Key Elements of Every Successful Incident Response Program

Nowadays, businesses face the fact that cyber attacks are part of the overall picture, and will happen at any given moment. Nobody is in doubt about this, and the question has shifted from ‘if they happen’, to ‘when they happen’. Along with this, cybercriminals have become much more sophisticated, raising the costs of fighting back on all industry levels.

Managing cyber security issues can pose a real challenge within a company. The new and complex networks, business requirements for innovation and new ways of delivery of services require new methods and approaches to the way security is handled. Traditional security management methods no longer work. Today, cyber security management should aim towards efficiency when it comes to possible future threats.

Serious data breaches can cost a company hundreds of millions of dollars. Often, what makes a breach serious is the effectiveness and speed of the incident response process.

This being said, creating an incident response program is of utmost importance. It has to excel in the following areas: visibility, incident management, workflows, threat intelligence, and collaboration/information-sharing. Below we’ll take a closer look at each of these areas and discover their importance from a systems level perspective.

Visibility

Having in mind the number of security products in an average company, visibility should be the core of any incident response system – this means aggregating data feeds from commercial and open-source products. When setting up an incident response system, specialists should consider platforms that offer support for security products out of the box. Although not all of them support everything by default, the one you choose should be flexible to add bi-directional integrations with security products not supported by default. But even though bi-directional integrations are important for the support of full automation and orchestration, these are not always necessary for each technology. For example, with simple detection and alerting technologies, unidirectional event forwarding integration will do the work. Just check that common methods of event forwarding and data transfer (such as syslog, database connections, APIs, email and online forms) are supported.

Incident Management

A well-structured incident response program should enable orchestration and automation of the security products that the organization uses. Above everything else, it should include the ability to manage the entire incident response process, starting from the basics, such as tracking cases, recording actions during the incident, as well as reporting on critical metrics and KPIs.

Furthermore, a more advanced incident response system should provide the following:

  • Phase and objective tracking
  • Detailed task tracking, including assignment, time spent and status
  • Asset management — tracking all physical and virtual assets involved in the incident
  • Evidence and chain of custody management
  • Indicator and sample tracking, correlation and sharing
  • Document and report management
  • Time and monetary effort tracking
Process Workflows

One of the key capabilities that should part of the incident response system is the automation and orchestration workflows. The result is more efficient processes and heavy reduction in repetitive tasks for analysts.

These are the core methods for a codification of process workflows: linear-style playbooks or flow-controlled workflows or runbooks.

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, and as each is suitable for different use cases, they both should be supported by the incident response system. In both cases, workflows should be flexible and support almost any process, and should support the use of built-in and custom integrations, and creating manual tasks that should be completed by an analyst.

Threat Intelligence

The capability of incorporating threat intelligence feeds is one of the most basic requirements for an incident response system. Moreover, with the ability to correlate threat intelligence, it’s easier to discover attack patterns, vulnerabilities, and other current risks without manual analysis. Adding the automated correlation also helps identify whether an ongoing incident shares common factors with any previous incidents. But even though automated correlation is crucial for analysts to make decisions, visual correlation is also important. Visualizations of threat intelligence and correlated events are particularly useful for threat hunting and detecting attacks/patterns that could not have been detected using other methods.

Collaboration and Information-Sharing

Incident response is never a one-person show. Generally, it requires the participation of many people, and often of multiple teams. To be highly effective in such an environment, an incident response system should support seamless collaboration and information-sharing between all stakeholders and team members.

This means that authorized staff members should have access to the status of the incident and other generated information, including team members actions. Also, all staff members should communicate in a secure fashion, using out-of-band communications mechanism.

Furthermore, information-sharing and cooperation should be a regular practice with external entities, especially with law-enforcement agencies. Information-sharing, such as threat intelligence reports, is vital in the fight against cybercrime.

Conclusion

Most companies will experience data breach sooner or later, and how they respond will affect the future of the business. These essential components will help ensure that an organization’s incident response program can detect, contain and mitigate a breach before it can reach more serious status.

Orchestrate Advanced Forensics with DFLabs SOAR and OpenText EnCase

Forensic incidents can be complex and difficult to manage. Large-scale forensic investigations involve dozens or even hundreds of assets, and this information must be recorded, managed and correlated to be effective. DFLabs and OpenText are key partners in delivering these capabilities. This blog post will outline some of the key challenges that security operations are tackling when it comes to effective forensics management, how they can be resolved and briefly present a use case of the integration in action.

Key Challenges

Acquiring forensic data from dozens, even hundreds of potentially impacted hosts across an enterprise can pose a real challenge. This is especially true when these hosts span across continents. Once this data is acquired, it must be organized, enriched and correlated before effective analysis can begin. This results in potentially hundreds of analyst hours lost performing these repetitive tasks before any actual investigative work can take place, during which time, potential attackers could be continuing to further compromise the network or exfiltrate data.

