May 4, 2023

Early Detection of Security Incidents: The Role of Unosecur in Preventing Attacks

The CircleCI Breach

On December 16, 2022, unauthorized access to customer data was gained through a breach in CircleCI, a widely used continuous integration, and delivery (CI/CD) platform. The breach was the result of a sophisticated attack that targeted a worker's laptop, where an unidentified attacker used malware to steal the worker's two-factor authentication-enabled credentials. Using these stolen credentials, the attacker was able to breach the corporate system and access sensitive information. Despite having antivirus protection in place, the system was unable to detect the malware.

The malware that infected the CircleCI employee's laptop had the capability to steal session cookies, which enabled the attacker to impersonate the employee remotely and access a particular set of production systems with elevated privileges. This employee had the responsibility of generating access tokens for production systems. Unfortunately, an unauthorized third party was able to gain access to these tokens and extract sensitive customer data from specific databases and stores, including environment variables, tokens, and keys. Despite the data being encrypted, the attacker was able to obtain the encryption keys by accessing a running process, potentially allowing access to the encrypted data.

On December 29, 2022, one of CircleCI's customers alerted their respective Security Team of suspicious GitHub OAuth activity. This prompted CircleCI's security team to conduct a more thorough investigation in collaboration with GitHub, and the internal investigation into the unauthorized third-party intrusion and the entry point of the attack was completed by January 4, 2023. The scope of the intrusion was also determined during this investigation.

Early Detection of Security incidents:

One of the key factors in mitigating the damage caused by a security incident is early detection. The longer it takes to detect a breach, the more time attackers have to cause damage and steal data. Organizations need to have systems in place to detect and respond to security incidents quickly. This is where Unosecur comes in. Unosecur is a security platform that helps organizations detect and respond to security incidents in real-time. It provides advanced threat detection capabilities, such as anomaly detection and behavioral analysis, to identify potential security threats.

How Unosecur can help prevent attacks like the CircleCI breach in several ways:

  1. Unosecur helps organizations identify vulnerabilities in the systems and prioritize them based on risk. This enables organizations to take proactive measures to mitigate vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them.
  2. Unosecur helps to analyze user and entity behavior to detect anomalous activity that may indicate a security threat. This helps organizations identify and respond to potential security incidents before they can cause damage.
  3. Unosecur's advanced threat detection capabilities enable organizations to detect potential security threats in real-time. This allows them to respond quickly and prevent attackers from causing further damage.
  4. Unosecur provides organizations with a comprehensive incident response framework to manage security incidents. This includes automated response capabilities that enable organizations to respond quickly and effectively to security incidents.


Early detection of security incidents is crucial in preventing devastating consequences. As seen in the CircleCI breach, a suspicious activity report from a customer was the trigger for the security team to investigate and determine the extent of the breach. Having a security platform such as Unosecur can help organizations in detecting and preventing attacks at the starting point. Unosecur provides real-time monitoring, automated threat detection, User and Entity Behavior Analytics, and incident response capabilities to identify and remediate threats before they cause significant damage.

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