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What is Attack Path Management?

Aidan Simister | 5 min read| Updated On - January 17, 2023

Attack Path Management

An “attack path” is a term used by IT professionals to describe the route an attacker would follow in order to exploit a vulnerability in a given system. The description will include a risk assessment of all of the potential threats and security concerns an organization may be faced with, in order to address any potential holes in their security posture.

Attack path management is essentially the means by which an organization is able to identify potential threats within its infrastructure. This includes adopting technologies that provide visibility into all resources, components, and dependencies that exist within their IT environment. A robust attack path management strategy will include solutions that provide an automated assessment of their security posture, as well as real-time threat detection and response. It should provide visibility across multiple platforms, both on-premise and cloud-based, and also filter the event logs to help determine which events are priorities, and which are not.

Active Directory and Azure Attack Path Management

Microsoft Active Directory (AD) is arguably the most popular identity and access management solution on the market. For this reason, cybercriminals focus a lot of their attention on researching and exploiting vulnerabilities found in AD. However, popularity is not the only reason why AD is a prime target for adversaries. Given that AD was introduced in 1999, it was not designed to accommodate modern security concepts such as “zero-trust” or the principle of least privilege (PoLP).

There are also numerous security issues relating to AD’s native authentication process, resulting in attacks such as Pass the Hash, Pass the Ticket, Golden Ticket, and Silver Ticket. While Azure AD (the cloud-based equivalent of AD) is newer, and thus inherently more secure, many organizations use a hybrid environment, which means if their on-premise AD is compromised, it will be easier for adversaries to find ways (or paths) to compromise their cloud environment as well.

Rather than attempting to exploit vulnerabilities in the underlying operating system, which is not an easy task, attackers know that server architectures evolve at a slower pace, if at all. And there’s a greater chance that an admin will make mistakes configuring systems and assigning permissions, than Microsoft failing to identify and patch security vulnerabilities. In fact, in some cases, the admin may set up permissions in a way that actually benefits the attacker.

Challenges with Attack Path Management

One of the biggest challenges security teams have when dealing with Active Directory security relates to the complexities associated with assigning, managing, and monitoring permissions. In other words, it can be difficult to determine who has access to what resources. Another challenge relates to potential misconfigurations. Many organizations unknowingly have misconfigurations in their AD environment that have been there for years. Instead of addressing them at the time, they simply work around them, thus making them harder to fix at a later date without causing disruption.

How to Manage Attack Paths

Effectively managing attack paths requires an in-depth understanding of both your IT environment and data security as a broader subject, which is clearly beyond the scope of this article. However, there are some key areas that need consideration.

  • Testing: Carry out simulated cyberattacks, penetration tests, and vulnerability scans to identify holes in your security posture.
  • Zero-trust: Adopt a zero-trust network design, which will include network segregation to help prevent adversaries from moving laterally throughout your environment. As a starting point, ensure that access to critical systems and sensitive data is limited to those who really need it.
  • Passwords: Use strong passwords, and where possible, use multi-factor authentication. You should also double-check that you are not using any default passwords for your network hardware.
  • Configuration: Carefully check the configuration for domain controllers and other AD-related network components.
  • Monitoring: Use a change auditing solution to ensure that you have visibility across your hybrid network. You will need to closely monitor all users, groups, computers, and objects. You will also need to monitor all access to sensitive data, and failed login attempts, and be able to detect and manage inactive user accounts. Real-time alerts should be sent to the administrator to ensure that they are able to remediate security issues as they arise.

How Lepide Helps with Attack Path Management

Whilst there is no single attack path management solution, the Lepide Data Security Platform addresses a number of the key areas of attack path management.

One of the features of Lepide Data Security Platform is the ability to track and visualize attack paths, which can help organizations understand how an attacker might gain access to their systems and data, and take steps to prevent or mitigate such attacks. This can include identifying and closing vulnerabilities in the network, identifying users with excessive permissions, implementing security controls and policies, and monitoring for suspicious activity.

By providing visibility into the attack paths that could be used to compromise an organization’s systems, Lepide Data Security Platform can help organizations proactively defend against cyber threats and improve their overall security posture.

If you’d like to see how the Lepide Data Security Platform can help with attack path management, schedule a demo with one of our engineers or start your free trial today.

Aidan Simister
Aidan Simister

Having worked in the IT industry for a little over 22 years in various capacities, Aidan is a veteran in the field. Specifically, Aidan knows how to build global teams for security and compliance vendors, often from a standing start. After joining Lepide in 2015, Aidan has helped contribute to the accelerated growth in the US and European markets.

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