DFLabs integration with EnCase via its IncMan SOAR platform, allows users to more quickly gather critical asset data, manage this data and further enrich this data using IncMan’s orchestration and automation capabilities. It helps to solve these specific security operations challenges often faced by analysts on a daily basis:

  • How can I quickly gather host information from endpoints across my infrastructure?
  • How can I correlate and enrich data collected from across the different hosts in my infrastructure?
  • How can I track my evidence, including acquisition information, location and chain of custody?
  • How can I manage all the findings from my forensic examination in one location, correlate and enrich them?
Complete Forensic and Evidence Management

EnCase from OpenText is the premier digital investigation platform for both law enforcement and private industry. EnCase allows acquisition of data from the greatest variety of devices, including over 25 types of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and GPS devices.  EnCase enables a comprehensive, forensically sound investigation and produces extensive reports on findings while maintaining the evidence integrity. EnCase Enterprise, built specifically for large enterprise clients, allows forensic analysts to reach across the enterprise network, gathering critical forensic data from hosts across a campus or across the world.

By integrating with OpenText EnCase, DFLabs IncMan SOAR can harness the power of EnCase Enterprise Snapshots, making gathering critical forensic artifacts from hosts around the globe a seamless task. Once this information has been collected by EnCase, IncMan automatically organizes this data by host, performs correlation, and allows a user to harness the power of IncMan’s other integrations to further enrich this information.   

In addition to Snapshot information, IncMan is also able to ingest EnCase bookmarks, correlating forensic tools and findings between EnCase cases, as well as acquisition information, making the tracking of forensic clones easier than ever before.

Use Case in Action

An IDS alert for suspicious activity on a host has automatically generated an Incident within IncMan, triggering an investigation. Utilizing IncMan’s EnCase Snapshot EnScript, an analyst performs a snapshot of the host in question, gathering critical process, network and handle information.

Using IncMan’s enrichment capabilities on the newly acquired snapshot information, a suspicious process and several suspicious network connections have been identified, prompting the need for a more detailed forensic investigation.

Utilizing several of IncMan’s containment integrations, traffic from the suspicious IP addresses has been temporarily blocked and the process’s hash value has been banned from running across the environment.

A forensic clone of the host is created to permit a more detailed forensics and root cause analysis. Once the forensic clone is created, IncMan’s Bookmarks and Clones EnScript is used to transfer information regarding the clone from EnCase to IncMan, making tracking the clone’s location and verification simple and easy.

Based on the forensic analysis of the host, a suspicious executable and configuration files have been identified and bookmarked for further analysis. Utilizing IncMan’s Bookmarks and Clones EnScript, these EnCase bookmarks are imported in to IncMan to permit improved tracking and information sharing between analysis.

Making use of one of IncMan’s several integrations with various sandboxing technologies, the executable bookmarked in EnCase is identified as a variant of known malware. Further research on this known malware variant leads to a remediation strategy for the infection of this host.

If you currently use EnCase from OpenText and would like to learn more, request a bespoke one to one demonstration of the integration with DFLabs’ SOAR platform. See for yourself how we can help you to free up valuable analyst time and improve the overall performance of your security program by automating host data acquisitions, tracking and managing important information, while storing all forensic artifacts in a single location for easier use and correlation.

Also for further reading, check out our white paper titled “DFLabs IncMan SOAR: For Incident and Forensics Management”.

How to Perform Threat Hunting and Incident Response on Live Hosts

Performing threat hunting and incident response on live hosts, collectively referred to here as live analysis, can be a complicated task. When performed properly, they can detect and preserve volatile artifacts, such as network connections, running processes, hooks and open files, which may be the only evidence of today’s advanced attacks. Live analysis may also be the only option when taking a host offline for traditional disk forensics is not an option, such as with business-critical application servers or domain controllers. However, if performed improperly, they can alert attackers to your presence, destroy critical information or render any evidence gathered inadmissible in legal proceedings.

Live forensics and live threat hunting

Live forensics and live threat hunting begin as two different processes. When performing live forensics, we typically start with a pivot point; something has already been detected as anomalous which has prompted us to examine the host. During live threat hunting, we are seeking that anomaly, that indicator of potential malicious activity, to use as a pivot point for further investigation. Once that initial indicator has been discovered, the traditional incident response process, often involving further live forensics begins.

Unique challenges

Performing live analysis poses several unique challenges when compared to traditional offline disk forensics. Although any forensic process must be documented and repeatable, these attributes are especially important when performing live analysis. Unlike offline disk forensics, where the original evidence should theoretically remain static and unchanged, live evidence is constantly changing. In fact, we are changing the live evidence by performing live forensics. Although the live analysis process is repeatable, it cannot be repeated while achieving exactly the same results; processes start and end, network connections are terminated, and memory is re-allocated. This means that our live analysis processes must be able to stand up to increased scrutiny.

Because live analysis involves executing commands on a running host, it is crucial that the process is also performed in a secure manner. Only trusted tools should be executed. Each tool and the commands used to execute them should be tested prior to being executed during a live analysis to ensure that the results are known and only the intended actions occur. It is also important to ensure that the tools and commands you tested are the same ones being executed during each live analysis situation.

