will anticipate your needs and work to satisfy them. It will be your therapist, life coach, and relationship counselor.

You will default to thinking of it as a friend. You will speak to it in natural language, and it will respond in kind. If it is a robot, it will look humanoid—­or at least like an animal. It will interact with the whole of your existence, just like another person would.

[…]

And you will want to trust it. It will use your mannerisms and cultural references. It will have a convincing voice, a confident tone, and an authoritative manner. Its personality will be optimized to exactly what you like and respond to.

It will act trustworthy, but it will not be trustworthy. We won’t know how they are trained. We won’t know their secret instructions. We won’t know their biases, either accidental or deliberate.

We do know that they are built at enormous expense, mostly in secret, by profit-maximizing corporations for their own benefit.

[…]

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that we need trustworthy AI. AI whose behavior, limitations, and training are understood. AI whose biases are understood, and corrected for. AI whose goals are understood. That won’t secretly betray your trust to someone else.

The market will not provide this on its own. Corporations are profit maximizers, at the expense of society. And the incentives of surveillance capitalism are just too much to resist.

We are going to need some sort of public AI to counterbalance all of these corporate AIs.

EDITED TO ADD (5/24): Lots of comments about Microsoft Recall and security:

This:

Because Recall is “default allow” (it relies on a list of things not to record) … it’s going to vacuum up huge volumes and heretofore unknown types of data, most of which are ephemeral today. The “we can’t avoid saving passwords if they’re not masked” warning Microsoft included is only the tip of that iceberg. There’s an ocean of data that the security ecosystem assumes is “out of reach” because it’s either never stored, or it’s encrypted in transit. All of that goes out the window if the endpoint is just going to…turn around and write it to disk. (And local encryption at rest won’t help much here if the data is queryable in the user’s own authentication context!)

This:

The fact that Microsoft’s new Recall thing won’t capture DRM content means the engineers do understand the risk of logging everything. They just chose to preference the interests of corporates and money over people, deliberately.

This:

Microsoft Recall is going to make post-breach impact analysis impossible. Right now IR processes can establish a timeline of data stewardship to identify what information may have been available to an attacker based on the level of access they obtained. It’s not trivial work, but IR folks can do it. Once a system with Recall is compromised, all data that has touched that system is potentially compromised too, and the ML indirection makes it near impossible to confidently identify a blast radius.

This:

You may be in a position where leaders in your company are hot to turn on Microsoft Copilot Recall. Your best counterargument isn’t threat actors stealing company data. It’s that opposing counsel will request the recall data and demand it not be disabled as part of e-discovery proceedings.

Zero-Trust DNS

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/05/zero-trust-dns.html

Microsoft is working on a promising-looking protocol to lock down DNS.

ZTDNS aims to solve this decades-old problem by integrating the Windows DNS engine with the Windows Filtering Platform—the core component of the Windows Firewall—directly into client devices.

Jake Williams, VP of research and development at consultancy Hunter Strategy, said the union of these previously disparate engines would allow updates to be made to the Windows firewall on a per-domain name basis. The result, he said, is a mechanism that allows organizations to, in essence, tell clients “only use our DNS server, that uses TLS, and will only resolve certain domains.” Microsoft calls this DNS server or servers the “protective DNS server.”

By default, the firewall will deny resolutions to all domains except those enumerated in allow lists. A separate allow list will contain IP address subnets that clients need to run authorized software. Key to making this work at scale inside an organization with rapidly changing needs. Networking security expert Royce Williams (no relation to Jake Williams) called this a “sort of a bidirectional API for the firewall layer, so you can both trigger firewall actions (by input *to* the firewall), and trigger external actions based on firewall state (output *from* the firewall). So instead of having to reinvent the firewall wheel if you are an AV vendor or whatever, you just hook into WFP.”

Microsoft and Security Incentives

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/04/microsoft-and-security-incentives.html

Former senior White House cyber policy director A. J. Grotto talks about the economic incentives for companies to improve their security—in particular, Microsoft:

Grotto told us Microsoft had to be “dragged kicking and screaming” to provide logging capabilities to the government by default, and given the fact the mega-corp banked around $20 billion in revenue from security services last year, the concession was minimal at best.

