Showing posts from March, 2004

OpenBSD Funding Highlights Open Source Development Issues

In mid-March the OpenBSD Journal featured a story on funding OpenBSD SMP development. I found it interesting to get a glimpse into the workings of the open source community when it comes to making important advances in operating systems. The story was really a post of a message Theo made to a mailing list, but the commentary was interesting. It reminded me of the donations to Colin Percival's Freebsd-update project.

New Utilities for Investigating Systems

I've come across a few interesting utilities that deserve a look. PyFlag is a Web-based forensic analysis suite written in Python. It's a complete rewrite of the original FLAG tool. Microsoft released portrptr.exe recently. Port Reporter runs as a service on Windows 2000/XP/2003 systems, logging sockets used to the c:\winnt\system32\logfiles\portreporter directory. Here are sample records: 04/3/29,9:38:18,TCP,21,,24898, 04/3/29,9:38:25,TCP,1163,,, 04/3/29,9:38:25,TCP,1163,,24899, 04/3/29,9:38:50,TCP,1166,,24900, 04/3/29,9:38:55,TCP,1167,,24901, The first is an FTP control channel. The last three are FTP data channels. I am not sure about the second entry but the source port is the same as that used for the first FTP data channel.

Online Debian Book

I decided to move my old Pentium 90 from Red Hat 6.2 to Debian. I installed 3.0r2 using the 2.2 kernel boot floppies . The P90 doesn't support booting from the blazingly fast 2X speed Sony CD-ROM, which also requires a the CDU31A driver. I couldn't find support for this driver in the 2.4 kernel boot floppies. I also had to load the 8390 and smc-ultra kernel modules to support a Linksys ISA NIC. Along the way I found The Debian Universe , which "aims to become a complete guide to installing, managing and running Debian GNU/Linux." This is great because the last published book on Debian arrived in 2001 and described the 2.2r release. I was able to update my kernel to 2.4.18 using the apt tools. This command showed me what was available: apt-cache search kernel-image-2.4 Next I installed the 2.4.18 image: apt-get install kernel-image-2.4.18-1-386 I added 'initrd=/initrd.img' to /etc/lilo.conf as prompted by the install process. When I rebooted I was

Draft Cover Art for my Book

I received draft cover art for my upcoming book The Tao of Network Security Monitoring: Beyond Intrusion Detection . That's a praying mantis on the cover. I first studied a form of praying mantis kung fu ten years ago in the town where I grew up. The school is still going strong as the Michael Macaris Kung Fu Academy in Billerica, Massachusetts.

The Applicability of Corporate Fraud to Digital Security

I've been on the lookout for Corporate Fraud: Case Studies in Detection and Prevention by John D. O'Gara. I thought it might contain insights useful for intrusion detection. Looking at the sample excerpt, ( .pdf ), it seems more suited to corporate types. However, I found this statement to be fascinating: "Effective prevention depends on the probability of detection and prosecution more than on any other single factor, because management fraud typically involves override rather than taking advantage of control weaknesses." This ties in to my idea that prevention eventually fails , for whatever reason. I also found the emphasis on recognition of indicators to be completely in line with my ideas: "All competent professional internal auditors should have the ability to recognize the red flags and symptoms that indicate the possible existence of management fraud , and they should also be able to perform diagnostic procedures to assess the probability of occ

New Sguil Installation Guide Released

I just released a new Sguil install guide using Sguil 0.3.1, FreeBSD 5.2.1 REL, Snort 2.1.1, Barnyard 0.2beta2, MySQL 4.0.18, and other updates. It's available in text form at . The packages for FreeBSD 5.2.1 mentioned in the guide are available at sguil_0-3-1_f5-2-1_pkg.tar.gz (24 MB). I wanted to get this out to accompany the article in Sys Admin magazine. The new guide is a text version, which I felt was more appropriate for the Sguil user community. I composed the guide in vi , which didn't wrap the lines to 80 columns. I used fold -s to create the formatted result. Publishes Benchmarking Results

Image published several good articles on FreeBSD recently. I was impressed by the author's attention to detail for each report, but I am not in a position to try to confirm or refute his claims. With a three word summary, they are: Hardware Benchmarking with FreeBSD ; be very thorough Scheduler Performance: ULE vs. 4BSD ; 4BSD is faster The 64-bit Question: AMD64 vs. i386 ; Athlon usually wins

