Cisco Blogs

Cisco Blog > Security

Miscreants and the Principle of Least Effort

Back in the old days, when security was much more of an afterthought, it was obvious that miscreants were familiar with the principle of least effort. Information security was still in its Wild West days. Managed disclosure and patching did not really exist. Most companies were just coming to realize they would need to put some effort into securing their assets. I was tasked with most of the security deployments and forensic investigation at a startup hosting company. We had a lot of bandwidth (at the time) and a lot of poorly managed servers. You could watch our gateway and know when a new vulnerability was discovered in the underground. You could see miscreants scanning for a specific service in a specific network. Miscreants had done their homework, and knew where the vulnerable hosts resided. This targeting was efficient. Sure enough, hosts would start being compromised and a few days later some sort of official disclosure would happen detailing the vulnerability the miscreants had been scanning for. Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

Scope of ‘KeyBoy’ Targeted Malware Attacks

On June 6, 2013, released an analysis of Microsoft Office-based malware that was exploiting a previously unknown vulnerability that was patched by MS12-060. The samples provided were alleged to be targeting Tibetan and Chinese Pro-Democracy Activists. On June 7, 2013, Rapid7 released an analysis of malware dubbed ‘KeyBoy,’ also exploiting unknown vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office, similarly patched by MS12-060, but allegedly targeting interests in Vietnam and India. The indicators of compromise (IoCs) listed by Rapid7 match some of the indicators of compromise listed previously by

Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Identity and Device Aware IT Platforms Make Life Easier

Life is generally a lot easier when you have all the facts.  Especially if those facts are actually accurate.  Nowhere does this ring more true than in the life of an IT professional.

Often times a day in an IT shop is a lot like that grade school game of telephone where information gets passed down the line but gets distorted (or is just plain wrong) because no single player has the complete context.  This scenario gets played out everyday in the IT infrastructure where siloed operations, monitoring and policy platforms only work from the information they possess.  But that information is generally just a snapshot viewed through the bias of that system’s siloed purview.  As a result, mistakes get made, security is substandard or perhaps even dysfunctional, and everything from configuration to event management and investigation takes far longer than it should.  Net-net – time is wasted, costs increase, and many things still don’t work that well.  Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cisco’s onePK Part 1: Introduction


Cisco’s One Platform Kit (onePK) is a fantastic toolkit for building custom applications that interact with your Cisco routers and switches. Using onePK, you can build automation directly into the network and extend all sorts of functionality using Cisco devices. The first in a three-part blog series, this article will introduce onePK to the reader, explain what it is, how it can be useful, and will show how to configure onePK on a router. The second and third installments will walk the reader through a simple security-relevant application using the C API. Important to note is that we’ll be covering the 0.6.0 version of onePK features and service sets. At the time of this writing, the toolkit is still in Controlled Availability and as such, is still in active development, and the API could change before it is released into General Availability. However, even in the face of API evolutionism, this article will provide you with a solid jumping-off point for your plunge into the wondrous world of onePK.

OK, Just What is onePK?

OnePK is a Cisco IOS Software feature and a set of programming libraries enabling an application programmer to build powerful applications that tightly integrate and interact with Cisco devices. onePK is available to you via a well-documented and unified API, currently offered in C and Java with Python in active development. It is currently in pre-release and is available only on request. Details on how to obtain onePK are provided below. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Plesk 0-Day Targets Web Servers

June 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm PST

Update 6/6/2013:

We’re seeing reports of exploitation of this vulnerability. We can confirm Global Correlation - Network Participation telemetry is seeing multiple exploitation attempts across many customers. Customers who participate in Global Correlation -- Inspection have a higher chance of this signature blocking in the default configuration since the sensor will take the reputation of an attacker into account during the risk rating evaluation. One of the reports mentioned the use of an IRC-based botnet as a payload for a large number of compromised machines. Since this report is similar to one I previously blogged about, I examined the IRC payloads in depth. Many of the variable names and functions are identical, with the new bot’s source code indicating that it is a later revision of the one we saw previously. Additional features have been added in this revision, which can allow the bots to transfer files directly to other bots via the command and control channel. Given the nature of this vulnerability and the ease of exploitation, it is very likely that unpatched machines will continue to be compromised if not remediated.

A 0-day vulnerability has been publicly posted which affects older versions of the Parallels Plesk software. The author of the exploit included an informational text file, which appears to indicate public servers have already been exploited. This vulnerability does not affect the latest major version of the software; nevertheless we expect to see widespread exploitation, due to the age of the affected versions — sites still running these versions of Plesk, which should enter End of Life of June 9, are unlikely to be regularly maintained.

plesk_2_1  Read More »

Tags: , , , ,