Minimize cybersecurity risk with Software Asset Management

This post is authored by Patam Chantaruck, General Manager of Worldwide Software Asset Management & Compliance.

By 2021, worldwide cybercrime damage is expected to reach $6 trilliondouble what it cost businesses in 2015. Unapproved apps, unmanaged devices, poor password protection, and other security issues are leaving far too many organizations vulnerable to attack. And as organizations embrace digital transformation, it becomes increasingly urgent for them to increase control over their IT infrastructures and reduce security risks.

The question is: where to start?

Driving greater security through software asset management

Software asset management (SAM) is a set of proven IT practices that unites people, processes, and technology to control and optimize the use of software across an organization. SAM is designed to help you control costs, manage business and legal risks, optimize licensing investments, and align IT investments with business needs.

Effective SAM can identify discrepancies between software licenses owned and deployed, thus providing insights into software usage. These insights are then used to devise upgrade plans for each software release that will optimize license use, ensure worthwhile software investments, save money, reduce security risks associated with software piracy, and promote good corporate governance, including management effectiveness and transparency.

Introducing the Microsoft SAM cybersecurity engagement

At Microsoft, we take SAM a step further with our cybersecurity engagement. This comprehensive analysis of your cybersecurity infrastructureincluding your current software deployment, usage, and licensing datahelps to ensure that you have the right processes in place to minimize cyber-risk. Through this engagement we also provide prescriptive cybersecurity guidance and best practices, freeing your organization to focus on innovation instead of protection.

A Microsoft SAM cybersecurity engagement will help you:

  • Minimize data loss, fraud, and employee downtime
  • Save money combatting cyberattacks and increasing efficiencies
  • Securely manage software assets and promote reliable cybersecurity practices
  • Build a resilient IT infrastructure that can quickly respond to threats
  • Ensure that you have a secure and effective defense against attacks

What IDC has to say about SAM

IDC has identified SAM as a key component to securing infrastructure and battling cyberattacks and predicts that an increasing number of organizations will rely on SAM practices to reduce risks. Below is a direct quote from The Business Value of Software Asset Management:

Cyberattacks often take advantage of the high vulnerability of end-of-life (EOL) IT systems and/or software that have ceased to receive product updates and security patches from vendor sources. Understanding risk impact is challenging when there is limited or no understanding of where the assets reside and precisely how the assets support the business. To that end, SAM initiatives enable organizations to quickly discover how many devices and applications are in the environment, along with their location and their warranty status, which can significantly reduce unnecessary cost, waste, and cybersecurity risks. Establishing a comprehensive asset management program provides a common source of record, which enables IT to carry out more timely security patches and identify security threats sooner as well as better respond to software audits. Therefore, asset management should be viewed holistically as an essential component of an effective IT infrastructure, service, and cybersecurity management program.

How SAM helped a sugar manufacturer reduce security risks

Here is one example of how Microsoft SAM for cybersecurity is helping customers around the world.

Ranking as the fourth largest sugar manufacturer in the world, Mitr Phol Group wanted to achieve effective SAM and reduce security risks. They moved away from decentralized IT systems to a more consolidated structure, centralizing the organizations software deployments and management. To further increase the value of their established SAM processes, they became the first company in Thailand to conduct SAM for cybersecurity. As a result, they were able to identify and remediate system vulnerabilities and mitigate security risks and threat impacts while protecting their sensitive data.

SAM should be a key part of your security strategy. And Microsoft can help. To learn more, visit www.microsoft.com/sam to hear how other customers are benefiting. Find a SAM partner near you to help you establish Software Asset Management practice.

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A decade inside Microsoft Security

November 9th, 2017 No comments

Ten years ago, I walked onto Microsofts Redmond campus to take a role on a team that partnered with governments and CERTs on cybersecurity. Id just left a meaningful career in US federal government service because I thought it would be fascinating to experience first-hand the security challenges and innovation from the perspective of the IT industry, especially within Microsoft, given its presence around the US federal government. I fully expected to spend a year or two in Microsoft and then resume my federal career with useful IT industry perspectives on security. Two days after I started, Popular Sciences annual Ten worst jobs in science survey came out, and I was surprised to see Microsoft Security Grunt in sixth place. Though the article was tongue-in-cheek, saluting those who take on tough challenges, the fact that we made this ignominious list certainly made me wonder if Id made a huge mistake.

I spent much of my first few years hearing from government and enterprise executives that Microsoft was part of the security problem. Working with so many hard-working engineers, researchers, security architects, threat hunters, and developers trying to tackle these increasingly complex challenges, I disagreed. But, we all recognized that we needed to do more to defend the ecosystem, and to better articulate our efforts. Wed been investing in security well before 2007, notably with the Trustworthy Computing Initiative and Security Development Lifecycle, and we continue to invest heavily in technologies and people – we now employ over 3,500 people in security across the company. I rarely hear anymore that we are perceived as a security liability, but our work isnt done. Ten years later, Im still here, busier than ever, delaying my long-expected return to federal service, helping enterprise CISOs secure their environments, their users, and their data.

Complexity vs. security

Is it possible, however, that our industrys investments in security have created another problem – that of complexity? Have we innovated our way into a more challenging situation? My fellow security advisors at Microsoft have shared customer frustrations over the growing security vendor presence in their environments. While these different technologies may solve specific requirements, in doing so, they create a management headache. Twice this week in Redmond, CISOs from large manufacturers challenged me to help them better understand security capabilities they already owned from Microsoft, but werent aware of. They sought to use this discovery process to identify opportunities to rationalize their security vendor presence. As one CISO said, Just help me simplify all of this.

There is a large ecosystem of very capable and innovative professionals delivering solutions into a vibrant and crowded security marketplace. With all of this IP, how can we best help CISOs use important innovation while reducing complexity in their environments? And, can we help them maximize value from their investments without sacrificing security and performance?

Best-of-suite capabilities

Large enterprises may employ up to 100 vendors technologies to handle different security functions. Different vendors may handle identity and access management, data loss prevention, key management, service management, cloud application security, and so on. Many companies are now turning to machine learning and user behavior technologies. Many claim best of breed or best in class, capabilities and there is impressive innovation in the marketplace. Recognizing this, we have made acquisition a part of Microsofts security strategy – since 2013 weve acquired companies like Aorato, Secure Islands, Adallom, and most recently Hexadite.

Microsofts experience as a large global enterprise is similar to our enterprise customers. Weve been working to rationalize the 100+ different security providers in our infrastructure to help us better manage our external dependencies and more efficiently manage budgets. Weve been moving toward a default policy of Microsoft first security technology where possible in our environment. Doing so helps us standardize on newer and familiar technologies that complement each other.

That said, whether we build or buy, our focus is to deliver an overall best in suite approach to help customers deploy, maintain, monitor, and protect our enterprise products and services as securely as possible. We are investing heavily in the Intelligent Security Graph. It leverages our vast security intelligence, connects and correlates information, and uses advanced analytics to help detect and respond to threats faster. If you are already working with Microsoft to advance your productivity and collaboration needs by deploying Windows 10, Office 365, Azure, or other core enterprise services, you should make better use of these investments and reduce dependency on third-party solutions by taking advantage of built-in monitoring and detection capabilities in these solutions. A best-of-suite approach also lowers the costs and complexity of administering a security program, e.g. making vendor assessments and procurement easier, reducing training and learning curves, and standardizing on common dashboards.