On Friday, September 7th, I will be speaking at the SANS Threat Hunting and IR Summit in New Orleans regarding some of the challenges and best practices when performing threat hunting and incident response on live hosts. I will also be demoing DFLabs free tool, the No-Script Automation Tool (NAT), which can be used to assist in the live data acquisition process. If you have not had a chance to see NAT, please check out our blog post hereand our demo video here.

Also, find out which top cyber security events DFLabs will attend this fall.

I hope to see you all at the SANS Threat Hunting and IR Summit soon. Safe travels and avoid the storm!

9 Key Components of Incident and Forensics Management

Incident and Forensics Investigations Management

Security incidents and digital forensics investigations are complex events with many facets, all of which must be managed in parallel to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. When investigations are not managed and documented properly, processes fail, critical items are overlooked, inefficiencies develop, and key indicators are missed, all leading to increased potential risk and losses.

Investigation management can be broken down into a number of key components and it is important that an organization is able to carry out all of these elements collectively and seamlessly in order to properly handle and manage any incident they may potentially face.

This blog will briefly cover 9 key areas that I believe are the most important when it comes to incident and forensics management. Ensuring these are firmly in place within your security operations or CSIRT team will ensure more efficient and effective incident management when an incident does occur.

If you would like to learn more about each of the components in more detail and how DFLabs has incorporated them into its comprehensive and complete Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) platform to enable organizations to improve their security program, you can download our in-depth white paper here.

Case Management

Every investigation must be organized into a logical container, commonly referred to as a case or incident. This is necessary for several reasons. Most obviously, this container is used to identify the investigation and contain information such as observables, tasks, evidence, notes and other information associated with the investigation, discussed in greater detail in the subsequent sections. Many investigations contain sensitive information which should only be accessible by those with a legitimate need to know. These containers also serve to enforce a level of access control.

Observables and Findings

Investigations generate a large volume of data, from simple observables such as IP addresses, domain names and hash values, to more complex observables such as malware and attacker TTPs, as well as findings such as those made from log analysis, forensic examination and malware analysis. All this information must be recorded and shared with all appropriate stakeholders to ensure the most effective response to a security incident.

Data gathered from previous incidents can be an invaluable tool in responding more effectively to future security incidents. As individual data points are associated with each other, this information is transformed from simple data into actionable threat intelligence which can inform future decisions and responses.

Phase, Expectation and Task Management

Investigations generally progress through a series of phases, each of which will contain a series of management expectations and a set of tasks required to meet those expectations. As the complexity of an investigation increases the tracking of these phases, expectations and tasks become both more critical and more difficult to manage. Failing to properly track and manage investigation phases, expectations and tasks can lead to duplicated efforts, overlooked items and other inefficiencies which lead to an increase in both cost and time to successfully complete an investigation.

Evidence and Chain of Custody

Documenting evidence and tracking chain of custody can be a complex process during an investigation of any size. Documentation using older paper-based or spreadsheet systems does not scale to larger investigations, is prone to error and is time-consuming. Failing to maintain a full list of evidence or maintain chain of custody can result in lost evidence, duplication of efforts and inability to use critical evidence during legal processes.

Forensic Tool Integration

Security operations use a multitude of tools and technologies on a daily basis with different ones being utilized for varying types of investigations. Logging into several platforms individually to collect data is often a manual process and can be tiresome and painful, as well as extremely time-consuming, and time is always of the essence. It is critical that security tools are connected and integrated to improve efficiencies and to fuse intelligence seamlessly together so that all data can be analyzed and documented in a single location and immediately shared with relevant stakeholders.

Reporting and Management

Reporting and the management of reports is a vital function during any investigation. Once information is documented, it must be able to be accessed easily and in multiple formats appropriate for a wide variety of audiences. As the scale of an investigation grows, so does the number of individual reports which will be generated. This can result in many complexities, including sharing logistics, proper access controls and managing different versions of reports. To reduce the impact of these complexities, a single report management platform should be used to act as the authoritative source for all reports.

Activity Tracking and Auditing

Tracking actions taken during an investigation is important to ensure a consistent response, identify areas where process improvements are needed, and to prove that the actions taken were appropriate. Not only must actions be documented, but it is also crucial to ensure that the integrity of this documentation cannot be called into question later. However, documenting activity during an investigation can be time-consuming, taking analysts attention away from the tasks at hand, and is often an afterthought.

Information Security

Investigative data can be extremely sensitive, and it is crucial that the confidentiality of such data be maintained at all times. Confidentiality must be maintained not only for those outside of the organization but also for those internal users who may not be authorized to access some or all of the incident information.

Asset Management

No matter the specific roles a team is tasked with, the team will require many different physical and logical internal assets to accomplish their tasks. This may include workstations, storage media, license dongles, software and other hardware. Regardless of the asset, an organization must be able to track that asset throughout its life, ensuring that they (and the money spent on them) do not go to waste.  As the team grows, managing the tracking of these assets, who they are issued, their expiration dates and more can become a full-time task.

