Sunday, August 29, 2010

GE Looking for Business Response Team Leader

GE continues to hire security professionals to help reduce IT risk at our company. I should be posting additional jobs for my team (GE-CIRT) next month, but right now my boss (our CISO) asked me to help find a Business Response Team (BRT) Leader for our Corporate entity. Visit and search for job 1251700 to find the role. From the summary:

The Business Response Team (BRT) Leader is responsible for working with business peers and the GE Computer Incident Response Team (GE-CIRT) to better protect GE Corporate from digital intruders. The BRT Leader limits and assesses the damage caused by digital intruders, evaluates the posture and configuration of business computers, provides direct security support to business initiatives, and works to improve the security of the business.

This role is in Connecticut in order to be close to our HQ.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bejtlich on Silver Bullet Podcast

Gary McGraw was kind enough to interview me for his Silver Bullet Podcast. Gary is a real pro; he does his homework. After describing the interview process to my wife, she thought Gary's approach sounded like James Lipton and Inside the Actor's Studio! We talked about a lot of subjects and Gary tailored his questions to relate to my incident detection and response duties and relations to software security.

Review of Least Privilege Security Posted just posted my four star review of Least Privilege Security for Windows 7, Vista and XP by Russell Smith. From the review:

Russell Smith's Least Privilege Security for Windows 7, Vista, and XP (LPS) is a helpful contribution to the toolbox of many enterprise system administrators. Numerous organizations are finally realizing that the Internet is too hostile an environment to let normal users function with elevated privileges. Although by no means a panacea for preventing intrusions, users operating with least privilege are somewhat more able to resist some attack vectors. Beyond resisting attacks, users operating with least privilege are more likely to meet organizational rules. Thanks to LPS, administrators running Windows 7, Vista, and XP can apply the author's lessons and guidance to their own environment.

Bejtlich Teaching at Black Hat Abu Dhabi 2010

The teaser page for Black Hat Abu Dhabi 2010 is now live, and I am pleased to announce that I will teach TCP/IP Weapons School 2.0 there on 8-9 November. Preregistration appears to be available. This will truly be the last edition of TWS version 2.0. I have been in contact with experts from theUnited Arab Emirates Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT) and I hope to have students from the region participate in my class.

For those interested in TWS 2.0 but not familiar with it, I described the class in this blog post titled Sample Lab from TCP/IP Weapons School 2.0.

I described differences between my class and SANS in this post.

I am also developing version 3.0 for Black Hat DC 2011 in January. When I have details on that class I will post them here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review of IT Security Metrics Posted just published my five star review of IT Security Metrics by Lance Hayden. From the review:

I was not sure what to expect as I started reading IT Security Metrics (ISM). I had just discarded another new book, published in July 2010, supposedly about security metrics but really about nothing useful to anyone anchored in the operational IT world. Would ISM be another disappointment? Since Andrew Jaquith published Security Metrics in 2007, no other book had appeared to help security professionals measure their worlds. Thankfully, I can strongly recommend Lance Hayden's ISM as a very strong contributor to the discussion on security metrics. ISM's subtitle, "A Practical Framework for Measuring Security & Protecting Data," really does explain the purpose and value of this great new book.

Review of Practical Lock Picking Posted just posted my five star review of Practical Lock Picking by Deviant Ollam. From the review:

Practical Lock Picking (PLP) is an awesome book. I don't provide physical testing services, but as a security professional familiar with Deviant's reputation I was curious to read PLP. Not only is PLP an incredible resource, it should also serve as a model text for others who want to write a good book. First, although the book is less than 250 pages, it is very reasonably priced. Second, Deviant wastes NO space. There is no filler material, background found in other readily available texts, reprinted Web site content, etc. Third, the writing is exceptionally clear and methodical, with extreme attention to detail and a master's approach to educating the reader. Finally, the diagrams, pictures, and figures are superb. When necessary they convey the most subtle elements of lock or key design, and they are the appropriate size and clarity. Overall, this book is helpful for those wishing to pick locks AND those who want to know how to write a good book.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Consider Reading Network Flow Analysis