[…]

“The government needs to focus on encouraging and catalyzing competition,” Grotto said. He believes it also needs to publicly scrutinize Microsoft and make sure everyone knows when it messes up.

“At the end of the day, Microsoft, any company, is going to respond most directly to market incentives,” Grotto told us. “Unless this scrutiny generates changed behavior among its customers who might want to look elsewhere, then the incentives for Microsoft to change are not going to be as strong as they should be.”

Breaking up the tech monopolies is one of the best things we can do for cybersecurity.

US Cyber Safety Review Board on the 2023 Microsoft Exchange Hack

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/04/us-cyber-safety-review-board-on-the-2023-microsoft-exchange-hack.html

The US Cyber Safety Review Board released a report on the summer 2023 hack of Microsoft Exchange by China. It was a serious attack by the Chinese government that accessed the emails of senior US government officials.

From the executive summary:

The Board finds that this intrusion was preventable and should never have occurred. The Board also concludes that Microsoft’s security culture was inadequate and requires an overhaul, particularly in light of the company’s centrality in the technology ecosystem and the level of trust customers place in the company to protect their data and operations. The Board reaches this conclusion based on:

  1. the cascade of Microsoft’s avoidable errors that allowed this intrusion to succeed;
  2. Microsoft’s failure to detect the compromise of its cryptographic crown jewels on its own, relying instead on a customer to reach out to identify anomalies the customer had observed;
  3. the Board’s assessment of security practices at other cloud service providers, which maintained security controls that Microsoft did not;
  4. Microsoft’s failure to detect a compromise of an employee’s laptop from a recently acquired company prior to allowing it to connect to Microsoft’s corporate network in 2021;
  5. Microsoft’s decision not to correct, in a timely manner, its inaccurate public statements about this incident, including a corporate statement that Microsoft believed it had determined the likely root cause of the intrusion when in fact, it still has not; even though Microsoft acknowledged to the Board in November 2023 that its September 6, 2023 blog post about the root cause was inaccurate, it did not update that post until March 12, 2024, as the Board was concluding its review and only after the Board’s repeated questioning about Microsoft’s plans to issue a correction;
  6. the Board’s observation of a separate incident, disclosed by Microsoft in January 2024, the investigation of which was not in the purview of the Board’s review, which revealed a compromise that allowed a different nation-state actor to access highly-sensitive Microsoft corporate email accounts, source code repositories, and internal systems; and
  7. how Microsoft’s ubiquitous and critical products, which underpin essential services that support national security, the foundations of our economy, and public health and safety, require the company to demonstrate the highest standards of security, accountability, and transparency.

The report includes a bunch of recommendations. It’s worth reading in its entirety.

The board was established in early 2022, modeled in spirit after the National Transportation Safety Board. This is their third report.

Here are a few news articles.

EDITED TO ADD (4/15): Adam Shostack has some good commentary.

Surveillance by the New Microsoft Outlook App

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/04/surveillance-by-the-new-microsoft-outlook-app.html

The ProtonMail people are accusing Microsoft’s new Outlook for Windows app of conducting extensive surveillance on its users. It shares data with advertisers, a lot of data:

The window informs users that Microsoft and those 801 third parties use their data for a number of purposes, including to:

  • Store and/or access information on the user’s device
  • Develop and improve products
  • Personalize ads and content
  • Measure ads and content
  • Derive audience insights
  • Obtain precise geolocation data
  • Identify users through device scanning

Commentary.

Microsoft Is Spying on Users of Its AI Tools

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/02/microsoft-is-spying-on-users-of-its-ai-tools.html

Microsoft announced that it caught Chinese, Russian, and Iranian hackers using its AI tools—presumably coding tools—to improve their hacking abilities.

From their report:

In collaboration with OpenAI, we are sharing threat intelligence showing detected state affiliated adversaries—tracked as Forest Blizzard, Emerald Sleet, Crimson Sandstorm, Charcoal Typhoon, and Salmon Typhoon—using LLMs to augment cyberoperations.

