How we communicate has become extremely easy in today’s digital society. Most mobile devices offer software that integrates with social networks, business applications and e-mail. People share anything from where they are eating to what they are about to eat in near real-time (personally I find it annoying). This convenience makes securing communication more difficult since most digital messages leave a digital fingerprint as well as usually transmitted over nonsecure sources. My team has demonstrated how hackers can steal data in transit using man-in-the-middle attacks with tools like the Pine Apple (more HERE), BeEF (more HERE), and compromising mobile devices to pull up old text messages and e-mails.
How can you protect your communication? Best practice is investing in multifactor authentication to trusted systems, VPN technology for communication outside of a secure network, data loss prevention monitoring what data is permitted to leave a secure network, internal network security products and host based security to stop key loggers and other threats. Communication solutions should offer a mix of confidentiality (protecting the information), integrity (can’t modify the message), availability, authenticity (message is genuine) and non-repudiation (guarantee sent and received).
Meeting best practice typically requires investments in multiple technologies however what about the average user looking to send a sensitive message? There are methods to send messages securely using free tools. One option is using a secure e-mail solution. Hushmail offers free PGP-encrypted e-mail and file storage. If you look at the image below, you will see the checkbox for encrypting the outgoing message as well as how Hushmail enforces a strong passphrase promoting secure e-mail standards. The downside of Hushmail is it doesn’t offer some of the flashy features other e-mail services include such as chat or customizable backgrounds.
Most Security solutions leverage a combination of signature and behavior based technology (more HERE). This worked in the past however today these solutions are not good enough regardless if you layer multiple products that are built upon similar scanning methods. There are many ways to bypass point Security products such as throttling behavior and masking the known fingerprint of the attack code. A example of a technique used to hide malware from popular Anti-Virus packages is leveraging Dynamic Obfuscation software.
Obfuscation software was designed to protect source code from piracy by making the original code more complicated to read while retaining functionality. There are commercial obfuscation software packages available for programmers looking to hide their source code which is also obtainable for malware developers. This is bad for anti-virus vendors responsible for developing methods to fingerprint malicious code.
Malware producers can make things even more difficult for Anti-Virus vendors by adding dynamic elements that randomizes malicious code and encryption keys on the fly. For example, a victim accessing a malicious website could see a different variation of the same exploit each session. Dynamic obfuscation provides an endless number of variants making it almost impossible for signature based Security to identify the threat.
There are dozens of examples for commercial Java obfuscator packages. Some common packages are Zelix KlassMaster, Dash-O, ProGuard, Smokescreen, Thicket and Allitori. Popular penetration toolsets such as Metasploit also include malware obfuscating modules such as the VoMM module. Research on VoMM from a few years ago can be found HERE .
“My buddy Aamir Lakhani is developing a iOS security class and recently posted about hacking iOS devices. This is a very popular subject and want to share this. Also shout out to Tom Bedwell for his assistance with the research. You can find the original posting at www.cloudcentrics.com”
iOS devices can be booted with their own kernel and micro operating systems instead of approved Apple firmware. When iOS devices are loaded with a micro kernel, you can run attacks such as bypassing the passcode, decrypting passwords, copying file systems, viewing emails and much more. The following guide describes how to create a RAM DISK, however it may not function precisely as a step-by-step instruction set, since each system is unique and requires some level of customization.
Note: If you run in to trouble when creating a RAM DISK due to unique OS configurations and code versions, don’t despair.
Many of our customers are investing in multi-factor authentication solutions. The multi-factor industry offers a range of options such as physical cards, certificates and tokens that represent “Something you have” mixed with a pin, password or security phase that is “Something you know”. A upcoming multi-factor technology is biometrics representing “Something you are” however its not as common as having and knowing something. DoD has standardized on Common Access Cards or CAC while civilian agencies tend to use Personal Identification Verification or PIV cards for accessing systems and secured areas. Both card solutions use similar smart card technology however things like the Certificate Authority and what is printed on the cards are different between organizations.
Customers request my team to provide security demonstrations and often ask if the solution being showcased is CAC / PIV / smart card capable. There are a few players in the CAC / PIV / smart card market. One we like is Active Identity (now part of HID Global). Active Identity offers many multi-factor authentication solutions including CAC / PIV and smart card packages that range from the HID reader to the card management system. Active Identity’s flagship card management solution is ActivID CMS, which is a web-based application using Apache Tomcat and IIS. Active Identity does not provide a Certificate Authority (CA) for generating certificates or Hardware Security Module (HSM) for storing master keys however a lab can work without these.