If I could write an book review of Network Flow Analysis by Michael W Lucas, I would give it five stars. Why won't I? The reason is that Michael asked me to be the technical reviewer for the book, and I don't feel comfortable publishing a review when I am potentially identified with the content. Michael did such an awesome job writing his newest book that my tech edit was fairly easy. However, I would prefer to say a few words on my blog rather than assign stars at

(Note: for those of you who do some research and find my review of the excellent Linux Firewalls by Michael Rash, you'll see I issued a disclaimer that I wrote the foreword. I felt that writing a foreword is different than tech editing, because a tech editor is partially responsible for the content of the entire book. A foreword author is more or less writing an endorsement, like a review that's published in the book itself. You may not agree with this differentiation -- it's up to you.)

Why do I like Network Flow Analysis? As I've said before, Michael W Lucas is probably my favorite technical author. He is complete, accurate, and entertaining like no one else. He has an uncanny ability to know what the reader needs to accomplish a technical task. I consider many of his books the definitive works in their fields. With Network Flow Analysis, Michael teachers readers how to implement a NetFlow-based monitoring architecture using open source tools and code. He focuses on using Flow-Tools for analysis and Softflowd for capture when NetFlow export is unavailable or undesirable. He adds other tools and approaches when needed, including visualization with Gnuplot. I found that section to be interesting because he provides background on using Gnuplot before enlisting its help with flow data. Michael also provides conversion mechanisms for devices exporting NetFlow v9.

If you want to implement a NetFlow-based instrumentation architecture using open source, or perhaps integrate various platforms into a commercial analysis engine, Network Flow Analysis is the book for you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

World's Worst Security Visualization?

I'm speaking at VizSec 2010 next month. My topic is Is Security Visualization Useful in Production? I already asked do you use visualization in production? I realized it would also be great to show the world's worst security visualizations. So, what have you seen? What is just horrible yet supposed to be awesome?

I'll select the most interesting responses and integrate them into my presentation. Feel free to comment here or email richard at taosecurity dot com. Please be sure to include an IMAGE so we can see the visualization you are describing! Respond no later than Monday 30 August. Thank you.

Do You Use Visualization in Production?

I'm speaking at VizSec 2010 next month. My topic is Is Security Visualization Useful in Production? I'd like to know if YOU are using visualization in production. What works? What doesn't? What do you need but don't have?

I'll select the most interesting responses and integrate them into my presentation. Feel free to comment here or email richard at taosecurity dot com. Please be sure to include an IMAGE so we can see the visualization you are describing! Respond no later than Monday 30 August. Thank you.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Review of Wireshark Network Analysis Posted just published my five star review of Wireshark Network Analysis by Laura Chappell. From the review:

Wireshark Network Analysis (WNA) is a very practical, thorough, comprehensive introduction to Wireshark, written in an engaging style and produced in a professional manner. WNA provides a variety of methods for teaching network analysis with Wireshark, including description, screen shots, user-supplied case studies, review questions (with answers), "practice what you've learned" sections, and dozens of network traces (available online). Readers who approach the book as more of a class in printed (text) and electronic (trace file) forms will likely understand the higher-than-normal price tag. Anyone trying to learn how to use Wireshark, including basic protocol analysis, will greatly benefit by reading WNA.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hexcompare and Finding New Tools

Last week while teaching at Black Hat, one of my students wanted to know how I find new tools. One of the ways I do that is to subscribe to FreshPorts, a site created by Dan Langille. FreshPorts tracks additions to the FreeBSD ports tree, so when someone makes it easy for me to run a new app on FreeBSD I find out. Every week I get an email of new additions to the tree, and I take a quick look to see if any catch my interest.

For example, last week I saw a new port called devel/hexcompare. I visited the Sourceforge project page and decided to try it. Since I was using an Ubuntu desktop I tried to install the new app using apt-get, but it wasn't available yet. I could have turned to a FreeBSD system, but instead I decided Hexcompare was probably simple enough to compile by hand. It turns out the app was really simple, and I got it running quickly.

