Inside the SOC

Not Your Average Rodent: Darktrace’s Mitigation of the Sectop Remote Access Trojan (RAT)

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Nov 2023
Nov 2023
This blog discusses how Darktrace was able to successfully detect and respond to several incidents of SectopRAT compromise across its customer base.


As malicious actors across the threat landscape continue to look for new ways to gain unauthorized access to target networks, it is unsurprising to see Remote Access Trojans (RATs) leveraged more and more. These RATs are downloaded discretely without the target’s knowledge, typically through seemingly legitimate software downloads, and are designed to gain highly privileged network credentials, ultimately allowing attackers to have remote control over compromised devices. [1]

SectopRAT is one pertinent example of a RAT known to adopt a number of stealth functions in order to gather and exfiltrate sensitive data from its targets including passwords, cookies, autofill and history data stores in browsers, as well as cryptocurrency wallet details and system hardware information. [2]

In early 2023, Darktrace identified a resurgence of the SectopRAT across customer environments, primarily targeting educational industries located in the United States (US), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions. Darktrace DETECT™ was able to successfully identify suspicious activity related to SectopRAT at the network level, as well as any indicators of post-compromise on customer environments that did not have Darktrace RESPOND™ in place to take autonomous preventative action.

What is SectopRAT?

First discovered in early 2019, the SectopRAT is a .NET RAT that contains information stealing capabilities. It is also known under the alias ‘ArechClient2’, and is commonly distributed through drive-by downloads of illegitimate software and utilizes malvertising, including via Google Ads, to increase the chances of it being downloaded.

The malware’s code was updated at the beginning of 2021, which led to refined and newly implemented features, including command and control (C2) communication encryption with Advanced Encryption Stanard 256 (AES256) and additional commands. SectopRAT also has a function called "BrowserLogging", ultimately sending any actions it conducts on web browsers to its C2 infrastructure. When the RAT is executed, it then connects to a Pastebin associated hostname to retrieve C2 information; the requested file reaches out to get the public IP address of the infected device. To receive commands, it connects to its C2 server primarily on port 15647, although other ports have been highlighted by open source intelligence (OSINT), which include 15678, 15649, 228 and 80. Ultimately, sensitive data data gathered from target networks is then exfiltrated to the attacker’s C2 infrastructure, typically in a JSON file [3].

Darktrace Coverage

During autonomous investigations into affected customer networks, Darktrace DETECT was able to identify SSL connections to the endpoint pastebin[.]com over port 443, followed by failed connections to one of the IPs and ports (i.e., 15647, 15648, 15649) associated with SectopRAT. This resulted in the devices breaching the ‘Compliance/Pastebin and Anomalous Connection/Multiple Failed Connections to Rare Endpoint’ models, respectively.

In some instances, Darktrace observed a higher number of attempted connections that resulted in the additional breach of the model ‘Compromise / Large Number of Suspicious Failed Connections’.

Over a period of three months, Darktrace investigated multiple instances of SectopRAT infections across multiple clients, highlighting indicators of compromise (IoCs) through related endpoints.Looking specififically at one customer’s activity which centred on January 25, 2023, one device was observed initially making suspicious connections to a Pastebin endpoint, 104.20.67[.]143, likely in an attempt to receive C2 information.

Darktrace DETECT recognized this activity as suspicious, causing the 'Compliance / Pastebin' DETECT models to breach. In response to this detection, Darktrace RESPOND took swift action against the Pastebin connections by blocking them and preventing the device from carrying out further connections with Pastebin endpoints. Darktrace RESPOND actions related to blocking Pastebin connections were commonly observed on this device throughout the course of the attack and likely represented threat actors attempting to exfiltrate sensitive data outside the network.

Darktrace UI image
Figure 1: Model breach event log highlighting the Darktrace DETECT model breach ‘Compliance / Pastebin’.

Around the same time, Darktrace observed the device making a large number of failed connections to an unusual exernal location in the Netherlands, 5.75.147[.]135, via port 15647. Darktrace recognized that this endpoint had never previously been observed on the customer’s network and that the frequency of the failed connections could be indicative of beaconing activity. Subsequent investigation into the endpoint using OSINT indicated it had links to malware, though Darktrace’s successful detection did not need to rely on this intelligence.

Darktrace model breach event log
Figure 2: Model breach event log highlighting the multiple failed connectiosn to the suspicious IP address, 5.75.147[.]135 on January 25, 2023, causing the Darktrace DETECT model ‘Anomalous Connection / Multiple Failed Connections to Rare Endpoint’ to breach.

