Tor Video from Derbycon 4 Available

Thanks to Iron Geek and the Derbycon staff for making my presentation from this year available. 

The talk covered discussions about Tor Hidden Nodes and how crime works inside of the Tor network. Check the talk out here.

There is a lot of good stuff here, and they turned people away from the talk because we over-filled the room. Now, you can actually sit comfortably and watch it. :)

Message me on Twitter (@lbhuston) if you want to discuss. Thanks for reading and for watching!

A TigerTrax Success Story

I wanted to share a recent success story from our TigerTrax work with you. The TigerTrax platform is opening a wide-variety of new opportunities for MSI. We are building entirely new suites of services around the platform and the unique capabilities it provides for us.

Recently, we were asked by a client to use TigerTrax to perform investigations on a foreign bank run attack that occurred a few months ago. The client wanted to use the research to fully understand how the attack was performed, what mechanisms were used to influence the  public decisions to cause the bank run and to identify the possible motives of the attackers involved.

The MSI Intelligence Team, now staffed with 3 full time dedicated analysts, deconstructed the events and used a variety of analytics to investigate the attacks. The team identified a variety of possible motives, ranked them by probability and provided them to the client. They also built a step by step time line of the attack details, provided sample social media and traditional media examples, wrote a detailed scenario testing process for the client to use to test their own financial management mechanisms against the threats and briefed the client on their findings.

The client was amazed at how quickly, concisely and clearly the data was analyzed. The Intelligence Team rose past their expectations and gave them actionable intelligence that they could use to not only better understand the attack, but also test their exposures to such an attack in the future!

The success stories around TigerTrax are continuing to pile up, and I look forward to sharing more of them in the near future. In the coming months, you will hear even more about our new spin-off company, called The Bodhi Foundry, which we have built to hold all of the non-security products that the TigerTrax platform is powering. That company is focusing in on branding intelligence, competitive analysis, product innovation research and a wide variety of specialized business data analytics. But, never fear, the core use care of TigerTrax remains information security, threat intelligence, studying cyber-crime and helping our clients use data analytics in new ways to solve old-school security problems.

As always, thanks for reading and until next time, stay safe out there! 

Save The Date: 2014 ICS/SCADA Security Symposium Dec. 11

This year’s ICS/SCADA Security Symposium will be held on Thursday, December 11, 2014. This year’s event will be a little different, in that we are opening it up to any organizations who are asset owners or manufacturers of ICS/SCADA components. That includes utilities, manufacturing companies, pharma, etc. If you are interested in ICS security, you can sign up for the event.

This year’s event will also be virtual. It will be a series of Webinars held on the same day in 45 minute blocks, with time for follow-on questions. We will also hold a Twitter Q&A Hour from 1pm – 2pm Eastern, and we will attempt to make all speakers available for the Q&A!

In addition, we plan to stand up a supporting website for the event, and release a number of materials, including podcasts, interviews and other surprises the day of the event!

We will be tracking attendance in the webinars and providing notes of attestation for attendees for the purpose of CPE credits. We hope this new format will allow folks who wanted to attend in the past, but either couldn’t make the physical trip to Columbus or couldn’t leave their positions to attend training the ability to join us.

More details, including speakers and topics, as well as schedules, hashtags and other info will be released shortly. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you on 12/11/14!

Twitter Games from MicroSolved

If you haven’t followed us on Twitter (@microsolved) yet, be sure to do so. Here are a few reasons why you should look to our Twitter feed for more great content from MSI:

  • Ongoing curated news feeds of some of the most interesting and best information security news & event coverage
  • Discussions of emerging threats and significant issues around InfoSec
  • Pointers to free tools & resources to help your team protect your data & systems
  • Easy way to talk to us & engage in pro-bono Q&A sessions
  • AND NOW – 2 New Games a week:
    • Mondays will feature the “Hacker Challenge” – a weekly technically-focused fun activity or challenge (decrypt a secret, solve a puzzle, find something specific  across the net, etc.)
    • Thursdays will feature the “Throw Back Thursday Hacker Trivia” – weekly trivia contest focused on hacker, InfoSec and technology; with occasional prizes for the winners!

So, grab an account on Twitter or follow us there, and don’t just keep up to date, but talk to us. We want to hear your thoughts, the security challenges you are facing and anything that will help us serve your information security needs. Plus, we know reading log files and patching systems can get tedious, so we will try to mix in a little fun along the way! See you there!