The screen shot at the top shows the differences in a binary pcap file identified by Hexcompare. Basically I edited a few bytes in a single packet pcap. You can see the changes in red.

Conti and Easterly on Cyber Warriors

Thanks to Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Conti and Lieutenant Colonel Jen Easterly for pointing me to their article Recruiting, Development, and Retention of Cyber Warriors Despite an Inhospitable Culture. They are doing a real service by examining cultural issues challenging the success of a Cyber Command.

I'd like to provide a few excerpts:

Until the end of the 20th Century combat arms expertise ruled the day, but in the 21st Century kinetic combat arms soldiers must learn to co-exist, cooperate, and coordinate with non-kinetic cyber warriors...

[E]xperience gained to date in building the Army Network Warfare Battalion (ANWB) overwhelmingly points to the critical need for a career path to effectively recruit, manage and retain cyber talent...

In the world of cyber warfare, experts such as Mr. Kaminksy are the “Chesty Pullers” of the 21st Century...

The problem often lies not in the talent or desire of these individuals, but in inflexible military human resource systems...

A big question is when to allow personnel to join a cyber warfare force. Should this occur immediately upon joining the service, or at a later point, after the individual has had operational, possibly even combat, experience. We believe the cyber force would be best enriched by allowing both options...

Regardless of entry point, though, care should be taken to select only those with a true passion and capacity for cyber warfare, not those with careerist or other ambitions. Under no circumstances should an individual be forced into a cyber warfare assignment. To fall into any of these traps will certainly create an unhealthy work environment that encourages talent to leave and undermines mission accomplishment...

Cyber Command must take advantage of the prior experience of incoming personnel, and link it closely with cyber-related career fields rather than the current haphazard approach that wastes years of academic preparation. In addition, we should identify talent as early as possible and track their careers, reaching out to them at an appropriate time...

We cannot build a professional cyber warfare force without viable cyber warfare career fields within each service. Recreating the current model that rotates personnel into and out of cyber assignments is insufficient. It drains training resources, induces skillset atrophy and encourages the departure of our best and brightest. For many specialists, an assignment away from their skill area is reason enough to leave the force...

We will know we have succeeded when we have General Officers, Sergeants Major, Senior Warrant Officers, Master Chiefs, and Chief Master Sergeants that are products of a pure cyber warfare career.

All of the above speaks to my experience, directly. What do you think?

August 2010 Digital Forensics Magazine Published

The August 2010 issue of Digital Forensics Magazine is available for subscribers. There's a variety of interesting articles and you can tell there is the additional care provided as a result of charging a subscription. Rob Lee wrote a good article on Becoming a Digital Forensics Professional, as well.

July 2010 Hakin9 Magazine Published

The August 2010 Hakin9 magazine is available for free download in .pdf format. I think they are publishing shorter magazines, but more frequently? I always like Matt Jonkman's articles. He mentions creating a new commercial IDS ruleset, which he announced in late June in Emerging Threats Announces Call for Developers to Create New and Improved Rule Set. I missed it until now however.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Project Vigilant Is a Publicity Stunt

I think "Project Vigilant" is largely a publicity stunt, meaning it was just invented and it's so-called "history" is an extension of someone's imagination. As we say on my team, "This ain't my first rodeo." In other words, I've been around for a while. While I recognize some of the "principals" in this "group," I've never heard of them organized into a "project" -- certainly not with over 500 stealthy members!

I'm going to link to a few articles and offer my opinions on the content.

First we have the 21 June article Secret group aids fight against terror by Mark Albertson:

For the past 14 years, a significant volunteer group of U.S. citizens has been operating in near total secrecy to monitor and report illegal or potentially harmful activity on the Web.

14 years? Please. If they have been active for 14 years, why does no one I've asked know who these guys are?

The group claims over 500 current members, although their names and identities are still mostly secret. Their members comprise some of the most knowledgeable experts in the field of information security today and include current employees of the U.S. government, law enforcement and the military.

Over 500 members? And they've been able to keep such good OPSEC that no one knows who they are?