Final Thoughts

These core components combined enable security teams to work more efficiently throughout the entire investigative lifecycle, reducing both cost and risk posed by the wide variety of events facing organizations today. Providing a holistic view of the security landscape and the organization’s broad infrastructure allows for better use of existing tools and technologies to minimize the time team members must spend on the administrative portions of investigations, allowing them to focus on the more important tasks that will ultimately impact the outcome of the response.

Sharing Critical Security Information Using DFLabs SOAR and McAfee OpenDXL

In security, information is power. Having actionable information available at the touch of a button can be the difference between stopping a threat in its tracks and becoming the victim of the next big breach. However, the many disparate security products deployed in most organizations make information sharing and integration difficult, if not impossible.

Lack of information sharing and integrations between security products leads to a time consuming and disjointed response to a security incident; an environment ripe for mistakes to be made.

Information sharing and security product integration and orchestration have always been at the core of the many values provided by DFLabs. By designing a solution that is OpenDXL compatible, DFLabs has provided joint DFLabs and McAfee customers with yet another way to streamline their security processes.

DFLabs IncMan SOAR and McAfee OpenDXL solve these specific challenges:
  • How can I share security information between my security products?
  • How can I quickly integrate my security products without the need for time-consuming custom integrations?

McAfee’s OpenDXL allows compatible security applications to seamlessly share security information without the need for complicated custom integrations. DFLabs IncMan OpenDXL implementation is now certified as McAfee compatible. All integrations between DFLabs IncMan platform and McAfee, including ePO, ATD and TIE, have been enhanced to include OpenDXL, significantly reducing the complexity gathering actionable enrichment information from these solutions.

OpenDXL lets developers join an adaptive system of interconnected services that communicate and share information to make real-time accurate security decisions. OpenDXL leverages the Data Exchange Layer (DXL), which many vendors and enterprises already utilize, and delivers a simple, open path for integrating security technologies regardless of vendor.

Together, this integration enables the ability to share information seamlessly between IncMan SOAR and McAfee products using OpenDXL, which leverages the power of OpenDXL for easy to use, feature rich integrations between products.

One of the most common and versatile use cases for OpenDXL within IncMan is integration with McAfee Threat Intelligence Exchange (TIE). McAfee TIE is a reputation broker which combines threat intelligence from imported global sources, such as McAfee Global Threat Intelligence (McAfee GTI) and third-party threat information (such as VirusTotal) with intelligence from local sources, including endpoints, gateways, and advanced analysis solutions. Using Data Exchange Layer (DXL), it instantly shares this collective intelligence across your security ecosystem, allowing security solutions to operate as one to enhance protection throughout the organization.

McAfee TIE makes it possible for administrators to easily tailor threat intelligence. Security administrators are empowered to assemble, override, augment, and tune the comprehensive intelligence information to customize protection for their environment and organization. This locally prioritized and tuned threat information provides instant response to any future encounters. Threat intelligence from McAfee TIE can be used to enrich indicators, such as file hashes, using IncMan’s R3 Rapid Response Runbooks to enable intelligent automated or manual decisions during the incident response process.

DFLabs IncMan also integrates with other McAfee tools. You can learn more about our integration with McAfee ATD and ePO in our previous blog posts.

Detect, Analyze and Respond to Advanced Malware with DFLabs SOAR Platform and McAfee ATD
Full Lifecycle Threat Management by Integrating DFLabs SOAR with McAfee ePO

5 Common Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) Use Cases

When it comes to Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR), the use cases will vary depending on a number of factors, such as the enterprise-specific internal environment, the industry or vertical the enterprises serve and even the legal and regulatory compliance that need to be met.

In this blog post we will cover five of the most common use cases for a Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR) solution and how by utilizing this technology, a security alert and potential incident can be quickly detected, responded to and resolved without having a major impact on the organization.

It is key to point out that a use case is only limited by the creativity of the organization itself. A Security Orchestration Automation and Response SOAR platform, such as IncMan SOAR from DFLabs, should be able to cater for any scenario and use case that is required.

Phishing

Phishing emails have become one of the most critical issues faced by organizations over the past several years.  Some of the most recent high-profile data breaches have resulted from carefully crafted phishing emails. Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) is perfectly positioned to enable automatic triage and examination of suspected phishing emails by extracting artifacts from the email, then performing additional enrichment on these artifacts and if necessary, containing the malicious email and any malicious payloads.

Suspicious emails may be received via any one of the numerous email scanning solutions available today, or via a monitored email address provided to end users to submit suspicious emails to.  Once the email is received, SOAR can extract artifacts, such as header information, email addresses, URLs and even attachments. What happens next will largely depend on the organizations’ individual technology integrations. The extracted information may be submitted to various threat reputation and intelligence services, SIEM, EDR or network appliance logs may be queried, and attachments may be detonated in a sandbox. Once the available information has been enriched, if determined to be malicious, automated or semi-automated containment actions may be taken, such as quarantining or deleting the phishing email, searching for and deleting other instance of the phishing email in other user’s accounts, blocking IP addresses or URLs, banning executables from running or quarantining the user’s workstation.

