MSI Contributes to Criminal Underground Report

MSI is proud to announce that a Rand report that we contributed to is now available. The report details the underground economy and provides insights into the operation, intelligence and flow of the underground markets.

You can download a free copy of the report here.

We are happy to support research projects such as these and they represent yet another way that MSI fulfills our promise to give back to the security community. If you have questions about this project or about our other contributions, please reach out to me on Twitter (@lbhuston).

Make Plans Now to Attend Central OH ISSA Security Summit 2014

Brent will be speaking again this year at the ISSA Security Summit in Columbus

This year he has an interesting topic and here is the abstract:

A Guided Tour of the Internet Ghetto :: The Business Value of Tor Hidden Services

Following on the heels of my last set of talks about the underground value chain of crime, this talk will focus on a guided tour of the Internet Ghetto. You may have heard about Tor, the anonymizing network that rides on top of the Internet, but this talk takes you deep inside to visit the slums, brothels & gathering places of today’s online criminals. From porn to crimes against humanity, it is all here.

This talk will discuss Tor hidden services, help the audience understand what they are, how they operate, and most importantly, how to get business and information security value from them. If you think you know the dark side of the net, think again! Not for the feint of heart, we will explain some of the ways that smart companies are using hidden services to their benefit and some of the ways that playing with the dark side can come back to bite you.

Take aways include an understanding of Tor, knowledge of how to access and locate hidden services and underground content, methods for using the data to better focus your business and how to keep an eye on your kids to make sure they aren’t straying into the layers of the onion.

 Come out and see us at the Summit and bring your friends. It’s always interesting and a great event to catch up with peers and learn some amazing new stuff. See ya there!

Topic Analysis with TigerTrax

Recently, my team was asked to use our TigerTrax platform to observe a body of social media content around a specific topic for 12 hours and extract meaningful data. The topic chosen by the client was “fracking”.

As you might expect, there was quite a bit of conversation on the Internet about fracking during that period. The client wanted specifically to focus on a specific set of data and to identify potential activism or criminal activities that might be gathered from the data set. So, mission in hand, we engaged the TigerTrax platform and after 12 hours of data gathering, began our analysis.

The data we extracted was pretty amazing to the client. They were quite interested in some of the findings. For example, we identified and presented the client with:

  • A word cloud of specific topics found in the data set and their relationships
  • A list and frequency count of the keywords used in the data
  • A ranked list of hash tags used to communicate
  • The top retweeted/reposted posts during the period
  • Profiles and demographics of the most influential posters during the period
  • Analysis of a variety of multimedia content for “virality” and potentially dangerous impacts
  • We identified an emerging damaging PR issue that the client was able to get in front of
  • Details of an organized campaign to damage the reputation and safety of executives
  • Videos and diagrams educating activists in vandalism and other aggressive techniques

The client was able to use this information to help educate their membership, strengthen their security during protest events and to better understand some of the emerging PR concerns around their operations. They also began to work with ISPs and other service providers to begin takedown requests for the more illicit content.

This is just a sample of some of the ways that clients are leveraging the new TigerTrax platform to assist them with business needs. Get in touch and let us know your ideas or specific problems and we will see how we can help. If you want to know what the world is saying and how it affects you, TigerTrax just might be the solution you are looking for.

Topic analysis can be performed with TigerTrax as a single deep dive event with a customized report delivered and open for re-use with other clients, or can be completely customized to the client organization and solely for their use. Ongoing monitoring and analysis of topics and events can also be done as a part of the TigerTrax services. If you would like to hear more about the TigerTrax platform, or Topic Analysis, please give us a call at (614) 351-1237 extension 206. You can also reach out to me on Twitter (@lbhuston), and we can arrange a discussion. 

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

Podcast Release: Threats From the Net Feb 2014

The Kluniac is back! This month, the ElderGeek covers more emerging issues in infosec that came calling in February. 

Give it a listen, and touch base with him on Twitter (@pophop) to tell him what you’d like to hear on upcoming episodes. He loves the chatter and really digs listener feedback.

You can get this month’s episode by clicking here.

MSI Announces New Business Focused Security Practice

At MSI, we know security doesn’t exist for its own sake. The world cares about business and so do we. While our professional and managed service offerings easily empower lines of business to work with data more safely, we also offer some very specific business process focused security services.

 

Attackers and criminals go where the money is. They aren’t just aiming to steal your data for no reason, they want it because it has value. As such, we have tailored a specific set of security services around the areas where valuable data tends to congregate and the parts of the business we see the bad guys focus on most.

 

Lastly, we have also found several areas where the experienced eyes of security experts can lend extra value to the business. Sometimes you can truly benefit from a “hacker’s eye view” of things and where it’s a fit, we have extended our insights to empower your business.

