Posts

Showing posts from November, 2009

Real Security Is Threat-Centric

Image
Apparently there's been a wave of house burglaries in a nearby town during the last month. As you might expect, local residents responded by replacing windows with steel panels, front doors with vault entrances, floors with pressure-sensitive plates, and whatever else "security vendors" recommended. Town policymakers created new laws to mandate locking doors, enabling alarm systems, and creating scorecards for compliance. Home builders decided they needed to adopt "secure building" practices so all these retrofitted measures were "built in" future homes. Oh wait, this is the real world! All those vulnerability-centric measures I just described are what too many "security professionals" would recommend. Instead, police identified the criminals and arrested them. From Teen burglary ring in Manassas identified : Two suspects questioned Friday gave information about the others, police said. Now this crew is facing prosecution. That&#

Celebrate FreeBSD 8.0 Release with Donation

Image
With the announcement of FreeBSD 8.0 , it seems like a good time to donate to the FreeBSD Foundation , a US 501(c)3 charity. The Foundation funds and manages projects, sponsors FreeBSD events, Developer Summits and provides travel grants to FreeBSD developers. It also provides and helps maintain computers and equipment that support FreeBSD development and improvements. I just donated $100. Will anyone match me? Thank you!

Historical Video on AFCERT circa 2000

Image
I just uploaded a video that some readers might find entertaining. This video shows the United States Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team (AFCERT) in 2000. Kelly AFB, Security Hill, and Air Intelligence Agency appear. The colonel who leads the camera crew into room 215 is James Massaro, then commander of the Air Force Information Warfare Center. The old Web-based interface to the Automated Security Incident Measurement (ASIM) sensor is shown, along with a demo of the "TCP reset" capability to terminate TCP-based sessions. We have a classic quote about a "digital Pearl Harbor" from Winn Schwartau, "the nation's top information security analyst." Hilarious, although Winn nails the attribution and national leadership problems; note also the references to terrorists in this pre-9/11 video. "Stop the technology madness!" Incidentally, if the programs shown were "highly classified," they wouldn't be in this video! I was tr

Tort Law on Negligence

Image
If any lawyers want to contribute to this, please do. In my post Shodan: Another Step Towards Intrusion as a Service , some comments claim "negligence" as a reason why intruders aren't really to blame. I thought I would share this case from Tort Law , page 63: In Stansbie v Troman [1948] 2 All ER 48 the claimant, a householder, employed the defendant, a painter. The claimant had to be absent from his house for a while and he left the defendant working there alone. Later, the defendant went out for two hours leaving the front door unlocked. He had been warned by the claimant to lock the door whenever he left the house. While the house was empty someone entered it by the unlocked front door and stole some of the claimant's posessions. The defendant was held liable for the claimant's loss for, although the criminal action of a third party was involved, the possibility of theft from an unlocked house was one which should have occurred to the defendant. So,

Review of Martin Libicki's Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar

Image
Amazon.com just posted my three star review of Martin Libicki's Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar . I've reproduced the review in its entirety here because I believe it is important to spread the word to any policy maker who might read this blog or be directed here. I've emphasized a few points for readability. As background, I am a former Air Force captain who led the intrusion detection operation in the AFCERT before applying those same skills to private industry, the government, and other sectors. I am currently responsible for detection and response at a Fortune 5 company and I train others with hands-on labs as a Black Hat instructor. I also earned a master's degree in public policy from Harvard after graduating from the Air Force Academy. Martin Libicki's Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar (CAC) is a weighty discussion of the policy considerations of digital defense and attack. He is clearly conversant in non-cyber national security history and policy, and that kno

Shodan: Another Step Towards Intrusion as a Service

Image
If you haven't seen Shodan yet, you're probably not using Twitter as a means to stay current on security issues. Shoot, I don't even follow anyone and I heard about it. Basically a programmer named John Matherly scanned a huge swath of the Internet for certain TCP ports (80, 21, 23 at least) and published the results in a database with a nice Web front-end. This means you can put your mind in Google hacking mode, find vulnerable platforms, maybe add in some default passwords (or not), and take over someone's system. We're several steps along the Intrusion as a Service (IaaS) path already! Incidentally, this idea is not new. I know at least one company that sold a service like this in 2004. The difference is that Shodan is free and open to the public. Shodan is a dream for those wanting to spend Thanksgiving looking for vulnerable boxes, and a nightmare for their owners. I would not be surprised if shodan.surtri.com disappears in the next few days af

I'm Surprised That Your Kung Fu Is So Expert

Image
This story is so awesome. Hacks of Chinese Temple Were Online Kung Fu, Abbot Says A hacker who posted a fake message on the Web site of China's famous Shaolin Temple repenting for its commercial activities was just making a mean joke, the temple's abbot was cited as saying by Chinese state media Monday. That and previous attacks on the Web site were spoofs making fun of the temple, Buddhism and the abbot himself, Shi Yongxin was cited as telling the People's Daily. "We all know Shaolin Temple has kung fu," Shi was quoted as saying. "Now there is kung fu on the Internet too, we were hacked three times in a row." Why am I not surprised that a Shaolin monk has a better grasp of the fundamentals of computer security than some people in IT? Bonus: Props to anyone who recognizes the title of this post.