Regardless of the integrations used, utilizing SOAR to examine and respond to phishing emails can reduce the time to investigate these pervasive threats from hours to minutes, automatically containing the attack and minimizing risk to the organization.

Malicious Network Traffic

The influx of detection technologies means that organizations are facing a constant barrage of alerts. Many of these alerts are generated due to traffic that one detection technology or another has deemed to be potentially malicious. This is usually based on some type of threat indicator, which may or may not be reliable. It is often left up to the organization to further triage and investigate each of these alerts to determine if they are a false positive or an actual potential security event.

Alerts regarding malicious traffic may be received by a SOAR directly, or after being ingested and forwarded by a SIEM. In either case, the advantage of using a SOAR to automate and orchestrate actions surrounding these types of events comes from the automatic enrichment, as well as potential containment of the detected indicators. Under normal circumstances, analysts would use whatever data enrichment tools are available, such as threat intelligence, reputation services, IT asset inventories and tools such as nslookup and whois.  Analysts would then determine if the indicators appeared to be malicious, at which point containment and further investigation would begin. Using SOAR technology, it is simple to codify a process such as this into an automated workflow, automatically performing data enrichment as soon as the alert is received. A SOAR solution can also automate the process of searching for additional instances of the same indicator across the organization, alerting analysts to any additionally detected occurrences. Automated or semi-automated containment is also possible; for example, blocking an IP address or URL via the firewall or proxy, or isolating a host pending further investigation.

Alerts regarding potentially malicious traffic are common-place and often sit in the queue for some time before they are investigated. While most are false positives or low priority, any one of these could be the only indicator of a potentially serious data breach. Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) Technology allows immediate triage and response to each of these alerts almost instantaneously, automating the mundane, repeatable processes while allowing analysts to focus on the most significant alerts.

Vulnerability Management

Security Orchestration Automation and Response was not intended to be a vulnerability management platform and will never replace the robust vulnerability management systems available today. However, there are some aspects of a good vulnerability management program that a SOAR platform can streamline. In larger enterprises, vulnerability management is often a task performed outside the security team. This can lead to potential risk as the security team may not be aware of vulnerabilities that exist within the infrastructure.

A SOAR solution can be used to ensure that the security team is made aware of any new vulnerabilities within the organization. This allows the security team to proactively examine the vulnerable host, when appropriate, to ensure that there is no evidence of exploitation, place any appropriate additional safeguards in place, and subject the host to increased monitoring until the vulnerability has been mitigated.

Beyond notifying the security team, a Security Orchestration, Automation and Response SOAR solution may also be used to further enrich vulnerability and host information. For example, a SOAR solution could be used to query a database of vulnerabilities to gather additional information on the vulnerability, query Active Directory or CMDB for asset information, or query a SIEM or EDR for events. Based on vulnerability, host or event information, the case could be automatically upgraded or reassigned, or the host could even be temporarily isolated until appropriate mitigation tasks could be performed.

While suitable testing and deployment of patches are critical in an enterprise environment, existing vulnerabilities present an ongoing risk to the organization. It is crucial that the security team are aware of these risks and take the proper steps to ensure that the vulnerability has not and will not be exploited until it can be properly addressed. A Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) solution can be utilized to ensure that the security team remains informed of all current vulnerabilities and can efficiently evaluate the possible risk of each vulnerability in order to take proper risk mitigation actions.

Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR) for MSSPs

Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) face many of the same issues as Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) and Security Operations Centers (SOCs), but on a much larger scale.  In addition to these shared challenges, MSSPs also face some unique issues which the SOAR technology can address. MSSPs must work within the confines of strict service level agreements (SLAs). Failing to meet these SLAs could result in loss of business, loss of reputation and even the potential for legal action. Automating and orchestrating actions with a Security Orchestration, Automation and Response SOAR solution allows MSSPs to work more efficiently, ensuring that all SLAs are met. In addition, MSSPs are constantly under pressure to prove to customers that these SLAs are being met, that they are taking appropriate, timely actions and that they are continuing to provide value to their customers. The advanced metrics and audit logs of a SOAR addresses these needs by providing a robust set of metrics suitable for both analysts and executives alike.

MSSPs must also find a method to manage each customers data securely and in a segregated manner. At the same time, MSSPs must also ensure that each customer is provided access to their data to ensure transparency and to allow seamless teamwork between the MSSP and the customer’s internal teams. Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) accomplishes these tasks by providing individual tenants for each customer, physically segregating each customers data to ensure confidentiality while allowing the MSSP access across customer tenants for ease of use.  

Case Management

Although not strictly an orchestration and automation function, case management is an important part of the incident response process and is another function that SOAR can help streamline. Many organizations struggle with managing the vast amounts of disparate information that is gathered during a security incident.  Spreadsheets and shared documents are simply not sufficient for managing a complex cyber incident.