After these initial set of breaches on January 25, the same device was observed engaging in further external connectivity roughly a month later on February 27, including additional failed connections to the IP 167.235.134[.]14 over port 15647. Once more, multiple OSINT sources revealed that this endpoint was indeed a malicious C2 endpoint.

Darktrace model breach event log 2
Figure 3: Model breach event log highlighting the multiple failed connectiosn to the suspicious IP address, 167.235.134[.]14 on February 27, 2023, causing the Darktrace DETECT model ‘Anomalous Connection / Multiple Failed Connections to Rare Endpoint’ to breach.

While the initial Darktrace coverage up to this point has highlighted the attempted C2 communication and how DETECT was able to alert on the suspicious activity, Pastebin activity was commonly observed throughout the course of this attack. As a result, when enabled in autonomous response mode, Darktrace RESPOND was able to take swift mitigative action by blocking all connections to Pastebin associated hostnames and IP addresses. These interventions by RESPOND ultimately prevented malicious actors from stealing sensitive data from Darktrace customers.

Darktrace RESPOND action list
Figure 4: A total of nine Darktrace RESPOND actions were applied against suspicious Pastebin activity during the course of the attack.

In another similar case investigated by the Darktrace, multiple devices were observed engaging in external connectivity to another malicious endpoint,  88.218.170[.]169 (AS207651 Hosting technology LTD) on port 15647.  On April 17, 2023, at 22:35:24 UTC, the breach device started making connections; of the 34 attempts, one connection was successful – this connection lasted 8 minutes and 49 seconds. Darktrace DETECT’s Self-Learning AI understood that these connections represented a deviation from the device’s usual pattern of behavior and alerted on the activity with the ‘Multiple Connections to new External TCP Port’ model.

Darktrace model breach event log
Figure 5: Model breach event log highlighting the affected device successfully connecting to the suspicious endpoint, 88.218.170[.]169.
Darktrace advanced search query
Figure 6: Advanced Search query highlighting the one successful connection to the endpoint 88.218.170[.]169 out of the 34 attempted connections.

A few days later, on April 20, 2023, at 12:33:59 (UTC) the source device connected to a Pastebin endpoint, 172.67.34[.]170 on port 443 using the SSL protocol, that had never previously be seen on the network. According to Advanced Search data, the first SSL connection lasted over two hours. In total, the device made 9 connections to pastebin[.]com and downloaded 85 KB of data from it.

Darktrace UI highlighting connections
Figure 7: Screenshot of the Darktrace UI highlighting the affected device making multiple connections to Pastebin and downloading 85 KB of data.

Within the same minute, Darktrace detected the device beginning to make a large number of failed connections to another suspicious endpoints, 34.107.84[.]7 (AS396982 GOOGLE-CLOUD-PLATFORM) via port 15647. In total the affected device was observed initiating 1,021 connections to this malicious endpoint, all occurring over the same port and resulting the failed attempts.

Darktrace advanced search query 2
Figure 8: Advanced Search query highlighting the affected device making over one thousand connections to the suspicious endpoint 34.107.84[.]7, all of which failed.


Ultimately, thanks to its Self-Learning AI and anomaly-based approach to threat detection, Darktrace was able to preemptively identify any suspicious activity relating to SectopRAT at the network level, as well as post-compromise activity, and bring it to the immediate attention of customer security teams.

In addition to the successful and timely detection of SectopRAT activity, when enabled in autonomous response mode Darktrace RESPOND was able to shut down suspicious connections to endpoints used by threat actors as malicious infrastructure, thus preventing successful C2 communication and potential data exfiltration.

In the face of a Remote Access Trojan, like SectopRAT, designed to steal sensitive corporate and personal information, the Darktrace suite of products is uniquely placed to offer organizations full visibility over any emerging activity on their networks and respond to it without latency, safeguarding their digital estate whilst causing minimal disruption to business operations.

