Adversaries may gather information about the victim's business relationships that can be used during targeting. Information about an organization’s business relationships may include a variety of details, including second or third-party organizations/domains (ex: managed service providers, contractors, etc.) that have connected (and potentially elevated) network access. This information may also reveal supply chains and shipment paths for the victim’s hardware and software resources.
Adversaries may gather this information in various ways, such as direct elicitation via Phishing for Information. Information about business relationships may also be exposed to adversaries via online or other accessible data sets (ex: Social Media or Search Victim-Owned Websites). Gathering this information may reveal opportunities for other forms of reconnaissance (ex: Phishing for Information or Search Open Websites/Domains), establishing operational resources (ex: Establish Accounts or Compromise Accounts), and/or initial access (ex: Supply Chain Compromise, Drive-by Compromise, or Trusted Relationship).
This technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on behaviors performed outside of the scope of enterprise defenses and controls. Efforts should focus on minimizing the amount and sensitivity of data available to external parties.
Much of this activity may have a very high occurrence and associated false positive rate, as well as potentially taking place outside the visibility of the target organization, making detection difficult for defenders.
Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Initial Access.