Posted by Matt Thomlinson, Vice President, Microsoft Security
Microsoft released new guidance to help our customers address credential theft, called Mitigating Pass-the-Hash and Other Credential Theft, version 2.
“The paper encourages IT professionals to “assume breach” to highlight the need for the use of holistic planning strategies and features in Microsoft Windows to become more resilient against credential theft attacks. This paper builds on our previously released guidance and mitigations for Pass-the-Hash (PtH) attacks.
Given that organizations must continue to operate after a breach, it is critical for them to have a plan to minimize the impact of successful attacks on their ongoing operations. Adopting an approach that assumes a breach will occur, ensures that organizations have a holistic plan in place before an attack occurs. A planned approach enables defenders to close the seams that attackers are aiming to exploit.
The guidance also underscores another important point – that technical features alone may not prevent lateral movement and privilege escalation. In order to substantially reduce credential theft attacks, organizations should consider the attacker mindset and use strategies such as identifying key assets, implementing detection mechanisms, and having a breach recovery plan. These strategies can be implemented in combination with Windows features to provide a more effective defensive approach, and are aligned to the well-known National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. “