The only way Microsoft or OpenAI would know this would be to spy on chatbot sessions. I’m sure the terms of service—if I bothered to read them—gives them that permission. And of course it’s no surprise that Microsoft and OpenAI (and, presumably, everyone else) are spying on our usage of AI, but this confirms it.

EDITED TO ADD (2/22): Commentary on my use of the word “spying.”

Microsoft Executives Hacked

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/01/microsoft-executives-hacked.html

Microsoft is reporting that a Russian intelligence agency—the same one responsible for SolarWinds—accessed the email system of the company’s executives.

Beginning in late November 2023, the threat actor used a password spray attack to compromise a legacy non-production test tenant account and gain a foothold, and then used the account’s permissions to access a very small percentage of Microsoft corporate email accounts, including members of our senior leadership team and employees in our cybersecurity, legal, and other functions, and exfiltrated some emails and attached documents. The investigation indicates they were initially targeting email accounts for information related to Midnight Blizzard itself.

This is nutty. How does a “legacy non-production test tenant account” have access to executive e-mails? And why no try-factor authentication?

Microsoft Azure Cobalt 100 128 Core Arm Neoverse N2 CPU Launched

Post Syndicated from John Lee original https://www.servethehome.com/microsoft-azure-cobalt-100-128-core-arm-neoverse-n2-cpu-launched/

The Microsoft Azure Cobalt 100 is a new 128 core Arm Neoverse N2 processor designed for Microsoft’s cloud-native compute

The post Microsoft Azure Cobalt 100 128 Core Arm Neoverse N2 CPU Launched appeared first on ServeTheHome.

Microsoft Azure Eagle is a Paradigm Shifting Cloud Supercomputer

Post Syndicated from John Lee original https://www.servethehome.com/microsoft-azure-eagle-is-a-paradigm-shifting-cloud-supercomputer-nvidia-intel/

At SC23, the Microsoft Azure Eagle supercomputer made its debut as a Top 3 system and it will shift access to enormous HPC and AI compute

The post Microsoft Azure Eagle is a Paradigm Shifting Cloud Supercomputer appeared first on ServeTheHome.

New QCT VMware Cloud Foundation Microsoft Azure HCI and Enterprise AI Solutions

Post Syndicated from John Lee original https://www.servethehome.com/new-qct-vmware-cloud-foundation-microsoft-azure-hci-and-enterprise-ai-solutions/

QCT has new VMware and Microsoft solutions for HCI and is leveraging its experience in hyper-scale AI to build enterprise AI solutions

The post New QCT VMware Cloud Foundation Microsoft Azure HCI and Enterprise AI Solutions appeared first on ServeTheHome.

Microsoft Signing Key Stolen by Chinese

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/08/microsoft-signing-key-stolen-by-chinese.html

A bunch of networks, including US Government networks, have been hacked by the Chinese. The hackers used forged authentication tokens to access user email, using a stolen Microsoft Azure account consumer signing key. Congress wants answers. The phrase “negligent security practices” is being tossed about—and with good reason. Master signing keys are not supposed to be left around, waiting to be stolen.

Actually, two things went badly wrong here. The first is that Azure accepted an expired signing key, implying a vulnerability in whatever is supposed to check key validity. The second is that this key was supposed to remain in the the system’s Hardware Security Module—and not be in software. This implies a really serious breach of good security practice. The fact that Microsoft has not been forthcoming about the details of what happened tell me that the details are really bad.

I believe this all traces back to SolarWinds. In addition to Russia inserting malware into a SolarWinds update, China used a different SolarWinds vulnerability to break into networks. We know that Russia accessed Microsoft source code in that attack. I have heard from informed government officials that China used their SolarWinds vulnerability to break into Microsoft and access source code, including Azure’s.

I think we are grossly underestimating the long-term results of the SolarWinds attacks. That backdoored update was downloaded by over 14,000 networks worldwide. Organizations patched their networks, but not before Russia—and others—used the vulnerability to enter those networks. And once someone is in a network, it’s really hard to be sure that you’ve kicked them out.

Sophisticated threat actors are realizing that stealing source code of infrastructure providers, and then combing that code for vulnerabilities, is an excellent way to break into organizations who use those infrastructure providers. Attackers like Russia and China—and presumably the US as well—are prioritizing going after those providers.

