New Paper: Monitoring the Hybrid Cloud

We are pleased to announce the availability of our Monitoring the Hybrid Cloud: Evolving to the CloudSOC paper. As the megatrends of cloud computing and mobility continue to play out in technology infrastructure, your security monitoring approach must evolve to factor in the lack of both visibility and control over the infrastructure. But senior management isn’t in the excuses business so you still need to provide the same level of diligence in protecting critical data. This paper looks at why the cloud is different, emerging use cases for hybrid cloud security monitoring, and some architectural ideas with migration plans to get there. As always we would like to thank IBM Security for licensing this content enabling us to post it on the site for a good price. Check out the landing page, or you can download the paper directly (PDF). Share:

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Firestarter: 2015 Trends

Rich, Mike, and Adrian each pick a trend they expect to hammer us in 2015. Then we talk about it, probably too much. From threat intel to tokenization to SaaS security. And oh, we did have to start with a dig on the Pats. Cheating? Super Bowl? Really? Come on now. Watch or listen: Share:

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Applied Threat Intelligence: Use Case #1, Security Monitoring

As we discussed in Defining TI, threat intelligence can help detect attacks earlier by benefiting from the misfortune of others and looking for attack patterns being used against higher profile targets. This is necessary because you simply cannot prevent everything. No way, no how. So you need to get better and faster at responding. The first step is improving detection to shorten the window between compromise and discovery of compromise. Before we jump into how – the meat of this series – we need to revisit what your security monitoring process can look like with threat intelligence. TI+SM We will put the cart a bit before the horse. We will assume you already collect threat intelligence as described in the last post. But of course you cannot just wake up and find compelling TI. You need to build a process and ecosystem to get there, but we haven’t described them in any detail yet. But we will defer that discussion a little, until you understand the context of the problem to solve, and then the techniques for systematically gathering TI will make more sense. Let’s dig into specific aspects of the process map: Aggregate Security Data The steps involved in aggregating security data are fairly straightforward. You need to enumerate devices to monitor in your environment, scope out the kinds of data you will get from them, and define collection policies and correlation rules – all described in gory detail in Network Security Operations Quant. Then you can move on to actively collecting data and storing it in a repository to allow flexible, fast, and efficient analysis and searching. Security Analytics The security monitoring process now has two distinct sources to analyze, correlate, and alert on: external threat intelligence and internal security data. Automate TI integration: Given the volume of TI information and its rate of change, the only way to effectively leverage external TI is to automate data ingestion into the security monitoring platform; you also need to automatically update alerts, reports, and dashboards. Baseline environment: You don’t really know what kinds of attacks you are looking for yet, so you will want to gather a baseline of ‘normal’ activity within your environment and then look for anomalies, which may indicate compromise and warrant further investigation. Analyze security data: The analysis process still involves normalizing, correlating, reducing, and tuning the data and rules to generate useful and accurate alerts. Alert: When a device shows one or more indicators of compromise, an alert triggers. Prioritize alerts: Prioritize alerts based on the number, frequency, and types of indicators which triggered them; use these priorities to decide which devices to further investigate, and in what order. Integrated threat intelligence can help by providing additional context, allowing responders to prioritize threats so analysts can investigate the highest risks first. Deep collection: Depending on the priority of the alert you might want to collect more detailed telemetry from the device, and perhaps start capturing network packet data to and from it. This data can facilitate validation and identification of compromise, and facilitate forensic investigation if it comes to that. Action Once you have an alert, and have gathered data about the device and attack, you need to determine whether it was actually compromised or the alert was a false positive. If a device has been compromised you need to escalate – either to an operations team for remediation/clean-up, or to an investigation team for more thorough incident response and analysis. To ensure both processes improve constantly you should learn from each validation step: critically evaluate the intelligence, as well as the policy and/or rule that triggered the alert. For a much deeper discussion of how to Leverage TI in Security Monitoring check out our paper. Useful TI We are trying to detect attacks faster in this use case (rather than working on preventing or investigating them), so the most useful types of TI are strong indicators of problems. Let’s review some data sources from our last post, along with how they fit into this use case: Compromised Devices: The most useful kind of TI is a service telling you there is a cesspool of malware on your network. This “smoking gun” can be identified by a number of different indicators, as we will detail below. But if you can get a product to identify those devices wih analytics on TI data, it saves you considerable effort analyzing and identifying suspicious devices yourself. Of course you cannot always find a smoking gun, so specific TI data types are helpful for detecting attacks: File Reputation: Folks pooh-pooh file reputation, but the fact is that a lot of malware still travels around through the tried and true avenue of file transmission. It is true that polymorphic malware makes it much harder to match signatures, but it’s not impossible; so tracking the presence of files can be helpful for detecting attacks and pinpointing the extent of an outbreak – as we will discuss in detail in our next post. Indicators of Compromise: The shiny new term for an attack signature is indicator of compromise. But whatever you call it an IoC is a handy machine-readable means of identifying registry, configuration, and system file changes that indicate what malicious code does to devices. This kind of detailed telemetry from endpoints and networks enables you to detect attacks as they happen. IP reputation: At this point, given the popularity of spoofing addresses, we cannot recommend making a firm malware/clean judgement based only on IP reputation, but if the device is communicating with known bad addresses and showing other indicators (which can be identified through the wonders of correlation – as a SIEM does) you have more evidence of compromise. C&C Patterns: The last TI data source for this use case is a behavioral analog of IP reputation. You don’t necessarily need to worry about where the device is communicating to – instead you can focus on how it’s communicating. There are known means of polling DNS to find botnet controllers

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