Valid Accounts: Cloud Accounts
Adversaries may obtain and abuse credentials of a cloud account as a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. Cloud accounts are those created and configured by an organization for use by users, remote support, services, or for administration of resources within a cloud service provider or SaaS application. In some cases, cloud accounts may be federated with traditional identity management system, such as Window Active Directory. 
Compromised credentials for cloud accounts can be used to harvest sensitive data from online storage accounts and databases. Access to cloud accounts can also be abused to gain Initial Access to a network by abusing a Trusted Relationship. Similar to Domain Accounts, compromise of federated cloud accounts may allow adversaries to more easily move laterally within an environment.
Use multi-factor authentication for cloud accounts, especially privileged accounts. This can be implemented in a variety of forms (e.g. hardware, virtual, SMS), and can also be audited using administrative reporting features.
Ensure that cloud accounts, particularly privileged accounts, have complex, unique passwords across all systems on the network. Passwords and access keys should be rotated regularly. This limits the amount of time credentials can be used to access resources if a credential is compromised without your knowledge. Cloud service providers may track access key age to help audit and identify keys that may need to be rotated.
|Privileged Account Management||
Review privileged cloud account permission levels routinely to look for those that could allow an adversary to gain wide access. These reviews should also check if new privileged cloud accounts have been created that were not authorized.
|User Account Management||
Periodically review user accounts and remove those that are inactive or unnecessary. Limit the ability for user accounts to create additional accounts.
Monitor the activity of cloud accounts to detect abnormal or malicious behavior, such as accessing information outside of the normal function of the account or account usage at atypical hours.
- Amazon. (n.d.). Identity Federation in AWS. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- Google. (n.d.). Federating Google Cloud with Active Directory. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- Microsoft. (n.d.). Deploying Active Directory Federation Services in Azure. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- Microsoft Threat Protection Intelligence Team. (2020, June 18). Inside Microsoft Threat Protection: Mapping attack chains from cloud to endpoint. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
- Moncur, Rob. (2020, July 5). New Information in the AWS IAM Console Helps You Follow IAM Best Practices. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
- Microsoft. (2016, April 15). Attractive Accounts for Credential Theft. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
- Microsoft. (2016, April 16). Implementing Least-Privilege Administrative Models. Retrieved June 3, 2016.