Security

Taking actions on on-prem accounts with MDI Action Account, troubleshooting

Background

The response action of blocking a compromised account is important to have available. Regardless of solution one must be able to quick and easy be able to block an account.  In MDI (part of Microsoft 365 Defender) it is possible since some time ago to configure an MDI Action Account, lately the option to run with the system account of the Domain Controller has been added to this feature and therefor you don’t have to configure the gMSA account.

Using system or a custom gMSA account

The choice is made based on organizational structure, Tiering/RBAC, MSSP partner. Basically, if you are required to delegate the permissions to only allow actions on accounts in certain OU’s, then you must use a custom gMSA accounts.

For example, if you have a MSSP partner monitoring your security and take actions to discovered threats, a so called MDR (Managed Detection and Response), you have an option to control to which accounts the MSSP can take actions.

The available actions are:

  • Disable user in Active Directory: This will temporarily prevent a user from logging in to the on-premises network. This can help prevent compromised users from moving laterally and attempting to exfiltrate data or further compromise the network.
  • Suspend user in Azure Active Directory: This will temporarily prevent a user from logging in to Azure Active Directory. This can help prevent compromised users from attempting to exfiltrate data and minimizes the time between Disable user in Active Directory and the sync of this status to the cloud.
  • Reset user password – This will prompt the user to change their password on the next logon, ensuring that this account can’t be used for further impersonation attempts.

From an MSSP perspective, this feature is very useful since there wouldn’t require customer access (VPN or other kind of access) to respond to threats. Even though this feature is very popular for MSSPs, you will still want to have this option if you have your internal security operations to be able to respond from the portal you are currently working in.

Even though this feature is very popular for MSSPs

To learn how to create and configure the gMSA account you can start with this link
https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/defender-for-identity/manage-action-accounts

Troubleshooting

(The troubleshooting path will be updated based on troubleshooting session done with customers)

There 2 primary sources for troubleshooting this, sensor logs and event logs. Preferably the logs are sent to SIEM solution (like Microsoft Sentinel).

Using Sentinel (or look in the event viewer, or if you have another SIEM solution in place).

SecurityEvent | where Account has "gMSA-MDIAction$"

Note the $ character in the account name, gMSA account is more like a computer account. It’s the type of msDS-GroupManagedServiceAccount.

If the account doesn’t have logons ending with a $ (like a computer account), then it’s not a gMSA account and start there by creating a one.

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/defender-for-identity/manage-action-accounts

This can also be checked on the logon event (this will trigger 4625, logon failed)

Verify that the AccountType is “Machine”

Successful sign-in:

Account is not allowed to logon as a service

If the gMSA Account is setup and configured correctly and there is still event 4625 being logged.

Check the Status property of the login event

0xc000015b indicates that the account is not allowed to login0xC000015B

STATUS_LOGON_TYPE_NOT_GRANTED, A user has requested a type of logon (for example, interactive or network) that has not been granted. An administrator has control over who can logon interactively and through the network.

More information about the Status property can be found here:

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/auditing/event-4625

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/openspecs/windows_protocols/ms-erref/596a1078-e883-4972-9bbc-49e60bebca55

To address this issue you need to create a new or update existing policy to allow that account to logon as service on the target system (the DCs)

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/system-center/scsm/enable-service-log-on-sm?view=sc-sm-2022#enable-service-log-on-through-a-local-group-policy

Successful events effecting the user you try to take action on

The following query will find events of enabling and disabling a user

SecurityEvent
| where EventID in(4738,4725,4722)
| where Account contains "gMSA-mdi-action$"
| where TargetAccount contains "test" //the user you want to take action on
You see 4738 “A user account was changed” at the same timestamp as the 4725 and 4722 and the 4738 event show the UAC 0x10: Account Enabled and 0x11: Account Disabled

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/auditing/event-4738

Hope this helps!

We will continue to update this post if we run into other related troubleshootings

//Happy Hunting

Tuning insights in Microsoft Sentinel

Fine-tuning the analytic rules to minimizing the number of false-positives can be time-consuming and you still want to keep the high visibility so you don’t want to risk false-negatives. At the same time, the risk of managing a high number of incidents, especially if they are false-positives, would also be time-consuming.

To be able to fine-tune the analytic rules, we need historical data. Same as what was needed when developing the detection in the first place and for fine-tuning we also need decisions made when classifying the incident and if those decisions was related to any specific entities.

Machine Learning to the help

Microsoft Sentinel uses machine learning to analyze signals from the data sources and the responses made to an incident over time to assist and providing data for fine-tuning decisions.