Reducing complexity also requires that we make our security technologies easy to acquire and use. Here are some interesting examples of how our various offerings connect to each other and have built-in capabilities:

  • The Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection(ATP) offer seamlessly integrates with O365 ATP to provide more visibility into adversary activity against devices and mailboxes, and to give your security teams more control over these resources. Watch this great video to learn more about the services integration. Windows Defender ATP monitors behaviors on a device and sends alerts on suspicious activities. The console provides your security team with the ability to perform one-click actions such as isolating a machine, collecting a forensics package, and stopping and quarantining files. You can then track the kill chain into your O365 environment if a suspicious file on the device arrived via email. Once in O365 ATP, you can quarantine the email, detonate a potentially malicious payload, block the traffic from your environment, and identify other users who may have been targeted.
  • Azure Information Protection provides built-in capabilities to classify and label data, apply rights-management protections (that follows the data object) and gives data owners and admins visibility into, and control over, where that data goes and whether recipients attempt to violate policy.

Thousands of companies around the world are innovating, competing, and partnering to defeat adversaries and to secure the computing ecosystem. No single company can do it all. But by making it as convenient as possible for you to acquire and deploy technologies that integrate, communicate and complement each other, we believe we can offer a best-of-suite benefit to help secure users, devices, apps, data, and infrastructure. Visit https://www.microsoft.com/secure to learn about our solutions and reach out to your local Microsoft representative to learn more about compelling security technologies that you may already own. For additional information, and to stay on top of our investments in security, bookmark this Microsoft Secure blog.


Mark McIntyre, CISSP, is an Executive Security Advisor (ESA) in the Microsoft Enterprise and Cybersecurity Group. Mark works with global public sector and commercial enterprises, helping them transform their businesses while protecting data and assets by moving securely to the Cloud. As an ESA, Mark supports CISOs and their teams with cybersecurity reviews and planning. He also helps them understand Microsofts perspectives on the evolving cyber threat landscape and how Microsoft defends its enterprise, employees and users around the world.

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4053440 – Securely opening Microsoft Office documents that contain Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) fields – Version: 1.0

Revision Note: V1.0 (November 8, 2017): Advisory published.
Summary: Microsoft is releasing this security advisory to provide information regarding security settings for Microsoft Office applications. This advisory provides guidance on what users can do to ensure that these applications are properly secured when processing Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) fields.

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4053440 – Securely opening Microsoft Office documents that contain Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) fields – Version: 1.0

Revision Note: V1.0 (November 8, 2017): Advisory published.
Summary: Microsoft is releasing this security advisory to provide information regarding security settings for Microsoft Office applications. This advisory provides guidance on what users can do to ensure that these applications are properly secured when processing Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) fields.

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Defending against ransomware using system design

This post is authored by Michael Melone, Principal Cybersecurity Consultant, Enterprise Cybersecurity Group.

Earlier this year, the world experienced a new and highly-destructive type of ransomware. The novel aspects of WannaCry and Petya were not skills as ransomware, but the combination of commonplace ransomware tactics paired with worm capability to improve propagation.

WannaCry achieved its saturation primarily through exploiting a discovered and patched vulnerability in a common Windows service. The vulnerability (MS17-010) impacted the Windows Server service which enables communication between computers using the SMB protocol. Machines infected by WannaCry propagate by connecting to a nearby unpatched machine, performing the exploit, and executing the malware. Execution of the exploit did not require authentication, thus enabling infection of any unpatched machine.

Petya took this worming functionality one step further and additionally introduced credential theft and impersonation as a form of worming capability. These techniques target single sign-on technologies, such as traditional domain membership. This added capability specifically targeted enterprise environments and enabled the malware to use a single unpatched endpoint to springboard into the network, then used active sessions on the machine to infect other machines regardless of patch level. To an enterprise, a single unpatched endpoint paired with poor credential hygiene could be used to enable propagation throughout the enterprise.

Most impersonation and credential theft attacks are possible only when malware obtains local administrator or equivalent authorization to the operating system. For Petya, this would mean successful exploitation of MS17-010, or running under the context of a user with local administrator authorization.

Measuring the value of a user account

To a hacker, an infected or stolen identity is measurable in two ways: the breadth of computers that trust and grant authorization to the account and the level of authorization granted upon successful authentication. Since encryption can be performed by any user account, ransomware benefits most when it infects an account which can convey write authorization to a large amount of data.

In most cases (thus far), the data sought out by ransomware has been either local files or those accessible over a network attached share data which can be accessed by the malware using out-of-the-box operating system interfaces. As such, data encrypted by most ransomware includes files in the users profile, home directory, or on shared directories where the user has access and write authorization.

In the case of WannaCry, the identity used by the ransomware was SYSTEM an effectively unrestricted account from an authorization perspective. Running as SYSTEM, WannaCry had authorization to encrypt any file on the infected machine.

Petyas encryption mechanism required the ability to overwrite the boot sector of the hard drive to invoke its encryption mechanism. The malware then creates a scheduled task to restart the machine at least 10 minutes later to perform the encryption. The offline encryption mechanism prevented destruction of network files by Petya.

Infected machines and worms

Pivoting our focus to the worm aspect of these ransomware variants, the value of an infected host to a hacker is measurable in two ways: the quantity of newly accessible targets resulting from infection and the data which now becomes available because of the infection. Malware with worming capability focuses on widespread propagation, thus machines which can access new targets are highly valuable.

To both WannaCry and Petya, a newly infected system offered a means to access previously inaccessible machines. For WannaCry, any potential new targets needed to be vulnerable to MS17-010. Vulnerability gave both malware variants SYSTEM-level authority, thus enabling successful execution of their payload.

Additionally, in the case of Petya, any machine having reusable credentials in memory furthered its ability to propagate. Petya searches for active sessions on an infected machine and tries to use the session to infect machines which may not have been vulnerable to MS17-010. As a result, a single vulnerable endpoint may expose a reusable administrative credential usable to infect potential targets which grant that credential a necessary level of authorization.

Codifying the vulnerability

To defend against a ransomware application with worm capability we need to target the following areas:

  • Ransomware

    • Reduce the authorization level of users relative to the operating system of an infected machine
    • Perform backups or versioning of files to prevent loss of data due to encryption, deletion, or corruption
    • Limit authorization to delete or tamper with the data backups

  • Worms

    • Reduce the ability for an infected host to access a potential infection target
    • Reduce the number of remotely exploitable vulnerabilities that provide remote code execution
    • Reduce exposure of reusable credentials relative to the likelihood of a host to compromise

Resolving Concerns through design

Many of the risks associated with ransomware and worm malware can be alleviated through systems design. Referring to our now codified list of vulnerabilities, we know that our solution must:

  • Limit the number (and value) of potential targets that an infected machine can contact
  • Limit exposure of reusable credentials that grant administrative authorization to potential victim machines
  • Prevent infected identities from damaging or destroying data
  • Limit unnecessary risk exposure to servers housing data

Windows 10, BYOD, and Azure AD Join

Windows 10 offers a new management model that differs significantly from traditional domain joined machines. Azure Active Directory joined machines can still convey identity to organizational resources; however, the machine itself does not trust domain credentials. This design prevents reusable accounts from exposure to workstations, thus protecting the confidentiality of the credential. Additionally, this limits the impact of a compromised domain account since Azure AD joined machines will not trust the identity.

