Windows Defender ATP machine learning: Detecting new and unusual breach activity

Microsoft has been investing heavily in next-generation security technologies. These technologies use our ability to consolidate large sets of data and build intelligent systems that learn from that data. These machine learning (ML) systems flag and surface threats that would otherwise remain unnoticed amidst the continuous hum of billions of normal events and the inability…

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Detecting stealthier cross-process injection techniques with Windows Defender ATP: Process hollowing and atom bombing

Advanced cyberattacks emphasize stealth and persistence: the longer they stay under the radar, the more they can move laterally, exfiltrate data, and cause damage. To avoid detection, attackers are increasingly turning to cross-process injection. Cross-process injection gives attackers the ability to run malicious code that masquerades as legitimate programs. With code injection, attackers don’t have…

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Exploring the crypt: Analysis of the WannaCrypt ransomware SMB exploit propagation

On May 12, there was a major outbreak of WannaCrypt ransomware. WannaCrypt directly borrowed exploit code from the ETERNALBLUE exploit and the DoublePulsar backdoor module leaked in April by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers. Using ETERNALBLUE, WannaCrypt propagated as a worm on older platforms, particularly Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 systems that haven’t…

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Windows 10 platform resilience against the Petya ransomware attack

The Petya ransomware attack on June 27, 2017 (which we analyzed in-depth in this blog) may have been perceived as an outbreak worse than last month’s WannaCrypt (also known as WannaCry) attack. After all, it uses the same SMB exploit used by WannaCrypt and adds a second exploit and other lateral movement methods. However, our…

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What’s new in Windows Defender ATP Fall Creators Update

When we introduced Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (Windows Defender ATP), our initial focus was to reduce the time it takes companies to detect, investigate, and respond to advanced attacks. The Windows Fall Creators Update represents a new chapter in our product evolution as we offer a set of new prevention capabilities designed to stop…

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Analysis of the Shadow Brokers release and mitigation with Windows 10 virtualization-based security

On April 14, a group calling themselves the Shadow Brokers caught the attention of the security community by releasing a set of weaponized exploits. Shortly thereafter, one of these exploits was used to create wormable malware that we now know as WannaCrypt, which targeted a large number of out-of-date systems and held encrypted files for…

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Windows 10 Creators Update provides next-gen ransomware protection

Multiple high-profile incidents have demonstrated that ransomware can have catastrophic effects on all of us. From personally losing access to your own digital property, to being impacted because critical infrastructure or health care services are unexpectedly unavailable for extended periods of time, destructive attacks have grown in severity and scale on all platforms – including…


PLATINUM continues to evolve, find ways to maintain invisibility

Back in April 2016, we released the paper PLATINUM: Targeted attacks in South and Southeast Asia, where we detailed the tactics, techniques, and procedures of the PLATINUM activity group. We described a group that was well-resourced and quickly adopted advanced techniques, such as hot patching to silently inject code into processes. They used hot patching…

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Antivirus evolved

Some say antivirus is an outdated technology. What does “antivirus” even mean? For us, antivirus is the most commonly recognized term that means for customers “a product that stops bad programs from infecting my device.” Saying “antivirus” is similar to when you hear a Southerner (like myself) say “Coke” when referring to a carbonated beverage….

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