For those who want to build a CAC / PIV / smart card lab, go to Active Identity’s demo download page found HERE and download the latest ActivID CMS. I’m running ActivID CMS in my lab using VMware workstation on a standard windows laptop. There are a lot of steps in the install guide so make sure to download that as well. To summarize the installation steps, you will need to do the following: Continue reading →
My buddy Aamir Lakhani posted about a really cool metadata tool called FOCA. The original post can be found HERE. Below is Aamir’s post about FOCA.
I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite network reconnaissance tools. It is called FOCA.
Did you know every time you create a document such as PowerPoint presentation, Microsoft Word document, or PDFs, metadata is left in the document?
What is metadata? metadata is data about data. It is descriptive information about a particular data set, object, or resource, including how it is formatted, and when and by whom it was collected. metadata can be useful to attackers because it contains useful information about the system where the file was created such as:
Name of user logged into the system
Software that created the document
OS of the system that created the document
FOCA is a security audit tool that will examine metadata from domains. It uses search engines to find files on domains, or you can use your own local files.
Press around the DDoS attack Operation Ababil has caught the attention of many of our customers. This sophisticated cyber strike used a combination of three separate rootkits targeting webservers, which produced a very high upstream attack method on multiple companies simultaneously. The scary part about Operation Ababil was it was designed to bypass standard DDoS defense methods. This clearly demonstrates there isn’t a silver bullet for addressing advanced DDoS attacks. Distributed Denial of Service DDoS, web application and DNS infrastructure attacks represent some of the most critical threats to enterprises today. Here is some suggestions for a reference architecture to defend against these an other advanced threats.
The best approach for defending against advanced DDoS as well as other cyber attacks is having multiple security solutions using different methods to detect malicious activity for both internal and external threats. For internal threats, it’s critical to have a well-designed and mature security infrastructure that includes components such as firewalls, IPS/IDS, email and content / application security solutions. Similar security standards need to be applied to endpoints as well as in the datacenter such as proper patch management, anti-virus and anti-malware. It’s important to enable DDoS defense features for these tools. For example, some best practices are leveraging ACLs for ingress and egress filtering, rate limiting ICMP and SYN packets as well as verifying if the source IP of packets have a route from where they arrived.
Standard internal security solutions are important however will not completely protect you from advanced DDoS and other cyber threats. Security administrators need full network visibility to quickly identify anomalies regardless of their location or form of communication. Best practice to identify malicious activity inside your network is monitoring the wire using a NetFlow or Packet capture approach (more can be found HERE and HERE). It’s also important to match identity to devices found. An example is how Cisco offers integration with its flagship access control solution, Identity Services Engine ISE, to network forensic tools such as Lancope, NetWitness and most major SIEMs. Having a tuned monitoring solution will dramatically improve reaction time to internal cyber threats.
Zenprise recently released an upgrade to their flagship mobile device management MDM solution. My team has been showcasing a previous version 6.6 and went through the upgrade to Zenprise 7.01 this week. The Zenprise ZDM upgrade took around 15- 20 minutes, which steps included upgrading the software and java on the hosting server. Here is a comparison of both versions of Zenprise ZDM.
Dashboard:Zenprise 7.01 now includes a dashboard or centralized landing page. From a visual perspective, it’s a great way to quickly identify the state of the system and managed endpoints. The picture below is customized for 6 different reports. Functionality wise, the previous version of Zenprise could accomplish the same things by clicking around.
iOS and Android Enrollment: The new 7.01 version of Zenprise offers a dedicated section for device enrollment that includes options such as MDM server discovery, email or SMS notification. We felt enrollment was a weak spot for Zenprise however this release dramatically simplifies the process. The group enrollment features makes it much easier to deploy the Zenprise MDM software to a larger number of users at once. Furthermore, Zenprise 7.01 can import a CSV file to populate its database for bulk enrollment.
iOS Location Services, Geo-tracking and Geo-fencing: This is a huge feature. Admins can set location service policies to located devices at any given time. Geofencing allows admins to define a geographic perimeter and perform a selective or full wipe upon perimeter breach. We have had requests for Geofencing that range from stopping students from walking off with school issued mobile devices to military secured facilities wiping any device that leaves the controlled area. In high security areas it it possible to wipe a device on-demand as it exists a “safe” zone. Continue reading →
Here is a post from my friend Aamir Lakhani’s blog about RSA NetWitness. The original can be found at Cloud Centrics (http://www.cloudcentrics.com/). Really good post on NetWitness.