Another benefit of Windows 10 with Azure AD is the ability to move workstations outside of the firewall, thus reducing the number of potential targets once infection occurs. Moving endpoints outside the firewall reduces the impact of any workstation threat by reducing the benefits normally gained by compromising a machine within the corporate firewall. As a result, this design exposes fewer server ports to potentially compromised endpoints, thus limiting the attack surface and reducing the likelihood of worm propagation.

Moving workstations outside of the firewall offers added security for the workstation as well. Migrating to a BYOD architecture can enable a more stringent client firewall policy, which in turn reduces the number of services exposed to other hosts, and thus improves the machines defense against worms and other inbound attacks.

Additionally, most organizations use many laptops which often connect from untrusted locations outside the firewall. While outside of the firewall, these machines can connect to untrusted sources, become infected, then bring the infection inside the firewall next time it is able to connect to the internal network. This causes confusion when trying to identify the initial infection during an incident response, and potentially exposes the internal network to unnecessary risk.

Consider migration file shares to OneDrive or Office365

Migrating data from traditional file shares into a solution such as SharePoint or OneDrive can limit the impact of a ransomware attack. Data stored in these technologies can enforce version control, thus potentially simplifying recovery. To further protect this data, limit the number of SharePoint users who had administrative authority to the site to prevent emptying of the recycle bin.

Ensure resilient backups

When an attack occurs, it is crucial to ensure ransomware cannot destroy data backups. Although convenient, online data backups may be subject to destruction during an attack. Depending on design, an online backup solution may trust a stolen reusable single sign-on credential to enable deletion or encryption of backup data. If this occurs, backups may be rendered unusable during the attack.

To prevent against this, consider Azure Cloud Backup a secure off-site backup solution. Azure Cloud Backup is managed through the Azure Portal which can be configured to require separate authentication, to include multi-factor authentication. Volumes used to store backup data reside in Azure and cannot be initialized or overwritten using on-premises domain credentials.

Closing

Windows 10 and BYOD architecture offers significant defense against a variety of cyberattacks, to include worms and ransomware. This article covers only some of the protections that Windows 10 offers against credential theft, bootkits, rootkits, and other malware techniques employed by this class of highly destructive malware.

To better defend your organization against future malware outbreaks:

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Learn from leading cybersecurity experts

More than 170K technology and business leaders from across the world depend on Microsofts Modern Workplace monthly webcast to shed new light on business challenges related to technology. Over the past four years, Modern Workplace has had the worlds leading experts share their advice on technology topics, such as security, including CISOs, Chief Privacy Officers, Cyber Intelligence Advisors, and Chief Digital Officers. Just in the past year, Modern Workplace security episodes included:

These episodes include more than just security checklists and basicsthey go into depth around the decisions business leaders are faced with every day. In the episode on data privacy, Hillery Nye, Chief Privacy Officer at Glympse, explained how the startup company made a very conscious decision to not collect data that it could have easily gathered from its real-time location sharing app. The company collects customer data and uses it for very specific purposes, but it never stores or sells that data. The company may have given up some opportunities to monetize its customer data, but Nye feels that the company gains even more by being a responsible corporate citizen and establishing a reputation for privacy. She discussed how a companys brand is affected by its privacy policies, and how businesses can better align their privacy policies with business strategy for long term success.

The Modern Workplace series has been nominated for four regional Emmy awards because of its creative presentation of diverse perspectives and insights. To learn more about how technology can help drive your business, check out the Modern Workplace episodes on-demand today!

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A 4-point action plan for proactive security

It can be difficult these days to make sense of all the potential ways you could step up your security. But with automated attacks moving faster and faster, many organizations are feeling a real need to change their approach and get more proactive about security.

Should you focus on endpoint detection and response (EDR)? Should you deploy multi-factor authentication (MFA) to control access to all your corporate resources? Or do you need to control your cloud apps and infrastructure more closely with a cloud access security broker (CASB)? Should your first step be deploying data loss prevention (DLP)?

If youre feeling a little confused about where to start, join us for our webinar: A 4-point action plan for proactive security. Well share how Microsoft approaches security and how you can cut through all the confusion to prioritize a few projects that will have real impact on your level of protection.

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SSN for authentication is all wrong

October 23rd, 2017 No comments

Unless you were stranded on a deserted island or participating in a zen digital fast chances are youve heard plenty about the massive Equifax breach and the head-rolling fallout. In the flurry of headlines and advice about credit freezes an important part of the conversation was lost: if we didnt misuse our social security numbers, losing them wouldnt be a big deal. Let me explain: most people, and that mainly includes some pretty high-up identity experts that Ive met in my travels, dont understand the difference between identification and verification. In the real world, conflating those two points doesnt often have dire consequences. In the digital world, its a huge mistake that can lead to severe impacts.

Isnt it all just authentication you may ask? Well, yes, identification and verification are both parts of the authentication whole, but failure to understand the differences is where the mess comes in. However, one reason its so hard for many of us to separate identification and verification is that historically we havent had to. Think back to how humans authenticated to each other before the ability to travel long distances came into the picture. Our circle of acquaintances was pretty small and we knew each other by sight and sound. Just by looking at your neighbor, Bob, you could authenticate him. If you met a stranger, chances are someone else in the village knew the stranger and could vouch for her.

The ability to travel long distances changed the equation a bit. We developed documents that provided verification during the initiation phase, for example when you have to bring a birth certificate to the DMV to get your initial drivers license. And ongoing identification like a unique ID and a photo. These documents served as a single identification and verification mechanism. And that was great! Worked fine for years, until the digital age.

The digital age changed the model because rather than one person holding a single license with their photo on it, we had billions of people trying to authenticate to billions of systems with simple credentials like user name and password. And no friendly local villager to vouch for us.

Who are you? Prove it!

This is where the difference between the two really starts to matter. Identification answers the question: Who are you? Your name is an identifier. It could also be an alias, such as your unique employee ID number.

Do you want your name to be private? Imagine meeting another parent at your kids soccer game and refusing to tell them your name for security reasons. How about: Oh your new puppy is so adorable, whats her name? And you respond, If I told you, Id have to kill you. Or you try to find an address in a town with no street signs because the town is super security conscious. Ridiculous, right? Identifiers are public specifically so we can share them to help identify things.

We also want consistency in our identifiers. Imagine if that town had street signs, but changed the names of the streets every 24 hours for security reasons. And uniqueness, if every street had the same name, youd still have a heck of a time finding the right address wouldnt you?

Now that were clear on what the identifier is, we can enumerate a few aspects that make up a really good one:

  • Public
  • Unchanging
  • Unique

In a town or public road, we have a level of trust that the street sign is correct because the local authorities have governance over road signs. Back in our village, we trust Bob is Bob because we can verify him ourselves. But in the digital world, things get pretty tricky how do you verify someone or something youve never met before? Ask them to- Prove It!

We use these two aspects of authentication almost daily when we log into systems with a user ID (identification) and password (verification). How we verify in the real world can be public, unchanging, and unique because its very hard to forge a whole person. Or to switch all the street signs in a town. But verification online is trickier. We need to be able toprovide verification of who we are to a number of entities, many of whom arent great at protecting data. And if the same verification is re-used across entities, and one loses it, attackers could gain access to every site where it was used. This is why experts strongly recommend using unique passwords for every website/app. This goes for those challenge questions too. Which can lead to some fun calls with customer service, Oh, the town where I was born? Its: xja*21njaJK)`jjAQ^. At this point in time our fathers middle name, first pets name, town where we were born, school we went to and address history should be assumed public, using them as secrets for verification doesnt make sense anymore.

