Today, the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency ("CISA") published an alert regarding the potential for Iran to conduct cyberattacks against U.S. interests in response to the recent military strike in Baghdad.
The alert is comprehensive and provides an Iranian cyber threat profile and cyber activity, recommended actions (below), and publicly known Iranian advanced persistent threat ("APT") patterns (including mitigations and detection recommendations).
CISA recommends organizations take the following actions:
Adopt a state of heightened awareness. This includes minimizing coverage gaps in personnel availability, more consistently consuming relevant threat intelligence, and making sure emergency call trees are up to date.
Increase organizational vigilance. Ensure security personnel are monitoring key internal security capabilities and that they know how to identify anomalous behavior. Flag any known Iranian indicators of compromise and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) for immediate response.
Confirm reporting processes. Ensure personnel know how and when to report an incident. The well-being of an organization’s workforce and cyber infrastructure depends on awareness of threat activity. Consider reporting incidents to CISA to help serve as part of CISA’s early warning system (see Contact Information section below).
Exercise organizational incident response plans. Ensure personnel are familiar with the key steps they need to take during an incident. Do they have the accesses they need? Do they know the processes? Are your various data sources logging as expected? Ensure personnel are positioned to act in a calm and unified manner.
Actionable Technical Recommendations
Disable all unnecessary ports and protocols. Review network security device logs and determine whether to shut off unnecessary ports and protocols. Monitor common ports and protocols for command and control activity.
Enhance monitoring of network and email traffic. Review network signatures and indicators for focused operations activities, monitor for new phishing themes and adjust email rules accordingly, and follow best practices of restricting attachments via email or other mechanisms.
Patch externally facing equipment. Focus on patching critical and high vulnerabilities that allow for remote code execution or denial of service on externally facing equipment.
Log and limit usage of PowerShell. Limit the usage of PowerShell to only users and accounts that need it, enable code signing of PowerShell scripts, and enable logging of all PowerShell commands.
Ensure backups are up to date and stored in an easily retrievable location that is air-gapped from the organizational network.