Snort_Inline: Snort-based "Intrusion Prevention"

The Snort_inline project released a version compatible with Snort 2.1.1 this week. Snort_inline works with firewall software on the same host to drop packets matching Snort signatures. Apparently there is experimental support for running Snort_inline on FreeBSD using using divert(4) and ipfw(8) . Just the other day I read a news posting on the snort_inline mailing group archives , but today the archive is gone. I subscribed to the mailing list just now and plan to ask what's happened. Update : The archive is back and here is the post of interest.

Weekly FreeBSD cvs-src Summaries

Want to know more about FreeBSD development? Don't want to subscribe to the freebsd-current mailing list, or search the archives? If the answer to either question is yes, visit Mark's weekly FreeBSD cvs-src summaries . Mark Johnston was inspired by this thread to post his first summary in late January. Mark reads emails on commits to cvs-src and summarizes what he believes is important. Some of what he writes brings obscure topics to the FreeBSD public's attention. His 23 January report mentions a series of additions to the current tree called "Project Evil." The first commit occurred in December . Project Evil, also known as the NDISulator , helps FreeBSD use Windows device drivers. Bill Paul's December and January posts to freebsd-current give more details.

Latest Fedora News

I just received the latest Red Hat email newsletter, which contained this news on Fedora : "Fedora, the community-supported Linux distribution project sponsored by Red Hat, has been making great progress as of late. Fedora Core 2, Test 2 is expected to be released in early April and the finished Fedora Core 2 distribution should be available in May. FC2 is the industry's first Linux distribution based on the Linux 2.6 kernel, and supports 32-bit x86 and 64-bit x86-84 systems. It also includes Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) technology, which was co- developed with the U.S. Government's NSA. With Gnome 2.5, KDE 3.2, and 1.1, FC2 is the ideal Linux playground for technology enthusiasts and open source developers." Soon the only Linux box I will have in my house is a Pentium 90 (with a non-bootable dual-speed CD-ROM) running Debian. I'll report on how I set it up in a future blog entry.

ICSA Labs Announces Security Device Event Exchange (SDEE)

Sebastien Tricaud's post to Focus-IDS informed me of the Security Device Event Exchange (SDEE), an IDS alert format and transport protocol specification. ICSA's Intrusion Detection Systems Consortium (IDSC) devised the SDEE specification. The IDSC consists of Cisco, Fortinet, Infosec Technologies, ISS, SecureWorks, Sourcefire, Symantec, and Tripwire. TruSecure, owner of ICSA Labs, published a press release which says in part: "IDSC members Jeff Platzer and Mike Hall of Cisco Systems, Robert Graham of ISS, Marty Roesch of Sourcefire and Marcus Ranum of TruSecure Corporation co-developed the SDEE transport protocol specification format; this team will manage future revisions to the specification... SDEE specifies the format of the IDS alerts as well as the protocol used to communicate events generated by security devices. SDEE is flexible and extensible so vendors can utilize product specific extensions in a way that maintains messaging compatibility. In addition, S

Slyck is the Place to Understand Peer-to-Peer

Earlier today I reported on law enforcement's desire to wiretap all sorts of communications. While doing research I discovered an incredible resource for peer-to-peer users called . Slyck does an excellent job categorizing and explaining a dozen individual file sharing methods, then offers information on programs implementing each method. This is a great resource for anyone trying to understand file sharing protocols they might see on their networks.

Incredibly Misleading Article Corrected by Commenters

An report, Thank Apple for FreeBSD , is one of the most inaccurate articles I've ever read. I don't recommend spending time on the article itself, but I do believe reader's reactions to the article are noteworthy. People often claim Apple's Mac OS X is somehow "built on" FreeBSD or is "FreeBSD underneath." Several of the people who commented on the OSViews story give true insight, especially this response . I find it ironic that the OSViews tag line is "Why should seasoned journalists have all the fun?" Simple -- they tend to avoid writing ridiculous stories!

