Top Microsoft Teams Security Issues and mitigations
During the epidemic, many remote employees have turned to Microsoft Teams as their primary means of communication and collaboration in order to facilitate the sharing of files, data, and other important information. Teams is incredibly popular in the corporate world, and as companies spend more time using the programme, hackers are discovering new methods to breach existing security flaws in Microsoft Teams in order to steal confidential data and important business information.
There was a significant increase in the number of concurrent users of Teams once the Covid-19 limits were implemented on a worldwide scale in March of 2020. Prior to the release of COVID, research figures show that Teams had an average of around 20 million daily users; however, between March and May of 2020, that number ballooned to 75 million. Let's fast forward to the year 2022, when Microsoft's Communication Lead, Frank Shaw, tweeted that Teams had 270 million active monthly users.
The Most Important Microsoft Teams Security Concerns
The fact that there are so many people logged in at the same time makes it obvious why Microsoft Teams is such an attractive target for cybercriminals and why security risks associated with Microsoft Teams need to be taken very seriously. Even though it is a platform accessible only by invitation, with encrypted communications and seamless interaction with Azure Active Directory, Teams still has a number of serious security flaws that need to be addressed. Let's take a more in-depth look, shall we?
#1. Data Leakage
Phishing is one of the most prevalent factors that may lead to data leakage, which is a situation that affects all collaborative technologies. Hackers will send false access requests to companies in an attempt to deceive employees into giving them unrestricted access to talks taking place on Teams. If the phishing attempt is successful, the target will be given an access token; this is all that is required to bypass the Teams protective layer.
Phishing efforts defraud organisations by contacting them by phone, email, social media, and even directly via webhooks on Microsoft Teams. The hacker requires just an authorised access request and is searching for the weakest link, which may be an employee who is new to the company or simply someone who is not paying attention to what they are doing. Once the hacker has gained access to the system, there is a strong chance that they will be able to exploit OneDrive and Sharepoint owing to the flawless integration that both of these products have with the security tokens that are used by Teams.
The widespread misunderstanding that chats on Team are private and unmonitored is another major factor in the unauthorised disclosure of sensitive information. There is a good chance that external customers, third parties, and suppliers are already participating in certain Teams channels. When workers openly discuss business or personal matters with one another, there is a greater risk that confidential information may be disclosed. Once data leaves your sphere of control, it is hard to predict what may occur with it since there are so many variables.
The Microsoft Security Paywall comes in at number two.
Teams is not completely protected by Microsoft since the company does not supply all of the necessary security measures. Unfortunately, in order to use the majority of the available security options, you will need an E5 corporate subscription for Microsoft 365.
In its default configuration, Team's security is mostly restricted to encrypted conversations; if you want other Microsoft Defender capabilities like as "safe attachments" and "safe links," however, you will need to pay $35 per user (per month) for access to such services. This is a good addition for firms who are able to spend the premium, but there is still a lack of more solid security measures.
3. Vulnerability To Previously Identified Weaknesses
A recent research that we carried out included the analysis of 200 corporate Teams settings over the course of two months. The results of this investigation revealed that Microsoft Teams was susceptible to the following four particular vulnerabilities:
- Vulnerability Associated with Cross-Scripting
- Vulnerability to use Cat GIFs
- Vulnerability to Compromise from a Partner
- Vulnerability caused by Fake Updates
These threats led to the victim's security tokens being compromised, which allowed the attacker to read the victim's communications and give them access to the victim's account. An in-depth whitepaper with all of the information of each vulnerability has been made available to the public.
The majority of cyberattacks, such as ransomware or a data robbery, are carried out for financial gain by hackers. Hackers have many different reasons for carrying out cyberattacks. However, in order to get the client ready for the next phase of the assault, a malware payload has to be injected into their environment.
In most cases, this enables Remote Access Trojans (RATs) to circumvent the built-in security of Teams, including the more comprehensive safeguards provided by Microsoft Defender. Microsoft Teams does not include any kind of virus scanning, data filtering, or compliance capabilities, all of which are fundamental need for business data protection.
5. The Confidentiality and Authenticity of the Data
Sharing data is one of the most useful capabilities that can be found in Microsoft Teams; nevertheless, it is also one of the most difficult to administer. We are already aware that data leaking is a significant problem, and if regulations governing data confidentiality are breached, this becomes a very difficult challenge. Teams is common in healthcare, legal, financial, and retail sectors, and many of these fields are required to comply with regulations such as HIPAA, PCI-compliance, GDPR, and CCPA.
For instance, sharing medical data or private customer data through Teams is expressly prohibited, but Microsoft Teams does not have any default controls that are built in to audit these kinds of compliance concerns.
How to provide protection for Microsoft Teams
We offers a comprehensive set of security solutions that make Microsoft Teams more secure while also protecting users' privacy and meeting regulatory requirements. Your Teams environments will be protected from all of the top risks to Microsoft Teams if you implement these precautions.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
It is a huge difficulty to maintain the confidentiality and security of information that is contained inside the network perimeter. DLP contributes to the accomplishment of this objective by continuously monitoring the surroundings of the whole Team in search of the illegal disclosure of private information. This might contain personally identifying information, such as social security numbers, as well as financial facts.
DLP identifies secret files by using AI learning models that have been pre-configured to predetermine private material. This is how it works. You have the option of marking messages as confidential or having the data automatically concealed. Before an issue escalates into a security breach, data loss prevention software may implement rule sets on data that is at danger. This can be done by imposing encryption, deleting or quarantining files.
Sandboxing for Malware Analysis
It is necessary to do in-depth scanning on every file that is posted and downloaded to Microsoft Teams in order to maintain a malware-free environment. Some of these functions are available via Microsoft Defender; however, research conducted by indicated that Microsoft Defender missed numerous malware files whereas we did not make this mistake.
The security bot will enclose a file in a sandbox and move it to a safe location as soon as it detects a malicious signature inside a file. This will prevent the malware from running. Both the user and any security officials present will be informed of the situation. In the case that a false positive is detected, the user has the option of requesting that the file be made available after the completion of all required checks and balances.
Scanning of URLs
Webhooks and apps that connect with Teams often provide a URL link that the user may click on to be taken to a notification or message. If a hacker were to exploit a webhook, then it is feasible that they may convince a user to click on an infected URL that they have tricked them into clicking on. When a user clicks on a link in a Teams conversation, the validity of the URL is tested. URL scanning examines each and every URL that is uploaded in Teams chats. In the event that there are any problems, the URL will be banned until an investigation is conducted.
Unusual Patterns in User Behavior
Because certain users will be allowed higher access than others, corporate users are understandably concerned about the possibility of user impersonation. We will detect unusual logins as well as accounts that have been hacked. Even visitor access to Teams will be detected in the event that a third party's security has been breached.
Automated Repair and Restoration
One of the most important aspects of the Security bot is its capacity to provide automatic reactions to frequent platform alerts. It is possible to set it up such that it will intercept and delete sensitive data as well as automatically quarantine files that have been infected or are dangerous.
There is no question that collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams are contributing to an increase in both worker productivity and employee communication in the workplace. Teams does contain certain security features from Microsoft; but, it does not include some of the essential security measures that we advocate for business customers.
When it comes to protecting against Microsoft Teams security risks, your company will be in the best possible position to defend itself if you integrate the security suite into your environment and also implement an education programme for your staff.
Are you interested in learning more about the robust feature set offered by the Teams security engine? You can discover more about how simple it is to safeguard sensitive and critical corporate data by downloading our Teams Solution Brief.