Credit to Justin Torres, Cyber Analyst, Brianna Leddy, Director of Analysis


Darktrace Model Detection:

  • Compliance / Pastebin
  • Anomalous Connection / Multiple Failed Connections to Rare Endpoint
  • Compromise / Large Number of Suspicious Failed Connections
  • Anomalous Connection / Multiple Connections to New External TCP Port

List of IoCs

IoC - Type - Description + Confidence

5.75.147[.]135 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

5.75.149[.]1 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

34.27.150[.]38 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

34.89.247[.]212 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

34.107.84[.]7 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

34.141.16[.]89 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

34.159.180[.]55 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

35.198.132[.]51 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

35.226.102[.]12 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

35.234.79[.]173 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

35.234.159[.]213 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

35.242.150[.]95 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

88.218.170[.]169 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

162.55.188[.]246 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint

167.235.134[.]14 - IP - SectopRAT C2 Endpoint


Model: Compliance / Pastebin

ID: T1537


Technique Name: Transfer Data to Cloud Account

Model: Anomalous Connection / Multiple Failed Connections to Rare Endpoint

ID: T1090.002

Sub technique of: T1090


Technique Name: External Proxy

ID: T1095


Technique Name: Non-Application Layer Protocol

ID: T1571


Technique Name: Non-Standard Port

Model: Compromise / Large Number of Suspicious Failed Connections

ID: T1571


Technique Name: Non-Standard Port

ID: T1583.006

Sub technique of: T1583


Technique Name: Web Services

Model: Anomalous Connection / Multiple Connections to New External TCP Port

ID: T1095        


Technique Name: Non-Application Layer Protocol

ID: T1571


Technique Name: Non-Standard Port






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Darktrace cyber analysts are world-class experts in threat intelligence, threat hunting and incident response, and provide 24/7 SOC support to thousands of Darktrace customers around the globe. Inside the SOC is exclusively authored by these experts, providing analysis of cyber incidents and threat trends, based on real-world experience in the field.
Justin Torres
Cyber Analyst
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Inside the SOC

Royal Pains: How Darktrace Refused to Bend the Knee to the MyKings Botnet

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Dec 2023

Botnets: A persistent cyber threat

Since their appearance in the wild over three decades ago, botnets have consistently been the attack vector of choice for many threat actors. The most prevalent of these attack vectors are distributed denial of service (DDoS) and phishing campaigns. Their persistent nature means that even if a compromised device in identified, attackers can continue to operate by using the additional compromised devices they will likely have on the target network. Similarly, command and control (C2) infrastructure can easily be restructured between infected systems, making it increasingly difficult to remove the infection.  

MyKings Botnet

One of the most prevalent and sophisticated examples in recent years is the MyKings botnet, also known as Smominru or DarkCloud. Darktrace has observed numerous cases of MyKings botnet compromises across multiple customer environments in several different industries as far back as August 2022. The diverse tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and sophisticated kill chains employed by MyKings botnet may prove a challenge to traditional rule and signature-based detections.

However, Darktrace’s anomaly-centric approach enabled it to successfully detect a wide-range of indicators of compromise (IoCs) related to the MyKings botnet and bring immediate awareness to customer security teams, as it demonstrated on the network of multiple customers between March and August 2023.

Background on MyKings Botnet

MyKings has been active and spreading steadily since 2016 resulting in over 520,000 infections worldwide.[1] Although verified attribution of the botnet remains elusive, the variety of targets and prevalence of crypto-mining software on affected devices suggests the threat group behind the malware is financially motivated. The operators behind MyKings appear to be highly opportunistic, with attacks lacking an obvious specific target industry. Across Darktrace’s customer base, the organizations affected were representative of multiple industries such as entertainment, mining, education, information technology, health, and transportation.

Given its longevity, the MyKings botnet has unsurprisingly evolved since its first appearance years ago. Initial analyses of the botnet showed that the primary crypto-related activity on infected devices was the installation of Monero-mining software. However, in 2019 researchers discovered a new module within the MyKings malware that enabled clipboard-jacking, whereby the malware replaces a user's copied cryptowallet address with the operator's own wallet address in order to siphon funds.[2]

Similar to other botnets such as the Outlaw crypto-miner, the MyKings botnet can also kill running processes of unrelated malware on the compromised hosts that may have resulted from prior infection.[3] MyKings has also developed a comprehensive set of persistence techniques, including: the deployment of bootkits, initiating the botnet immediately after a system reboot, configuring Registry run keys, and generating multiple Scheduled Tasks and WMI listeners.[4] MyKings have also been observed rotating tools and payloads over time to propagate the botnet. For example, some operators have been observed utilizing PCShare, an open-source remote access trojan (RAT) customized to conduct C2 services, execute commands, and download mining software[5].

Darktrace Coverage

Across observed customer networks between March and August 2023, Darktrace identified the MyKings botnet primarily targeting Windows-based servers that supports services like MySQL, MS-SQL, Telnet, SSH, IPC, WMI, and Remote Desktop (RDP).  In the initial phase of the attack, the botnet would initiate a variety of attacks against a target including brute-forcing and exploitation of unpatched vulnerabilities on exposed servers. The botnet delivers a variety of payloads to the compromised systems including worm downloaders, trojans, executable files and scripts.

