Third-party applications and software deployment systems may be in use in the network environment for administration purposes (e.g., SCCM, VNC, HBSS, Altiris, etc.). If an adversary gains access to these systems, then they may be able to execute code.
Adversaries may gain access to and use third-party systems installed within an enterprise network, such as administration, monitoring, and deployment systems as well as third-party gateways and jump servers used for managing other systems. Access to a third-party network-wide or enterprise-wide software system may enable an adversary to have remote code execution on all systems that are connected to such a system. The access may be used to laterally move to other systems, gather information, or cause a specific effect, such as wiping the hard drives on all endpoints.
The permissions required for this action vary by system configuration; local credentials may be sufficient with direct access to the third-party system, or specific domain credentials may be required. However, the system may require an administrative account to log in or to perform it's intended purpose.
|Active Directory Configuration||
Ensure proper system and access isolation for critical network systems through use of group policy.
Ensure proper system and access isolation for critical network systems through use of multi-factor authentication.
Ensure proper system isolation for critical network systems through use of firewalls.
Verify that account credentials that may be used to access deployment systems are unique and not used throughout the enterprise network.
|Privileged Account Management||
Grant access to application deployment systems only to a limited number of authorized administrators.
|Remote Data Storage||
If the application deployment system can be configured to deploy only signed binaries, then ensure that the trusted signing certificates are not co-located with the application deployment system and are instead located on a system that cannot be accessed remotely or to which remote access is tightly controlled.
Patch deployment systems regularly to prevent potential remote access through Exploitation for Privilege Escalation.
|User Account Management||
Ensure that any accounts used by third-party providers to access these systems are traceable to the third-party and are not used throughout the network or used by other third-party providers in the same environment. Ensure there are regular reviews of accounts provisioned to these systems to verify continued business need, and ensure there is governance to trace de-provisioning of access that is no longer required. Ensure proper system and access isolation for critical network systems through use of account privilege separation.
Have a strict approval policy for use of deployment systems.
Detection methods will vary depending on the type of third-party software or system and how it is typically used.
The same investigation process can be applied here as with other potentially malicious activities where the distribution vector is initially unknown but the resulting activity follows a discernible pattern. Analyze the process execution trees, historical activities from the third-party application (such as what types of files are usually pushed), and the resulting activities or events from the file/binary/script pushed to systems.
Often these third-party applications will have logs of their own that can be collected and correlated with other data from the environment. Ensure that third-party application logs are on-boarded to the enterprise logging system and the logs are regularly reviewed. Audit software deployment logs and look for suspicious or unauthorized activity. A system not typically used to push software to clients that suddenly is used for such a task outside of a known admin function may be suspicious.
Perform application deployment at regular times so that irregular deployment activity stands out. Monitor process activity that does not correlate to known good software. Monitor account login activity on the deployment system.