Not only does SOAR maintain all information and enriched data gathered from automated and orchestrated activities, it also maintains a detailed audit log of all actions taken during the response. A full-featured SOAR solution should also allow for detailed task management, allowing incident managers to create, assign and monitor tasks assigned to all analysts taking part in the response. In addition, a full-featured SOAR should also allow users to track assets involved in the incident and maintain a detailed chain of custody for all physical and logical evidence.

A Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) with full case management functionality will help ensure the smooth and efficient handling of an incident from identification through remediation, providing responders will the information they need right at their fingertips and allowing them to focus on the task at hand.

If you would like to see a SOAR solution in action and discuss your specific use cases, request a live demo today.

Automate Actionable Network Intelligence with Tufin and DFLabs SOAR Platform

Enterprise networks are complex environments, with numerous components often under the control of teams outside the security team. During an incident, it is critical that respondents understand the network topology and have the most current network policy and device information available to them. Network documentation is often incomplete and out-of-date; security teams need a way to quickly and efficiently gather actionable network intelligence to effectively respond to a security incident.

This blog will cover some of the current challenges faced by security operations teams and how they can harness the vast amounts of network intelligence available, such as device, policy and path information, using Tufin as a case study. By integrating with Tufin Orchestration Suite, DFLab’s IncMan SOAR platform can utilize its R3 Rapid Response Runbooks to enable the collection of actionable network intelligence, along with its automation, orchestration, and measurement power to respond faster and more efficiently to security incidents.

The Challenges

There are three specific challenges that are common within any security operations center and analysts need to be able to find an effective and efficient way to solve them and obtain the information they need as quickly as possible.

  • How can I get a current list of network devices?
  • How can I get a current list of rules and policies?
  • How can I determine the network path from source to destination?
The DFLabs and Tufin Solution

Tufin Orchestration Suite takes a policy-centric approach to security to provide visibility across heterogeneous and hybrid IT environments, enable end-to-end change automation for network and application connectivity and orchestrate a unified policy baseline across the next generation network. The result is that organizations can make changes in minutes, reduce the attack surface and provide continuous compliance with internal and external/industry regulations. The ultimate effect is greater business continuity, improved agility and reduced exposure to cyber security risk and non-compliance.

Tufin Orchestration Suite together with DFLabs IncMan SOAR platform provides joint customers with an automated means to gather actionable network intelligence, a task which would otherwise need to be performed manually, taking up valuable analyst time when every minute counts. This results in an overall decrease in the mean time to respond (MTTR) to a computer security incident, saving the organization both time and potential financial and reputation loss.

It provides a list of current network devices based on any number of criteria, a list of current rules and policies for any number of devices and is able to simulate network traffic from source to destination, including path and associated rules. Here is a use case in action to see exactly how!

Use Case

Network traffic between a workstation and a domain controller has been identified as potentially malicious by the organization’s UBA platform. The UBA platform generated an alert which was forwarded to IncMan SOAR, causing an incident to be automatically generated. Based on the IncMan Incident Template, the following R3 Runbook was automatically assigned and executed to gather additional network intelligence.

network intelligence

 

The information gathering begins by simulating the network path between the source address and destination address of the potentially malicious network traffic. This information is gathered by two separate Enrichment actions, one which will display this information in a table format, and another which will display the same information in a graphic network path which can be exported and shared or added to reports.

network intelligence 2

 

As with information from any other IncMan Enrichment action, each network device on the path between the source address and the destination address is stored within an array which can be used by subsequent actions.

After the path information has been retrieved, an additional Enrichment action is used to retrieve information about each device along the path.  This includes information such as device vendor, model, name and IP addresses.

Following the acquisition of the device information, two additional Enrichment actions are utilized to gather additional network intelligence. The first action will retrieve all rules for each network device along the path. Detailed information on each matching rule will be displayed for the analyst, allowing the analyst to assess why the traffic was permitted or denied, what additional traffic may be permitted from the source to the destination, and what rule changes may be appropriate. The second action will retrieve all policies for each network device along the path. Similar to the previous rule information, this information will allow the analyst to assess the configured network policies and determine what, if any, policy changes should be made to contain the potential threat.

Harnessing the power of Tufin Orchestration Suite, along with the additional orchestration, automation and response features of DFLab’s IncMan SOAR platform, organizations can elevate their incident response process, leading to faster and more effective response and reduced risk across the entire organization.  

To see the integration in action, request a demo of our IncMan SOAR platform today.

DFLabs Announces New No-Script Automation Tool (NAT) at Black Hat USA

DFLabs is going to announce its new No-Script Automation Tool (NAT) At Black Hat USA on August 8th, 2018 in Las Vegas. DFLabs’ No-Script Automation Tool (NAT) is a new free tool that helps incident responders collect live forensic data. In this blog post, we will discuss the details about the NAT tool.

Why has live data acquisition become an increasingly important task?

