Adoption & Change Management

How we foiled a new customer’s 5-month-hidden cyberattack

illustration of a timer clock

In August 2023, a new customer partnered with CloudGuard to enhance their cybersecurity posture. Little did they know that within days of going live with the CloudGuard Protect MXDR service, a multi-stage incident lurking in their environment would be exposed. This case study delves into the incident, highlighting the importance of robust threat detection and incident response.

The discovery

CloudGuard’s Protect MXDR service wasted no time in proving its worth. Within days of deployment, it raised the alarm on a serious security incident. Suspicious commands and tasks were cleverly concealed within Base64 encrypted payloads, making detection by traditional means nearly impossible. The SOC (Security Operations Centre) team quickly sprang into action.

Decoding the threat

The SOC team’s expertise was put to the test as they successfully decoded the encrypted payloads. What they unveiled was chilling: a discreet form of malware had been making recurring attempts to manipulate the registry in the customer’s environment since March 2023. The threat actors behind this attack were not to be underestimated.

Automated attribution

One of the crucial aspects of threat detection is understanding the adversary. In this case, CloudGuard’s automated threat intelligence and threat enrichment capabilities swiftly linked the attack to notorious threat actors, suspecting Emotet or Gozi to be the threat group . This attribution provided critical context for the incident response.

Rapid response is key

Time is of the essence in the world of cybersecurity, and CloudGuard proved its worth once again. Within a mere 20 minutes of detecting the threat, CloudGuard’s MXDR service had not only exposed the malicious command lines but also alerted the customer about the critical incident. Furthermore, it provided detailed remediation actions, including isolating and rebuilding the affected machine.

Lessons learned

The timeline of this incident is notable. The malware had infiltrated the customer’s environment in March 2023, long before their partnership with CloudGuard began in August. This highlights the importance of continuous monitoring and detection capabilities, as threats may remain dormant for extended periods.

Moreover, the incident showcases the value of an integrated MXDR service like CloudGuard’s. Rapid detection, immediate alerting, and actionable remediation guidance proved invaluable in mitigating the threat swiftly.

Ongoing investigation

While the immediate threat was addressed efficiently, the work is far from over. An ongoing investigation aims to uncover how the malware gained a foothold in the environment and whether any damage was inflicted. The incident underscores the need for proactive threat hunting and post-incident analysis to strengthen defences against future attacks.

The importance of cybersecurity

The CloudGuard Protect MXDR service proved its ability in unearthing a stealthy, long-standing threat within a new customer’s environment. The incident proves the importance of robust threat detection, rapid incident response, and continuous monitoring.

As organisations continue to face evolving and sophisticated threats, services like CloudGuard’s MXDR play a crucial role in bolstering cybersecurity defences. The swift identification and mitigation of this incident highlight the value of proactive cybersecurity measures in safeguarding sensitive data and business continuity.

In an era where cyber threats are ever-present, CloudGuard remains dedicated to helping its customers navigate the digital landscape securely and confidently. This case study proves our commitment to safeguarding organisations against even the most insidious threats.

Thomas Shelton11. Sep 2023