Excellent Coverage of Wiretapping Issues at published an article titled FBI adds to wiretap wish list yesterday. This is the latest of many excellent articles on wiretapping issues in the United States. summarizes a a"joint petition for expedited rulemaking" ( .pdf ) submitted to the Federal Communications Commission by the US Dept. of Justice, FBI, and Drug Enforcement Agency. The Feds are asking the FCC to expand the scope of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA . CALEA requires telecommunications carriers to allow law enforcement "to intercept, to the exclusion of any other communications, all wire and electronic communications carried by the carrier" and "to access call-identifying information," among other powers. The EPIC wiretap page features the text of the law and supporting articles. The FBI maintains the AskCALEA site, which describes their interactions with the FCC and telecommunications providers. The FBI's rendering of t

NSM Article in April Sys Admin Magazine

The April 2004 issue of Sys Admin magazine features an article I wrote titled "Integrating the Network Security Monitoring Model." Sys Admin summarizes it by saying: "This article examines intrusion detection through an operational model called network security monitoring (NSM). Bejtlich explains NSM theory and introduces several tools to integrate NSM concepts into existing systems." I imagine the April issue will be on newstands within the next few weeks. After the article has been in print for a while, I will make a copy available in .pdf form at . I am still working on upgrading the Sguil installation procedure to use MySQL 4.0.x (probably 4.0.18), along with the newest versions of several of its Tcl components. I'd really like to include a release version of the new Barnyard as well.

Department of Health and Human Services Security Incident World Record

FCW reports the Department of Health and Human Services recorded "348.9 million [security] incidents" in 2003. In contrast, the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported a "single information security incident" last year. It sounds like DHHS reported every packet dropped by their firewalls. That's about 11 "incidents" per second. I can't imagine the sort of manager who let an outrageous figure like this leave his or her desk.

Andrew Baker Announces New Barnyard Beta

Andrew Baker announced a new beta version of Barnyard today on the Snort-users mailing list. This is an important event because Andrew has integrated support for Sguil . op_sguil.c and op_sguil.h are now in the Barnyard CVS repository . This move reduces the amount of patching needed to get Sguil working with Snort and Barnyard.

Article on Cfengine

I'm researching issues relating to administrating dozens or hundreds of similarly configured FreeBSD systems. I think I will try to use Cfengine to enforce configuration management. Kirk Bauer just wrote a Linux Journal article on Cfengine, which appears in the ports tree as sysutils/cfengine2 . I'm looking at using Nagios to gather system status and Samhain for file integrity. I'll probably centralize log collection with syslog-ng . I'd like to use binary updates installed from my own update server. I may place various server applications within jails . I'm also keeping an eye on the FreeBSD port of systrace . For remote access I'd like the systems to be equipped with something like the PC Weasel 2000 to send BIOS data to a serial port. I'm also thinking about having a modem for emergency dial-in access . Remotely power cycling the box is a last resort, but a device like this from WTI could save a drive or flight to a remote location.

Security Articles in Newest Cisco Packet Magazine

The first quarter 2004 issue of Cisco's Packet magazine is all about security. The Locking Down IOS article mentions enhancements in IOS 12.3T . The "T" means this IOS release is from the "advanced technology" "software train," from which the 12.4 mainline train will be released. For me the most interesting addition is IP Traffic Export . This feature tells the router to export selected traffic out a LAN or VLAN interface, where a monitoring platform watches the traffic. Cisco touts these benefits: "Without the ability to export IP traffic, the Intrusion Detection System (IDS) probe must be inline with the network device to monitor traffic flow. IP traffic export eliminates the probe placement limitation, allowing users to place an IDS probe in any location within their network or direct all exported traffic to a VLAN that is dedicated for network monitoring. Allowing users to choose the optimal location of their IDS probe reduces process