Control "Monitoring" is Not Threat Monitoring

Image
As I write this post I'm reminded of General Hayden's advice: "Cyber" is difficult to understand, so be charitable with those who don't understand it, as well as those who claim "expertise." It's important to remember that plenty of people are trying to act in a positive manner to defend important assets, so in that spirit I offer the following commentary. Thanks to John Bambanek's SANS post I read NIST Drafts Cybersecurity Guidance by InformationWeek's J. Nicholas Hoover. The article discusses the latest draft of SP 800-37 Rev. 1: DRAFT Guide for Applying the Risk Management Framework to Federal Information Systems: A Security Life Cycle Approach . I suspected this to be problematic given NIST's historical bias towards "controls," which I've criticized in Controls Are Not the Solution to Our Problem and Consensus Audit Guidelines Are Still Controls . The subtext for the article was: The National Institute

Audio of Bejtlich Presentation on Network Security Monitoring

Image
One of the presentations I delivered at the Information Security Summit last month discussed Network Security Monitoring. The Security Justice guys recorded audio of the presentation and posted it here as Network Security Monitoring and Incident Response. The audio file is InfoSec2009_RichardBejtlich.mp3.

Traffic Talk 8 Posted

Image
I just noticed that my 8th edition of Traffic Talk , titled How to use user-agent strings as a network monitoring tool , was posted this week. It's a simple concept that plenty of NSM practitioners implement, and I highly recommend it.

Extending Security Event Correlation

Image
Last year at this time I wrote a series of posts on security event correlation . I offered the following definition in the final post: Security event correlation is the process of applying criteria to data inputs, generally of a conditional ("if-then") nature, in order to generate actionable data outputs. Since then what I have found is that products and people still claim this as a goal, but for the most part achieving it remains elusive. Please also see that last post for what SEC is not , i.e., SEC is not simply collection (of data sources), normalization (of data sources), prioritization (of events), suppression (via thresholding), accumulation (via simple incrementing counters), centralization (of policies), summarization (via reports), administration (of software), or delegation (of tasks). So is SEC anything else? Based on some operational uses I have seen, I think I can safely introduce an extension to "true" SEC: applying information from one or more

Embedded Hardware and Software Pen Tester Positions in GE Smart Grid

Image
I was asked to help locate two candidates for positions in the GE Smart Grid initiative. We're looking for an Embedded Hardware Penetration Tester (1080237) and an Embedded Firmware Penetration Tester (1080236). If interested, search for the indicated job numbers at ge.com/careers or go to the job site to get to the search function a little faster. I don't have any other information on these jobs, so please work through the job site. Thank you. Update Mon 16 Nov : As noted by Charlene in the comments below, the jobs are no longer posted. If I hear they are back I will post an update here. Update Wed 18 Nov : I was just told the jobs are either open or will be soon. Thank you.

Reaction to 60 Minutes Story

Image
I found the new 60 Minutes update on information warfare to be interesting. I fear that the debate over whether or not "hackers" disabled Brazil's electrical grid will overshadow the real issue presented in the story: advanced persistent threats are here, have been here, and will continue to be here. Some critics claim APT must be a bogey man invented by agencies arguing over how to gain greater control over the citizenry. Let's accept agencies are arguing over turf. That doesn't mean the threat is not real. If you refuse to accept the threat exists, you're simply ignorant of the facts. That might not be your fault, given policymakers' relative unwillingness to speak out. If you want to get more facts on this issue, I recommend the Northrop Grumman report I mentioned last month.

Notes from Talk by Michael Hayden

Image
I had the distinct privilege to attend a keynote by retired Air Force General Michael Hayden , most recently CIA director and previously NSA director. NetWitness brought Gen Hayden to its user conference this week, so I was really pleased to attend that event. I worked for Gen Hayden when he was commander of Air Intelligence Agency in the 1990s; I served in the information warfare planning division at that time. Gen Hayden offered the audience four main points in his talk. "Cyber" is difficult to understand, so be charitable with those who don't understand it, as well as those who claim "expertise." Cyber is a domain like other warfighting domains (land, sea, air, space), but it also possesses unique characteristics. Cyber is man-made, and operators can alter its geography -- even potentially to destroy it. Also, cyber conflicts are more likely to affect other domains, whereas it is theoretically possible to fight an "all-air" battle, or an &q

Bejtlich on Security Justice Podcast

Image
After I spoke at the Information Security Summit in Ohio last month, the guys at the Security Justice podcast interviewed me and Tyler Hudak . You can listen to the archive here . It was fairly loud in the room but you'd never know it listening to the audio. Great work guys. We discuss open source software, vulnerability research and disclosure, product security incident response teams (PSIRTs), input vs output metrics, insourcing vs outsourcing, and building an incident response team.

DojoCon Videos Online

Image
Props to Marcus Carey for live streaming talks from DojoCon . I appeared in my keynote , plus panels on incident response and cloud security . I thought the conference was excellent and many people posted their thoughts to #dojocon on Twitter.

Tentative Speaker List for SANS Incident Detection Summit

Image
Thanks to everyone who attended the Bejtlich and Bradley Webcast for SANS yesterday. We recorded that Webcast (audio is now available ) to start a discussion concerning professional incident detection. I'm pleased to publish the following tentative speaker list for the SANS WhatWorks in Incident Detection Summit 2009 on 9-10 Dec in Washington, DC. We'll publish all of this information, plus the biographies for the speakers, on the agenda site , but I wanted to share what I have with you. Day One (9 Dec) Keynote: Ron Gula Briefing: Network Security Monitoring dev+user: Bamm Visscher, David Bianco Panel: CIRTs and MSSPs, moderate by Rocky DeStefano: Michael Cloppert, Nate Richmond, Jerry Dixon, Tyler Hudak, Matt Richard, Jon Ramsey Cyberspeak Podcast live during lunch with Bret Padres and Ovie Carroll Briefing: Bro introduction: Seth Hall Panel: Enterprise network detection tools and tactics, potentially with a guest moderator: Ron Shaffer, Matt Olney, Nate Rich