If one site loses your digital verification info, no worries. You only used it for that site and can create new info for the next one. What if you couldnt change your password ever? It was permanent and also got lost during the Yahoo! breach? And it was the one you use at your bank, and for your college and car loans, and your health insurance? How would you feel?

So, with that in mind, youd probably agree that the best digital verifiers are:

  • Private
  • Easily changed
  • Unique

Your turn

OK, now that you know the difference between identification and verification and the challenges of verification in a digital world, what do you think – Is your SSN a better identifier or verifier?

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MS14-085 – Important: Vulnerability in Microsoft Graphics Component Could Allow Information Disclosure (3013126) – Version: 1.1

Severity Rating: Important
Revision Note: V1.1 (October 19, 2017): Corrected a typo in the CVE description.
Summary: This security update resolves a publicly disclosed vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow information disclosure if a user browses to a website containing specially crafted JPEG content. An attacker could use this information disclosure vulnerability to gain information about the system that could then be combined with other attacks to compromise the system. The information disclosure vulnerability by itself does not allow arbitrary code execution. However, an attacker could use this information disclosure vulnerability in conjunction with another vulnerability to bypass security features such as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR).

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MS14-085 – Important: Vulnerability in Microsoft Graphics Component Could Allow Information Disclosure (3013126) – Version: 1.1

Severity Rating: Important
Revision Note: V1.1 (October 19, 2017): Corrected a typo in the CVE description.
Summary: This security update resolves a publicly disclosed vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow information disclosure if a user browses to a website containing specially crafted JPEG content. An attacker could use this information disclosure vulnerability to gain information about the system that could then be combined with other attacks to compromise the system. The information disclosure vulnerability by itself does not allow arbitrary code execution. However, an attacker could use this information disclosure vulnerability in conjunction with another vulnerability to bypass security features such as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR).

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Event recap: Security at Microsoft Ignite

Microsoft Ignite recently gathered 24,000+ attendees from around the world in Orlando, FL. CEO Satya Nadella kicked off an exciting week with his Vision Keynote by articulating how we enable digital transformation, specifically through empowering employees, engaging customers, optimizing operations, and finally through transforming products.

Commitment to security, privacy, and transparency

At the event, Microsoft reaffirmed its commitment to security, privacy, and transparency to its customers and partners through all the four main solution areas: Modern Workplace, Business Applications, Applications & Infrastructure, and Data & Artificial Intelligence. Julia White explained Microsofts approach to security during her session, Microsoft 365: Step up your protection with intelligent security.

Learnings from our customers and partners

During the event, the Microsoft team had the privilege to engage in 410,000 unique interactions within the Expo. In addition, 8,000+ labs were consumed, 54 sessions, two general sessions, 40 breakout sessions across CE, Windows and Office 365 tracks and 12 theater sessions. Our top three security takeaways were:

  1. Build awareness of Microsofts commitment to security and privacy
  2. Early and frequent product updates communications
  3. Transparency from Microsoft equates to trust from customers

Key security related sessions to check out

Key security sessions we recommend you check out are based entirely upon feedback from our customers and partners who attended the sessions. Please take a moment to watch them and learn about new ways you can improve the security posture of your organization.

On demand access to content

All breakout sessions and general sessions were recorded for on demand viewing. These recordings are now available at Microsoft Ignite on demand sessions. Please continue to share this link with your customers and partners. Labs will be available for 6 months through MyIgnite.

Conclusion

Microsoft Ignite was a fantastic week for all who attended. We not only shared product visions, but also, we listened and learned from engagements with customers and partners. With continued advances in our security offerings and development in better ways for partners to build a more modern, collaborative and secure work environment, it will be an exciting year for Security.

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Cybersecurity in a modern age

By 2021, worldwide cybercrime damage is expected to reach $6 trilliondouble what it cost businesses in 2015. As digital transformation sweeps the globe, the imminent threat of cybercrime grows alongside it. As a result, new techniques in cybersecurity must be developed at a growing rate to keep pace.

Digital-first is the new business frontier, and if we want to keep this landscape a safe space to store and share information, we must be able to quickly identify opportunities to bolster security and adapt to evolving threats. Microsofts cloud technology offers organizations the tools to advance security, enhance government compliance, improve security education, and enable industry collaboration to shut down new threats. Microsoft is creating a new path toward digital transformation in a secure space.

Through cloud technologies, IT professionals now have advanced tools at their fingertips that provide real-time visibility into cybersecurity and the ability to proactively thwart threats before they become an issue. As more organizations move to the cloud, management of security risks can occur in real time. This real-time action on cyber threats helps create cost efficiency, and allows for frequent and seamless updates without reconfiguration, giving IT leaders the upper hand in staying compliant with regulatory guidelines.

With cloud-based technology come real solutions in data loss prevention. IT professionals are using the cloud to secure employee data in new and highly effective ways. Through improved cloud encryption capabilities, organizations can better help protect sensitive information in motion and at rest. Even if cybercriminals are able to breach your network and bypass the first lines of cyber defense, encryption helps keep organizational data from falling into unauthorized hands. Additionally, advanced measures like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and Single Sign-On (SSO) provide additional layers of security by ensuring only those with the proper credentials are able to gain access to information and company platforms. These solutions and innovations in tech security are just the beginning.

With the advent of new technology and the digitization of how IT experts and professionals communicate, a quicker dissemination of knowledge can occur in a collaborative space. Experts can share and explore new ideas and concepts to quickly improve upon cloud technology and how to best address security concerns. By partnering up, industries are able to break new ground on how to secure information, share information, and revolutionize the way government, private enterprise, education systems, and average people navigate a digitally transforming world.

Ready to discover how Microsoft technology is transforming security for a digital-first, cloud-first world, and participate in interactive sessions led by subject matter experts? Microsoft is hosting a series of Security Forums in cities across the United States to demonstrate how organizations can use the latest technology to update and improve their cybersecurity efforts. We invite you to join your fellow IT professionals alongside Microsoft experts to discuss new ways to address evolving cyber threats. Find out how your business can use the power of the cloud to boost security, and get a firsthand look at what Microsoft has to offer.

For more information, including locations near you and a full event calendar, visit the Microsoft Security Forum events page. Dont delay, as seats are limited. Register now to save your spot!

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Microsoft and Progeny Systems enhance security for mobile applications across U.S. Government

In our mobile-first, cloud-first world, security is paramount for organizations of any size. It is especially critical to applications used across the U.S. Government, which is why we are working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate and Progeny Systems to enhance mobile application security.

In support of the broader federal initiative to enable access to quality digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device, Progeny will build a mobile application development security framework for iOS, Android and Windows apps that will be used across several US Government agencies, both for public facing and internal enterprise use cases. This framework will broadly enable developers across the United States Government to focus on building mobile apps that provide business value, with the confidence that security is built in.