When responding to a potential security incident, it is often standard practice to perform some level of live data acquisition on potentially compromised hosts. In some cases, this is due to the need to acquire volatile data, such as running processes, open files, network connections and other memory artifacts. In other cases, it is simply not possible to take the host offline to perform traditional dead-box forensics. No matter the reason, live data acquisition has become an increasingly important task.

Performing live data acquisitions presents some unique challenges not present with traditional dead-box forensics. Chief among these challenges is ensuring that any live response tools are run in a repeatable, documented and secure manner. These challenges are most often solved by placing live response tools on a USB drive which can be attached to the target host and script their execution (usually via a batch script on Windows hosts) to guarantee that each tool is run in the correct manner.

While batch scripting does address many of the challenges of live data acquisition, it has several shortcomings. Many live data acquisition tools are specific to a certain OS or CPU architecture. Attempting to make logic choices within a batch script regarding OS and CPU architecture is unreliable at best, and significantly increases the complexity of the batch script.  The only other option is to have a separate batch script for each OS group and CPU architecture, which does not scale well.

Running live data acquisition tools via a batch script can also create security concerns. Unless each tool and its associated commands are manually examined before each execution, it is possible that either the tools themselves or their commands have been modified, whether accidentally or maliciously. This could lead to unintended results when executing the batch script, or even further compromise of the host.

What is The No-Script Automation Tool (NAT)?

The No-Script Automation Tool (NAT) is a free command line tool from DFLabs designed to solve the complexity and management issues surrounding scripting multiple tools via batch scripts for Windows systems. No-Script Automation Tool (NAT) allows users to run sets of pre-defined and pre-verified tools based on the user-specified input, predefined commands and system properties such as architecture and Windows version.

How the No-Script Automation Tool (NAT) works?

As with previous methods, NAT is placed on a USB drive along with any live data acquisition tools. However, that is where the similarities end. Live data acquisition tools are organized into directories based on their category (process information, network information, file information, etc.) and then by OS range and CPU architecture if required. If specific command line arguments are required for a certain tool, one or more set of arguments can be defined by placing a text file in the same directory as the tool.

No-Script Automation Tool (NAT) 1

 

Once the drive is configured with the appropriate directory structure, tools, and commands, the NAT tool allows users to create an integrity file which will hash the contents of both the tools and the commands and store this information in a password protected file on the drive. Once the integrity file is created, NAT will require the user to enter the password or specifically choose to bypass the integrity check. If the correct password is entered, NAT will compare the hash of each tool and command to the known-good values and alert the user if any mismatches are detected.

During execution, NAT records a detailed log of each tool that is executed. By default, NAT will write the output of each tool to a folder named for the hostname it is executed on, in the root of the drive it is executed from. Users have the option to change the output directory when NAT is run.  Upon completion, the output from each tool is hashed and this information is also recorded in the log to ensure data integrity.

Download the No-Script Automation Tool (NAT) from DFLabs here.

If you missed my speaking slot at Black Hat USA in Arsenal 2 on August 8th or would like further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.  

DFLabs IncMan SOAR V4.4 Brings Automated START Triage Capability, New Bidirectional Integrations and More

DFLabs is excited to announce the latest release of its award-winning and industry-leading Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) platform, IncMan SOAR Version 4.4. We are constantly listening to customer and industry feedback, and IncMan v4.4 includes many new features which come directly from our users.

Security teams across the industry are plagued with false positive alerts and DFLabs is continually seeking innovative ways to improve the efficiency of the incident handling process. Traditionally, each alert generates an incident, which must be investigated by an analyst to determine the veracity of the alert. This process can lead to an overwhelming number of incidents, sometimes created because of false positive alerts.

Automated START Triage Capability –  one of the most exciting features of IncMan v4.4

One of the most exciting features of IncMan v4.4 is the new automated Triage capability called START (Simple Triage And Rapid Treatment) Triage. IncMan’s START Triage allows alerts to be sent to IncMan via the API to be triaged before being converted to an incident. The Triage event queue, separate from the Incident queue, can be worked by Tier 1 analysts to determine which events warrant further investigation as an incident, and which events can be discarded as false positives. The Triage event function is able to harness the full automation and orchestration power of IncMan’s R3 Rapid Response Runbooks to enrich event information, allowing the analyst to quickly make a determination regarding the reliability of the alert and take quick, decisive action.

The flexibility and customizability of the new automated START Triage allow it to adapt to almost any use case. Some use cases include network alerts, endpoint alerts, transaction fraud alerts and threat intelligence alerts.  START Triage is already being used by a major European bank to eliminate manual first line assessments of suspected fraudulent online transactions in one of the first applications of SOAR technology to financial fraud investigations.

DFLabs IncMan SOAR v 4.4 introduces a variety of new bidirectional integrations

IncMan v 4.4 includes many new bidirectional integrations from a variety of product categories including SIEM, network defense, endpoint protection and threat intelligence, chosen to broaden the orchestration and automation capabilities of our customers. These new bidirectional integrations include:

In addition to these new integrations, we have also make several improvements to existing integrations, such as Splunk and IBM QRadar, to expand the capabilities of these integrations.

