Revisiting Nuance Detection

The core of nuance detection is to extend alerting capabilities into finding situations that specifically should not exist, and if they happen, would indicate a significant security failure. A simple, elegant example would be a motion sensor on a safe in your home, combined with something like your home alarm system.
 
A significant failure state would be for the motion sensor inside the safe to trigger while the home alarm system is set in away mode. When the alarm is in away mode, there should be no condition that triggers motion inside the safe. If motion is detected, anytime, you might choose to alert in a minor way. But, if the alarm is set to away mode, you might signal all kinds of calamity and flashing lights, bells and whistles, for example.
 
This same approach can apply to your network environment, applications or data systems. Define what a significant failure state looks like, and then create detection and alerting mechanisms, even if conditional, for the indicators of that state. It can be easy. 
 
I remember thinking more deeply about this for the first time when I saw Marcus Ranum give his network burglar alarm speech at Defcon, what seems like a 1000 years ago now. That moment changed my life forever. Since then, I have always wanted to work on small detections. The most nuanced of fail states. The deepest signs of compromise. HoneyPoint™ came from that line of thinking, albeit, many years later. (Thanks, Marcus, you are amazing! BTW.) 🙂
 
I’ve written about approaches to it in the past, too. Things like detecting web shells, detection in depth techniques and such. I even made some nice maturity and deployment models.
 
This month, I will be revisiting nuance detection more deeply. Creating some more content around it, and speaking about it more openly. I’ll also cover how we have extended HoneyPoint with the Handler portion of HoneyPoint Agent. in order to fully support event management and data handling into your security alerting systems from basic scripts and simple tools you can create yourself. 
 
Stay tuned, and in the meantime, drop me a line on Twitter (@lbhuston) and let me know more about nuance detections you can think of or have implemented. I’d love to hear more about it. 

Introducing AirWasp from MSI!

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For over a decade, HoneyPoint has been proving that passive detection works like a charm. Our users have successfully identified millions of scans, probes and malware infections by simply putting “fake stuff” in their networks, industrial control environments and other strategic locations. 

 

Attackers have taken the bait too; giving HoneyPoint users rapid detection of malicious activity AND the threat intelligence they need to shut down the attacker and isolate them from other network assets.

 

HoneyPoint users have been asking us about manageable ways to detect and monitor for new WiFi networks and we’ve come up with a solution. They wanted something distributed and effective, yet easy to use and affordable. They wanted a tool that would follow the same high signal, low noise detection approach that they brag about from their HoneyPoint deployments. That’s exactly what AirWasp does.

 

We created AirWasp to answer these WiFi detection needs. AirWasp scans for and profiles WiFi access points from affordable deck-of-cards-sized appliances. It alerts on any detected access points through the same HoneyPoint Console in use today, minimizing new cost and management overhead. It also includes traditional HoneyPoints on the same hardware to help secure the wired network too!

 

Plus, our self-tuning white list approach means you are only alerted once a new access point is detected – virtually eliminating the noise of ongoing monitoring. 

 

Just drop the appliance into your network and forget about it. It’ll be silent, passive and vigilant until the day comes when it has something urgent for you to act upon. No noise, just detection when you need it most.

 

Use Cases:

 

  • Monitor multiple remote sites and even employee home networks for new Wifi access points, especially those configured to trick users
  • Inventory site WiFi footprints from a central location by rotating the appliance between sites periodically
  • Detect scans, probes and worms targeting your systems using our acclaimed HoneyPoint detection and black hole techniques
  • Eliminate monitoring hassles with our integration capabilities to open tickets, send data to the SIEM, disable switch ports or blacklist hosts using your existing enterprise products and workflows

More Information

 

To learn how to bring the power and flexibility of HoneyPoint and AirWasp to your network, simply contact us via email (info@microsolved.com) or phone (614) 351-1237.


 

We can’t wait to help you protect your network, data and users!


Emulating SIP with HoneyPoint

Last week, Hos and I worked on identifying how to emulate a SIP endpoint with HoneyPoint Security Server. We identified an easy way to do it using the BasicTCP capability. This emulation component emulates a basic TCP service and performs in the following manner:

  • Listens for connections
  • Upon connection, logs the connection details
  • Sends the banner file and awaits a response
  • Upon response, logs the response data
  • Sends the response, repeating the wait and log loop, resending the response to every request
  • When the connection limit is reached, it closes the connection
It has two associated files for the emulation:
  • The banner file – “banner”
  • The response file – “response”

In our testing, we were able to closely emulate a SIP connection by creating a banner file that was blank or contained only a CR/LF. Then we added the appropriate SIP messaging into the response file. This emulates a service where thew connection is completed and logged, and the system appears to wait on input. Once input is received, then a SIP message is delivered to the client. In our testing, the SIP tools we worked with accepted the emulation as SIP server and did not flag any anomalies.