The cross-platform, native approach using Visual Studio, the open-source .NET framework, and Xamarin platform will enable developers to build higher quality apps that are fully compliant with the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) mobile app vetting standards, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-163 guidance and the Department of Homeland Securitys Mobile Application Playbook. Utilizing Microsofts leading mobile application development tools, the framework will support mobile apps built to run on-premise and on any cloud platform, including government-only clouds such as Azure Government, which meet critical government regulatory compliance requirements.

Id like to congratulate the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate for their commitment to addressing the mandates of both security and mobility for their stakeholders, said Greg Myers, Microsoft Vice President of Federal. We look forward to partnering with DHS and ultimately, by bringing mobile, secure, and compliant technology solutions helping them fulfil their critical mission.

Microsofts latest award from the DHS comes on the heels of several related public sector certifications and big data and analytics enhancements to our leading mobile apps and security. It also builds on our current work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Applied Research Associates, whose Instant Notification System enables the U.S. governments Combating Terrorism and Threat Support Offices Tactical Support Working Group (TSWG) to quickly and effectively notify team members about suspicious packages or events over commercially available networks.

You can read more about our mobile application security work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate and Progeny Systems in their news release. For details on Microsofts leadership in mobile application development, visit Gartners Magic Quadrant report.

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Easily create securely configured virtual machines

This blog post is authored by Jonathan Trull, Cheif Security Advisor, Enterprise Cybersecurity Group.

While a securely configured operating system is essential to repelling todays cyber attacks, the base images provided by vendors do not come pre-hardened and require significant research, expertise, and proper configuration by the customer. To make it easier for Microsoft customers to deploy secured virtual machines out of the box, I am excited to share the recent availability for purchase of hardened virtual machine images within Azure, based on the partnership between Microsoft and the Center for Internet Security(CIS). CIS is a non-profit entity focused on developing global standards and recognized best practices for securing IT systems and data against the most pervasive attacks. Hardened images are virtual machine images that have been hardened, or configured, to be more resilient to cyber attacks. These images are available in the Azure Marketplace and can be used by Azure customers to create new, securely configured virtual machines.

Establishing and maintaining the secure configuration of an entitys IT infrastructure continues to be a core tenet of information security. History has shown that the misconfiguration or poor configuration of laptops, servers, and network devices is a common cause of data breaches. Global standards, governments, and regulatory bodies have also highlighted the importance of establishing and maintaining secure configurations, and in many cases, have mandated their use due to their effectiveness. I have included a few of the most relevant and wide-ranging examples in the table below.

Source Control Reference
Center for Internet Security Critical Security Controls CIS Control 3 Secure configurations for hardware and software on mobile devices, laptops, workstations, and servers https://www.cisecurity.org/controls/secure-configurations-for-hardware-and-software/
Australian Signals Directorate Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Security Incidents User Application Hardening
Server Application Hardening
Operating System Hardening
https://www.asd.gov.au/infosec/mitigationstrategies.htm
US NIST Cyber Framework PR.IP-1: A baseline configuration of information technology/ industrial control systems is created and maintained https://www.nist.gov/sites/default/files/documents/cyberframework/cybersecurity-framework-021214.pdf
Payment Card Industry Build and maintain a secure network and systems https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/documents/PCIDSS_QRGv3_2.pdf?agreement=true&time=1505339723255

Accessing and Deploying CIS Hardened Images

To view the CIS hardened images, login to the Azure portal and navigate to the Marketplace. You can then search for and filter on the Center for Internet Security. As you can see below, there are hardened images for many of the common operating systems, including Windows Server 2012, Oracle Linux, and Windows Server 2016.

From within the Marketplace blade, you can then select the appropriate image and select the create button to start the deployment journey within the portal or gain further details on deploying the image programmatically. Below is an example showing the start of the deployment of new CIS hardened Windows Server 2016 image.

The hardened images are configured based on the technical specifications established in the related benchmark. These benchmarks are freely available on the CIS website in PDF format.

The CIS benchmarks contain two levels, each with slightly different technical specifications:

  • Level 1 Recommended, minimum security settings that should be configured on any system and should cause little or no interruption of service or reduced functionality
  • Level 2 Recommended security settings for highly secure environments and could result in some reduced functionality.

Prior to deploying one of the CIS hardened images, it is important for the administrator to review the benchmarks specifications and ensure it conforms to the companys policy, procedures, and standards and perform sufficient testing before deploying to a production environment.

CIS is working to release additional, hardened images, so check the Azure Marketplace for new updates.

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What Am I Missing? How to see the users you’re denied from seeing

This blog post is authored by Michael Dubinsky, Principal PM Manager, Microsoft ATA / Azure ATP.

Recently Andy (@_wald0) and Will (@harmj0y), who are amazing contributors to the security community, have published the whitepaperAn ACE Up the Sleeve: Designing Active Directory DACL Backdoors.

In this whitepaper they discuss different methods which can be used by attackers to remain persistent and stealthy in the environment to avoid detection.

In general, this is a very important goal for an attacker and is a big part of a successful mission performed either by a nation state or by a hacker group.

Specifically, in the whitepaper Andy and Will mention the option to setup a Deny ACE on an object created by the attacker. This will cause the object in question to become invisible (not be returned in LDAP queries performed to the Active Directory), which causes the object to avoid being seen (and monitored) by any service account used by monitoring solutions.

This does sound like an issue, as denying permissions from a Domain Admin principle (or the Everyone principle for that matter) will cause an object to become invisible. A cool idea indeed.

So, this made me think is there a way we can identify all the objects to which I dont have permissions?

Sounds like a tough task, however after going through some of the possible resolution APIs together with the ATA security research team, Marina has come across this statement for the LsaLookupSIDs:

There is no access check that would require the caller to be able to read the SID or account name to perform the mapping.

Now that weve found a method to query a SID and get a result regardless of the ACL we can verify whether the object exists or not.

The next step is to identify whether its a permissions issue. In order to validate whether its a permissions issue or not, we can compare the results of this API with the LDAP query results.

If only the LsaLookupSIDs returns a result while the LDAP query fails this means one thing (after cleaning up several bugs related to SidHistory) we dont have permissions on the object!

Ive made a small PowerShell script to demonstrate this capability. The script enumerates all RIDs in a specific domain and compares the LDAP result to the LsaLookupSIDs result to see what I am missing.

The script can be found at https://github.com/michdu/WhatAmIMissing.

This should make discovering ACL hidden objects a little bit easier.

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SharePoint and OneDrive: security you can trust, control you can count on

This post is authored by Bill Baer, Senior Product Marketing Manager, SharePoint and OneDrive Team.

In todays complex and regulated environment, businesses need to focus on building more secure solutions that deliver value to their customers, partners, and shareholdersboth in the cloud and on-premises.

Microsoft has been building enterprise software for decades and running some of the largest online services in the world. We draw from this experience to keep making SharePoint and OneDrive more secure for users, by implementing and continuously improving security-aware software development, operational management, and threat-mitigation practices that are essential to the strong protection of your services and data.

SharePoint and OneDrive are uniquely positioned to help you address these evolving security challenges. To begin with, Microsoft has continued to evolve with new standards and regulations. This has been a guiding principle as we think about security for SharePoint and OneDrive. Right alongside that principle is this one: There is no security without usability. If security gets in the way of productivity, users will find a different, less secure way to do their work.