Flexible R3 Rapid Response Runbooks for any situation

IncMan v4.4 includes several enhancements designed to make our R3 Rapid Response Runbooks even more flexible.  R3 Runbooks can now be used to call other R3 Runbooks. For example, a phishing R3 Runbook which detects a malicious attachment can now automatically call the appropriate malware R3 Runbook, eliminating the need to create processes within multiple runbooks. R3 Runbooks now also have the ability to update any attribute of an incident, such as priority, type, assigned analysts or any custom attributes, ensuring that the incident information is automatically updated as needed.

IncMan v4.4 features improvements to our automatic observables harvesting capabilities. Unstructured data added to free text areas of IncMan will automatically be searched for the presence of any observables, such as email addresses, IP addresses or domains. Any observables detected within this unstructured data will be automatically added to the appropriate observables section within IncMan, allowing users to perform any of the many enrichment, containment or custom actions on this data.

These are just some of the highlights of our latest IncMan release; IncMan SOAR Version 4.4 includes many other enhancements designed to streamline your orchestration, automation and response process.  

See IncMan SOAR v4.4 in action

If you would like to see a demo of our latest release you can see it first hand at the upcoming Black Hat USA conference at our booth #IC2329 on August 8-9, schedule a time for a chat with one of our cybersecurity experts here, or alternatively you can request a live demo online.  

Stay tuned to our website for additional updates, feature highlights and demos of our latest release.

Full Lifecycle Threat Management by Integrating DFLabs SOAR with McAfee ePO

The escalation in the cyber threat environment, a growing attack surface, increased regulatory cyber security requirements and a shortfall in skilled cyber security professionals have converged to create a nexus of forces that is challenging enterprises to manage their threat management and their overall security posture to succeed in business in the 21st century. Machine learning and security automation are key critical capabilities to surmount these challenges and will enable organizations to thrive amidst adversity.

Security operations teams struggle to gain visibility of threats and rapidly respond to incidents due to the sheer number of different security technologies they must maintain and manage and the resulting flood of cyber alerts. Challenges they face include but are not limited to:

  • How can I aggregate and correlate disparate security sources to increase my visibility of threats and effectively investigate alerts and incidents?
  • How can I prioritize my response to security incidents at volume and at scale across a growing attack surface?
  • How can I rapidly respond to security incidents with limited resources to contain the damage and limit legal exposure?
DFLabs and McAfee are key partners in delivering full lifecycle threat management.

McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (McAfee ePO) is the most advanced, extensible, and scalable centralized security management software in the industry. Unifying security management through an open platform, McAfee ePO makes risk and compliance management simpler and more successful for organizations of all sizes. As the foundation of McAfee Security Management Platform, McAfee ePO enables customers to connect industry-leading security solutions to their enterprise infrastructure to increase visibility, gain efficiencies, and strengthen protection.

Aggregating these alerts into a single pane of glass to prioritize what is critical and needs immediate attention, requires a platform that can consolidate disparate technologies and alerts, and provides a cohesive and comprehensive capability set to orchestrate incident response efforts.

By integrating with McAfee ePO, DFLabs IncMan SOAR platform extends these capabilities to McAfee customers, enabling them to execute full lifecycle incident response management.

DFLabs IncMan R3 Rapid Response Runbooks automate and orchestrate end to end threat containment by integrating with McAfee ePO. Security Operations teams can enrich security incidents with asset context and quarantine compromised systems based conditional and logical decision paths that can be fully and semi-automated, acting as a force multiplier, reducing the time from threat discovery to containment, and increasing operational efficiency. DFLabs’ machine learning driven Automated Responder Knowledge guides security analysts in identifying the most effective course of action using McAfee ePO.

DFLabs SOAR and McAfee ePO Use Case in Action

An alert based on a malicious file detected by AV has automatically generated an Incident within IncMan. This alert is automatically categorized as a Malware incident within IncMan based on the organizations’ policies, which initiates the organization’s Malware Alert runbook, shown below.

threat management incman_1

 

IncMan automatically queries the hash value provided by the organization’s AV solution against VirusTotal. If VirusTotal indicates that five or more AV vendors have identified the hash value as malicious, IncMan will us an Enrichment action to automatically query McAfee ePO for the host information and send this information to the appropriate analysts.

Next, using a Containment action, IncMan will automatically tag the host which generated the AV alert with the tag “quarantine” in McAfee ePO. Finally, IncMan will notify the appropriate analysts that the host has been appropriately tagged in IncMan.

 

threat management incman_2

 

The automated workflow of IncMan’s R3 Runbooks means that an incident will have been automatically generated, and these enrichment and containment actions through the Quick Integration Connector with McAfee ePO will have already been committed before an analyst is even aware that an incident has occurred.

Harnessing the power of McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator, along with the additional Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response of DFLab’s IncMan SOAR platform, organizations can elevate their incident response process, leading to faster and more effective incident response and reduced risk across the entire organization.