RSA NetWitness is a unique solution that captures, store and analyze network data traffic. This gives you the able to see exactly what comes in and goes out of the network in real time . In simple terms, RSA offers to you a Network CCTV. Not only that, NetWitness also allows you to see the traffic in action as it reconstructs the data that flows through the network into its original format according to its own type or application. This helps you strengthen your security measures by taking appropriate action. On top of that, since all traffic is captured and stored, you will be able to go back to a particular period of time and conduct historical data analysis. Nothing escapes undetected.
RSA NetWitness delivers an innovative fusion of hundreds of log data sources with external threat intelligence to enterprises; enabling extraordinary broad and high-speed visibility into the critical information needed to help detect targeted, dynamic and stealthy attack techniques.
Why is it important?
NetWitness records all network activity. The benefits of this forensic analysis cannot be matched by any other product. NetWitness will truly allow you to investigate what happened on the network.
More importantly, since NetWitness sees and records everything on the network, it is very easy for the product to detect threats as they are occurring. This gives administrators an opportunity to stop attacks before they cause damage on the network.
Recording all network activity with forensic accuracy and analyzing current threats in real time provides situational awareness and insight for threats on existing infrastructure devices. Typically, when systems are discovered to be compromised, the systems are imaged, and software is reinstalled. However, many people don’t actually figure out the root cause of the problem. How did the system originally get compromised and what measures should be used to prevent it from happening again? In addition, if one machine is compromised, chances are high that others will be as well.
Why are these attacks difficult to detect? The answer is that these threats originate from the inside, or trusted areas of the network. The most common network threats involve a failure in internal security. This includes APTs, Botnets, Phishing attacks, social network information leakage, and product patches.
Security fails and systems get breached because many people do not take the threat seriously or make an effort to learn about it. It takes a proactive approach to be secure and protected against threats.
Furthermore, many organizations have processes in place that actually do more harm than good. These procedures that are supposed to help an organization’s security posture degrade it instead. This is partly to do with people and attitude, but also partly to do with outdated ways of thinking about security mixed with inadequate technologies.
Anatomy of an attack
Here is an example: Zeus was a popular attack last year that stole and spread through internal networks. Zeus is a Trojan horse that steals banking information by Man-in-the-browser, keystroke logging and Form Grabbing. Zeus spread mainly through drive-by downloads and phishing schemes.
Zeus was successful because it was a well-crafted phishing attack. Victims received an email that looked interesting to them. They were instructed to download a report from what appeared to be a legitimate website. In reality, the report was a Trojan horse that allowed attackers to control the victim’s system. The hosting website was in China.
A capture (report) from NetWitness showed that the originating server of Zeus went to a command and control server in China. The program that the user downloaded allowed attackers from the Chinese server to have control of the users’ system. From that point on, it was trivial for them to exploit other systems on the users’ network.
Most anti-virus agents did not detect Zeus. Later, Zeus disabled anti-virus agents using a variety of schemes – mostly by redireiting anti-virus updates to a 127.0.0.1 IP address.
Since NetWitness recorded all network traffic, it recorded what systems were compromised, communications with systems in China, and what was being transferring. When internal systems initiate a connection and transfer files, NetWitness captures that traffic.
NetWitness is the only security tool that provides complete visibility on a network. It shows when attacks are occurring in real-time and gives an organization the ability to detect and stop those attacks.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has become a hot topic for many industries. Lately security people are using the term BYOD like datacenter folks classify everything as Cloud. My team has advised our customers using a best practice BYOD architecture (more info HERE) and like many consultants feel Mobile Device Management aka MDM is a key factor.
A few months ago I posted about one of the market leaders, MobileIron, HERE. I have received multiple requests for another vendor and chose the current leader Zenprise according to Gartner’s Report “Critical Capabilities for Mobile Device Management”. Plus I really like Zenprise.
Zenprise offers all the popular features expected from leading MDM vendors such as controlled remote wipe, policy enforcement (passwords, etc.), flagging jailbroken devices and enabling location. A few differentiators as of today for Zenprise are the ability to remotely login into phones (similar to remote desktop for windows), secure content distribution and Mobile DLP, application-specific VPN tunnels, and SIEM integration.