SharePoint and OneDrive allow your organization to go beyond its regular business rhythms and be nimbler in responding to market changes and opportunities. These solutions enable users to access the files and documents they need wherever they’re doing work while sharing and collaborating in real-time. And you control and own your data while Microsoft takes care of it. Explore the many options SharePoint and OneDrive provide to secure you and your information and then read our eBook Securing your content in the new world of work with SharePoint and OneDrive.

For businesses, the time is now to reevaluate security practices. In the modern communications and collaboration, landscape connectivity is ubiquitous and the ability to work remotely has become an ingrained part of the work practice. People have come to expect to be able to access email and documents from anywhere on any device – and for that experience to be seamless.

While this has been an enormous boost to productivity, it also presents huge challenges for security. Previously, businesses needed to concern themselves with a firewall that ended at the corporate boundary. Now that boundary has shifted to the end user. Businesses need to ensure sure that corporate data is safe while enabling users to stay productive in today’s mobile-first world, where the threat landscape is increasingly complex and sophisticated.

We know that data loss is non-negotiable, and overexposure to information can have legal and compliance implications. SharePoint and OneDrive provide a broad array of features and capabilities designed to make certain that your sensitive information remains that way with investments across our security and compliance principles to include compliance tools that span on-premises servers and Office 365 while providing a balance between enabling user self-service.

The rapidly-changing security landscape means that your organization’s content – its knowledge – is being shared more broadly, and accessed from more devices and more locations, than ever before. We’re committed to the security, privacy, and compliance of your data, and we continuously innovate intelligent ways to protect your content and to empower you to govern and manage information. Last month we announced label-based classification for information management policies, which enable a more dynamic governance of content across SharePoint, Exchange, and Skype, and Microsoft Teams. We’re continuously working to ensure content usage adheres to corporate policy defending your organization from todays growing and evolving advanced threats.

To learn more about security and compliance with SharePoint and OneDrive:

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Announcing support for TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 in XP POSReady 2009

This post is authored by Arden White, Senior Program Manager, Windows Servicingand Delivery.

As a follow-up to our announcement regarding TLS 1.2 support at Microsoft, we are announcing that support for TLS1.1/TLS 1.2 on Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 and Windows Embedded Standard 2009 is now available for download as of October 17th, 2017. Were offering this support in recognition that our customers have a strong demand for support for these newer protocols in their environment.

This update for Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 and Windows Embedded Standard 2009 will include support for both TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2. For application compatibility purposes, these protocols will be disabled by default in a manner similar to the TLS 1.1/TLS 1.2 support that was disabled by default in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. After downloading and installing the update these protocols can be enabled by setting the registry keys described in KB4019276.

This update is being made available on the following timeline:

Release Date Channels Classification
October 17, 2017 Microsoft Catalog
January 16, 2018 Windows Update/WSUS/Catalog Optional
February 13, 2018 Windows Update/WSUS/Catalog Recommended

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Advanced Threat Analytics security research network technical analysis: NotPetya

This post is authored by Igal Gofman, Security Researcher, Advanced Threat Analytics.

On June 27, 2017 reports on a new variant of Petya (which was later referred to as NotPetya) malware infection began spreading across the globe. It seems the malwares initial infection delivered via the “M.E.doc” update service, a Ukrainian finance application. Based on our investigation so far, the propagation steps executed by the malware can be considered sophisticated and well tested.
The malware distributes itself as a DLL file, spreading over internal networks using different lateral movement techniques.

This blog post focuses on the network behavior analysis of NotPetya and the techniques it uses to propagate in the network. This is ongoing research, and well update with additional findings as those become available.

Malware Propagation Flows

Delivery & Initial execution

The malware is delivered via the “M.E.doc” service to infect the first endpoint.

The malware executes and extracts the relevant components to disk. These include:

  1. PsExec – Network remote execution tool.
  2. A credential dumping tool.

More information on these steps can be found at the Windows Security blog.

Reconnaissance

The internal network is probed using multiple discovery methods to identify new workstations and domain controllers. These include:

  • LANMAN NetServerEnum2 API used to get information about workstations and domain controllers.
  • Probing using ports 139 and 445 to other endpoints.
  • If a domain controller is accessible, the malware queries its DHCP Service to enumerate DHCP subnet.
  • In case DHCP subnets are discovered, the malware will continue its discovery against those subnets as well.

Reconnaissance example – NetServerEnum2

In the screenshot above, we can see the NetServerEnum2 API used by the infected machine.
The response includes the domain controller and a list of all known workstations response.

Lateral Movement

To spread itself on the network, the malware tries to access the administrative share ($admin).

  • If the SeDebugPrivilege privilege obtained (Step2), a credentials dumping tool is used to recover additional user credentials from the local memory.
  • Our lab tests have shown that in addition to the current account session, only one additional user is used by the malware to probe the remote hosts. The malware seems to ignore memory dumped users who were tagged under a new credentials session. Moreover, it seems like only one user (the last one who is in memory) is used to probe the destination host
  • Each target endpoint is accessed using multiple authentication protocols, such as NTLM and Kerberos over GSSAPI (SPNEGO). The credentials used for access are:

    • Current user context, under which the malware is running.
    • Successfully dumped credentials (if available).

In the screenshot below, we can see multiple CIFS ticket requests performed by the malware on behalf of the dumped user. Such broad abnormal access attempts performed by the malware will be detected by Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) abnormal behavior detection. Based on previously learned user behavior analytics, the detection mechanism will recognize and alert on the abnormal resource access performed by the malware using the compromised credentials.

Multiple TGS-REQ

In the screenshot above, we can see multiple CIFS ticket requests.

Example of abnormal user access – ATA

Remote Execution

If access to the administrative share was obtained, the malware copies itself to the target host and executes PSEXEC and WMIC.

Malware Copy

PSEXEC Service creation

In the screenshot above, the infected host starts executing the PSEXEC tool.

Exploitation (optional)

If all propagation steps failed, the malware tries to execute one of the SMB exploits (MS17-010).

Available SMB Exploits:

  1. EternalBlue CVE-2017-0144
  2. EternalRomance – CVE-2017-0145

The above steps are performed simultaneously, using multiple threads and runs against each target host. For further information regarding the SMB exploit mitigation, malware encryption steps and initial infection stage, please refer to the Petya worm capabilities blog post.

The spreading capabilities used by the NotPetya malware introduce a new level of sophistication when executing lateral movement.

Detection and mitigation

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics allows customers to detect and to investigate a variety of advanced techniques including the lateral movement technique used by NotPetya.

This type of lateral movement can be detected by ATA as abnormal resource access – given the large scanning performed by the user to attempt access additional endpoints on the subnet.

There are several ways customers can detect and prevent NotPetya from impacting their environment.

First, we strongly recommend customers that have not yet installed security update MS17-010 to do so as soon as possible. If applying the patch is not possible, disable SMB V1 on the corporate networks.

Second, we recommend that you verify good credential hygiene. To learn more, read the following article about protecting high value assets with secure admin workstations.

Additional Resources

KB

Blog

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Stepping up protection with intelligent security

September 25th, 2017 No comments

With digital transformation, technology becomes increasingly central to every business and organization. This makes ensuring cybersecurity increasingly important. And, as employees increase their use of mobile devices and cloud-based apps, protecting their work requires a new approach for IT. With 80% of employees admitting to the use of non-approved cloud apps for work, ensuring data protection cannot be left to employees to manage.

