Thursday, June 23, 2016

Advanced Threat Analytics–Attack Simulation and Demo–Part1

Advanced Threat Analytics–Attack Simulation and Demo–Part1

Advanced Threat Analytics–Attack Simulation and Demo–Part2

Advanced Threat Analytics–Attack Simulation and Demo–Part3

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) is an user and entity behavior analytics solution to identify and protect protect organizations from advanced targeted attacks (APTs).  You can read more information about Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) here.  The purpose of this blog is to provide a few methods which can be used to simulate and demonstrate some of the basic attacks for demo and testing purpose.

Suspicious Activity Simulation #1ATA Gateway Stopped Communicating 

We will start with the most obvious one! – ATA communication issue.   In this scenario, I am using ATA Light Weight Gateway (LWGW).  In this case Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics Gateway (ATAGateway) service should be running on Domain Controllers. 

To simulate this scenario,

  1. Identify all Domain Controllers from the forest/domain. You can use the following DSQUERY command to get all DCs from the domain.  
    • DsQuery Server -Forest
  2. Stop the ATAGateway service remotely
    • Here are a few scripts -  Script1 or Script2 or Script3 – if you want to go a script based approach
    • Or we can use a simple SC command – SC \\Lab-DC01 stop ATAGateway
    • image

You will receive the following high alert – ATA Gateway Stopped Communicating – in Health Center. 


Suspicious Activity Simulation #2- Honey Token Account Activities

In general, the Honey Token accounts are non-interactive accounts.  These accounts can be dummy accounts for detect malicious activities.

To simulate this scenario,

  1. Create two 2 user accounts in Active Directory (ATA-Test1 and ATA-Test2)
  2. Add ATA-Test2 to Domain Admins group
  3. Get the SID of ATA-Test1 and ATA-Test2 using PowerShell or DSQUERY command
    • dsquery * -filter (samaccountname=ata-test1) -attr objectsid (Reference)
    • Get-ADUser Ata-test1 -Properties objectSID (Reference)
  4. Add this SID as Honey token accounts (ATA Console –> Configuration –> Detection –> Honeytoken Account SIDs). Save the configuration. 
  5. image
  6. Establish an integrative logon session using these accounts. You can RDP into a machine use these accounts

Honey Token accounts (non-sensitive)

You will receive the following alert/email with recommended actions in the ATA console. 


Honey Token accounts (Sensitive)

Since ATA-Test2 account is a domain admin account, you will receive the same alert with "Sensitive (S )" indicating that this account is a high privileged account in Active Directory. 


Suspicious Activity Simulation #3 – Massive Object Deletion

Bulk object deletion can be a suspicious activity in an Active Directory environment.  ATA can alert alert you based on massive object deletion activities. 

To simulate this scenario,

  1. Create a few users in Active directory. Here is a sample PowerShell  script which you can use to create test accounts in Active Directory

Import-module activedirectory
$pass = ConvertTo-SecureString "MyPassword0!" –asplaintext –force
for ($i=0;$i -lt 100;$i++)
$accountname = "Test-Account$i"
Write-Host "Creating $accountname" -NoNewline
New-ADUser –SamAccountName $accountname –name $accountname -OtherAttributes @{'description'="ATA Test User Account"} -Path "OU=Test Accounts,OU=User Accounts,DC=labanddemo,DC=com"
Set-ADAccountPassword –identity $accountname –NewPassword $pass
Write-Host "...Done"

  1. Make sure ATA is "learned" about these account.
  2. image
  3. Delete these accounts from Active Directory 

You will receive the Massive Object Deletion alert in the ATA console right away as shown below. 


Suspicious Activity Simulation #4 - Reconnaissance using DNS

The DNS or name resolution information in a network would be  useful reconnaissance information. In general, DNS data contains a list of all the servers and workstations and the mapping to their IP addresses. Verifying this  information may provide attackers with a detailed view of the environment allowing attackers to focus their efforts on the relevant entities. 

For this simulation, the plan is to perform a DNS zone lookup using NSLOOKUP LS command. 

To simulate this scenario,

  1. Logon to a remote server. 
  2. Open Command Prompt and run NSLOOKUP command
  3. From the NSLOOKUP window, run LS command to list the DNS zone


You will receive the following Reconnaissance using DNS alert the ATA console. 


Advanced Threat Analytics–Attack Simulation and Demo–Part1

Advanced Threat Analytics–Attack Simulation and Demo–Part2

Advanced Threat Analytics–Attack Simulation and Demo–Part3



Thank for your article. Very useful....

Hope you post part 2 and part 3 as soon as possible

Thanks Huy Pham. Yes. 2nd part is coming soon.

Great article. Any news on part 2?
Thank you

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"The blog provides valuable insights into simulating and demonstrating various attack scenarios using Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA). These simulations help users understand and test the capabilities of ATA in identifying and protecting against advanced targeted attacks, such as communication issues, honey token account activities, massive object deletion, and reconnaissance using DNS. It's an informative resource for understanding hrm thesis writing service ATA's functionality in a practical context."

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