I’ll leave the actual SIP messaging as a research project for the reader, to preserve some anonymity for HPSS users. But, if you are an HPSS user and would like to do this, contact support and we will provide you with the specific messaging that we used in our testing.

As always, thanks for reading and especially thanks for being interested in HoneyPoint. We are prepping the next release, and I think you will be blown away by some of the new features and the updates to the documentation. We have been hard at work on this for a while, and I can’t wait to share it with you shortly!

HoneyPoint Security Server Allows Easy, Scalable Deception & Detection

Want to easily build out a scalable, customizable, easily managed, distributed honey pot sensor array? You can do it in less than a couple of hours with our HoneyPoint Security Server platform.

This enterprise ready, mature & dependable solution has been in use around the world since 2006. For more than a decade, customers have been leveraging it to deceive, detect and respond to attackers in and around their networks. With “fake” implementations at the system, application, user and document levels, it is one the most capable tool sets on the market. Running across multiple operating systems (Linux/Windows/OS X), and scattered throughout network and cloud environments, it provides incredible visibility not available anywhere else.

The centralized Console is designed for safe, effective, efficient and easy management of the data provided by the sensors. The Console also features simple integration with ticketing systems, SEIM and other data analytics/management tools.

If you’d like to take it for a spin in our cloud environment, or check out our localized, basic Personal Edition, give us a call, or drop us a line via info (at) microsolved (dot) com. Thanks for reading! 

HoneyPoint as a Tool for Device Inventory

Another clever use for HoneyPoint™ Agent, running on a Linux system without SMB components, is to have the system listen on the Windows SMB ports (135-139 & 445). The HoneyPoint will then inventory the Windows machines and other SMB speaking tools that attempt to contact it. Since this traffic is pretty routine, it will serve as an inventory mechanism for these types of systems on the local collision domain, or other “same-as-on-the-LAN” segments.

Running HoneyPoint in this fashion has been very useful to several of our ICS customers and has allowed them a quick, and most importantly, passive way to identify hosts on the same segment. No probes or scans needed! 

Give us a call today at (614) 351-1237 or email us at info@microsolved.com if you want to discuss how HoneyPoint might be used in your environment. We look forward to talking with you, and as always, thanks for reading! 

Spike in HITME NTP Probes Following Recent Exploits

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the HITME project, it is a set of deployed HoneyPoints that gather real-world, real-time attacker data from around the world. The sensors gather attack sources, frequency, targeting information, vulnerability patterns, exploits, malware and other crucial event data for the technical team at MSI to analyze. We frequently feed these attack signatures into our vulnerability management service to ensure that our customers are tested against the most current forms of attacks being used on the Internet.
 
On a monthly basis, we have been taking a step back and looking at our HITME data from a bird’s eye view to find common attack patterns.  Throughout December, we observed a significant increase in attacks against Port 123 (NTP).  This is due to the recent discovery of a vulnerability within NTP.
 
A majority of the attacks we observed against Port 123 appeared to originate out of the United States of America, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, and China. 
 
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This vulnerability should be addressed as soon as possible as exploits are publicly available.  All NTP Version 4 releases prior to Version 4.2.8 are vulnerable and need to be updated to Version 4.2.8.  Do not hesitate to contact us at info@microsolved.com if you require any assistance in responding to this vulnerability.

This blog post by Adam Luck.

My Time as a HoneyPoint Client

Prior to joining MicroSolved as an Intelligence Engineer, I was the Information Security Officer and Infrastructure Manager for a medical management company.  My company provided medical care and disease management services to over 2 million individuals.  Throughout my tenure at the medical management organization, I kept a piece of paper on my bulletin board that said “$100,000,000”.

 

Why “$100,000,000”?  At the time, several studies demonstrated that the average “street value” of a stolen medical identity was $50.  If each record was worth $50, that meant I was responsible for protecting $100,000,000 worth of information from attackers.  Clearly, this wasn’t a task I could accomplish alone.

 

Enter: MicroSolved & HoneyPoint

 

Through my membership with the Central Ohio Information Systems Security Association, I met several members of the MicroSolved team.  I engaged them to see if they could help me protect my organization from the aforementioned attackers.  They guided me through HIPPA/HITECH laws and helped me gain a further understanding of how I could protect our customers.  We worked together to come up with innovative solutions that helped my team mitigate a lot of the risks associated with handling/processing 2 million health care records.

