Ex-Employee’s Ghost in the Machine: How Lapsed Credentials Led to a State Network Breach

In a cyber-saga straight out of a hacker’s handbook, CISA and MS-ISAC have dropped a Cybersecurity Advisory hotter than a fresh phishing scam. Discover the low-down on the high-tech hijinks of a network compromised through a former employee’s credentials—no MFA in sight! #CybersecurityBlunders 🕵️‍♂️💻🔐

Hot Take:

Who knew that leaving the digital backdoor open could be such an invite for cyber shenanigans? In a plot twist that surprises exactly no one, a state government’s ex-employee’s account became the VIP pass for some dark web document drama. And here I was thinking my old Blockbuster card was the only expired membership still causing trouble. Let’s dive into the digital dumpster fire and see how the ghosts of employees past can haunt our networks.

Key Points:

  • Former employee’s credentials turned into the skeleton key for network naughtiness.
  • Threat actor played hide and seek, but only found LDAP queries, not a path to Azure.
  • The “Untitled Goose Tool” honks its way into cloud security – who says cybersecurity can’t have a mascot?
  • Virtual machines: the Trojan horses of cyberspace, or just misunderstood digital nomads?
  • Two-factor authentication? More like two-factor “forgot-tation.” MFA could’ve been the hero we deserved.

Need to know more?

Clearance Sale on the Dark Web

Imagine finding out that your state government's secrets are being hawked on the cyber black market, all because someone didn't bother to revoke a former employee's all-access pass. It's like leaving the keys to the city under the doormat. With this digital "oopsie," a savvy threat actor authenticated faster than you can say "cybersecurity awareness training."

Goose Chase for Clues

The investigators launched their best geese—I mean, tools—into the cloud to waddle through logs and hunt for malicious breadcrumbs. Dubbed the "Untitled Goose Tool," this feathered friend helps defenders spot sneaky beaky activity amidst the cloud fluff. As it turns out, the goose was on the loose, but Azure was left unscathed.

Virtual Masquerade

Our villain, donning the mask of USER1, danced through the network, dipping into data like it was a cybersecurity masquerade ball. And just when you thought USER1 was the life of the party, USER2's credentials popped out of a virtual SharePoint server like a jack-in-the-box with admin rights. Plot twist: USER2 had the keys to both the on-premises and Azure kingdoms.

Learning LDAP the Hard Way

Oh, LDAP, you're like that one quiet kid in class who knows everyone's secrets. Our crafty intruder used LDAP queries to scoop up user and host information, compiling a "who's who" of the network. This info was then displayed on the dark web like a cybercriminal's LinkedIn profile—talk about networking!

No MFA? No Problem! ...for Hackers

Turns out, the one thing that could have thrown a wrench in our hacker's heist was a good old-fashioned dose of MFA. But alas, the accounts in question were like those last two people on Earth who haven't seen "Game of Thrones" – they just weren't using MFA. The lesson? Sometimes the best lock is the one you actually use.

Post-Breach Cleanup on Aisle Five

After the breach came the cleanup, like the morning after a wild house party. The state government folks scrambled to change passwords, rip out admin rights, and finally roll out the MFA red carpet. The big takeaway from this cyber saga is that when it comes to accounts, treat 'em like leftovers – if they're past their prime, it's time to toss 'em out.

And there you have it, folks. The moral of our story is as old as time: keep your house in order, don't let old accounts linger, and maybe, just maybe, consider letting that Untitled Goose Tool honk its way to your cybersecurity strategy.

Tags: Azure environment, Cloud security, Compromised Credentials, LDAP queries, Phishing-resistant MFA, Secure Cloud and Business Applications (SCuBA) tool, threat actor techniques