Announcing the Investigation Insights Workbook
Published Oct 26 2020 05:59 PM 6,157 Views


This blog is co-authored by Brian Delaney, Clive Watson, and Jon Shectman - Microsoft.

If you've been searching for a simple way to gain insights into your incidents, entities and data, then this is the Workbook for you. Join us on a data journey, in which you investigate your incidents efficiently, gain insights into alerts and entities with ease, and pivot through your data while retaining the ability to broadly search with a single click of your mouse.


Note: this article focuses on how to start using the Investigation Insights Workbook. For detailed instructions on how to set up as well as answers to other questions you may have, head over to the dynamic Help section at maintained at the Azure Sentinel Github Wiki.


Once you load Investigation Insights, you'll see several options at the top - Investigate By and Show Incident Trend.


Let's start by choosing Incident and Yes, respectively. This brings up helpful Incident Trending information at a Glance. For clarity and from the start, there are two ways to use Investigation Insights: Incident Insights and Entity Insights. Incident Insights is the easiest way to get to you data and is where most people will start from. Entity Insights allows you to do the exact same investigation; however, note as you haven't selected incident information, you may have to enter some details manually.


As we'll see, Incident Insights will typically lead into Entity Insights; however, if you know an Entity that you'd like to research, you need not always start with an Incident.


There's Trending data for the last day as compared to the TimeRange you've chosen to work in. This is insightful for SOC analysts as well as managers as a point-in-time measurement. To the right is an average count by severity from your TimeRange, and below that is an Average count for New Incidents.


Pay special attention to the trend of Incident Status - a Trend up can warrant additional research with an eye toward Indicators of Compromise in the Incidents; a Trend down may indicate a misconfiguration or problem with the data feed.


Below Incident Trending is the Incident Investigation Section. (Recall that we chose Incident earlier on.) This section aids in easily investigating incidents without having to drill into the GUI or go hunting for data. You can start by viewing all of the incidents in your TimeRange, or you can narrow by using the TimeBrush element. Generally, we suggest you target a slice of time to drill into with the TimeBrush.


Once you've narrowed your time scope, you'll next want to filter by incident severity.


For a bird's eye view of the data set and environment, it can be useful to start with Show All and then drill down from there.


In the lab example, I can see some important things right away; let's drill into one of these Incidents to look further -- Incident 339917 Data Exfiltration Detected. I can click on that Incident or I can type an incident number that I want to research into the Search bar.


Without routing away, one can also easily drill down and research the constituent Alerts within the Incident. Already populated are alert attributes such as the contributing product and the ProviderName.


Clicking on the example alert from Incident 339917 also expands the Entities that the Alert contains. This information can be critical to researching the Alert and, in turn, the Incident. 




So in this Alert, there are two Entities: an account type ("ceo") and an IP address. Our investigation is gaining momentum and honing in on the entities that have potentially been impacted or compromised. And we're doing this with few clicks, no navigation, and no code. This leads us to our next section, Entity Insights.


Entity Insights is organized around four types of entities plus the ability to perform a Full Search across all of the Entity data in our set. If you're coming to Entity Insights from an Incident investigation, chances are that you have discovered a specific Entity in an Alert that you'd like to investigate. In this case, you can start your Entity Investigation by clicking on the entity. For example, I'll click on the IP address Entity that I discovered, in order to populate it in the appropriate Entity Insights search:


Alternately, I can simply type the entity in the search box of the appropriate type. For example, I'll click in Investigate Account and type in an account name.


This immediately populates a calculated Distance from Typical Singin Location with a map plotting the data. Clicking on a signin produces a detailed chart of the data, including Conditional Access Status.


I can also navigate to other tabs to view a Computer Logons table for the account:


A Conditional Access Analysis from Azure AD singins


Multiple tables for common Indicators of Compromise - Failed Singins, Password Change Attempts, Disabled MFA singins, and Mailbox Forwarding Rules for the Account:


And finally any other Related Alerts for the account:


Entity Insights can help in researching Host Entity types, too. By populating the FQDN of a host, one can view New Processes on the host as well as Account Logons and Related alerts.


We can also get specific information about the host's Security Baseline and overall posture.


Updates displays all missing required updates in the latest security check, as well as an update summary.


Security Baseline displays a similar summary of baseline security rules passed and failed for the host, as well as a filterable table of Failed Security Baselines in the latest check. Be sure to try filtering by severity for a quick, detailed view of the host's security posture:



The Suspicious Changes tab displays three sub-sections that may well comprise indicators of compromise. AuditPolChange displays filterable audit policy changes on the host; SecLogClear details any times that the host's security log was cleared, and User/Group Changes details Account Creations and Group Changes that have taken place.


Finally, don't forget to check out the Full Search functionality; this tab provides the ability to perform a String type search across all categories of Entity data in your data set, and then to drill deeper by category. This functionality can be deceptively complex and useful. By simply typing in an Entity string I suspect might be in the log data, I can search across multiple categories to both view results and to understand quickly where I should look for more data.



That completes our brief, high-level overview of the Investigation Insights workbook. If you spend some time with it, let us know what you think and please do share your ideas for improvements in the Office Form here.


Also, be on the lookout for additional functionality and enhancements in the coming weeks -- things like the addition of User and Entity Behavioral Analytics tables where appropriate, adding in new Entity types as they become available, and potentially adding in the Normalized Network Schema. Do you have some ideas? Please let us know; we'd love feedback on what we did right and what can be improved, or what we might have missed. We have lots of plans for extra capabilities, so please let us know so we can try and align them with your ideas?


Finally, don't forget to head over to the detailed Help section (referenced above), if you have more questions. Let us know how you do with Investigation Insights and, until then, happy auditing.

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