News articles.

EDITED TO ADD: Commentary:

This is from Microsoft’s explanation. The China attackers “acquired an inactive MSA consumer signing key and used it to forge authentication tokens for Azure AD enterprise and MSA consumer to access OWA and Outlook.com. All MSA keys active prior to the incident—including the actor-acquired MSA signing key—have been invalidated. Azure AD keys were not impacted. Though the key was intended only for MSA accounts, a validation issue allowed this key to be trusted for signing Azure AD tokens. The actor was able to obtain new access tokens by presenting one previously issued from this API due to a design flaw. This flaw in the GetAccessTokenForResourceAPI has since been fixed to only accept tokens issued from Azure AD or MSA respectively. The actor used these tokens to retrieve mail messages from the OWA API.”

Redacting Documents with a Black Sharpie Doesn’t Work

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/06/redacting-documents-with-a-black-sharpie-doesnt-work.html

We have learned this lesson again:

As part of the FTC v. Microsoft hearing, Sony supplied a document from PlayStation chief Jim Ryan that includes redacted details on the margins Sony shares with publishers, its Call of Duty revenues, and even the cost of developing some of its games.

It looks like someone redacted the documents with a black Sharpie ­ but when you scan them in, it’s easy to see some of the redactions. Oops.

I don’t particularly care about the redacted information, but it’s there in the article.

Excel Data Forensics

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/06/excel-data-forensics.html

In this detailed article about academic plagiarism are some interesting details about how to do data forensics on Excel files. It really needs the graphics to understand, so see the description at the link.

(And, yes, an author of a paper on dishonesty is being accused of dishonesty. There’s more evidence.)

Microsoft Secure Boot Bug

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/05/microsoft-secure-boot-bug.html

Microsoft is currently patching a zero-day Secure-Boot bug.

The BlackLotus bootkit is the first-known real-world malware that can bypass Secure Boot protections, allowing for the execution of malicious code before your PC begins loading Windows and its many security protections. Secure Boot has been enabled by default for over a decade on most Windows PCs sold by companies like Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer, and others. PCs running Windows 11 must have it enabled to meet the software’s system requirements.

Microsoft says that the vulnerability can be exploited by an attacker with either physical access to a system or administrator rights on a system. It can affect physical PCs and virtual machines with Secure Boot enabled.

That’s important. This is a nasty vulnerability, but it takes some work to exploit it.

The problem with the patch is that it breaks backwards compatibility: “…once the fixes have been enabled, your PC will no longer be able to boot from older bootable media that doesn’t include the fixes.”

And:

Not wanting to suddenly render any users’ systems unbootable, Microsoft will be rolling the update out in phases over the next few months. The initial version of the patch requires substantial user intervention to enable—you first need to install May’s security updates, then use a five-step process to manually apply and verify a pair of “revocation files” that update your system’s hidden EFI boot partition and your registry. These will make it so that older, vulnerable versions of the bootloader will no longer be trusted by PCs.

A second update will follow in July that won’t enable the patch by default but will make it easier to enable. A third update in “first quarter 2024” will enable the fix by default and render older boot media unbootable on all patched Windows PCs. Microsoft says it is “looking for opportunities to accelerate this schedule,” though it’s unclear what that would entail.

So it’ll be almost a year before this is completely fixed.

Cloudflare One DLP integrates with Microsoft Information Protection labels

Post Syndicated from Noelle Kagan original https://blog.cloudflare.com/cloudflare-dlp-mip/

Cloudflare One DLP integrates with Microsoft Information Protection labels

Cloudflare One DLP integrates with Microsoft Information Protection labels

The crown jewels for an organization are often data, and the first step in protection should be locating where the most critical information lives. Yet, maintaining a thorough inventory of sensitive data is harder than it seems and generally a massive lift for security teams. To help overcome data security troubles, Microsoft offers their customers data classification and protection tools. One popular option are the sensitivity labels available with Microsoft Purview Information Protection. However, customers need the ability to track sensitive data movement even as it migrates beyond the visibility of Microsoft.