This pattern of activity was detected across the network of one particular Darktrace customer in the education sector in early March 2023. Unfortunately, this customer did not have Darktrace RESPOND™ deployed on their network at the time of the attack, meaning the MyKings botnet was able to move through the cyber kill chain ultimately achieving its goal, which in this case was mining cryptocurrency.

Initial Access

On March 6, Darktrace observed an internet-facing SQL server receiving an unusually large number of incoming MySQL connections from the rare external endpoint 171.91.76[.]31 via port 1433. While it is not possible to confirm whether these suspicious connections represented the exact starting point of the infection, such a sudden influx of SQL connection from a rare external endpoint could be indicative of a malicious attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in the server's SQL database or perform password brute-forcing to gain unauthorized access. Given that MyKings typically spreads primarily through such targeting of internet-exposed devices, the pattern of activity is consistent with potential initial access by MyKings.[6]

Initial Command and Control

The device then proceeded to initiate a series of repeated HTTP connections between March 6 and March 10, to the domain www[.]back0314[.]ru (107.148.239[.]111). These connections included HTTP GET requests featuring URIs such as ‘/back.txt',  suggesting potential beaconing and C2 communication. The device continued this connectivity to the external host over the course of four days, primarily utilizing destination ports 80, and 6666. While port 80 is commonly utilized for HTTP connections, port 6666 is a non-standard port for the protocol. Such connectivity over non-standard ports can indicate potential detection evasion and obfuscation tactics by the threat actors.  During this time, the device also initiated repeated connections to additional malicious external endpoints with seemingly algorithmically generated hostnames such as pc.pc0416[.]xyz.

Darktrace UI image
Figure 1: Model breach showing details of the malicious domain generation algorithm (DGA) connections.

Tool Transfer

While this beaconing activity was taking place, the affected device also began to receive potential payloads from unusual external endpoints. On April 29, the device made an HTTP GET request for “/power.txt” to the endpoint 192.236.160[.]237, which was later discovered to have multiple open-source intelligence (OSINT) links to malware. Power.txt is a shellcode written in PowerShell which is downloaded and executed with the purpose of disabling Windows Defenders related functions.[7] After the initial script was downloaded (and likely executed), Darktrace went on to detect the device making a series of additional GET requests for several varying compressed and executable files. For example, the device made HTTP requests for '/pld/cmd.txt' to the external endpoint 104.233.224[.]173. In response the external server provided numerous files, including ‘u.exe’, and ‘upsup4.exe’ for download, both of which share file names with previously identified MyKings payloads.

MyKings deploys a diverse array of payloads to expand the botnet and secure a firm position within a compromised system. This multi-faceted approach may render conventional security measures less effective due to the intricacies of and variety of payloads involved in compromises. Darktrace, however, does not rely on static or outdated lists of IoCs in order to detect malicious activity. Instead, DETECT’s Self-Learning AI allows it to identify emerging compromise activity by recognizing the subtle deviations in an affected device’s behavior that could indicate it has fallen into the hands of malicious actors.

Figure 2: External site summary of the endpoint 103.145.106[.]242 showing the rarity of connectivity to the external host.

Achieving Objectives – Crypto-Mining

Several weeks after the initial payloads were delivered and beaconing commenced, Darktrace finally detected the initiation of crypto-mining operations. On May 27, the originally compromised server connected to the rare domain other.xmrpool[.]ru over port 1081. As seen in the domain name, this endpoint appears to be affiliated with pool mining activity and the domain has various OSINT affiliations with the cryptocurrency Monero coin. During this connection, the host was observed passing Monero credentials, activity which parallels similar mining operations observed on other customer networks that had been compromised by the MyKings botnet.

Although mining activity may not pose an immediate or urgent concern for security unauthorized cryptomining on devices can result in detrimental consequences, such as compromised hardware integrity, elevated energy costs, and reduced productivity, and even potential involvement in money laundering.

Figure 3: Event breach log showing details of the connection to the other.xmrpool[.]ru endpoint associated with cryptocurrency mining activity.


Detecting future iterations of the MyKings botnet will likely demand a shift away from an overreliance on traditional rules and signatures and lists of “known bads”, instead requiring organizations to employ AI-driven technology that can identify suspicious activity that represents a deviation from previously established patterns of life.

