What We Do
How We Do
Get Started

Teaming up with VMware Carbon Black to Hunt Evasive Malware

BY eSentire

September 22, 2020 | 2 MINS READ

Endpoint Protection

Want to learn more on how to achieve Cyber Resilience?


Beyond the first-order health effects of the COVID-19 and the second-order impact on the social and economic environment, the global pandemic has forced upon companies and other organizations a degree of technical and operational change—in terms of the combined might of scope and suddenness—that is without equal.

Workforce shifts to home workstations and the rapid migration to (or accelerated introduction of) more cloud services in support of that shift have altered threat surfaces. In parallel, this shift has disrupted processes and changed the working environments for many.

We recently teamed up with our partner VMware Carbon Black to investigate the impact that these changes have had on how threat actors operate. You can find the full results of this investigation in Threat Intelligence Spotlight: Hunting Evasive Malware, but in this post we’ll focus on one clear observation.

Perimeter dissolution leads to an emphasis on exploiting user behavior and leveraging trusted tools.

Threat actors, showing their usual agility, have shifted efforts to target remote workers and take advantage of current events. Because today’s networks have more sophisticated automated defenses than ever before, attackers are turning to:

When used in combination, as is frequently the case, these techniques are effective at bypassing automated defenses to gain initial access. In fact, the majority of successful bypass incidents eSentire observes result from these tactics. In the first half of 2020, eSentire observed Zloader, Valak, SocGholish and More_eggs successfully employing user exploitation and LOLBin abuse to gain initial access (the report examines a few examples in some detail).

Hunting is a necessity.

Customizable behavioral rules, macro controls and macro signing provide some defenses. However, the challenge in developing automated defenses against user execution and LOLBins is that these activities in isolation do not indicate intent. It is only when considering the larger context of the action or execution that the malicious intention becomes clear.

That is why threat hunting is so important. Through continuous and collaborative research, threat hunters can distinguish between legitimate and malicious use of tools and processes, which is a necessary precursor to defining automated methods that reliably detect endpoint threats.


eSentire, Inc., the Authority in Managed Detection and Response (MDR), protects the critical data and applications of 2000+ organizations in 80+ countries, across 35 industries from known and unknown cyber threats by providing Exposure Management, Managed Detection and Response and Incident Response services designed to build an organization’s cyber resilience & prevent business disruption. Founded in 2001, eSentire protects the world’s most targeted organizations with 65% of its global base recognized as critical infrastructure, vital to economic health and stability. By combining open XDR platform technology, 24/7 threat hunting, and proven security operations leadership, eSentire's award-winning MDR services and team of experts help organizations anticipate, withstand and recover from cyberattacks. For more information, visit: www.esentire.com and follow @eSentire.

Read the Latest from eSentire