The rules with recommendations for a fine-tune is noted with a light bulb next to the rule name as in below picture.

fine-tuning recommendations
Fine-tuning recommendations available (preview feature)

When editing the analytic rule, in the Rule Logic tab, the Tuning insights is available

There are several panes which can be scrolled through which contains actionable items like exclude accounts, IPs etc. from the analytic rule

The third pane shows the importance of correct mapped entities since this is the only way to get results and shows the four most frequent entities in the alerts generated by the analytic rule.

Hopefully this can share some light on make your work more effective by working with your analytic rules to make your detection better.

Don’t forget to be careful and thing through your exclusions to avoid losing visibility.

For further reading, please visit

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/sentinel/detection-tuning

Happy Hunting!

Sec-Labs Team

Take actions from Threat Hunting in M365 Defender

We wrote a blog post earlier about the news in threat hunting

New features in Advanced Hunting – Microsoft 365 Defender – SEC-LABS R&D

Another feature in hunting, which will speed up responses from a threat hunting scenario is Take Action

When selecting a record in the result, the Take Action button will be visible as seen in below picture

take actions, m365 defender

So instead of just creating a new incident or adding events to an existing incident we can take actions from the hunting experience.

In the Take actions experience we have actions grouped by Devices, Files and Users.

actionable items, m365 defender

The action options available is dependent on the data in the result. For instance, file information like checksum is required to being able to quarantine a file.

When clicking Next we can see the target selected and click Next

We can add a Remediation name and Description for our action

This feature enables a rapid response at the fingertips of the threat hunters for immediate actions

For further information, please visit

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/security/defender/advanced-hunting-take-action?view=o365-worldwide

Happy Hunting!

Sec-Labs Team

Creating NRT Rules in Microsoft Sentinel

For information about NRT rules, please see previous blog post or visit

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/sentinel/near-real-time-rules

Creating NRT rules

Navigate to Microsoft Sentinel in the Azure portal

https://portal.azure.com/#blade/HubsExtension/BrowseResourceBlade/resourceType/microsoft.securityinsightsarg%2Fsentinel

In the navigation, select Analytics

Click Create and select NRT query rule


Give it a name and add Description, Mitre Tactics and Severity and click Next

In the configuration window, there are no schedule and lookback time to define

Configure your query accordingly and continue the wizard.

Requirements

You can only refer to one table and cannot use unions or joins

No cross workspace query

Use project and only keep the necessary fields to avoid truncation due to size limitations of the alerts

For further information, please visit

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/sentinel/create-nrt-rules

Near-Real-Time analytic rules in Microsoft Sentinel

NRT Rules are hard-coded to run once every minute and capture events ingested in the preceding minute.

This is for faster detection and response opportunity.

Considerations

  • No more than 20 rules can be defined per customer at this time
  • As this type of rule is new, its syntax is currently limited but will gradually evolve. Therefore, at this time the following restrictions are in effect:
    • The query defined in an NRT rule can reference only one table. Queries can, however, refer to multiple watchlists and to threat intelligence feeds.
    • You cannot use unions or joins.
    • Because this rule type is in near real time, we have reduced the built-in delay to a minimum (two minutes).
    • Since NRT rules use the ingestion time rather than the event generation time (represented by the TimeGenerated field), you can safely ignore the data source delay and the ingestion time latency (see above).
    • Queries can run only within a single workspace. There is no cross-workspace capability.
    • There is no event grouping. NRT rules produce a single alert that groups all the applicable events.

There is a technical limit which blocks union, join etc.

For further information about Near-Real-Time, NRT, analytic rules, please visit:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/sentinel/near-real-time-rules

Happy Hunting!

New features in Advanced Hunting – Microsoft 365 Defender

During Ignite, Microsoft has announced a new set of features in the Advanced Hunting in Microsoft 365 Defender.

These features will definitely help you in the Threat Hunting process and also reduce the gap between analysts, responders and threat hunters and simplify the life of a threat hunter.

Multi-tab support

When having hunting training classes, I usually recommend to use multiple browser tabs. One for the query development, and one used to go back to previous queries to see how some things were done earlier.

for example, if you are developing a hunting query and need an if statement, external data, regex or other more advanced features it is easier to just open a previous query to see how it was solved last time. At least until you get more fluent in KQL. This is to avoid having to save your new query, go back to the old one, and then back to the new again

With the multi-tab support we can open the query in a new tab

Resource usage

The new Hunting Page will now provide the resource usage for the query both timing and an indicator of the resource usage

This will make it easy to see when query optimization is recommended and needed.
You could for example use equals, has instead of contains, remove columns not used to reduce the dataset etc. Of course, when it’s feasible.