MSI Risk Assessments and Policy/Process Reviews

MSI still has a few engagement slots open for Enterprise or Application-focused Risk Assessments for the 4th quarter. Avoid the end of the year rush, and give Allan Bergen (513-300-0194, abergen (at) microsolved<dot>com) a call today to discuss booking risk engagements with the team before the end of the year. We have some special incentives for clients who book these engagement slots, so touch base with Allan to hear about them.

Our team has had a wonderfully successful year doing application focused risk assessments. We can tear into the policy/processes and exposures of systems like accounting, CRM, EDI processing and/or industrial control. These assessments can be performed with or without technical components such as vulnerability assessment and penetration testing.

If you would like to close the year with a close look at one of your specific systems or critical processes, give Allan and a call and arrange for a scoping discussion with our risk team. As always, thanks for reading, and we appreciate you choosing MSI as your security partner!

Book Review: Ghost in the Wires

I just finished reading Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker and I would have to say that I was impressed. There is a lot of good history and information in the book about Kevin’s exploits, his life on the run and what it was like to live on the razor’s edge of hacking.

The technical content is enough to keep a techie reading, while the story, in general is a real life thrill ride. I found the reading to be easily digestible and the tone to be spellbinding.

If you have any interest in information security, or the history of hacking, then give Ghost in the Wires a read. You won’t be disappointed!

Accepting Identity Theft

I can recall a time when I wasn’t concerned about data theft. Eventually, buzz words such as “breach” and “identity theft” became a regular part of my vocabulary.  I began to wonder if I would ever be affected by a data breach. In 2003, I received a letter in the mail informing me that my personal data had been stolen. I remember asking myself, “when will this happen next?” In 2004, I once again became a victim of a data breach. Despite my young age at the time, I had already started to think of identity theft in the cynical terms of “not if but when”. It then became apparent to me that I could no longer think in terms of “if” or “when” but I should focus on “how often”.

I find it helpful to compare identity theft to personal health care. Eating the right foods, taking all the trendy vitamins and getting the recommended amount of exercise isn’t enough to guarantee perfect health. You are still susceptible to diseases that you can’t detect on your own. This is why you typically see a doctor for checkups on a regular basis. You should use the same thought process when considering the possibility of identity theft. Regardless of how much effort you put into securing your identity, your personal data will be stolen. This is why I feel strongly that we should focus on monitoring and preparing for identity theft with the same time and energy that we devote to trying to prevent it.

Just like your health care, it’s also worthwhile to take a proactive approach to handling identity theft. It’s important to have multiple methods of discovering if you are a victim of fraud. This can be as simple as checking your debit/credit card statements and using an automated solution (such as LifeLock) to monitor for irregularities in your credit report. Don’t just wait to receive a notice in the mail or find out about the latest hack on the news. It can take the companies that handle your personal data and process your credit cards months before they realize that they have been hacked. This gives the attackers ample time to take advantage of your stolen data.

It’s also worthwhile to prepare yourself for how to handle an incident when it occurs. This can be as simple as keeping a list of the contact information for all of your financial institutions so that you can notify them as soon as you detect suspicious activity. Also, a majority of the aforementioned credit monitoring solutions include assistance services in the event that a criminal begins using your identity. Be sure to take advantage of these resources as these organizations have the necessary institutional knowledge to help assist you.

In short, continue doing what you can to prevent your identity from being stolen. Simple things like setting complex passwords and avoiding the reuse of your passwords between different services can go a long way to prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft. However, the next time you’re configuring a lengthy password, be sure to ask yourself “Am I prepared for identity theft?”

This article courtesy of Adam Luck – @adamjluck.

Shellshock: Got Inventory?

Im sure youve all heard of Shellshock by now? If not, its a security flaw in Bash that allows attackers to take control of systems. Bash is really an acronym/pun meaning Bourne-again shellthat was written as a free software replacement for the Bourne shell that preceded it. It is a UNIX shell that acts as a command processor and also reads commands from scripts. The problem is that Bash is present in all kinds of things including Web servers and operating systems. This is a very serious flaw! Worse than any other code vulnerability I can name off hand. There are several serious exploits already extant in the wild. Hundreds of millions of devices and credit cards are at immediate risk of compromise across the globe. Institutions are strongly recommending that people not use their credit cards to make Internet purchases for at least the next several days. Imagine the loss in revenue and buyer confidence this is going to cause! Productivity may well go down and prices may well go up as a consequence of this flaw.

Luckily there are good patches already available to combat this glitch, and I’m sure additional fixes and tweaks are in the offing. But to have any level of safety you need to patch everything on your network that is vulnerable, and you need to do it quickly. Do you know exactly what devices are a part of your network and exactly what operating systems, software and firmware versions are installed on them? Specifically, do you know where Bash is running? If you dont, you may install patches furiously over the next few days and still end up being vulnerable without knowing it. Can you in all good conscience assure your Web customers that their transactions and private information are safe?