Today, we are excited to announce that Cloudflare One now offers Data Loss Prevention (DLP) detections for Microsoft Purview Information Protection labels. Simply integrate with your Microsoft account, retrieve your labels, and build rules to guide the movement of your labeled data. This extends the power of Microsoft’s labels to any of your corporate traffic in just a few clicks.

Data Classification with Microsoft Labels

Every organization has a wealth of data to manage, from publicly accessible data, like documentation, to internal data, like the launch date of a new product. Then, of course, there is the data requiring the highest levels of protection, such as customer PII. Organizations are responsible for confining data to the proper destinations while still supporting accessibility and productivity, which is no small feat.

Microsoft Purview Information Protection offers sensitivity labels to let you classify your organization’s data. With these labels, Microsoft provides the ability to protect sensitive data, while still enabling productivity and collaboration. Sensitivity labels can be used in a number of Microsoft applications, which includes the ability to apply the labels to Microsoft Office documents. The labels correspond to the sensitivity of the data within the file, such as Public, Confidential, or Highly Confidential.

Cloudflare One DLP integrates with Microsoft Information Protection labels

The labels are embedded in a document’s metadata and are preserved even when it leaves the Microsoft environment, such as a download from OneDrive.

Sync Cloudflare One and Microsoft Information Protection

Cloudflare One, our SASE platform that delivers network-as-a-service (NaaS) with Zero Trust security natively built-in, connects users to enterprise resources, and offers a wide variety of opportunities to secure corporate traffic, including the inspection of data moving across the Microsoft productivity suite. We’ve designed Cloudflare One to act as a single pane of glass for your organization. This means that after you’ve deployed any of our Zero Trust services, whether that be Zero Trust Network Access or Secure Web Gateway, you are clicks, not months, away from deploying Data Loss Prevention, Cloud Access Security Broker, Email Security, and Browser Isolation to enhance your Microsoft security and overall data protection.

Specifically, Cloudflare’s API-driven Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) can scan SaaS applications like Microsoft 365 for misconfigurations, unauthorized user activity, shadow IT, and other data security issues that can occur after a user has successfully logged in.

With this new integration, CASB can now also retrieve Information Protection labels from your Microsoft account. If you have labels configured, upon integration, CASB will automatically populate the labels into a Data Loss Prevention profile.

Cloudflare One DLP integrates with Microsoft Information Protection labels

DLP profiles are the building blocks for applying DLP scanning. They are where you identify the sensitive data you want to protect, such as Microsoft labeled data, credit card numbers, or custom keywords. Your labels are stored as entries within the Microsoft Purview Information Protection Sensitivity Labels profile using the name of your CASB integration. You can also add the labels to custom DLP profiles, of  fering more detection flexibility.

Build DLP Rules

You can now extend the power of Microsoft’s labels to protect your data as it moves to other platforms. By building DLP rules, you determine how labeled data can move around and out of your corporate network. Perhaps you don’t want to allow Highly Confidential labels to be downloaded from your OneDrive account, or you don’t want any data more sensitive than Confidential to be uploaded to file sharing sites that you don’t use. All of this can be implemented using DLP and Cloudflare Gateway.

Simply navigate to your Gateway Firewall Policies and start implementing building rules using your DLP profiles:

Cloudflare One DLP integrates with Microsoft Information Protection labels

How to Get Started

To get access to DLP, reach out for a consultation, or contact your account manager.

Expanding our Microsoft collaboration: proactive and automated Zero Trust security for customers

Post Syndicated from Abhi Das original https://blog.cloudflare.com/expanding-our-collaboration-with-microsoft-proactive-and-automated-zero-trust-security/

Expanding our Microsoft collaboration: proactive and automated Zero Trust security for customers

Expanding our Microsoft collaboration: proactive and automated Zero Trust security for customers

As CIOs navigate the complexities of stitching together multiple solutions, we are extending our partnership with Microsoft to create one of the best Zero Trust solutions available. Today, we are announcing four new integrations between Azure AD and Cloudflare Zero Trust that reduce risk proactively. These integrated offerings increase automation allowing security teams to focus on threats versus implementation and maintenance.

What is Zero Trust and why is it important?

