ClickCease US State Government Network Breach: Ex-Employee Logins Used

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US State Government Network Breach: Ex-Employee Logins Used

Wajahat Raja

February 26, 2024 - TuxCare expert team

In a recent disclosure by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a state government organization fell victim to a cyber breach facilitated by the misuse of ex-employee credentials. The US state government network breach serves as a stark reminder of the persistent threat posed by insider access to state government network security.

State Government Network Breach News

The state government data breach unfolded as a former employee’s administrator account was exploited to infiltrate the organization’s network environment. Leveraging this compromised account, the threat actor gained entry through an internal virtual private network (VPN) access point. The intent was to camouflage within legitimate traffic, evading detection while accessing sensitive resources.

Root Cause Of The US State Government Network Breach

The US state government network breach investigation aimed to uncover the source and extent of the security compromise. Investigators suspect the ex-employee’s credentials were acquired through a separate data breach, highlighting the risks associated with the leaked account information. 


The compromised admin account not only provided access to a virtualized SharePoint server but also facilitated entry into additional credentials stored within, extending the US state government network breach incident‘s reach across on-premises and Azure Active Directory environments.

Escalation of Privileges and Lateral Movement

The latest state government network breach news has raised concerns about cybersecurity measures. With administrative privileges obtained from the SharePoint server, the attackers navigated through the victim’s on-premises infrastructure, executing queries against domain controllers. Fortunately, there’s no evidence to suggest lateral movement into the Azure cloud infrastructure, limiting the scope of the breach. 

Government Network Breach Response

The breach resulted in the exposure of sensitive host and user information, which was subsequently traded on the dark web for potential financial gain. In response, the organization took immediate action, resetting user passwords, deactivating compromised accounts, and revoking elevated privileges.

State Government Network Prevention

This incident underscores the critical importance of state government cybersecurity measures securing privileged accounts and implementing robust access controls. The absence of multi-factor authentication (MFA) on the compromised accounts emphasizes the need for additional layers of security. Implementing the principle of least privilege and segregating administrator accounts for on-premises and cloud environments can mitigate the risk of unauthorized access.

Addressing Insider Threats

The state network breach impact highlights the growing trend of threat actors exploiting valid accounts, including those of former employees, to breach organizational defenses. Proper management of Active Directory (AD) accounts, including timely removal of ex-employee credentials, is essential in mitigating insider threats.

Securing Azure Active Directory

State network breach measures are crucial for safeguarding sensitive data and infrastructure from cyber threats. Default settings in Azure Active Directory can inadvertently expose organizations to security risks. Allowing users unrestricted control over applications and granting automatic Global Administrator privileges can facilitate unauthorized access and lateral movement within the network. Organizations must review and adjust these settings to minimize the attack surface.


The breach of a state government organization’s network underscores the persistent threat posed by insider access and the critical need for robust security measures. By learning from this incident and implementing best practices in access control and privilege management, organizations can better defend against insider threats and safeguard sensitive data and infrastructure.


The sources for this piece include articles in The Hacker News and Cyber Kendra

US State Government Network Breach: Ex-Employee Logins Used
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US State Government Network Breach: Ex-Employee Logins Used
Discover how ex-employee credentials led to a US state government network breach. Learn key insights to enhance organizational security.
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