Shellshock may have one hidden benefit though; it may be the cold dose of reality that causes organizations to finally get serious about information security and adopt best practices security recommendations, especially where inventories of devices and software are concerned. There is a reason why guidance such as the MSI 80/20 Rule of Information Security and the Top 20 Critical Controls for Effective Cyber-Security list making inventories their number one information security project. If you dont know what you have, how can you possibly secure it?!

Right now, if you are among the prescient few who do keep complete dynamic inventories, ensure that input to all available software fields is validated and have configured each device on your network with a unique admin password, you are sitting pretty! You have the knowledge and time necessary to deal with this problem, and will probably earn kudos and market share from you customers. Isnt that kind of assurance worth spending some time and money on America? 

This blog post contributed by John Davis.

Patch for ShellShock ASAP!

If you haven’t paid attention to the Bash Shellshock vulnerability – NOW IS THE TIME!

Source IPs for probes looking for the vulnerability are growing slowly in number and scope of scans. (As of 9/30/14, 10am Eastern).

There are many vulnerable devices and systems available to exploit and a variety of exploitation vectors exist – including web CGIs, DHCP clients, OpenVPN, SSH, etc. It is highly likely that a wide variety of embedded systems are also vulnerable that meet these capabilities. So far, we have seen attack traffic in the HITME coming from a few SOHO routers and a couple of other embedded network devices. Items like printers, some routers & managed switches, home gadgets, cameras, etc. are likely targets as well.

In the industrial control world, there are a variety of embedded devices leveraging Linux at the core, and many with exposed CGI mechanisms for remote management and monitoring. These need to be inspected as well, as they may also prove vulnerable and potentially exploitable via one or more vectors. Patching may require firmware upgrades in some cases. Contact the vendor for more information.

But, no matter what systems you use and manage, NOW IS THE TIME. Pay attention to this issue and get moving on patching, adding compensating controls and rolling forward with enhanced detection mechanisms. GET BUSY!

As always, if we can assist, feel free to give us a call or drop us a line. We have HoneyPoint emulations for HPSS clients that can help identify sources of traffic and we have assessment signatures for up to the moment known attack vectors. Let us know if we can help!

Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there! 

UPDATE: Good news on Shellshock for embedded devices: If it runs BusyBox, it’s likely NOT vulnerable.

Home Depot Data Breach; a Good Argument for Best Practices-Based Infosec

There are two big philosophies of how to implement information security at organizations; standards basedand best practices-basedinfosec programs. The vast majority of Americas companies and agencies follow a standards-based approach, and most of these only strive to achieve a baseline level of standards adherence.

When you hear the word baselineyou should think of the words at leastor at a minimum. For example, you should at leastimplement physical and logical access controls. Or, you should at at a minimumemploy a firewall at your network perimeter. That sort of thing. Because that is what baselinestandards are. They are the minimum level of controls recommended by standards organizations such as NIST and ISO. They were never meant to be ideals. They are only intended to function as starting points.

The problem is that a large number of commercial and public organizations are having trouble reaching even a baseline level of information security. They complain that complying with baseline standards is too expensive; that it takes too much dedicated manpower and interferes with customer service and other business processes. And what they are saying is true in its way; information security is expensive and it does take the cooperation of everyone in the business. But what they are really saying is that infosec is just not a priority and they truly dont care much about it. This seems to me to be what was behind the Home Depot data breach.

Former company employees have stated that Home Depot had told them to only go for a Clevel of information security. They werent to concern themselves with implementing Bor Alevel security at the organization. And Home Depot keeps credit card information! The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) demands about the strongest level of baseline security out there. And Home Depot reputably was handling unencrypted credit card information on their computer networks?! How did they pass their PCI security assessments? I dont understand the particulars here. But however this situation came about, the fact is that once again the private financial information of millions of citizens has been compromised. Shouldnt we be outraged and demanding a higher standard of security for our private information?

That is why everyone should be urging their government agencies and the retailers they do business with to implement information security at the best practices level. Industry standard best practices for information security are just that; they are the best means currently known for protecting IT systems and the information they process. Examples of best practices guidance are the MSI 80/20rule for information security and the Top 20 Critical Controls for Effective Cyber-Security. Sure, it may add 10 cents to the cost of a package of light bulbs to implement best practices, but isnt worth it? I dont hear people complaining about the banks buying a bunch of new physical security systems all the time to better protect their money. And really, what is the difference between the two? 

This blog post was contributed by John Davis.