Describe Azure Identity Protection

Completed

Identity Protection is a tool that allows organizations to accomplish three key tasks:

  • Automate the detection and remediation of identity-based risks.
  • Investigate risks using data in the portal.
  • Export risk detection data to third-party utilities for further analysis.

Microsoft analyses 6.5 trillion signals per day to identify potential threats. These signals come from learnings Microsoft has acquired from their position in organizations with Azure AD, the consumer space with Microsoft Accounts, and in gaming with Xbox.

The signals generated by these services are fed to Identity Protection. These signals can then be used by tools such as Conditional Access, which uses them to make access decisions. Signals are also fed to security information and event management (SIEM) tools, such as Microsoft Sentinel, for further investigation.

Identity Protection categorizes risk into three tiers: low, medium, and high. It can also calculate the sign-in risk, and user identity risk.

A sign-in risk represents the probability that a given authentication request isn't authorized by the identity owner. Sign-in risk can be calculated in real-time or calculated offline using Microsoft's internal and external threat intelligence sources. Listed below are some of the sign-in risks that Identity Protection in Azure AD is able to identify:

  • Anonymous IP address. This risk detection type indicates a sign-in from an anonymous IP address; for example, a Tor browser or anonymized VPNs.
  • Atypical travel. This risk detection type identifies two sign-ins originating from geographically distant locations, where at least one of the locations may also be atypical for the user, given past behavior.
  • Malware linked IP address. This risk detection type indicates sign-ins from IP addresses infected with malware that is known to actively communicate with a bot server.
  • Unfamiliar sign-in properties. This risk detection type considers past sign-in history to look for anomalous sign-ins. The system stores information about previous locations used by a user, and considers these "familiar" locations. The risk detection is triggered when the sign-in occurs from a location that's not already in the list of familiar locations.
  • Password spray. This risk detection is triggered when a password spray attack has been performed.
  • Azure AD threat intelligence. This risk detection type indicates sign-in activity that is unusual for the given user or is consistent with known attack patterns based on Microsoft's internal and external threat intelligence sources.

A user risk represents the probability that a given identity or account is compromised. These risks are calculated offline using Microsoft's internal and external threat intelligence sources. Listed below are some of the user risks that Identity Protection in Azure AD is able to identify:

  • Leaked credentials. This risk detection type indicates that the user's valid credentials have been leaked. When cybercriminals compromise valid passwords of legitimate users, they often share those credentials. This sharing is typically done by posting publicly on the dark web, paste sites, or by trading and selling the credentials on the black market. When the Microsoft leaked credentials service acquires user credentials from the dark web, paste sites, or other sources, they're checked against Azure AD users' current valid credentials to find valid matches.
  • Azure AD threat intelligence. This risk detection type indicates user activity that is unusual for the given user or is consistent with known attack patterns based on Microsoft's internal and external threat intelligence sources.

Identity Protection only generates risk detections when correct credentials are used in the authentication request. If a user uses incorrect credentials, it will not be flagged by Identity Protection since there isn't a risk of credential compromise unless a bad actor uses the correct credentials. Risk detections can then trigger actions such as requiring users to provide multi-factor authentication, reset their password, or block access until an administrator takes action.

Identity Protection provides organizations with three reports that they can use to investigate identity risks in their environment. These reports are the risky users, risky sign-ins, and risk detections. Investigation of events is key to understanding and identifying any weak points in your security strategy.

After completing an investigation, admins will want to take action to remediate the risk or unblock users. Organizations can also enable automated remediation using their risk policies. Microsoft recommends closing events quickly because time matters when working with risk.

Identity Protection is a feature of Azure AD Premium P2.