Portupgrade Errors

It's been a while since I upgraded my ports tree, and I ran into errors when I upgraded the tree using portupgrade today. Here's some of what I saw: ! net/p5-Socket6 (p5-Socket6-0.14) (uninstall error) ! lang/python (python-2.3.3_1) (uninstall error) ! security/p5-Digest (p5-Digest-1.05) (uninstall error) ---> Session ended at: Sat, 06 Mar 2004 15:03:40 -0500 (consumed 01:25:26) portsclean -CDD /usr/local/sbin/portsclean:35:in `require': No such file to load -- pkgtools (Lo adError) from /usr/local/sbin/portsclean:35 Done updating ports tree at Sat Mar 6 15:03:40 EST 2004. Doing some research I found that making lang/ruby18 the default requires special handling of portupgrade, according to this commit message . I handled the situation this way: janney:/var/db/pkg# ls | grep ruby ruby- ruby-1.8.1_2 ruby-bdb1-0.2.1 ruby-shim-ruby18-1.8.1.p3 janney:/var/db/pkg# pkg_delete ruby- pkg_delete: un

US Frequency Allocation Chart Available

My local amateur radio club informed me that the US Frequency Allocation Chart for 2003 could be ordered from the US government printing office Web site for $4.25. This is an impressive wall chart showing frequenices allocated by the FCC. I ordered one for my office. There are .pdf versions available as well. The one-page graphical version is just barely legible, depending on the quality of your printer. The "text" version is 88 pages, but all entries can be read. I don't recommend bothering with that document though.

Browsing Ports with Pib

Pib is another useful package management tool. It's a Tcl/Tk-based browser which shows information on ports and their installation status. The following is the Ports INDEX browser window. This screen shot shows the security/openssh-askpass port. We see it is installed because the green "install" keyword is lit. Ports that are not installed do not show "clean". Pib is useful because one can quickly browse the ports tree, select a port, and read the description in the lower window. That window appears once the question mark icon is pressed. The window is persistent. Pib also offers port searching capabilities. For example, one can search for a port and see its dependencies and the ports which depend upon it. I'm waiting for this month's release of a new version of portsman , a ncurses-based package management tool.

Removing Packages with pkg_cutleaves

You may have read Dru Lavigne's article on Cleaning and Customizing Your Ports . She mentioned used portsclean to remove working directories and distfiles with 'portsclean -CDD': orr:/root# portsclean -CDD Cleaning out /usr/ports/*/*/work... Delete /usr/ports/sysutils/gkrellm2/work Delete /usr/ports/net/netmap/work Delete /usr/ports/graphics/graphviz/work done. Detecting unreferenced distfiles... Delete /usr/ports/distfiles/graphviz-1.10.tar.gz Delete /usr/ports/distfiles/legacy_132beta4_src.tar.gz Delete /usr/ports/distfiles/netmap-0.1.2b.tar.gz I learned of another housekeeping tool called pkg_cutleaves . It looks at installed packages and notifies the user of packages upon which no other package depends. These "leaf packages" might be candidates for removal. When you run the tool, pkg_cutleaves asks if you want to keep or deinstall each leaf package: Package 1 of 108: OpenSSH-askpass- - Graphical password applet for entering SSH passphrase

Shoki News

I have not yet tried the Shoki open source intrusion detection system, but I have been in contact with its author, Stephen Berry. I asked if he planned to augment Shoki to allow logging to a flat text file, and Stephen added the feature in the latest interim release of shoki (shoki- I also asked him about forthcoming releases: "All of the interim releases are the result of me merging the stuff in my development tree with the stuff in my release tree. Once that's all done (Real Soon Now), I'll release that as the `official' 0.3.0 release. After that, I'm planning on incorporating a bunch of other stuff that I've been working on: a formal grammar for linking events (i.e., signature matches), vulnerabilities (i.e., things found in Nessus reports), doctrines (those funny things covered in Section 2.2 of the Shoki User's Manual), and threat models (which aren't currently part of shoki); and some data handling tweaks for scaling (most

FreeSBIE Project Releases FreeSBIE-1.0

Last month I wrote about the FreeSBIE live CD-ROM FreeBSD distribution. The team just released FreeSBIE-1.0 for download . The announcement describes the project and the package list details all the goodies in the .iso image. This version is based on FreeBSD 5.2.1 RELEASE . Update: This Slashdot post on FreeSBIE brought several other cool projects to my attention, including LiveBSD and BSDeviant , along with general sites like LiveCDNews . I also just found the sysutils/freesbie port , which will not be as current as the CVS version. The latest version of FreeSBIE has this torrent and the desktop version of LiveBSD has this torrent . The FreeSBIE mailing list is archived at for easy perusal.