Despite the diverse range of payloads, malicious endpoints, and intricate activities that constitute a typical MyKing botnet compromise, Darktrace was able successfully detect multiple critical phases within the MyKings kill chain. Given the evolving nature of the MyKings botnet, it is highly probable the botnet will continue to expand and adapt, leveraging new tactics and technologies. By adopting Darktrace’s product of suites, including Darktrace DETECT, organizations are well-positioned to identify these evolving threats as soon as they emerge and, when coupled with the autonomous response technology of Darktrace RESPOND, threats like the MyKings botnet can be stopped in their tracks before they can achieve their ultimate goals.

Credit to: Oluwatosin Aturaka, Analyst Team Lead, Cambridge, Adam Potter, Cyber Analyst


IoC Table

IoC - Type - Description + Confidence

162.216.150[.]108- IP - C2 Infrastructure

103.145.106[.]242 - IP - C2 Infrastructure

137.175.56[.]104 - IP - C2 Infrastructure

138.197.152[.]201 - IP - C2 Infrastructure

139.59.74[.]135 - IP - C2 Infrastructure

pc.pc0416[.]xyz - Domain - C2 Infrastructure (DGA)

other.xmrpool[.]ru - Domain - Cryptomining Endpoint

xmrpool[.]ru - Domain - Cryptomining Endpoint

103.145.106[.]55 - IP - Cryptomining Endpoint

ntuser[.]rar - Zipped File - Payload

/xmr1025[.]rar - Zipped File - Payload

/20201117[.]rar - Zipped File - Payload

wmi[.]txt - File - Payload

u[.]exe - Executable File - Payload

back[.]txt - File - Payload

upsupx2[.]exe - Executable File - Payload

cmd[.]txt - File - Payload

power[.]txt - File - Payload

ups[.]html - File - Payload

xmr1025.rar - Zipped File - Payload

171.91.76[.]31- IP - Possible Initial Compromise Endpoint

www[.]back0314[.]ru - Domain - Probable C2 Infrastructure

107.148.239[.]111 - IP - Probable C2 Infrastructure

194.67.71[.]99 - IP- Probable C2 Infrastructure

Darktrace DETECT Model Breaches

  • Device / Initial Breach Chain Compromise
  • Anomalous File / Masqueraded File Transfer (x37)
  • Compromise / Large DNS Volume for Suspicious Domain
  • Compromise / Fast Beaconing to DGA
  • Device / Large Number of Model Breaches
  • Anomalous File / Multiple EXE from Rare External Locations (x30)
  • Compromise / Beacon for 4 Days (x2)
  • Anomalous Server Activity / New User Agent from Internet Facing System
  • Anomalous Connection / New User Agent to IP Without Hostname
  • Anomalous Server Activity / New Internet Facing System
  • Anomalous File / EXE from Rare External Location (x37)
  • Device / Large Number of Connections to New Endpoints
  • Anomalous Server Activity / Server Activity on New Non-Standard Port (x3)
  • Device / Threat Indicator (x3)
  • Unusual Activity / Unusual External Activity
  • Compromise / Crypto Currency Mining Activity (x37)
  • Compliance / Internet Facing SQL Server
  • Device / Anomalous Scripts Download Followed By Additional Packages
  • Device / New User Agent


ATT&CK Technique - Technique ID

Reconnaissance – T1595.002 Vulnerability Scanning

Resource Development – T1608 Stage Capabilities

Resource Development – T1588.001 Malware

Initial Access – T1190 Exploit Public-Facing Application

Command and Control – T15568.002 Domain Generated Algorithms

Command and Control – T1571 Non-Standard Port

Execution – T1047 Windows Management Instrumentation

Execution – T1059.001 Command and Scripting Interpreter

Persistence – T1542.003 Pre-OS Boot

Impact – T1496 Resource Hijacking









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About the author
Oluwatosin Aturaka
Analyst Team Lead, Cambridge


Thought Leadership

The Implications of NIS2 on Cyber Security and AI

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Dec 2023

The NIS2 Directive requires member states to adopt laws that will improve the cyber resilience of organizations within the EU. It impacts organizations that are “operators of essential services”. Under NIS 1, EU member states could choose what this meant. In an effort to ensure more consistent application, NIS2 has set out its own definition. It eliminates the distinction between operators of essential services and digital service providers from NIS1, instead defining a new list of sectors:

  • Energy (electricity, district heating and cooling, gas, oil, hydrogen)
  • Transport (air, rail, water, road)
  • Banking (credit institutions)
  • Financial market infrastructures
  • Health (healthcare providers and pharma companies)
  • Drinking water (suppliers and distributors)
  • Digital infrastructure (DNS, TLD registries, telcos, data center providers, etc.)
  • ICT service providers (B2B): MSSPs and managed service providers
  • Public administration (central and regional government institutions, as defined per member state)
  • Space
  • Postal and courier services
  • Waste management
  • Chemicals
  • Food
  • Manufacturing of medical devices
  • Computers and electronics
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers and other transport equipment
  • Digital providers (online market places, online search engines, and social networking service platforms) and research organizations.