Zero Trust is an overused term in the industry and creates a lot of confusion. So, let’s break it down. Zero Trust architecture emphasizes the “never trust, always verify” approach. One way to think about it is that in the traditional security perimeter or “castle and moat” model, you have access to all the rooms inside the building (e.g., apps) simply by having access to the main door (e.g., typically a VPN).  In the Zero Trust model you would need to obtain access to each locked room (or app) individually rather than only relying on access through the main door. Some key components of the Zero Trust model are identity e.g., Azure AD (who), apps e.g., a SAP instance or a custom app on Azure (applications), policies e.g. Cloudflare Access rules (who can access what application), devices e.g. a laptop managed by Microsoft Intune (the security of the endpoint requesting the access) and other contextual signals.

Zero Trust is even more important today since companies of all sizes are faced with an accelerating digital transformation and an increasingly distributed workforce. Moving away from the castle and moat model, to the Internet becoming your corporate network, requires security checks for every user accessing every resource. As a result, all companies, especially those whose use of Microsoft’s broad cloud portfolio is increasing, are adopting a Zero Trust architecture as an essential part of their cloud journey.

Cloudflare’s Zero Trust platform provides a modern approach to authentication for internal and SaaS applications. Most companies likely have a mix of corporate applications – some that are SaaS and some that are hosted on-premise or on Azure. Cloudflare’s Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) product as part of our Zero Trust platform makes these applications feel like SaaS applications, allowing employees to access them with a simple and consistent flow. Cloudflare Access acts as a unified reverse proxy to enforce access control by making sure every request is authenticated, authorized, and encrypted.

Cloudflare Zero Trust and Microsoft Azure Active Directory

We have thousands of customers using Azure AD and Cloudflare Access as part of their Zero Trust architecture. Our partnership with Microsoft  announced last year strengthened security without compromising performance for our joint customers. Cloudflare’s Zero Trust platform integrates with Azure AD, providing a seamless application access experience for your organization’s hybrid workforce.

Expanding our Microsoft collaboration: proactive and automated Zero Trust security for customers

As a recap, the integrations we launched solved two key problems:

  1. For on-premise legacy applications, Cloudflare’s participation as Azure AD secure hybrid access partner enabled customers to centrally manage access to their legacy on-premise applications using SSO authentication without incremental development. Joint customers now easily use Cloudflare Access as an additional layer of security with built-in performance in front of their legacy applications.
  2. For apps that run on Microsoft Azure, joint customers can integrate Azure AD with Cloudflare Zero Trust and build rules based on user identity, group membership and Azure AD Conditional Access policies. Users will authenticate with their Azure AD credentials and connect to Cloudflare Access with just a few simple steps using Cloudflare’s app connector, Cloudflare Tunnel, that can expose applications running on Azure. See guide to install and configure Cloudflare Tunnel.

Recognizing Cloudflare’s innovative approach to Zero Trust and Security solutions, Microsoft awarded us the Security Software Innovator award at the 2022 Microsoft Security Excellence Awards, a prestigious classification in the Microsoft partner community.

But we aren’t done innovating. We listened to our customers’ feedback and to address their pain points are announcing several new integrations.

Microsoft integrations we are announcing today

The four new integrations we are announcing today are:

1. Per-application conditional access: Azure AD customers can use their existing Conditional Access policies in Cloudflare Zero Trust.

Expanding our Microsoft collaboration: proactive and automated Zero Trust security for customers

Azure AD allows administrators to create and enforce policies on both applications and users using Conditional Access. It provides a wide range of parameters that can be used to control user access to applications (e.g. user risk level, sign-in risk level, device platform, location, client apps, etc.). Cloudflare Access now supports Azure AD Conditional Access policies per application. This allows security teams to define their security conditions in Azure AD and enforce them in Cloudflare Access.

For example, customers might have tighter levels of control for an internal payroll application and hence will have specific conditional access policies on Azure AD. However, for a general info type application such as an internal wiki, customers might enforce not as stringent rules on Azure AD conditional access policies. In this case both app groups and relevant Azure AD conditional access policies can be directly plugged into Cloudflare Zero Trust seamlessly without any code changes.

