Mitigating Azure AD and Outlook Vulnerabilities

with Next Level3 JIT Access

Exploring the vulnerabilities

In light of the emerging security issues, Microsoft is confronted with serious vulnerabilities in both its Outlook service (CVE-2023-23397) and Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). Threat actors have exploited these vulnerabilities to carry out advanced cyber-attacks. This article delves into these vulnerabilities and how Next Level3 Solutions proactively mitigate these threats, leveraging Azure’s Protected Actions feature.

CVE-2023-23397 in Outlook

The CVE-2023-23397 vulnerability in Outlook presents a privilege escalation flaw that allows threat actors to steal NTLM hashes without any user interaction. By sending specially crafted emails, attackers can trigger a connection from the victim to an untrusted location under their control, leading to the leak of the victim's Net-NTLMv2 hash to an untrusted network.

Azure Active Directory Flaw

Azure AD carries a severe flaw that enables threat actors to install backdoors. This flaw also allows hackers to modify access rights, bypass multi-factor authentication, block admin access without appropriate logging, and collect data on policy configurations to facilitate future attacks.

Implementing Next Level3's Security Solutions

Next Level3's security solutions are designed to address and prevent vulnerabilities such as CVE-2023-23397 and Azure AD flaw. They focus on three core areas: enhancing security protocols, improving existing infrastructure, and promoting a proactive approach to identifying and mitigating threats.

Layering Security Protocols

By layering security protocols, Next Level3's products effectively respond to different stages of an attack. They prevent unauthorized access and swiftly detect and neutralize threats before they cause significant damage.

Enhancing Existing Infrastructures

The products integrate seamlessly into existing infrastructures, which enhances their ability to detect and respond to threats. This means they can work with Azure AD's identity and access management service, enhancing their capabilities to resist any threats associated with its vulnerabilities.

Leveraging Azure's Protected Actions

Next Level3 takes a proactive approach to threat mitigation, a part of which involves leveraging Azure's new Protected Actions feature. This feature improves Conditional Access by targeting individual high-risk actions in the Azure AD Portal, providing a defense-in-depth approach, and delivering optimized security for highly sensitive operations.

Implementing Protected Actions

Protected Actions, when properly implemented, can effectively prevent privileged operations from being exploited, providing an additional layer of protection. The feature can be applied to specific user actions executed within the Azure AD portal, including those involving modifications to access rights and multi-factor authentication configurations.

How Protected Actions Work

The implementation of Azure’s Protected Actions feature follows a three-step process:

  1. Preparation
    This involves setting up ‘regular’ Conditional Access (CA) policies and migrating trusted IPs from the legacy MFA portal to ‘Named Locations’ in Azure AD.
  2. Configuration
    This step requires configuring Protected Actions and Conditional Access Rule, involving the creation of a new ‘Authentication Context’ and tagging the action with the Authentication Context.
  3. Administrator Experience and Logging
    This involves testing the behavior from the user who is included in the rule and has the ‘Conditional Access Administrator’ role. By using ‘Authentication Context’, ‘Protected Actions’, and ‘Conditional Access’, administrators can execute specific actions from a particular device or with a specific method.

Robust Defense

Next Level3’s products, combined with Azure’s new Protected Actions feature, form a robust defense mechanism to prevent the exploitation of vulnerabilities such as CVE-2023-23397 and the Azure AD flaw. These tools promote a proactive approach to security and offer comprehensive protection, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information and operations.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can prevent your organization from these and other type of attacks.

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