With these updates, it becomes harder to try and find industry segments not included within the scope. NIS2 represents legally binding cyber security requirements for a significant region and economy. Standout features that have garnered the most attention include the tight timelines associated with notification requirements. Under NIS 2, in-scope entities must submit an initial report or “early warning” to the competent national authority or computer security incident response team (CSIRT) within 24 hours from when the entity became aware of a significant incident. This is a new development from the first iteration of the Directive, which used more vague language of the need to notify authorities “without undue delay”.

Another aspect gaining attention is oversight and regulation – regulators are going to be empowered with significant investigation and supervision powers including on-site inspections.

The stakes are now higher, with the prospect of fines that are capped at €10 million or 2% of an offending organization’s annual worldwide turnover – whichever is greater. Added to that, the NIS2 Directive includes an explicit obligation to hold members of management bodies personally responsible for breaches of their duties to ensure compliance with NIS2 obligations – and members can be held personally liable.  

The risk management measures introduced in the Directive are not altogether surprising – they reflect common best practices. Many organizations (especially those that are newly in scope for NIS2) may have to expand their cyber security capabilities, but there’s nothing controversial or alarming in the required measures.  For organizations in this situation, there are various tools, best practices, and frameworks they can leverage.  Darktrace in particular provides capabilities in the areas of visibility, incident handling, and reporting that can help.

NIS2 and Cyber AI

The use of AI is not an outright requirement within NIS2 – which may be down to lack of knowledge and expertise in the area, and/or the immaturity of the sector. The clue to this might be in the timing: the provisional agreement on the NIS2 text was reached in May 2022 – six months before ChatGPT and other open-source Generative AI tools propelled broader AI technology into the forefront of public consciousness. If the language were drafted today, it's not far-fetched to imagine AI being mentioned much more prominently and perhaps even becoming a requirement.

NIS2 does, however, very clearly recommend that “member states should encourage the use of any innovative technology, including artificial intelligence”[1].  Another section speaks directly to essential and important entities, saying that they should “evaluate their own cyber security capabilities, and where appropriate, pursue the integration of cyber security enhancing technologies, such as artificial intelligence or machine learning systems…”[2]

One of the recitals states that “member states should adopt policies on the promotion of active cyber protection”.  Where active cyber protection is defined as “the prevention, detection, monitoring, analysis and mitigation of network security breaches in an active manner.”[3]  

From a Darktrace perspective, our self-learning Cyber AI technology is precisely what enables our technology to deliver active cyber protection – protecting organizations and uplifting security teams at every stage of an incident lifecycle – from proactively hardening defenses before an attack is launched, to real-time threat detection and response, through to recovering quickly back to a state of good health.  

The visibility provided by Darktrace is vital to understanding the effectiveness of policies and ensuring policy compliance. NIS2 also covers incident handling and business continuity, which Darktrace HEAL addresses through AI-enabled incident response, readiness reports, simulations, and secure collaborations.

Reporting is integral to NIS2 and organizations can leverage Darktrace’s incident reporting features to present the necessary technical details of an incident and provide a jump start to compiling a full report with business context and impact.  

What’s Next for NIS2

We don’t yet know the details for how EU member states will transpose NIS2 into national law – they have until 17th October 2024 to work this out. The Commission also commits to reviewing the functioning of the Directive every three years. Given how much our overall understanding and appreciation for not only the dangers of AI but also its power (perhaps even necessity in the realm of cyber security) is changing, we may see many member states will leverage the recitals’ references to AI in order to make a strong push if not a requirement that essential and important organizations within their jurisdiction leverage AI.

Organizations are starting to prepare now to meet the forthcoming legislation related to NIS2. To see how Darktrace can help, talk to your representative or contact us.

[1] (51) on page 11
(89) on page 17
(57) on page 12

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About the author
John Allen
VP, Cyber Risk & Compliance

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