2. SCIM: Autonomously synchronize Azure AD groups between Cloudflare Zero Trust and Azure AD, saving hundreds of hours in the CIO org.

Expanding our Microsoft collaboration: proactive and automated Zero Trust security for customers

Cloudflare Access policies can use Azure AD to verify a user’s identity and provide information about that user (e.g., first/last name, email, group membership, etc.). These user attributes are not always constant, and can change over time. When a user still retains access to certain sensitive resources when they shouldn’t, it can have serious consequences.

Often when user attributes change, an administrator needs to review and update all access policies that may include the user in question. This makes for a tedious process and an error-prone outcome.

The SCIM (System for Cross-domain Identity Management) specification ensures that user identities across entities using it are always up-to-date. We are excited to announce that joint customers of Azure AD and Cloudflare Access can now enable SCIM user and group provisioning and deprovisioning. It will accomplish the following:

  • The IdP policy group selectors are now pre-populated with Azure AD groups and will remain in sync. Any changes made to the policy group will instantly reflect in Access without any overhead for administrators.

  • When a user is deprovisioned on Azure AD, all the user’s access is revoked across Cloudflare Access and Gateway. This ensures that change is made in near real time thereby reducing security risks.

3. Risky user isolation: Helps joint customers add an extra layer of security by isolating high risk users (based on AD signals) such as contractors to browser isolated sessions via Cloudflare’s RBI product.

Expanding our Microsoft collaboration: proactive and automated Zero Trust security for customers

Azure AD classifies users into low, medium and high risk users based on many data points it analyzes. Users may move from one risk group to another based on their activities. Users can be deemed risky based on many factors such as the nature of their employment i.e. contractors, risky sign-in behavior, credential leaks, etc. While these users are high-risk, there is a low-risk way to provide access to resources/apps while the user is assessed further.

We now support integrating Azure AD groups with Cloudflare Browser Isolation. When a user is classified as high-risk on Azure AD, we use this signal to automatically isolate their traffic with our Azure AD integration. This means a high-risk user can access resources through a secure and isolated browser. If the user were to move from high-risk to low-risk, the user would no longer be subjected to the isolation policy applied to high-risk users.

4. Secure joint Government Cloud customers: Helps Government Cloud customers achieve better security with centralized identity & access management via Azure AD, and an additional layer of security by connecting them to the Cloudflare global network, not having to open them up to the whole Internet.

Via Secure Hybrid Access (SHA) program, Government Cloud (‘GCC’) customers will soon be able to integrate Azure AD with Cloudflare Zero Trust and build rules based on user identity, group membership and Azure AD conditional access policies. Users will authenticate with their Azure AD credentials and connect to Cloudflare Access with just a few simple steps using Cloudflare Tunnel that can expose applications running on Microsoft Azure.

“Digital transformation has created a new security paradigm resulting in organizations accelerating their adoption of Zero Trust. The Cloudflare Zero Trust and Azure Active Directory joint solution has been a growth enabler for Swiss Re by easing Zero Trust deployments across our workforce allowing us to focus on our core business. Together, the joint solution enables us to go beyond SSO to empower our adaptive workforce with frictionless, secure access to applications from anywhere. The joint solution also delivers us a holistic Zero Trust solution that encompasses people, devices, and networks.”
– Botond Szakács, Director, Swiss Re

A cloud-native Zero Trust security model has become an absolute necessity as enterprises continue to adopt a cloud-first strategy. Cloudflare has and Microsoft have jointly developed robust product integrations with Microsoft to help security and IT leaders CIO teams prevent attacks proactively, dynamically control policy and risk, and increase automation in alignment with Zero Trust best practices.
– Joy Chik, President, Identity & Network Access, Microsoft

Try it now

Interested in learning more about how our Zero Trust products integrate with Azure Active Directory? Take a look at this extensive reference architecture that can help you get started on your Zero Trust journey and then add the specific use cases above as required. Also, check out this joint webinar with Microsoft that highlights our joint Zero Trust solution and how you can get started.

What next

We are just getting started. We want to continue innovating and make the Cloudflare Zero Trust and Microsoft Security joint solution to solve your problems. Please give us feedback on what else you would like us to build as you continue using this joint solution.