Tag Archives: Sharing

Stop Having Sex for the First Time – part 2

In the first part of this article, I gave some various examples of how InfoSec teams are structured to fail or at the very least function very inefficiently. Next we’ll talk about how to achieve a more effective *INTEL* team – and how it will enable the development of intelligence in the organization.

FIRST: Specialization Without Division –
So, here’s where experience in the bedroom really pans out in this InfoSecsy relationship. You want to get lots of smart people who each excel at one thing but know a little bit about a lot of related things.

Both InfoSec & Intel teams will benefit from this structure, the caveat is that you must also have people with the right personality (nobody likes selfishness in the sheets). In addition to the right mix of talent, you need people that respect each other’s abilities, aren’t afraid to ask for help and will be willing and even eager to share what they find. You don’t need a bunch of multipurpose rock stars, rather you want people who excel at things such as malware reverse engineering, pcap analysis, social engineering, development, data analysis, and even specific application software etc. You also want them to have foundation knowledge in other security realms.

The second part to this is that they are ONE TEAM, they are not divided into divisions with Directors and VPs over specific areas rather they are outside hires or even the internal elite from the network security team, the security operations center, the devops team etc. They will likely have liasion relationships with these functional areas and access to the data from them as well.

In some cases it may make sense to have multiple teams located together across the country, in some cases the company size may support having them co-locate in one physical space, nonetheless the bottom line is that they are all ONE Team. They are your version of a special forces troop, everyone has a job yet they all help each other and are willing to learn what they can about another area to be as effective and helpful as possible when needed.
SECOND: In Failure and Success, in Sickness and in Health ’til Termination Do We Part

This is an InfoSecsy partnership whether you like it or not. If an attack on your organization succeeds or fails, you share the responsibility. If you build something, and it doesn’t work, you share the failure and when it does, you share the success. If you have an idea and it leads nowhere, you mark it off as something tried and eliminated. If you have an idea, try it, if it fails tell everyone WHY/HOW it failed so they don’t waste resources trying the same thing, then move on. If you try something and it succeeds, share so everyone knows WHY/HOW it worked and they can repeat, enhance, and also succeed. [Ask @Ben0xA for his preso on FIAL – it’s awesome]
THIRD: share, Share, SHare, SHAre, SHARe, SHARE, SHARE!!!!!

Sharing InfoSecsy knowledge, skills, experience and ideas is only going to enhance your Intel team and company’s security posture. For example, the other day I had someone tell me that an Exchange team was unable to help us identify who clicked on a link while accessing OWA on a machine because everyone shared a generic login on the shared workstation. Having similar experience in a related area, I was able to offer a suggestion to the Exchange Team and the SOC Analyst that allowed the proper syslogs to be identified in their repository and the Exchange Team to liason with the Windows IIS team to pull the data that was later analyzed. Neither of these areas was my responsibility or expertise, but due to their willingness to share the problem and brainstorm, solutions emerged.
Another example, When we had a host that was unable to be found, I got the NOC, SOC and Help Desk all talking and we collectively came up with a non-traditional way to protect the network and find the asset. While I didn’t know the topology I was able to ask questions that spawned conversations that resulted in solutions.

Sometimes the person with the LEAST knowledge in a subject area can ask the simplest question that will light a much needed fire when because of how they processed the information. The bottom line is – get your people together regularly to discuss what has/is happened, known, and is yet to be figured out, and collectively, ideas and solutions will emerge.
FINALLY: Recycle & Re-Use

For this final note, I’ll use a hypothetical incident as an example. A Sales Engineer (SE) gets an email from an individual purportedly representing one if his clients. The individual is asking for assistance in collecting network and netflow data to help him tune his SIEM, a seemingly harmless request. As the conversation progresses the SE thinks the guy is sketchy so he contacts the SOC. The SOC runs a number of checks on the accounts and checks for any relationship to any known incidents, nothing is found. Guidance given is to limit the scope of information given to the individual per the company guidelines. So what’s next? Well, if we abide by the 3rd rule, this information would get shared with the Intel team, and then the 4th rule takes effect, the information is recycled. It is sent through the Intel Team that runs through it with a different filter and they begin to identify that not only is the individual sketchy, he is possibly even an imposter executing a very crafty social engineering attack. So what’s next? Recycle & Re-Use again. Contact the customer that the individual claims to represent and pass the information to them. Let them look at it with a different filter. You never know what puzzle someone else is putting together and what appears to be “nothing to see here” might be a critical piece of information that ties everything together for someone else.