If you would like to learn more about how to optimize queries, please visit:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/security/defender/advanced-hunting-best-practices?view=o365-worldwide

UX

Schema, Functions, Queries and Detection Rules have been separated into tabs for, according to my opinion, easier access and pivoting which will give a better overview in each tab.

Schema Reference

The schema reference will open as a side pane




When looking at one of the *events tables, the ActionType column is very useful to see which events are being logged.
Earlier, I usually selected distinct ActionType in the query to have a look at the events being logged. Now, it’s possible to use the quick access from the portal to expand all action types for a specific table.

Above image shows the action types for DeviceFileEvents. In the DeviceEvents there are around 180 different action types to query.

For the hunting query development and hunting use-cases, the action types is a great go-to resource.

The columns in the schema reference is clickable and can in a simple way be added to the query

Simple query management

Inspect record

The inspect record pane is an easy way to see the data for one single row. When developing new queries I usually take a subset of data (take/limit 20) to see an overview of the results, and also select an event to see all data instead of side scrolling through all columns when needed.

New features in inspect record is that we can do quick filters which will be added to the query.

In this example we would like to know more about process executions from the C:\AttackTools folder

If we would like other pre-defined FolderPath filters, we can select View more filters for FolderPath
We can continue the query development and as in below example, get the count for each file in the folder specified in the query.

Last but definitely not leastLink the query results to an incident

This is my favorite, this will reduce the gap and simplify the process between threat hunters, responders, and analysts.

By selecting the relevant events in the result, they can be added to an existing incident, or create a new incidents.

This feature will help organizations to define the threat hunting both in a proactive hunting scenario, and in a reactive, post breach scenario when the hunters will assist analysts and responder with a simplified process.

How to link the data to an incident

To be able to link the data you need to have the following columns in the output

  • Timestamp
  • DeviceId/AccountObjectID/AccountSid/RecipientEmailAddress (Depending on query table)
  • ReportId

Develop and run the query

Please note, you cannot have multiple queries in the query window when linking to incident

Choose to create a new incident or link to an existing

Add the necessary details and click next
Select the impacted entities
After finishing the wizard, the data will end up in a new alert in the incident

Last tip

Run a quick check in your environment to see if you have remote internet-based logon attempts on your devices by looking for RemoteIPType == “Public”. There are other where RemoteIPType is useful, like processes communicating with Internet.

Happy Hunting!

Defender performance analyzer

Sometimes when real-time protection and on-demand scanning takes a bit of time. It’s sometimes difficult to see exactly what it’s doing and what takes time.

A new set of PowerShell cmd-lets have been released which allows us to do a performance recording of defender, New-MpPerformanceRecording and Get-MpPerformanceReport, and troubleshooting performance.

When showing the help of the cmd-let we can see that there are two parameters

  • -RecordTo <string>: The path of the outputfile
  • -Seconds <int>: Number of seconds to run the recording

The seconds parameter is useful when running none-interactive sessions against multiple devices

Using the performance recorder

In PowerShell, we use the command New-MpPerformanceRecording and specify the output .etl file.

New-MpPerformanceRecording -RecordTo .\scan.etl

This will start the recorder

We can press Enter at any time to stop the recording and Ctrl-C if we want to abort.

The output file is saved and we can now open it with the cmd-let Get-MpPerformanceReport

The cmd-let allows us to look at the data in different ways

  • -TopFiles
  • -TopScansPerFile
  • -TopProcessesPerFile
  • -TopScansPerProcessPerFile
  • -TopExtensions
  • -TopScansPerExtension
  • -TopFilesPerExtension
  • -TopScansPerProcess
  • etc…

Example

Get-MpPerformanceReport -Path .\scan.etl -TopFiles 1

Another example of output

Since it’s a ETL file we can actually open it with any ETL viewer, however, the result is not presented to us in the same way

Using PerfView as an example of opening etl files

We can see that Windows Performance Recorder is used under the hood

IMPORTANT, If you plan to use this troubleshooting to find paths for exclusions, be very careful. You might accidently open up your device to threats. If you are not 100% certain of your exclusions, please ask for help!

Happy Hunting!

/Sec-Labs Team

Becoming a Sentinel Notebooks Ninja – training links

Do you want to learn more about Sentinel Notebooks (built on Jupyter Notebooks)? Microsoft have released a set of trainings to skill up in the area

Notebooks can be useful for cross tenant hunting and also cross product and multiple data sources if needed.