To address these needs, Microsoft continues to take a multi-faceted approach to providing built-in security capabilities. These span areas across:

  • Protecting at the front door
  • Protecting data anywhere
  • Achieving data security compliance objectives
  • Detecting and recovering from attacks
  • Managing the security tool set

The Microsoft security tools continuously improve with insight from the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, which serves as the connective tissue across Microsoft security solutions. Today at Ignite, we are announcing new integrations, expanded capabilities, and partnerships toward addressing the complex areas of cybersecurity for all organizations.

Protect at the front door

The vast majority of security breaches continue to trace back to weak or stolen passwords. Because it’s proving to work, attackers are increasing their focus on stealing passwords to access corporate systems. The latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report shows a 300 percent increase in user account attacks. To address this growing issue, it is essential to focus on securing identities and access. Our cloud-based approach is through broadly implemented conditional access.

Conditional access enables you to control who has access to your organization’s resources based on a combination of risk factors, such as user account activity, physical location, and the trustworthiness of the device. Azure Active Directory analyzes these factors and applies continuous cybersecurity threat intelligence, powered by Microsoft’s Intelligent Security Graph. This insight provides real-time risk assessment, and triggers the appropriate authentication requirements needed for accessing apps and data. Today, we are expanding conditional access capabilities by integrating with Microsoft Cloud App Security, Azure Information Protection, and our partners in the ecosystem:

  • Microsoft Cloud App Security performs real-time monitoring and helps IT gain control over cloud apps and how employees use these apps. Now with Cloud App Security, users’ actions taken in cloud applications can be managed and controlled based on conditional access policies and proxy-enforced session restrictions. For example, you can allow users to access cloud apps from an unfamiliar location or unmanaged device, but prevent them from downloading documents.
  • To further enhance security at the file level, we’re introducing conditional access for sensitive files. With the integration of Azure Information Protection and Azure Active Directory, conditional access can be set up to allow or block access to documents protected with Azure Information Protection. You can also enforce additional security requirements such as multi-factor authentication or device enrollment.
  • Not only are we providing better integration within our own solutions to deliver holistic and identity-driven security, we also are working with our partners to extend conditional access in the ecosystem. In addition to Azure multi-factor authentication (MFA), you can now use RSA, Duo or Trusona for two-step authentication as part of your conditional access policy.

Protect your data anywhere

Employees are using more SaaS apps, creating more data, and working across multiple devices. While this has enabled people to do more, it has also increased the risk of data loss – it is estimated that 58% of workers have accidentally shared sensitive data with the wrong person.

Microsoft’s Information Protection solutions help you detect, classify, protect and monitor your data – regardless of where it is stored or shared. Today, we’re announcing several new investments in the integration across our information protection solutions – helping provide more comprehensive protection across the data lifecycle.

A key part of this vision is to provide a more consistent and integrated classification, labeling and protection approach across our information protection technologies, enabling persistent protection of your data – everywhere. Microsoft Cloud App Security natively integrates with Azure Information Protection to classify and label files that reside in cloud applications.

Finally, we are announcing the general availability of improvements to Office 365 message encryption, which makes it easier to share protected emails with anybody – inside or outside of your organization. Recipients can view protected Office 365 emails on a variety of devices, using common email clients or even consumer email services such as Gmail and Outlook.com.

Achieve your data security compliance objectives

Regulated organizations have additional needs to demonstrate compliance, and we’re investing in tools to help achieve those goals.

Customer Key can help regulated customers meet their security compliance obligations by providing added control and management of encryption keys. To learn more, check out this video example of how Customer Key works in SharePoint Online.

Beyond just security compliance, achieving organizational compliance is a complex challenge. It’s hard to stay up-to-date with all the regulations that matter to your organization, and to define and implement controls with limited in-house capability. We’re pleased to introduce the upcoming preview of Compliance Manager, which enables you to manage your compliance posture from one place and stay up-to-date on evolving data protection regulations. Compliance Manager enables real-time risk assessment with one intelligent score reflecting your compliance posture against data protection regulations when using Microsoft cloud services. It also provides recommended actions and step-by-step guidance to help you improve your compliance posture.

Detect and recover from attacks

On average breaches exist for over 90 days in a customer’s environment before they are detected. In response, many organizations are moving to an assume breach posture. We continue to invest in tools that help detect attacks sooner and then remediate. But, we know it’s also important to continue investing in pre-breach attack prevention tools.

Today, we are announcing several new capabilities to further improve our anti-phishing capabilities in Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, with a focus on mitigating content phishing, domain spoofing, and impersonation campaigns. Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection is also expanded to help secure SharePoint Online, OneDrive for business, and Teams. In Office 365 Threat Intelligence, we have introduced threat insights and tracking to help with detection and remediation. In Windows, we are adding Windows Defender Application Control, which is powered by the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph to make it less likely that malicious code can run on the endpoint.

On the post-breach detection side, we are announcing the limited preview of a brand-new service – Azure Advanced Threat Protection for users – that brings our on-premises identity threat detection capabilities to the cloud and integrates them with the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph. Powered by the graph, our Advanced Threat Protection products have a unified view of security event data so your security operations analysts can investigate an incident from endpoint to end-user to e-mail. Finally, as previously announced earlier in the month, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection is integrating Hexadite’s AI technology to automatically investigate new alerts, determine the complexity of a threat, and take the necessary actions to remediate it.

Security management

Protecting resources across distributed infrastructure against evolving cyberthreats demands a new approach to security management – a solution that provides comprehensive visibility, consistent controls and actionable intelligence and guidance.

We are announcing today that Azure Security Center, which helps customers protect workloads running in Azure against cybersecurity threats, can now also be used to secure workloads running on-premises and in other private and public clouds. Azure Security Center reduces management complexity by delivering visibility and control over workloads across clouds, enables adaptive threat prevention to reduce your exposure to threats, and provides intelligent detection to help you keep pace with rapidly evolving cyberattacks.

Azure Security Center also has new capabilities to enable central management of security policies, better detect and defend against advanced threats, and streamline investigation of threats for your hybrid workloads. Read the Azure blog to learn more about these and other new features.

Getting started

We have made it easier than ever to get end-to-end security solutions up and running. FastTrack for Microsoft 365 now provides deployment services for key security scenarios, giving you the resources, tools, and support you need from Microsoft engineers.

FastTrack for Microsoft 365 can work with you directly, work with your existing partner, or help you get matched with a trusted Microsoft partner to deploy comprehensive security solutions. And the best part is this isn’t a one-time benefit. It is a repeatable resource that you can use to ensure you have the help and resources you need.

You can go to fasttrack.microsoft.com and get help to deploy Microsoft products to address some of the most common security scenarios including:

  • Working securely from anywhere, anytime on almost any device enabling a flexible workstyle
  • Protect your data on files, apps and devices within and across orgs
  • Detect and protect against external threats
  • Protect your users and their accounts
  • Securely collaborate on documents in real time
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New Microsoft 365 features to accelerate GDPR compliance

This post is authored by Alym Rayani, Director Office 365 Security. 

New capabilities in Microsoft 365 help simplify your GDPR compliance journey

Today we made several Microsoft 365 security and compliance announcements and updates as part of the news from the Microsoft Ignite conference. I wanted to share how these new capabilities provide customers with a more complete and protected solution to simplify their journey to compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Earlier this year, we brought together Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Windows into a single, always-up-to-date solution called Microsoft 365 – relieving organizations from much of the cost of multiple, fragmented systems that were not necessarily designed to be compliant with modern standards. These announcements at Ignite add to our extensive capabilities that organizations are already using to secure and manage their data, users, and devices.

