Search Closed Sources: Purchase Technical Data
Before compromising a victim, adversaries may purchase technical information about victims that can be used during targeting. Information about victims may be available for purchase within reputable private sources and databases, such as paid subscriptions to feeds of scan databases or other data aggregation services. Adversaries may also purchase information from less-reputable sources such as dark web or cybercrime blackmarkets.
Adversaries may purchase information about their already identified targets, or use purchased data to discover opportunities for successful breaches. Threat actors may gather various technical details from purchased data, including but not limited to employee contact information, credentials, or specifics regarding a victim’s infrastructure. Information from these sources may reveal opportunities for other forms of reconnaissance (ex: Phishing for Information or Search Open Websites/Domains), establishing operational resources (ex: Develop Capabilities or Obtain Capabilities), and/or initial access (ex: External Remote Services or Valid Accounts).
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.