And if you want to work for them, don’t bother to ask. If they’re interested in you, they’ll find a way to get in touch.


Finding information about Project Vigilant is not easy. They have a public webpage that reveals little information about the group.

$ whois
Domain ID: D22426525-US
Sponsoring Registrar: WILD WEST DOMAINS, INC.
Registrar URL (registration services):
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Registrant ID: CR18275784
Registrant Name: Steven Ruhe
Registrant Organization: BBHC Global LLC
Registrant Address1: 4828 North Kings Highway
Registrant Address2: #126
Registrant City: Fort Pierce
Registrant State/Province: Florida
Registrant Postal Code: 34951
Registrant Country: United States
Registrant Country Code: US
Registrant Phone Number: +1.7723326988
Registrant Facsimile Number: +1.8667288650
Registrant Email:
Registrant Application Purpose: P1
Registrant Nexus Category: C11
Administrative Contact ID: CR18275787
Administrative Contact Name: Steven Ruhe
Administrative Contact Organization: BBHC Global LLC
Administrative Contact Address1: 4828 North Kings Highway
Administrative Contact Address2: #126
Administrative Contact City: Fort Pierce
Administrative Contact State/Province: Florida
Administrative Contact Postal Code: 34951
Administrative Contact Country: United States
Administrative Contact Country Code: US
Administrative Contact Phone Number: +1.7723326988
Administrative Contact Facsimile Number: +1.8667288650
Administrative Contact Email:
Administrative Application Purpose: P1
Administrative Nexus Category: C11
Billing Contact ID: CR18275789
Billing Contact Name: Steven Ruhe
Billing Contact Organization: BBHC Global LLC
Billing Contact Address1: 4828 North Kings Highway
Billing Contact Address2: #126
Billing Contact City: Fort Pierce
Billing Contact State/Province: Florida
Billing Contact Postal Code: 34951
Billing Contact Country: United States
Billing Contact Country Code: US
Billing Contact Phone Number: +1.7723326988
Billing Contact Facsimile Number: +1.8667288650
Billing Contact Email:
Billing Application Purpose: P1
Billing Nexus Category: C11
Technical Contact ID: CR18275785
Technical Contact Name: Steven Ruhe
Technical Contact Organization: BBHC Global LLC
Technical Contact Address1: 4828 North Kings Highway
Technical Contact Address2: #126
Technical Contact City: Fort Pierce
Technical Contact State/Province: Florida
Technical Contact Postal Code: 34951
Technical Contact Country: United States
Technical Contact Country Code: US
Technical Contact Phone Number: +1.7723326988
Technical Contact Facsimile Number: +1.8667288650
Technical Contact Email:
Technical Application Purpose: P1
Technical Nexus Category: C11
Created by Registrar: WILD WEST DOMAINS, INC.
Last Updated by Registrar: WILD WEST DOMAINS, INC.
Domain Registration Date: Mon Sep 21 23:36:10 GMT 2009
Domain Expiration Date: Tue Sep 20 23:59:59 GMT 2011
Domain Last Updated Date: Sat Jul 10 10:11:21 GMT 2010

Looks like they registered their Web site last September.

The group’s collaboration with the U.S. Government is handled through another highly secure web portal which supports protected email, chat and other features.

The article links to which is a link from the main Infragard site (once you log in). The main Infragard site is hosted elsewhere -- I have a login to that since I am an Infragard member.

Project Vigilant is funded by BBHC Global, an information security firm based in the Midwest, and private donations. Uber’s boss is Steven Ruhe, the Managing Member of BBHC Global. “I’ve always been a small town guy with big dreams, “ said Ruhe who was born and raised in Nebraska and sells Amway products on the side.

$ whois

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to
for detailed information.

Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
Whois Server:
Referral URL:
Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Status: clientRenewProhibited
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Updated Date: 28-mar-2010
Creation Date: 02-apr-2009
Expiration Date: 02-apr-2011
5817 Sunberry Circle
Fort Pierce, Florida 34951
United States

Registered through:, Inc. (
Created on: 02-Apr-09
Expires on: 02-Apr-11
Last Updated on: 28-Mar-10

Administrative Contact:
Ruhe, Steven
5817 Sunberry Circle
Fort Pierce, Florida 34951
United States
+1.7729401858 Fax -- +1.8667288650

Technical Contact:
Ruhe, Steven
5817 Sunberry Circle
Fort Pierce, Florida 34951
United States
+1.7729401858 Fax -- +1.8667288650

Domain servers in listed order:

"BBHC Global" was just registered last April. Netcraft doesn't report seeing until June 2009.

Let's check out "Steve Ruhe." His LinkedIn profile says:

Steven Ruhe
Owner, T.G.B.S Construction, Managing Member - BBHC Global
Lincoln, Nebraska Area

Construction industry
January 2004 – Present (6 years 8 months)
I've wanted to be a business owner for as long as I can remember...
I work for me I build my dreams, work for someone else build there dreams.

This guy is "funding" this "project"?

So why is this group coming "out of the shadows?"

The group is looking to grow from its current level of 500 volunteers to upwards of 1600. Uber said that he will be recruiting experts in calculus and linguistics in the months ahead.

Each potential member of the group must go through a rigorous vetting process that culminates in an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. “We tell our candidates that we have secrets and you have to keep them,” said Uber.

For every 12 potential new members under consideration to join the group, only 3 will ultimately be selected.

Good luck with that. I can't wait to see who applies.

The next major article is Big names help run Project Vigilant, on 22 June, again by Mark Albertson:

It’s tempting to look at a secret group of cybercrime “monitors” and dismiss them as a group of lightweights trying to play cops and robbers in the Internet world. Nothing could be farther from the truth...

Take Mark Rasch, Project Vigilant’s General Counsel... Chet Uber, the group’s current director, is a founding member of InfraGard (a partnership between the FBI and the private sector) and a longtime participant in AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association)... One of Uber’s top lieutenants is Kevin Manson... George Johnson is the second in command for Project Vigilant... Another recent addition to the group is Ira Winkler... Suzanne Gorman, one of Project Vigilant’s top leaders, is a former security chief for the New York Stock Exchange...

So how many of those names do you recgonize? I know Rasch and Winkler, and I've asked others who know Manson. Chet Uber? AFCEA membership? Wow. Anyone can join AFCEA.

The last major article on this "group" is Stealthy Government Contractor Monitors U.S. Internet Providers, Worked With Wikileaks Informant by Andy Greenberg:

A semi-secret government contractor that calls itself Project Vigilant surfaced at the Defcon security conference Sunday with a series of revelations: that it monitors the traffic of 12 regional Internet service providers, hands much of that information to federal agencies, and encouraged one of its "volunteers," researcher Adrian Lamo, to inform the federal government about the alleged source of a controversial video of civilian deaths in Iraq leaked to whistle-blower site Wikileaks in April.

This is where I expect some real trouble. How do you feel about an ISP handing data to some group, who then sends it to "federal agencies"?

According to [Chet] Uber, one of Project Vigilant's manifold methods for gathering intelligence includes collecting information from a dozen regional U.S. Internet service providers (ISPs). Uber declined to name those ISPs, but said that because the companies included a provision allowing them to share users' Internet activities with third parties in their end user license agreements (EULAs), Vigilant was able to legally gather data from those Internet carriers and use it to craft reports for federal agencies. A Vigilant press release says that the organization tracks more than 250 million IP addresses a day and can "develop portfolios on any name, screen name or IP address."

"We don't do anything illegal," says Uber. "If an ISP has a EULA to let us monitor traffic, we can work with them. If they don't, we can't."

And whether that massive data gathering violates privacy? The organization says it never looks at personally identifying information, though just how it defines that information isn't clear, nor is how it scrubs its data mining for sensitive details.

The group doesn't look at PII, yet it develops "portfolios on any name, screen name or IP address"? I think it's time for some grown-ups to check out these guys. I don't think their activities will make those ISP's customers happy.

My guess is that Chet and friends are trying to jump-start a security company, so they make a big splash at Def Con and then try to hire a few people. What does anyone else think?