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What is a “Windows group manipulation”?

Permanently deleted user
Permanently deleted user
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This article will explain the ACSIA alert called "Windows group manipulation".

Explaining the Windows group manipulation

"Windows group manipulation" refers to a technique used by attackers to exploit or modify the membership and permissions of user groups on a Windows operating system. User groups are sets of user accounts that share common permissions, and manipulating these groups can give an attacker unauthorized access or control over various resources and sensitive information on a system or network.

Example of a "Windows group manipulation" attack:

Let's say there is a medium-sized company with a Windows-based network. Within this network, different departments have their own user groups with specific access rights to certain folders and files. The Finance department, for example, has a group called "Finance_Users" that can access financial data.

An attacker manages to gain limited access to the company's network through a phishing email that tricked an employee into revealing their login credentials. However, the attacker's initial access doesn't provide them with the permissions needed to access the financial data.

To escalate their privileges, the attacker decides to perform a "Windows group manipulation" attack. They use a combination of social engineering and a software tool to modify the membership of the "Finance_Users" group. Instead of adding a new user account, they choose to add their compromised account to the "Finance_Users" group.

With their account, now, part of the "Finance_Users" group, the attacker gains access to sensitive financial data. They can view, copy, or even modify files containing confidential information, potentially causing significant harm to the company.

This manipulation of Windows user groups allowed the attacker to elevate their privileges, granting them unauthorized access to resources they shouldn't have been able to reach with their initial compromised account. 

ACSIA alerts you when a Windows group manipulation attack is being performed on your infrastructure. Here's all the information that ACSIA shows you in the Live Notification:

Also, on the right of the above screen, we can see the actions that a user can perform in such cases.

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