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How to Detect Azure Active Directory Backdoors

During the Solarwinds breach performed by Russian threat actors, one of the techniques utilised by the threat actors to gain control of a victim’s Azure Active Directory (AAD) was to create an AAD backdoor through identity federation. The implication of this attack was that the threat actors were able to log in and impersonate any Microsoft 365 (M365) user and bypass all requirements for MFA as well as bypass any need to enter a valid password. As you can imagine, if the correct detection controls are not in place – this can allow persistence for the threat actors to impersonate any user and maintain access and control of the victim’s AAD / M365 instance.

The technique of backdooring AAD is a technique that tends to be used post-compromise – whereby an attacker has already gained access to an account with Global Administrator or Hybrid Identity Administrator privileges. As such, it’s crucial organisations are monitoring for accounts that get given these two privileges.

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