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User Account Compromise Attack on ONE OF THE LEADING HYPERSCALER

a) Problem/Challenges:

One of the leading financial faced a severe security incident involving the compromise of a user account in their one of the leading hyperscaler environment. The challenges and problems encountered during the incident included:

  • Phishing Attack Vector: A phishing email successfully tricked an employee, leading to the compromise of leading hyperscaler credentials and unauthorized access.
  • Lateral Movement and Privilege Escalation: The attacker, leveraging the compromised account, moved laterally within the leading hyperscaler environment, escalating privileges and accessing critical resources.
  • Data Exfiltration: Sensitive customer data stored in an S3 bucket was exfiltrated undetected due to the legitimate permissions inherited from the compromised user account.
  • Persistence: The attacker installed backdoors to maintain access, requiring a thorough investigation to identify and eliminate all points of compromise.


To address these challenges, we as a TeleGlobal implemented a comprehensive set of solutions:

  • User Education and Training: Enhanced employee training programs focused on recognizing and avoiding phishing attempts, reducing the likelihood of credential compromise.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Implementation of MFA across all user accounts to add an extra layer of security and mitigate the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Anomaly Detection: Introduction of continuous monitoring for hyperscaler logs to detect anomalous activities, enabling rapid response to potential security incidents.
  • Incident Response Plan: Development and implementation of an incident response plan, ensuring a swift and coordinated response to security incidents, minimizing the impact of breaches.
  • Regular Security Assessments: Conduct regular penetration testing and security assessments to identify and address vulnerabilities in the hyperscaler environment.

c) Result/Outcome:

The implemented solutions yielded positive results and outcomes:

  • Phishing Mitigation: Improved user education and training reduced the success rate of phishing attacks, decreasing the likelihood of credential compromise.
  • Enhanced Access Security: MFA implementation significantly strengthened access controls, preventing unauthorized access even with compromised credentials.
  • Timely Detection: Continuous monitoring and anomaly detection led to the timely identification of suspicious activities, allowing for a rapid response to contain the incident.
  • Incident Response Effectiveness: The incident response plan facilitated a well-coordinated effort to contain and eradicate the threat, minimizing the impact on critical systems.
  • Improved Resilience: Regular security assessments and proactive measures increased the overall resilience of our financial institution’s hyperscaler environment, reducing the risk of future compromises.


The combination of user education, advanced security measures, and a robust incident response strategy proved instrumental in mitigating the User Account Compromise attack by 100% on our financial institution’s organization’s hyperscaler infrastructure and strengthening their overall cybersecurity posture.

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