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4 Top Methods Attackers Use to Move Across Your Hybrid Networks and Compromise Business-critical Assets

Posted by: Michael Greenberg

Cybersecurity is a cat-and-mouse game, and it’s important for defenders to be able to anticipate the likely methods attackers will use to compromise their critical assets in all the environments in which you operate.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common ways cyber-attackers can move across hybrid networks and target business-critical assets.

Method Number One: They can compromise your Active Directory using Hybrid Joined Machines, moving from on-prem, to cloud, to on-prem. Attackers can move laterally in the network through impersonating an AD user, escalating privileges allowing them to run malicious code in the network covertly, and even gain access to the cloud environment by moving from a compromised enterprise AD user to his joined Azure AD user.

Method Number Two: They can capture sensitive data by exploiting the risks associated with external users, who are more difficult to monitor, manage, control and secure. Research shows, 95% of users in an organization have long term access keys attached to them which can be exposed creating risk to critical assets. Even by design, identities can be leveraged in order to perform lateral movement to the cloud and from the cloud leading to compromise.

Method Number Three: Attackers may take over an account or a subscription using credentials stolen from a third-party operating with more limited security. Attackers are working outside an organization’s own defenses and using weaknesses in the systems of their supply chain partners to get a foothold into their network and move towards the critical assets. The problem extends beyond their organization to the full ecosystem – suppliers, consumers, and partners.

Method Number Four: They may escalate and leverage privileges within the cloud, using this technique to move quietly and uncover sensitive data without being detected[CC1] [MG2] . Modern organizations are investing in more and more platforms, apps and other tech tools to accelerate their business, but they too often fail to realize that the interconnection between all these technologies poses a significant risk. When siloed teams are responsible for different components of security within the network, nobody sees the full picture. One team may ignore a seemingly small risk, not realizing that in the big picture, it’s a stepping stone in a hidden attack path to a critical asset.

Other Cybersecurity Concerns for Hybrid Environments

Today’s businesses must deal with an ever-expanding attack surface. This problem has grown especially acute in the post-pandemic world, given the massive proliferation of work-from-home scenarios.

Businesses do not always clearly define a migration strategy to the hybrid cloud world. Sometimes organizations choose to allow individual departments or teams to adopt their own migration strategies; other times these business units make their own arbitrary decisions to source cloud resources without input from IT.

The lack of a single strategy is sometimes due to wider business events: An organization with one cloud vendor that acquires or merges with another organization using a different cloud vendor, for example.

Here’s the takeaway: Complexity of cloud environments, poor coordination of migration strategies and an ever-expanding attack surface can all conspire to negatively impact security across all enterprise IT resources.

These enterprise IT resources include:

Your assets: To effectively secure your assets, you need to know where they are – these assets could be virtual servers, they could be data, they could be functions or any other category of technology asset that supports the enterprise.

Your network security: The integrity and security of your data depends on robust network technologies. The top priority in your network is connectivity with maximum uptime and zero downtime, across all environments. This is even more crucial if you’re using a multi-cloud environment.

The security of your platform: As your infrastructure expands and new innovations are adopted, so too, does your attack surface. The number one priority will be visibility to enable properly configured security policies and effective remediation of risks.

Application security: Instead of being limited to which cloud providers can be safely integrated with your critical applications, enhanced application layer security controls allow you to choose and use multiple cloud platforms based on matching performance with your priorities.

Conclusion

Strong cybersecurity in the hybrid cloud, or any environment, requires knowledge, anticipation, cohesive strategy and the right set of cyber security solutions. By understanding where critical assets are exposed to the most risk — and how attackers are likely to exploit weaknesses — organizations can build a more resilient security posture.

The next generation of security requires adding a continuous analysis of every potential attack path while providing additional contextual information to alerts and incident reports. Attack Path Management is one of the fastest growth spaces in Cyber Security.  Attack Path Management can help organizations with:

  • Hybrid Cloud Security
  • Cyber Risk Reporting
  • Vulnerability Prioritization
  • Active Directory Security
  • SOC Optimization
  • Supply Chain and Third Party Risk
  • Breach and Attack Simulation
  • Ransomware Readiness

With the XM Cyber Attack Path Management platform, you can continuously see your hybrid network through the eyes of an attacker and spot attacks before they happen. To learn more about the attack path management watch the video or visit the website


Michael Greenberg

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