SUMMARY:
The first part of this article discussed how traditional, rigid, corporate sandboxes of responsibility that define various IT functionalities within an InfoSec program have a tendency to do hinder effectiveness when it comes to security. The second part of this article provides some ideas and examples on how to restructure and build teams as well as ideas on when/how share information across specialities. There are a few takeaways I’d like to leave you with:

1. The only right structure, is the one that maximizes and encourages information sharing and meets the organizational needs for security AND intelligence within resource constraints

2. Embrace failures – they are the stepping stones that lead to the door of success

3. Bring your teams (worker bee level) from all disciplines, together regularly to discuss all kinds of security concerns and issues everyone is experiencing – and most of all encourage them to SHARE ideas and experience.

4. Recycle data on security incidents, even concerns of a possible incident. Ensure they are passed amongst your teams via a process that works for your organization, with the end goal of everyone getting a say-so/review of it.

So go forth, do great things, and enjoy the InfoSecsy side of security not just the InfoFail side.

Thank you once again for taking time to read OSINT Heaven’s Blog.

Stop Having Sex for the First Time – part 1

As someone who’s been working on an OSINT project lately, I’ve had many surprises and hurdles because there’s poor organization to our execution and little to no information sharing between security functions in the same department. I recently got access to a very important piece of information/tool that resulted in a huge discovery…..this is Oct, we’ve been working on this since July…. Unfortunately, this problem is not unique to this project, OSINT or InfoSec.

THE EXAMPLE:

The US Army structured a communications battalion with companies, made up of platoons/teams/squads etc.  and basically the personnel all had the same functional training background. One company, 30-100 people, would be folks who operated/maintained satellites, another knew cabling and wiring, another radios, and another of those skilled in networking/network communications. Whenever the battalion would go out to train, they would take a few people from each company throw them together like a patch quilt so as to have someone capable of each required skill for the mission. They’d send these patch quilt teams out to different locations with some training objective (usually to successfully establish a communication link, keep it up, and practice for war).

The teams contained the best of the best, people of varying skill levels, and competent (minus the token derp). Nonetheless, despite these groups being highly trained w/ above average intelligence, their execution was clunky, fluidity was all but present and they flat out struggled every time to meet the objective. Why? A few basic reasons (this list is not exhaustive) – nobody knew each other, we communicated in different ways, we could not anticipate each others needs or actions, there was no rhythm no synchronization. It was like being a virgin having sex for the first time every time, with another virgin. Sure, we got the job done, but it was rarely every “awesome”.

So the heart of the problem – teams, functions and activities were silos, not circles. Instead of being an elegant woven silk tapestry full of vibrant colors, we were a hideous patch quilt.

THE INFOSEC PARALLEL

We have the same problem in “Information Security” teams. There’s the Network Security Team, The Security Operations Center, and if you’re luck there is/are Pen Test, Intel, Forensics, and Malware team(s). So with all this awesomeness under one roof how could we possibly fail?

  1. Leadership Roadblocks – Managers sit in rooms making drug deals over resources and designing processes in vacuums.
  2. Lack of Communication/Sharing – None of the worker bees comes together on a regular with information to share, the “intel” that everyone needs.  Instead, data gets passed around/tracked in one ticketing system from workflow to the next team’s workflow if we’re lucky (and documentation usually sucks).
  3. Pissing Contests – we’ve got the “you will use *MY* ticketing system” mentality
  4. Lack of Integration – Let’s not forget that we’ve got all the awesome teams, and we’ve spent money (millions) on awesome tools and not a dime to integrate them, so “intel” sits hidden or is nearly/impossible to gather.
  5. That’s MINE! – Network “Security” teams don’t let anyone have read access to network logs (and only send silly/useless globs of syslogs to a SIEM), only the Help Desk is allowed to have remote access to a host even when a user contacts a SOC suspecting compromise of their host.
  6. Black Holes – Forensic team takes a compromised drive/image that the SOC quarantined and runs away to their cave never to be seen again, the malware team pops their heads up like a prairie dog when you say malware, you feed them and they run away only to pop out of another hole and say here’s your IoC and scurry down the hole.

Instead of being a highly functioning ecosystem of intelligent wild animals (face it, real InfoSec folks we’re just wild :), we’re a damn zoo and none of the animals get to play together.

OK….hopefully you get the point by now – We ALL play a part in this.

SURPISE! – Not really

So is it any wonder when there’s an attack on your organization that everyone flounders to some degree and for the serious ones you simply have to call someone in? [In all honesty, sometimes that actually IS the best and most responsible thing to do]. Is it any surprise that after the attack, all you do is prepare for the next one and you never really figure out anything behind it?  You never really operate in a preventative or offensive fashion.  You just sit around waiting for the next bully to steal your lunch.