They can also be interactive in terms of a manual playbook with steps mixed with queries and graphs which would make it easy to follow through.

Sorry for the short blog post, but this one is about sharing content

Happy Hunting!

Live response API – build your custom playbooks

PUBLIC PREVIEW FEATURE

We have been able to use Live Response for some time now. It’s really great and we can take the response actions we find necessary and download data from the endpoint through the browser session.

Here is a very high level of how the architecture looks for the live response feature

Some things which may be difficult today with the limitations of single session is we can only connect to one machine at the time and automation does not apply for a browser session

If a machine is compromised in any way it’s useful, but if we want to automate the responses or run the same custom playbook for multiple devices we need to use the API

The API can be used both to collect necessary artefacts from devices, and also take remediation actions.

On some events, we’ve presented how to use the Live Response to dump memory and export the dmp files to Azure storage as an example how powerful it is.

Requirements

Requirements and limitations

  1. Rate limitations for this API are 10 calls per minute (additional requests are responded with HTTP 429).
  2. 25 concurrently running sessions (requests exceeding the throttling limit will receive a “429 – Too many requests” response).
  3. If the machine is not available, the session will be queued for up to 3 days.
  4. RunScript command timeouts after 10 minutes.
  5. Live response commands cannot be queued up and can only be executed one at a time.
  6. If the machine that you are trying to run this API call is in an RBAC device group that does not have an automated remediation level assigned to it, you’ll need to at least enable the minimum Remediation Level for a given Device Group.
  7. Multiple live response commands can be run on a single API call. However, when a live response command fails all the subsequent actions will not be executed.

Minimum Requirements

Before you can initiate a session on a device, make sure you fulfill the following requirements:

Set up service principle with API access

Sample code to connect with the service principle

Connecting to M365Defender

Connect to MDE API ( which applies to this case)

Request

Header

NameTypeDescription
AuthorizationStringBearer<token>. Required.
Content-Typestringapplication/json. Required.

Body

ParameterTypeDescription
CommentStringComment to associate with the action.
CommandsArrayCommands to run. Allowed values are PutFile, RunScript, GetFile.

Available commands

Command TypeParametersDescription
PutFileKey: FileNameValue: <file name>Puts a file from the library to the device. Files are saved in a working folder and are deleted when the device restarts by default.
RunScriptKey: ScriptName
Value: <Script from library>Key: Args
Value: <Script arguments>
Runs a script from the library on a device.The Args parameter is passed to your script.Timeouts after 10 minutes.
GetFileKey: Path
Value: <File path>
Collect file from a device. NOTE: Backslashes in path must be escaped.

Sample Live response request body

Use can upload your own scripts to the library and call the scripts in a similar way as when you use interactive Live Response

POST https://api.securitycenter.microsoft.com/api/machines/1e5bc9d7e413ddd7902c2932e418702b84d0cc07/runliveresponse


{
   "Commands":[
      {
         "type":"RunScript",
         "params":[
            {
               "key":"ScriptName",
               "value":"minidump.ps1"
            },
            {
               "key":"Args",
               "value":"OfficeClickToRun"
            }

         ]
      },
      {
         "type":"GetFile",
         "params":[
            {
               "key":"Path",
               "value":"C:\\windows\\TEMP\\OfficeClickToRun.dmp.zip"
            }
         ]
      }
   ],
   "Comment":"Testing Live Response API"
}

For further reading, please visit

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/security/defender-endpoint/run-live-response

Happy Hunting!

Adding TAXII Threat Intel

To further enrich data in the Azure Sentinel workspace, we can ingest threat intel.

What is TAXII?

Trusted Automated Exchange of Intelligence Information (TAXII™) is an application protocol for exchanging CTI over HTTPS.

More information about TAXII is available here:
https://oasis-open.github.io/cti-documentation/taxii/intro

Enabling TAXII Connector in Azure Sentinel

Go to connects view and search for “TAXII”

Open the connector settings page to add TAXII servers (you can add multiple servers)

In this demo we are using free TAXII feeds from Anomali (https://www.anomali.com/resources/limo)

When the TAXII server is configured, click “Next steps”

In this step we will get recommended workbooks, sample queries and analytic rules we can use to monitor and alert on the data we ingest from the TAXII server.

Provided sample queries gives us access to the data

ThreatIntelligenceIndicator | where SourceSystem != "SecurityGraph" and SourceSystem != "Azure Sentinel" 

From the connector configuration, we can also see the related analytics rule templates

For further information, please visit:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/sentinel/import-threat-intelligence

Happy Hunting!