What is MITRE ATT&CK Exfiltration (TA0010)?
Understanding the MITRE ATT&CK Framework is crucial for cybersecurity professionals. This framework is built as a knowledge base that houses key information about the tactics and techniques used by adversaries that is valuable for professionals to gain a better understanding of how adversaries achieve their goals.
MITRE ATT&CK Exfiltration (TA0010) tactic represents the unauthorized movement of data from within a network to an external destination. Imagine a burglar: after breaking into a house, next begins taking the valuables out. In a digital context, exfiltration is akin to this extraction process, but with data as the 'valuables'.
- Automated Exfiltration: One collected, adversaries often exfiltrate data, including sensitive documents, account information, and more, by utilizing automated processing.
- Exfiltration Over Command and Control (C2) Channel: By leveraging the same protocol as command and control communications, adversaries can exfiltrate stolen data via normal communications channels.
- Data Transfer Size Limits: Adversaries often break large pieces of data into smaller pieces to avoid detection and not trigger alerts based on certain thresholds.
- Exfiltration Over Alternative Protocol: To avoid using the same channels multiple times, adversaries may exfiltrate stolen data with protocols other than that of their command and control channel.
- Exfiltration Over Physical Medium: Adversaries may try to exfiltrate data via a physical device, such as a USB drive or external hard drive. This is often leveraged when dealing with otherwise disconnected systems.
- Exfiltration Over Web Service: At times, adversaries may exfiltrate data to cloud storage, code repositories, or text storage sites. This allows them to access data store, edit, and retrieve data more easily.
Mitigating Exfiltration Threats
- Data Transfer Monitoring: Actively review logs for unusual data transfers, especially to unknown or suspicious destinations.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Tools: Incorporate tools that can immediately detect and prevent unauthorized data transfers.
- Employee Education: Regularly update staff on the latest exfiltration techniques, emphasizing the importance of adhering to data security protocols and recognizing potential threats.
- Network Segmentation: Divide the network into segments to limit attackers' ability to move laterally and access valuable data.
- Encryption: Encrypt sensitive data so that even if it is exfiltrated, it remains undecipherable without the decryption key.
Exfiltration is a sophisticated culmination of tactics that adversaries use to extract valuable data from an organization. By understanding their techniques and proactively investing in preventive and responsive measures, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches.
How NETSCOUT Helps
Omnis Cyber Intelligence (OCI) helps detect several types of exfiltration. For example, automated exfiltration and exfiltration over C2 channels can be detected by triggering alerts within the platform. OCI monitors connections and transfers in and out of the most complex networks to help identify them before it’s too late.