The architecture of Zenprise is similar to other MDM vendors. They have a management system (Zenprise Device Manager, or ZDM) and enforcement system (Zenprise Secure Mobile Gateway (SMG)). The Zenprise SMG is what denies email services to devices that violate policy. They also have a component that sits inside the network and does advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting for Microsoft Exchange and BlackBerry Enterprise Server (Zenprise Service Manager, or ZSM). Like many MDM vendors, Zenprise has an agent that sits on endpoints to enforce policy. Most people install both the ZDM and Zenprise SMG since it makes sense to enforce policies. Licensing for cloud or on-premise is based on the number of endpoints and drops as larger quantities are purchased.
To try Zenrpise out, go to https://zencloud.zenprise.com/zencloud/cloudUser/create and fill out the form to gain access to a free trial of the cloud service. You can also request Zenprise software to setup an on-premise trial however you will have to request that from a Zenprise sales person or partner such as World Wide Technology Inc. One you gain access to the management system, login in and you should hit the main dashboard.
After logging in, the main Zenprise landing page will show devices you are managing. Details include Jailbroken / Rooted, Managed / Unmanaged, Serial numbers, IMEI/MEID, last connected, User, OS Version, etc. You can click a device and see details such as what apps are installed, how much battery life is available, installed certificates, etc.
Zenprise policies are pretty easy to setup and can be device specific. The screenshot below shows a blacklist policy for Angry Birds and Dropbox on iOS devices.
You have a few options in Zenprise to add a new device. One option is downloading the Zenprise agent from iTunes / Google Play and enrolling. Enrolling requires the ZDM address, username and password. Once you login, it will prompt you for certificates and any profiles configurations setup by administration.
Once Zenprise is installed, the user can access apps offered by administration and view the agent configuration.
Other methods in Zenprise to add devices include registration using the administration dash (asks for the serial number of the device) and sending out a registration link via email or txt.
There are many options in Zenprise for reports which include inventory, software, jailbroken / rooted and hardware. Below is a screenshot from the next release coming out in June/July 2012. Check out www.zenprise.com for more info on their solution.
Many network administrators do not have a method to know what is on their network. Devices may be very basic yet use IP for updates or heartbeat purposes (examples are printers, card readers, even some refrigerators). Other issues could be users not having administrator privileges to their systems or recently the demand to bring personal mobile devices onto the network. For these and other reasons, the visibility on what is on the network is becoming blurred.
Cisco released its flagship access control solution Cisco Identity Services Engine ISE last year with the goal of using identity as a means to provision network access. Many people evaluating Network Admission Control solutions get caught up with the concept of denying rather than understanding a core purpose of these solutions is identification. Cisco ISE is able to profile devices using a number of network probes that analyze the behavior of devices on the network to determine what they are. Probes are optional yet best practice is to enable as much as possible to gain the best network visibility. Some options for probes are Netflow, DHCP, DHCP SPAN, HTTP, Radius, NMAP, DNS, SNMP Query and SNMP Traps. Ports used are configurable as well as device profiles. For example, if a Avaya phone requires DHCP as a requirement for identification, that requirement can be adjusted if DHCP is not available.
To prove the ISE network monitoring concept, I stood up a ISE system on a small server, enabled all profiling probes and let it sit on my network overnight. ISE did not have AAA setup, user information, 802.1x or device management enabled. Consider this ISE system a server / laptop plugging into a DHCP port and sniffing the wire using profiling probes.
My network is very basic. I have a small Cisco Firewall providing LAN access with a ROKU Netflixs player, Blue Ray device (off during test) and Cisco Access Point powered from the firewall. ISE was able to identify my laptop as a Apple Workstation running Lion, my printer as a Canon device (I turned it on for 5 minutes to scan a document and powered it down), MACMINI as a apple device hosting VMWare, Apple iPad connecting to the Access Point and iPhone connected but not surfing the internet (seen as Apple iDevice since it generated little network traffic). This was done without using the new NMAP feature.
I verified findings by launching a NMAP scan and found a consolidated list of active devices. (Note this is the MR1.1 release however 1.1 includes NMAP as well)
Cisco Identity Services Engine ISE is a very powerful access control tool yet many forget the simple things in life. Consider ISE for identifying what is on your network using profiling as a network monitoring tool. Its a great first step to establish your network policy.