ArmorPoint's analysts used EDR capabilities to swiftly detect and mitigate a serious threat, Emotet, preventing potential data breach and operational disruption.

In the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, one thing is certain: being proactive is the key to safeguarding your organization from malicious actors. This month, we are thrilled to share a success story from ArmorPoint, where we swiftly detected and mitigated a serious threat, Emotet, preventing potential data breaches and operational disruption.

The Incident

At ArmorPoint, we take a proactive approach to cybersecurity. In this particular incident, we received an alert indicating suspicious PowerShell executions on a client's network. However, the exact source of the compromise was unclear. It could have been triggered by a phishing email or a visit to a malicious website. The process tree revealed that the malicious script originated from Chrome.exe, leaving us with two plausible scenarios: the user either accessed a compromised site while browsing with Chrome, or the threat was concealed within an email viewed via the Chrome browser.

Automatic Threat Quarantine and Prevention

One of the pillars of our service at ArmorPoint is automatic threat detection and mitigation. In this case, our native EDR tool spotted the Emotet threat, quarantined it, and prevented it from further executing. This rapid response played a crucial role in safeguarding the client's network and data.

Upon detecting the PowerShell activity, our expert cybersecurity team sprang into action. Time is of the essence in these situations, and a rapid response is critical to mitigating potential damage.

  1. Machine Timeline Analysis: To gain a deeper understanding of the threat, we provided the client with a comprehensive machine timeline. This timeline listed all the processes that occurred both before and after the PowerShell detection. Analyzing this data helped us trace the threat's origins and uncover its potential impact.
  2. Password Reset and Account Review: As a precaution, we recommended a password reset for the affected user to prevent any unauthorized access to their accounts. We also advised the client to review Domain Admin accounts for any signs of suspicious activity.

The Culprit: Emotet

After a thorough investigation, we identified the threat as Emotet. Emotet is a notorious and versatile strain of malware known for its ability to deliver additional payloads, such as ransomware or information stealers. This threat can infiltrate systems via malicious emails, infected websites, or other means, making it a potent adversary.

Initially, Emotet was designed as a banking trojan, primarily focused on stealing sensitive financial information from victims. However, over time, it has evolved into a versatile and dangerous malware delivery system that can serve as a payload for other types of malware, such as ransomware and information stealers.

Emotet's key characteristics and capabilities include:

  • Malicious Payload Delivery: Emotet is often used as a delivery vehicle for other malware. It can introduce a variety of secondary payloads onto infected systems, turning it into a threat multiplier.
  • Modular Architecture: Emotet is modular in design, which allows it to be easily updated and customized for different attack scenarios. Cybercriminals can add or remove modules based on their specific objectives.
  • Polymorphic and Evasive: Emotet employs polymorphic techniques, making it difficult to detect by antivirus software. It frequently changes its code and behavior to evade traditional security measures.
  • Spreading Mechanisms: Emotet spreads through various vectors, including malicious email attachments, infected websites, and even by attempting to brute force or use stolen credentials to access other systems within a network.
  • Data Theft: In its earlier versions, Emotet was primarily focused on stealing sensitive data, including banking credentials. It can also exfiltrate other types of information, posing a significant threat to data security.
  • Distributed Infrastructure: Emotet operates using a vast and resilient infrastructure of compromised computers and servers. This network, known as a botnet, is used for command and control purposes.
  • Polymorphic Phishing Emails: Emotet is often distributed via phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or links. These emails are carefully crafted to trick recipients into opening the attachments or clicking on the links.

Emotet's adaptability and frequent updates make it a challenging adversary for cybersecurity professionals. It has been associated with a range of cybercriminal activities, including spreading ransomware like Ryuk and TrickBot, which has caused significant financial losses and operational disruptions to businesses and organizations.

Looking to the Future

In today's digital landscape, cybersecurity threats are an unfortunate reality, and staying ahead of them is paramount. ArmorPoint's proactive and rapid response to this Emotet incident demonstrates our commitment to safeguarding our clients. Our dedication to providing exceptional cybersecurity services means that we are always ready to tackle any threat that comes our way, ensuring our clients remain secure and resilient.

About ArmorPoint

ArmorPoint, LLC is a managed cybersecurity solution that combines the three pillars of a robust cybersecurity program — people, processes, and technology — into a single solution. Designed by cybersecurity experts, ArmorPoint’s cloud-hosted SIEM technology and extended detection and response capabilities enable businesses to implement a highly-effective, scalable cybersecurity program. With customizable pricing available, every ArmorPoint plan offers a dynamic level of managed security services that support the risk management initiatives of all companies, regardless of available budget, talent, or time. ArmorPoint is developed and powered by Trapp Technology, Inc., a Phoenix-based IT managed services provider. To learn more about ArmorPoint, visit armorpoint.com.