So I ask, do you really want to keep having s3x the first time every time? I mean – practice **IS** supposed to improve performance thus making the experience better and better. Sure you have processes, that’s great & flow charts are awesome, but it only gets you so far. The SOC does it’s own little training on “here’s how we RESPOND to ABC incident” the NetSec-Ops team is doing their own RESPONSE training as is every other team that plays some role in a RESPONSE effort. The funny thing – the Windows/Unix/Server/App teams have a part too, but they’re never part of the training and nobody is invited to participate in the other team’s training.  BTW: where is all the info from your “lessons learned” going and where’s your “intel” sharing so you can start PREVENTING instead of just RESPONDING?

Back to our example….

The Army realized the shortcomings of their structure and began restructuring their communications units. They reorganized so that the groups that would fight together would not only train together, but live and work together. Battalions had companies that consisted of platoons with personnel from all the skills needed to be successful. These soldiers worked together every day, even began to learn about each other’s jobs. Light bulbs started going off, greater understanding and better communication emerged. They began to bond, to learn each other’s likes/dislikes, communication nuances, they began to execute with precision and efficiency. They began looking more like that expensive beautiful tapestry and acting like life long lovers.

So how could a company do this?

Well there is no one cookie-cutter solution that will work for every company, but here’s one novel underlying theme – locate them together physically if possible, gather them virtually at minimum. Granted there needs to be separation of duties and permissions, but that doesn’t mean you must have silos. Let the worker bees ACROSS GROUPS work together to define processes and make suggestions up through management. If that’s not possible, have regular working groups (weekly preferably) where they all get together. Sometimes the meetings will be intense with lots of hot topics/issues, other times they’ll have coffee and just bonding, but get them together

Another idea, Wherever your largest team is, usually the SOC, have seats for a NetSec, Malware, Forensics, and Intel Team members to work. The teams can rotate out who works over there, but have someone over there for 2-4 weeks at a time, let them “live & fight together”. Let them share information, watch the people that are part of your processes begin to work more effectively.

In the end, the goal is to have your team execute like they’ve been giving it to each other their whole life, not fumbling through sex like virgins for the first time, every time you need to respond to an incident. Then comes the next step, pillow talk the morning after – or sharing coffee and a bagel if you prefer.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll be talking about how to maximize this architecture for an intel team.

Shodan – A Boogeyman’s BFF

If you’ve ever heard me talk on OSINT one of the points I drive home is one I learned early from a colleague, Ian Amit (@iiamit) that if what you present doesn’t cause a change in behavior, it isn’t threat intel, it is intel/information.  Here’s a story on how I used OSINT techniques on my own organization in multiple ways, to cause a change in behavior.

Once upon a time in a land far far far away….there were device administrators that secured their devices properly….

/me wakes up disappointed

During my governance, risk and compliance days, before OSINT was a buzz word in the industry, one of the things organizations wanted to know (without hiring/contracting a pen-tester) was how vulnerable they were to “hackers” [I use that word sparingly as it has a very evil connotation to the ignorant masses].   Knowing they just asked me to boil the ocean, I worked to get them to narrow it down, and identify three things:

  1.  WHAT are you worried about being attacked (i.e. specific assets)

And let me be the first to say that if the org doesn’t have a decent Asset and Data Classification Policy that’s actually implemented HA! sucks to be you.

2.  WHICH attack vectors concern you the most

3.  HOW do you want me to answer you (reporting format)

So after getting those nailed down,  I decided to finally put all the hours of education to good use so I felt less guilty about spending all that money getting a degree just to get past the HR gremlins that eat resumes.

We didn’t exactly have a threat model, and being in the “Risk Department”  (pfft!) they weren’t going to listen to me tell them they needed one.  [BTW Risk Analysis != Threat Modeling] Nonetheless, I realized the scope of concern they had included threats to network assets [as opposed to software, people, places etc].  Thus I went forth to identify vulnerabilities that c/would be exploited, and immediately went to a wonderful sight called Shodan 

screen capture from https://www.shodan.io/explore/popular
Shodan most popular searches

that will tell you all kind of “wonderful” things about an organization’s threat vectors.  Leveraging a little knowledge of SQL and URL hacking I began running queries to check for some basic vulnerabilities that were not only available for my own perusal, but they were equally available for every other evil derp that didn’t like “us”.    I proceeded to exclaim rather loudly in the office “Are you Fuc41n6 Kidding ME?!” as I saw the results pour in.  So – now I knew it was not just bad…it was like Satan just gave a free pass on the bullet train straight to hell and you could hear him laughing like it was a carnival ride.

I hung my head in dismay, thinking – how am I going to communicate to “Management” just how bad this is?  Afterall they get vulnerability scans quarterly, monthly, weekly and in some cases daily – and they STILL don’t think the problem is “that bad.”  Technically, the Shodan results are nothing more than another data set reflecting vulnerabilities.