 

A core part of our solution was to leverage the use of HoneyPoint Security Server.  By using HoneyPoint, I was able to quickly gain visibility into areas of our network that I was often logically and physically separated from.  I couldn’t possibly defend our company against every 0-day attack.  However, with HoneyPoint, I knew I could quickly identify any attackers that had penetrated our network.

 

Working for a SMB, I wore many hats.  This meant that I didn’t have time to manage another appliance that required signature updates.  I quickly found out that HoneyPoint didn’t require much upkeep at all.  A majority of my administrative tasks surrounding HoneyPoint were completed when I deployed agents throughout our LAN segments that mimicked existing applications and services.  I quickly gained the real-time threat analysis that I was looking for.

 

If you need any assistance securing your environment or if you have any questions about HoneyPoint Security Server, feel free to contact us by sending an email to: info@microsolved.com.

 

This post contributed by Adam Luck.

Here’s Why You Don’t Want RDP on the Internet

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the HITME project, it is a set of deployed HoneyPoints that gather real-world, real-time attacker data from around the world. The sensors gather attack sources, frequency, targeting information, vulnerability patterns, exploits, malware and other crucial event data for the technical team at MSI to analyze. We frequently feed these attack signatures into our vulnerability management service to ensure that our customers are tested against the most current forms of attacks being used on the Internet.

It’s also important that we take a step back and look at our HITME data from a bird’s-eye view to find common attack patterns. This allows us to give our customers a preemptive warning in the event that we identify a significant increase in a specific threat activity. We recently analyzed  some of the data that we collected during the month of November. We found that over 47% of the observed attacks in the public data set were against the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)(often also known as Microsoft Terminal Services). This was more than attacks against web servers, telnet servers and FTP servers combined!

Be sure that all recommended security measures are applied to RDP systems. This should include requiring the use of RDP clients that leverage high levels of encryption. If you need any assistance verifying that you are protected against attacks against your terminal servers, feel free to contact us by sending an email to info(at)microsolved(dot)com.

This post by Adam Luck.

Client Calls HoneyPoint a “No Lose” Deployment

One of the clients we were working with recently wanted me to share their thoughts on deploying HoneyPoint Security Server with the blog audience.

His company recently installed the HoneyPoint Security Server suite into their network. Their management teams were a little nervous, at first, that offering a honeypot to attackers might attract bad people to their networks. But, when the security team explained that these were going to be simply deployed on the INTERNAL networks and not visible from the Internet, so someone would already have to be inside the network to see them, they gained approval. The security team explained that they planned to use HoneyPoint as a supplement to their existing perimeter network IDS, and their log monitoring tools.

The security team convinced their immediate manager of the HoneyPoint product by describing it as a “No Lose” product to deploy. If they dropped in the HoneyPoint Agents and captured bad actors or malware moving in the network, they would win by identifying existing compromises. If they dropped in HoneyPoint and never got a hit at all, they would win, and could tell the management that even upon closer examination with the new detection tools, the network seemed to be clean of malware and overt attacker activity. This, in combination with the other forms of detection and reporting they were doing would further strengthen their position with management that the security team was remaining vigilant. 

In the end, the team observed a few pieces of malware within the first 90 days and quickly eliminated the infections. They then began to plan on deploying HoneyPoint Agent into a malware black hole, in coordination with their internal DNS team. As of this writing, the deployment in the new position should go live within 30 days. In most cases, teams using HoneyPoint in this fashion quickly identify other more deeply hidden malware. The security team looks forward to leveraging the data from the HoneyPoint black hole to clean the environment more aggressively.

So, there you have it. Another client strikes a win with HoneyPoint. You can learn more about this “No Lose” product by getting in touch with your MSI account executive. You can also find more information by clicking here. 

HPSS Training Videos Now Available

We are proud to announce the immediate availability of HoneyPoint Security Server training videos. You can now learn more about installing and using the Console, Agents, the HPSS Proxy and soon Wasp, HoneyBees and Trojans.

Jim Klun (@pophop)  put the videos together and will continue to build the series over the coming months. Check them out and give Jim some feedback over Twitter. Also, let us know what other videos you would like to see.

You can get access to the videos using the credentials provided to you with your HoneyPoint license. The videos, along with a brand new User Guide, are now available from the distro web site.

Thanks to all HPSS users, and we promise to continue to evolve HPSS and make it even easier and more powerful over the coming year. As always, thanks for choosing MSI as your security partner. We appreciate it and greatly value your input!