Identity Services Engine ISE 1.2 – Updated First Look

I recently posted about the new release of ISE 1.2 HERE. I finally got a new server and configured my lab. Here are some comments to build on my last ISE 1.2 post

Main interface: I really like the new look. The homepage and tabs at the top are cleaner.

Screen Shot 2013 08 30 at 2.48.22 PM Identity Services Engine ISE 1.2   Updated First Look Continue reading

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How to build a basic Cisco Identity Services Engine ISE home lab

I’ve posted about configuring Cisco Identity Services Engine ISE for a few use cases however have had requests to explain the steps to setup a basic lab. This post serves as a guide to get a basic ISE lab running to test LAN or Mobile devices. My lab uses an Apple Macmini as an ESXI 5.1 server hosting the ISE virtual machine (explained HERE).  See the configuration guides for details on configuring a lab.

Virtual Machine Setup: Download the latest ISE .ISO file from cisco.com. Access the ESXI GUI and select New Machine. The recommended specs for a custom New Machine:

  • Virtual Machine version 7
  • Linux 5 32 bit
  • 2 virtual CPU
  • 4 gig of memory
  • 60 gig of space – thin provisioning (I find thick isn’t necessary for a lab) Continue reading
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Post NAC: Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) and Lancope StealthWatch for Total Access Control

Controlling who and what access your network is a critical element to keep your resources safe from malicious threats. Network Admission Control (NAC) solutions like the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) can police who and what is permitted network access as well as enforce policy for those devices. Examples would be permitting an administrator with a government furnished Windows 7 laptop access to VLAN 10, which holds internal servers, while provisioning a marketing professional’s iPad with VLAN 20 access, which is limited to Internet and email through the use of ACLs. Continue reading

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Installing Lancope StealthWatch on a Mac mini for Small Lab

Lancope enables visibility for security and network performance. Security capabilities focus on identifying insider threats such as botnets, malware and data loss using non-signature network wide correlation of all traffic. Pretty much anything touching the physical or virtual network leaves a footprint known as NetFlow that is investigated for malicious intent and performance statics.

Lancope offers a virtual and physical appliance option for the StealthWatch technology making it easy to build a lab. This post will explain how to build a simple Lancope lab integrated with Cisco ISE 1.2 beta using an Apple Mac mini server hosting vSphere ESXI 5.1 with ASA 5505 firewall. Continue reading

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Situational Awareness For Cyber Threat Defense

Aamir Lakhani did a great post on Situational Awareness. The original post ca be found HERE

Illustration Kekai Kotaki Red Dragon 992x712 Situational Awareness For Cyber Threat Defense

Illustration by Kekai Kotaki

Problem

Cisco Systems in their Cyber Security Threat Defense white papers outlines how the network security threat landscape is evolving. They describe how modern attacks are stealthy and evade traditional security perimeter defenses. Continue reading

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Cisco’s Cyber Solutions – What Is Happening In Your Network

Watching Cisco’s Cyber Solutions – What Is Happening In Your NetworkToday’s threat landscape is loaded with malicious websites, malware and other risks that attack users every nanosecond of the day.  There isn’t a single product available that can guarantee protection from cyber threats. Older solutions leveraging static technologies such as signatures are not good enough. The best approach for dealing with advanced threats is continuously monitoring the entire network through layering security technologies. Continue reading

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Defending Against The Next Generation Distributed Denial of Service DDoS Attacks : DDoS Defense Reference Architecture

 Defending Against The Next Generation Distributed Denial of Service DDoS Attacks : DDoS Defense Reference ArchitecturePress 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. Continue reading

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Zenprise 7.01 Out Now : What’s New From Previous Version 6.6

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. Continue reading

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802.1X Challenges For Department of Defense

DISA 802.1X Challenges For Department of DefenseAamir Lakhani wrote a fantastic post on 802.1x for DOD. You can find the original posting at www.cloudcentrics.com

The Department of Defense added a requirement that all network ports, or on-ramps need to be protected. Applications, server, and data are normally protected; however, most network ports are left open. You get on to a network by plugging into a port and a network address is allocated for the connection. Computers without proper are free to launch attacks from the network.  Network port protection lock down restricts anonymous access and prevents these “attacks”.

When network protection is turned on, a machine plugs into the network; no network access is given until the machine is authenticated to the network.

A few years ago, NAC solutions tried to accomplish goals for locking down networks. Most of my customers hated NAC. It added a layer of complexity that made the network behave unnatural and harder to support. It used a variety of ports, protocols, and physical boxes to implement. In short, it was complicated.  NAC supported networks broke down often, causing nightmares for those legitimate users trying to get access and the people supporting those networks.

What are people doing to support port lockdown today at the Department of Defense and other large enterprise organizations? Surprisingly, the solution has been around for a long time to help secure wireless networks. It is called 802.1x. Historically, 802.1x has worked great on wireless networks and has always been a little troublesome on the wired ports. But things have changed with enterprise policy servers (Cisco Identity Services) that make the connection more easily configurable on modern day operating systems such as Mac OS X Mountain Lion and Windows 8.

How does 802.1x work? According to Wikipedia, IEEE 802.1X is an IEEE Standard for port-based Network Access Control (PNAC) that provides an authentication mechanism to devices wishing to attach to a LAN or WLAN. It is part of the IEEE 802.1 group of networking protocols.

802.1X authentication involves three parties: a supplicant, an authenticator, and an authentication server. The supplicant is a client device (such as a laptop) that wishes to attach to the LAN/WLAN.  The term ‘supplicant’ is also used interchangeably to refer to the software running on the clients’ device that provides credentials to the authenticator. The authenticator is a network device, such as an Ethernet switch or wireless access point. And the authentication server is typically a host running software supporting the RADIUS and EAP protocols.

The authenticator acts like a security guard to a protected network. The supplicant (i.e., client device) is not allowed access through the authenticator to the protected side of the network until the supplicant’s identity has been validated and authorized. A similar comparison to this would be providing a valid visa at the airport’s arrival immigration booth before being allowed to enter the country. With 802.1X port-based authentication, the supplicant provides credentials, such as user name / password or digital certificate, to the authenticator and the authenticator forwards the credentials to the authentication server for verification. If the authentication server determines that the credentials are valid, the supplicant (client device) is allowed to access resources located on the protected side of the network. Continue reading

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