 

Here are some of the business focused offerings MSI has developed:

 

  • Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) practice including:
    • Pre-negotiation intelligence
    • Pre-integration assessments
    • Post purchase threat intelligence
  • Accounting systems fraud testing
  • ACH & wire transfer security validation
  • End-to-end EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) security testing
  • Business partner assessments
  • Supply chain assessments
  • Executive cyber-protection (including at home & while traveling abroad)

MSI knows that your business needs security around the most critical data and the places where bad guys can harm you the worst. We’ve built a wide variety of customized security solutions and offerings to help organizations harden, monitor and protect the most targeted areas of their organization. At MSI, we know that information security means business and with our focused security offerings, we are leading the security community into a new age.

 

At a Glance Call Outs:

Variety of business focused services

M&A offerings

Assessments of systems that move money

Fraud-based real world testing

Business partner & supply chain security

Executive protection

 

Key Differentiators:

Focused on the business, not the technology

Reporting across all levels of stakeholders

Specialized, customizable offerings

Capability to emulate & test emerging threats

Thought leading services across your business


MSI Announces TigerTrax Reputational Threat Services

TigerTrax™ is MSI’s proprietary platform for gathering and analyzing data from the social media sphere and the overall web. This sophisticated platform, originally developed for threat intelligence purposes, provides the team with a unique capability to rapidly and effectively monitor the world’s data streams for potential points of interest.

 

The uses of the capability include social media code of conduct monitoring, rapid “deep dive” content gathering and analysis, social media investigations & forensics, organizational monitoring/research/profiling and, of course, threat intelligence.

 

The system is modular in nature, which allows MSI to create a number of “on demand” and managed services around the platform. Today the platform is in use in some of the following ways:

  • Sports teams are using the services to monitor professional athletes for potential code of conduct and brand damaging behaviors
  • Sports teams are also using the forensics aspects of the service to help defend their athletes against false behavior-related claims
  • Additionally, sports teams have begun to use the service for reputational analysis around trades/drafts, etc.
  • Financial organizations are using the service to monitor social media content for signs of illicit behavior or potential legal/regulatory violations
  • Talent agencies are monitoring their talent pools for content that could impact their public brands
  • Law firms are leveraging the service to identify potential issues with a given case and for investigation/forensics
  • Companies have begun to depend on the service for content monitoring during mergers and acquisitions activities, including quiet period monitoring and pre-offer intelligence
  • Many, many more uses of the platform are emerging every day

 If your organization has a need to understand or monitor the social media sphere and deep web content around an issue, a reputational concern or a code of conduct, discuss how TigerTrax from MSI can help meet your needs with an account executive today.

 

At a glance call outs:

  • Social media investigation/forensics and monitoring services
  • Customized to your specific concerns or code of conduct
  • Can provide deep dive background information or ongoing monitoring
  • Actionable reporting with direct support from MSI Analysts
  • Several pricing plans available

Key Differentiators:

  • Powerful, customizable, proprietary platform
  • Automated engines, bleeding edge analytics & human analysts to provide valuable insights
  • No web portal to learn or analytics software to configure and maintain
  • No heavy lifting on customers, MSI does the hard work, you get the results
  • Flexible reporting to meet your business needs

Monitoring: an Absolute Necessity (but a Dirty Word Nonetheless)

There is no easier way to shut down the interest of a network security or IT administrator than to say the word “monitoring”. You can just mention the word and their faces fall as if a rancid odor had suddenly entered the room! And I can’t say that I blame them. Most organizations do not recognize the true necessity of monitoring, and so do not provide proper budgeting and staffing for the function. As a result, already fully tasked (and often times inadequately prepared) IT or security personnel are tasked with the job. This not only leads to resentment, but also virtually guarantees that the job is will not be performed effectively.

And when I say human monitoring is necessary if you want to achieve any type of real information security, I mean it is NECESSARY! You can have network security appliances, third party firewall monitoring, anti-virus packages, email security software, and a host of other network security mechanisms in place and it will all be for naught if real (and properly trained) human beings are not monitoring the output. Why waste all the time, money and effort you have put into your information security program by not going that last step? It’s like building a high and impenetrable wall around a fortress but leaving the last ten percent of it unbuilt because it was just too much trouble! Here are a few tips for effective security monitoring:

  • Properly illustrate the necessity for human monitoring to management, business and IT personnel; make them understand the urgency of the need. Make a logical case for the function. Tell them real-world stories about other organizations that have failed to monitor and the consequences that they suffered as a result. If you can’t accomplish this step, the rest will never fall in line.
  • Ensure that personnel assigned to monitoring tasks of all kinds are properly trained in the function; make sure they know what to look for and how to deal with what they find.
  • Automate the logging and monitoring function as much as possible. The process is difficult enough without having to perform tedious tasks that a machine or application can easily do.
  • Ensure that you have log aggregation in place, and also ensure that other network security tool output is centralized and combined with logging data. Real world cyber-attacks are often very hard to spot. Correlating events from different tools and processes can make these attacks much more apparent. 
  • Ensure that all personnel associated with information security communicate with each other. It’s difficult to effectively detect and stop attacks if the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.
  • Ensure that logging is turned on for everything on the network that is capable of it. Attacks often start on client side machines.
  • Don’t just monitor technical outputs from machines and programs, monitor access rights and the overall security program as well:
  • Monitor access accounts of all kinds on a regular basis (at least every 90 days is recommended). Ensure that user accounts are current and that users are only allocated access rights on the system that they need to perform their jobs. Ensure that you monitor third party access to the system to this same level.
  • Pay special attention to administrative level accounts. Restrict administrative access to as few personnel as possible. Configure the system to notify proper security and IT personnel when a new administrative account is added to the network. This could be a sign that a hack is in progress.
  • Regularly monitor policies and procedures to ensure that they are effective and meet the security goals of the organization. This should be a regular part of business continuity testing and review.
Thanks to John Davis for writing this post.

Twitter Stream About Online Card Fraud & Crypto Currency

The other day, I was discussing the idea that as the world moves more strongly toward chip and pin credit cards, that the levels of online credit card fraud were likely to skyrocket. Joel, the @SCADAHacker took me to task, and I thought I would share with you our conversation (with his permission, of course.) Here it is:

@lbhuston: Time to Get Moving on Chip and PIN? ow.ly/tvyZa <There are downsides to this too. It will help physical, but up online fraud.

@scadahacker: @lbhuston Please explain your reasoning on this and why it would be any different than current mag-based cards for online purchases. [sic]

@lbhuston: @SCADAhacker The threat won’t be different, but the criminals that now work physical card fraud will migrate their value stream to online.

@lbhuston: @SCADAhacker In other words, the crime rings powered by card fraud will simply compensate for the controls by switching fraud vector.

@lbhuston: @SCADAhacker This has been historically valid, & I think applies here. Most of those rings already have online fraud skills, they extend.

@lbhuston: @SCADAhacker Make sense? Sorry, hard in 120 char bursts. Sorry for the multiples. :)

@lbhuston: @SCADAhacker The really sad thing is that it is the best path forward. Chip cards work, for now. Also look for forgery to accelerate. :(

@scadahacker: @lbhuston Agree.  Good point my friend!

From there, I went on to discuss another concern that I am focusing on at the moment, crypto currency.

@lbhuston: @SCADAhacker Sadly, another thing I am watching closely is the impacts of crypto currencies on old school political corruption. Few controls

@lbhuston: @SCADAhacker Many law enforcement & govt watchdog groups don’t have digital chops to even understand something like bitcoin. :(

@lbhuston: @SCADAhacker Here’s my derby talk from 2 years ago. bit.ly/QQ4Skq <The innovate crime 4 profit is why I follow a lot of this.

@scadahacker: @lbhuston Thanks bro!

As always, Joel and all of my readers are welcome. Thanks for reading what I have to say and for allowing me to voice my thoughts and concerns. If you don’t already follow Joel, you should, he is world class and in addition to being brilliant, is a heck of a nice guy, too. Reach out and Twitter and let me know what you think. Do you think card fraud is about to turn a corner? How will crypto currency influence the future political process? Am I just being paranoid? Give me a shout at @lbhuston and let me know what is on your mind.

PS – It looks like some of these ideas are being thought about around the world. Here are some other folks thinking along the same lines. Click here, here, here or here.

HoneyPoint Trojans Overview

Here’s another quick overview graphic of how HoneyPoint Trojans work. We have been using these techniques since around 2008 and they are very powerful. 

We have incorporated them into phishing exercises, piracy studies, incident response, intrusion detection, intelligence gathering, marketing analysis and even privacy research. To hear more about HoneyPoint Trojans, give us a call.

If the graphic below is blurry on your device, you can download a PDF version here.

HPTrojanOverview

HoneyPoint in a Point of Sale Network

We have been getting a LOT of questions lately about how HoneyPoint Security Server (HPSS) fits into a Point of Sale (POS) network.

To make it pretty easy and as a high level overview, below is a use case diagram we use to discuss the solution. If you would like a walkthrough of our technology, or to discuss how it might fit into your specific use cases, please let us know.

As always, thanks for reading and for partnering with MicroSolved, Inc.

PS - If the graphic below is difficult to read on your device, you can grab a PDF version here.

HP POSNetworks