A platform you can trust, and verify

We understand that organizations with GDPR responsibilities will have additional needs to demonstrate compliance, and we’re investing in tools to help them achieve those goals.

Microsoft 365 users enjoy built-in security and compliance for the apps, services, and devices that they use every day. Microsoft has a long history of transparency, defense-in-depth, and privacy-by-design that enabled us to be the first enterprise cloud services provider to implement the rigorous controls needed to earn approval for the EU Model Clauses, the first to achieve ISO’s 27018 cloud privacy standard, and the first to offer contractual commitments to the GDPR.

Introducing Compliance Manager – We understand that achieving your organizational compliance goals can be very challenging. It’s hard to stay up-to-date with all the regulations that matter to your organization, and to define and implement the controls.

We’re pleased to introduce Compliance Manager, a new compliance solution that helps you to manage your compliance posture from one place. Compliance Manager enables you to conduct real-time risk assessment, providing one intelligent score that reflects your compliance performance against data protection regulatory requirements when using Microsoft cloud services.

You will also be able to use the built-in control management and audit-ready reporting tools to improve and monitor your compliance posture. Read our Tech Community Blog to learn more about Compliance Manager, and sign up for the preview program, which will be available starting in November.

Example of Compliance Manager dashboard

General availability of service encryption with Customer Key – We’re announcing the availability of service encryption with Customer Key, which can help regulated customers demonstrate additional compliance controls by managing the encryption keys for their Office 365 data. Here is an example of how Customer Key works in SharePoint Online:

Simplify how you govern data

Organizations face ever increasing quantities of complex electronic data. Gaining control over this data overload so that you know what to keep and find what’s relevant – when you need it – is critical for both security and compliance purposes. Today we are introducing several new features which further enhance the already rich set of capabilities available with Microsoft Information Protection and Advanced Data Governance.

Companies of all sizes and industries need to protect their sensitive data and ensure that it doesn’t get into the wrong hands. Employees are using more SaaS apps, creating more data, and working across multiple devices. While this has enabled people to do more, it has also increased the risk of data loss – it is estimated that 58% of workers have accidentally shared sensitive data with the wrong person.

Microsoft’s Information Protection solutions help you identify, classify, protect and monitor your sensitive data – as it is created, stored, or shared. We made several investments across our information protection solutions – helping provide more comprehensive protection across the data lifecycle. A key part of our vision is to provide a more consistent and integrated classification, labeling, and protection approach across our information protection technologies, enabling persistent protection of your data – everywhere. Microsoft Cloud App Security now deeply integrates with Azure Information Protection to classify and label files that reside in cloud applications.

Advanced Data Governance enhancements, including event based retention in Office 365 Advanced Data Governance, allows customers to create events which will trigger the retention period of data in Office 365 to consistently comply with internal business requirements. Disposing of data in a defensible manner allows organizations to effectively reduce their security and compliance risks. This feature is currently in the standard Office 365 Universal Preview Program and available for you to try.

New Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365 enable a single tenant to span multiple Office 365 datacenter geographies (geos) to store data at-rest and on a per-user basis in customer specified geos. Multi-Geo helps customers address organizational, regional, and local data residency requirements and enables modern collaboration experiences for their globally dispersed employees. Learn more about Multi-Geo.

Also, we are announcing the general availability of improvements to Office 365 message encryption, which makes it easier to share protected emails with anybody – inside or outside of your organization. Recipients can view protected Office 365 emails on a variety of devices, using common email clients or even consumer email services such as Gmail, Outlook.com, and Live.com.

Use intelligent tools to better discover and control your data

Many organizations are evaluating how to find and protect the personal data they collect. With the explosion of data and its increasing value – many organizations cannot adequately manage their assets with traditional manual processes.

Unfortunately, even once you know where all the data is and how it should be managed, you must constantly ensure it is protected from threats. The GDPR requires organizations take appropriate measures to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure and to notify stakeholders in the case of breach. Today, on average attacks exist for over 90 days in an environment prior to detection. Microsoft continues to invest in tools that help detect attacks sooner and then remediate, as well as in pre-breach attack prevention tools.

Analysis of non-Office 365 data with Advanced eDiscovery: While the amount of data being generated and stored in Office 365 is growing at an exponential rate, many organizations still have data in legacy file shares and archives. Data is also being generated in other cloud services which may be relevant for an eDiscovery case surrounding a Data Subject Request. Analysis of non-Office 365 data allows organizations to import the case-specific copy of such data into a specifically assigned Azure container and analyze it using Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery. Having one eDiscovery workflow for both Office 365 and non-Office 365 data provides organizations with the consistency they need to make defensible decisions across the entire data set of a case.

This feature is currently in preview and requires an Advanced eDiscovery license for each user whose data is being analyzed. Later this year, in addition to Advanced eDiscovery licenses this feature will require the purchase of the eDiscovery Storage plan for all non-Office 365 data imported into the specifically assigned Azure container for analysis by Advanced eDiscovery. The eDiscovery Storage plan comes in increments of 500GB of storage and is priced at $100 per month.

Example of Advanced eDiscovery

To better protect your users against threats, we also improved our anti-phishing capabilities in Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, with a focus on mitigating content phishing, domain spoofing, and impersonation campaigns. Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection is also expanded to help secure SharePoint Online, OneDrive for business, and Teams. In Windows, we added Windows Defender Application Control, which is powered by the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph to make it less likely that malicious code can run on that endpoint.

On the post-breach detection side, we announced the limited preview of a brand-new service – Azure Advanced Threat Protection for users – that brings our on-premises identity threat detection capabilities to the cloud and integrates them with the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph. Finally, as previously announced earlier in the month, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection is integrating Hexadite’s AI technology to automatically investigate new alerts, determine the complexity of a threat, and take the necessary actions to remediate it.

Office 365 security management updates – We have also made a few updates to Advanced Security Management to give you even better visibility and control over Office 365. To help organizations in the EU meet their compliance obligations, starting in October, we will begin hosting Advanced Security Management in our EU datacenter region. We are also giving you additional visibility into the service by adding support for activities from Skype for Business, Yammer and Office 365 Threat Intelligence. The signals from these services will be used to generate activity alerts and be factored into anomaly detection alerts. Lastly, to better align our Microsoft 365 investments, we are renaming Advanced Security Management to Office 365 Cloud App Security.

Taking the next step on your GDPR compliance journey

The GDPR is compelling every organization to consider how they will respond to today’s security and compliance challenges. It may require significant changes to how your business gathers, uses, and governs data.

As a global company with hundreds of millions of customers around the globe, we are subject to many stringent regulations including the GDPR and we understand the challenges you face. As your trusted partner, we are committed to going beyond our minimum responsibilities and always working on behalf of your best interests. To that end, Microsoft is an active participant in a community of compliance experts that can support all aspects of your GDPR journey – such as audit and consulting, cloud migration assistance, as well as delivering specific point solutions.

For more details on these announcements and the other capabilities of Microsoft 365, read the new whitepaper: Accelerate your GDPR compliance journey with Microsoft 365.

 

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