Then I remembered some very wise words

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting -Sun Tzu

So I put together an initial OSINT report of generic threat actor profiles that would like (and probably already were) exploiting that exposed via Shodan, but I didn’t send it. Instead, first I took what I learned in Shodan and I created a “How to Sho-Dan” (pun on a C-levles name)  slide deck.  I mean, nobody is ever going to believe my report, I’ll be lucky if 1/3rd of them click on a single link and even luckier if 1/10th of them even understand what they’re reading/clicking on.

Then, I OSINT’d (ummm yeah that’s a word now just roll with me here) so I OSINT’d my fellow employees.  I read their social media profiles, eavesdropped at the water cooler, socially engineered (SE’d) them over coffee to figure out what were 1) their favorite & most hated places for work-hosted events 2) their favorite conference room 3) their idea of “fun” learning at work was.  Then I SE’d my boss into spending money, used his corporate credit card (with his approval), and set up a Lunch & Learn for non-security IT people including devs, netops team, help desk etc.  With food & drink in hand, and a promise of a prize for anyone who could tell me what the query revealed we began learning How To Sho-Dan.

EUREKA!

When it was all over they realized some very critical things:

  1. NONE of them had to even create an account to run a query…wut?! this is Open Source?!
  2. They didn’t have to know SQL or URL hacking, they only had to know key words and use the search boxes
  3. If they did have an account, they could get even more comprehensive reports

THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON:  If they could do it – so could bad guys, and there were definitely some serious boogeymen in the world.

IN THE END

I had successfully moved from data to information to intel to threat intel because the Lunch & Learn, combined with the OSINT report I provided caused a change in behavior, otherwise it was just intel and more vulnerability data.

I sent the OSINT report to the managers that had signed up for (even those that didn’t attend) the Lunch & Learn, and now with them empowered with context and a better understanding of the threat vectors,  I watched change explode.

  1. The vulnerability remediation tickets started getting a lot more love by all departments.
  2. The network team implemented changes to their firewall approval process, patching firmware, and network architecture.
  3. The developers began reconsidering what ports they really needed
  4. The server team modified their provisioning process to include a security review/approval milestone that was a show stopper.
  5. I even convinced C-levels to plan for an internal pen-testing team.

TAKEAWAYS:

  1. If minimally tech savvy people can do/google/youtube it then so can the bad guys
  2. OSINT on your own team is not evil 🙂
  3. Sometimes an OSINT report is far less valuable than an OSINT hands-on

 

BONUS
If you want to see a very hilarious and scary presentation go watch my colleague Dan Tentler’s (@Viss) talk from #DEFCON2015 as he exposes ridiculously huge #Fail of things accessible via the Internet.

Below are a list of the (sterilized) Shodan Queries that I used during the training and to generate a report on an OSINT tool that could/was being leveraged by threat actors targeting the organization.

  1. Hosts found w/ banner details stating “230 – Any Password will work”
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=-421+-fe_sendauth+-invalid+-401+-530+%22password%22+org%3A%22Company_Name%22+%22230+Any%22
  2. Hosts found with banner stating “Use ‘passwd’ to set your login password this will disable telnet and enable SSH”
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=-421+-fe_sendauth+-invalid+-401+-530+%22password%22+org%3A%22Company_Name%22+%22passwd%22
  3. Hosts found with banner stating “230 Anonymous access granted, restrictions apply”
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=”230+Anonymous”+”root”+org%3A”Company_Name”
  4. FTP Servers reflected as allowing Anonymous access
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=-534+-530+port%3A21+org%3A%22Company_Name%22
  5. Anything Company_Name
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=org%3A”Company_Name”
  6. Company_Name & Default Passwords
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=%22default+password%22+org%3A%22Company_Name%22
  7. Company_Name, Password
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=-530+%22password%22+org%3A%22Company_Name%22
  8. Company_Name and OpenSSH Ports
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=openssh+port%3A22+org%3A%22Company_Name%22
  9. Company_Name and Splunk on port 8089
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=port%3A8089+splunkd+org%3A%22Company_Name%22
  10. Company_Name, MySQL on port 3306
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=port%3A3306+org%3A%22Company_Name%22+product%3A%22MySQL%22
  11. Company_Name, “200 OK”, “Set-Cookie expires 2016”
    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=%22Set-Cookie+expires+2016%22+%22200+OK%22+org%3A%22Company_Name%22

For use with the Search Box if you don’t like the URLs

  • city:”$city”
  • country:$country
  • geo:$lat,$lon
  • os:$operatingSystem
  • net:$ipRange/$cidr
  • org:”$OrgName”
  • product:”$product name in here”
  • isp:”$ISP Name Here”
  • asn:”AS######”
  • devicetype:”firewall”
  • ports:80, 443